Ripe with stories of valiance and chivalry, and a mix of royal ambiance sets apart the cultural capital of the country. The state of Rajasthan is known for its splendid architecture and magnificence in royalty the living proof of which is the imposing architectural masterpieces – the forts, the palaces, the havelis and the temples. Most of these massive structures date back to the medieval era of which few have been converted to government edifices and heritage hotels. Here is a look at some of the beautiful structure of the Pink City – Jaipur
1. Amer Fort & Palace
Amer Fort was originally built by Raja Man Singh in 1592. This fort made in red sandstone and marble, popularly known as the Amer Palace boasts of various prominent buildings like the ‘Divan-I-Aam’, the ‘Sheesh Mahal’ and the Sukh Mahal reflective of the grandness of Rajasthan’s architecture.
The four different parts constituting the structure each has its own separate entrance. The ‘Suraj Pol’ translated as the Sun Gate is the main entrance leading up to the courtyard. The long meandering road shown above leads to the fortress and usually tourists are carried on elephants.
The Fort stands tall as a pleasant blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture reflecting its glorious past symbolizing the dynasties that ruled. The architecture is closer to Hindu styles; the refined decorations however reflect Mogul architecture however they contrast with those of Agra and Fatehpur Sikri because of the uniqueness of Rajasthan’s architecture.
The Sheesh Mahal interiors covered in thousands of tiny mirrors can be lit by one single candle speaking a lot of the grandeur of the Rajasthan’s architects and the conviction with which these structures were made. The stateliness of Rajasthan’s architecture is what really surprises and amazes the tourists from all over the world who come to Jaipur every year to see this jewel of India.
2. Jaigarh Fort
The Jaigarh Fort, located at a distance of 15 kms from the Pink City of India, Jaipur is a magnificent royal construction grabbing the attention of travelers with its uniqueness. The carving on the walls is what makes the Fort stand as an architectural wonder amidst Rajasthan’s architecture along with its unique rainwater harvesting system. Standing at the top of the Aravalli ranges there are several interesting features that set apart the fort from the rest of Rajasthan’s architecture.
Known as the Fort of Victory, this particular fort was constructed to store the weapons and other military utilities. One of the most important features of the fort is the grand cannon, “Jaivana”, which was the world’s largest cannon on wheels of its time
The Jaigarh fort is crafted with an intricate network of subterranean channels and comprises the Laxmi Vilas, the Lalit Mandir, the Vilas Mandir and the Aram Mandir. It was originally built to protect the Amer Fort
3. Nahargarh Fort:
The magnificent Nahargarh Fort – translates to ‘abode of tigers’, was built in 1734 as a summer retreat by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and it was later extended by Sawai Ram Singh in 1868 connect the Nahargarh Fort to the Jaigarh Fort. All throughout history, the fort maintained its lifelike structure as it was never attacked however it was a hideaway from the British during the Rebellions of 1857 – The Indian Sepoy Mutiny.
An Indo-European architecture seems to have been followed for the construction of the Nahargarh Fort with many structures inside the fort. The entrance gate is referred to as the ‘Tadigate’, to the left of which is a temple dedicated to the various Gods of Jaipur’s rulers. There is another holy place inside the fort, dedicated to Nahar Singh Bhomia, a Rathore prince. The ‘Madhavendra Bhawan’ added by Sawai Madho Singh is a two-storey building which held suites for the king and his many queens, divided into apartments – similar in all respects and each of them has a hall, bedrooms, toilets, kitchen and store.
4. The Hawa Mahal
The world renowned ‘Palace Of The Winds’, or Hawa Mahal, is one of the major tourist attractions in the city of Jaipur. This beautiful five-storey palace at the heart of the city was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. Built of red and pink sandstone, the palace is supposedly constructed of the appearance resembling to the crown of Krishna. Rightfully considered as an epithet of Rajasthan’s architecture, the Hawa Mahal in its pyramid shape has about 950 windows also referred to as ‘Jharokhas’ decorated with intricate designs. The intention behind the construction of the Hawa Mahal was to enable the Royal women to get a view of the everyday life as they were not allowed out in public.
The Hawa Mahal was designed to resemble a bee-hive with a lot of windows and has a height of 50 feet. The Hawa Mahal now serves as an archaeological museum. The multi-storey structure does not have stairs from one floor to other, they are connected via slopes. The walls are little less than a foot in thickness. The abundance of windows in the Hawa Mahal provides ample circulation of air and the Palace also has an excellent view of the city. The interiors are stark and plain with passages and pillars.
5. City Palace
Situated at the heart of the city of Jaipur, the construction of City Palace was started by Sawai Jai Singh in 1727 and was completed b Amber Sawai Jai Singh II. Spread across a seventh of the city of Jaipur, the City Palace is a complex of courtyards, temples, gardens, ponds, workshops, courts and also houses the famous Jantar Mantar – the astrological observatory
A reflection of the keen architectural enthusiasm of the ruler, Sawai Jai Singh II, the City Palace is a fusion of the Shilpa Shastra of Indian architecture with Mughal, European and Rajasthan’s architecture imposed later by the then rulers. An impressive and vast array of gardens, buildings and courtyards are arranged in a linear series.
The Main entrance – Udai-Pol leads up to the Divan-i-Aam or the ‘house of the people’. Made in marble, with gold and red colored ceiling the Divan-i-aam is splendid view at the end of which is the ‘takht-e-rawal’, the throne of the King.
There was also the ‘Diwan-i-Khas’ for the special guests and ‘Daavats’ for eminent people.
The most prominent part of the City Palace – The Chandra Mahal Palace is a seven-storied building and each floor has been given a specific name such as the Sukh-Niwas, Ranga-Mandir, pritam-Niwas, Chavi- Niwas, Shri-Niwas and Mukut-Mandir.
6. Jal Mahal
Situated close to the famous Nahargarh Fort is the Jal Mahal a beautiful blend of the magnificence of Rajasthan‘s architecture and the Islamic style of art. Set in the beautiful Man-Sarovar Lake in Jaipur, Jal Mahal is five storied building of which, four floors remain under water when the lake is full.
The foyers and assembly rooms of the palace have light sand colored walls made of stone which are a stark contrast with the dark blue hues of the lake offering a distinct look to the Mahal. Every archway and doorway is ornamented with marble carvings indicating the royalty and the 20 pillars which are the commemorative of the royal family of Raja Jai Singh.