Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rajasthan rolling - 9 (Jaipur)

Reached Jaipur in three hours covering a distance of 183kms from Mandawa. Checked in Hotel Umaid 
Bhavan where we had a reservation and after freshening up decided to start exploring the City Palace and Jantar Mantar which are adjacent to each other.
Just rambled through Jantar Mantar trying to learn about how the different structures were used.

Went on to the City Palace, part of which was converted into a museum. As we entered, the sets of some 

film shoot were being dismantled. Thankfully we had reached after the shoot or else our movement would have been restricted.

The palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. He planned and built the outer walls, and later additions were made by successive rulers right up to the 20th century. The credit for the urban layout of the city and its structures is attributed to two architects namely, Vidyadar Bhattacharya, the chief architect in the royal court and Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob, apart from the Sawai himself who was a keen architectural enthusiast. The architects achieved a fusion of the Shilpa shastra of 

Indian architecture with Rajput, Mughal and European styles of architecture. Following Jaisingh's death in 1744, there were internecine wars among the Rajput kings of the region but cordial relations were maintained with the British Raj. Maharaja Ram Singh sided with the British in the Sepoy Mutiny or Uprising of 1857 and established himself with the Imperial rulers. It is to his credit that the city of Jaipur including all of its monuments (including the City Palace) are stucco painted 'Pink' and since then the city has been called the "Pink City". The change in colour scheme was as an honour of hospitality extended to the Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VII) on his visit. This colour scheme has since then become a trademark of the Jaipur city.
Next morning we drove upto Amer Fort. On the way we also saw the amazing Hawa Mahal. Did not go 

inside the Hawa Mahal as we were told that there is nothing worth seeing inside and all there is to see is on the outside. So clicked a few and proceeded to Amer Fort.  

On the way to the Amer fort we also saw the Jal Mahal from a distance.
Amer Fort is situated on a forested hill premonitory, above the Maota Lake near Amer village, about 11 

kilometres from Jaipur.
A narrow jeepable road leads up to the entrance gate, known as the Suraj Pol or the Sun Gate, of the fort. 

We are not allowed to drive right up and have to park in the huge parking lot provided. You can either walk up or go by the jeeps or elephants available for the purpose. We chose to walk.
Amer Fort was built by Meena king Raja Alan Singh Chanda and was later occupied by Kachhawa Rajput. This fort along with Jaigarh Fort located immediately above on the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) of same 

Aravalli range of hills, is considered as one complex, as the two are well connected by subterranean passage. This passage was meant as an escape route in times of war for the royal family members and others in the Amer Fort to shift to the more redoubtable Jaigarh Fort.

The views from top are breathtaking.

Spent the afternoon shopping in the city and had dinner in Handi restaurant. Had the ‘Lal maas’ (red meat) a 

typical fiery Rajasthani dish with nice crispy Naans.
On the third day we met Bharat, our friend and guide from Jaipur.

He promised to show us Unseen Rajasthan and led us to Abhaneri, a small town, popular for its astonishing step well and Harshat Mata 

Temple and Bhangarh (haunted Palace), which are around 90kms from Jaipur.

The myth behind Bhangarh - The charm of princess of Bhangarh Ratnavati was said to be matchless in all of Rajasthan. Being eighteen years old, the princess started getting matrimonial offers from heads of other states. In the same region there lived a tantrik, a magician well versed in the occult, named Singhia who was desperately in love with the princess. He knew that he would never be allowed to even see her, let alone meet her. One day, he saw the princess’ maid in the market buying scented oil for her. Seeing this, he got an idea by which he could meet the princess. He used his black magic and put a spell on the oil which would hypnotize the princess by her merely touching the oil, and she would surrender herself. The Princess happened to drop the container over a stone. As soon as the oil touched the stone, it started rolling towards the wicked tantrik and crushed him. While dying, Singhia cursed the palace with the death of all who dwelt in it, without any rebirth in their destinies. The very next year there was a battle between Bhangarh and Ajabgarh and Ratnavati died. Till date, people believe that it is haunted and nobody dares visit after sunset.


