I had spent my first day in Jaipur city exploring its majestic forts. It was a hectic but interesting day full of history but Jaipur forts are only a part of the great history of Jaipur city. There is much more to see and experience in Jaipur. The other interesting places in Jaipur are City Palace Jaipur, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Albert Hall Museum and Chokhi Dhani. I had planned to visit all these monuments in a day because of the location.
Second day morning we wake up lazily because we have to see places within the city and as mentioned earlier most of the places are close to each other. We didn’t book a cab for the day instead, we booked an app based cab as and when required. Our first stop for the day was Jantar Mantar observatory. We hired a guide to show us around explaining all different features of the monument. It is a monument, which needs a lot of explanation and without it, everything will feel just a few walls & structures. The guide took us from one point to another and explained to us how to calculate the time based on the position of the sun or how to calculate planet position. Everything in this observatory is calculated from position or sun during the day and position of moon/stars at night. There were boards with descriptions explaining about each structure. For us, it was a bit technical and overwhelming. I was amazed at the details used to build such a precise scientific structure 300 years back. This observatory has a time accuracy of about two seconds to the Jaipur city’s local time. There are nineteen instruments for measuring time, tracking the location of major stars, ascertaining the declinations of planets, predicting eclipses, and determining the celestial altitudes. The Giant Sundial, known as the Samrat Yantra (The Supreme Instrument) is one of the world’s largest sundials and standing 27 meters tall. It’s marvel of ancient day science. Jantar Mantar Jaipur was also built during the rule of king Sawai Jai Singh II.
Our next stop City Palace Jaipur is walking distance