  1. everytime am at amer fort it feels like i have been transported to another era...love the pics ur post has me cravng to pack my bags and reach rajasthan asap

  2. This is a magazine article!

    Aloha from Waikiki
    Comfort Spiral

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  3. Glad to know about Abhaneri. The step well is beautiful!

  4. Wow wow wow! So many absolutely amazing palaces. Gorgeous shots.

  5. Nice post and good shots.


  6. Wow , nice post . Sunday i believe there was a post in Newspaper about planning to repaint Hawamahal .Your thought on this .

  7. As long as they maintain the original colours it should be fine. But it did not look as if it needed a paint job and it is scary when the bureaucrats take over culture and heritage!

  8. nice post
    i went to rajasthan and saw this places lot of time
    but that stepping well village is new for me
    will go there next time
    nice blog

    mere blog par bhi aaiyega
    umeed kara hun aapko pasand aayega

  9. Abhaneri step well is awesome. Beautiful narration of the haunted palace Bhangarh. Thanks.

  10. an interesting post... history spiced with beautiful photographs... the forts and palaces are amazing...

  11. I read that recently authorities tried washing the Hawa mahal and lot of colouring was lost...

  12. Rajasthan is such a beautiful place, one can visit again and again and still wanting to go again. The night stay in deserts of Jaisalmer is to be experienced.

  13. Oh, I am so looking forward to seeing Jaipur and to meeting Bharat. Of course, you had the pleasure of actually spending time with him in that magnificent setting. I know he will be VERY busy when I meet him. I do hope to get back before I leave India, though, once all the wedding festivities are over.

    How beautiful Rajasthan is. I wish my sons could do a camel safari or something really different. Me, I'll be lucky to manage something much more sedate.

  14. Wonderful portrayal of a great city of all times!

  15. wow it was amazing...it felt like covering the place yourself while reading this blog...

  16. Wondering how the steps in the step well were used to fetch water -- they look so narrow and must be slippery when they are wet! Loved the pictorial tour.

  17. Hey! What a coincidence! I just went to Jaipur last month. I was going to write a post on it myself. Loved this post. Your pics are great. We started our tour with the sound and light show at Jantar Mantar. A good way to orient yourself in the city, don't you think?

    1. Thank you! Looking forward to your post which has loads of humorous insights!

  18. Welcome back after a longish break. Hope all is well.
    Nice pics from Jaipur & Abhaneri. Lovely legend of the princess Ratnavati.

  19. Some splendid pictures! I feel like I am already there. :D

  20. I had been to Jaipur three months back and I just loved the place. Your simple and short descriptions with amazing pictures reminded me of the 3 wonderful days I spent there.
    Did you visit Chokhi Dhani, an amazing place I must say. :)
    Looking forward to your upcomng posts :)

  21. i have been to Jaipur and to the city palace and fort..they are truely mesmerizing...though havent been to the unseen rajasthan u went to....so thanks for outting it up here....next time..maybe i can go here!!


  22. Beautiful pictures from the Pink City!!

  23. Jaipur has a magnet like attractions with the multitude offering for a tourist! Lovely pictures and write up..

  24. As it often happens with me ..... I start wondering ... Have I not seen some of these places ? Thanks Deepak. You brought them alive again and whenever there next, would visit some of the places again which are more familiar after going through your illustrative blog. The step well I truly missed and story of the tantrik .... oh, how these stories are weaved and the peoples' belief !

  25. You have posted such a wonderful images. I cannot get my eyes away from it.

  26. Amazing !! That conforms my conviction that I can go to Jaipur again .. That stepwell is simply wow !

  27. Hi
    Sir can I use Harshat Mata_Abhaneri image in my book.

    Prakash Suthar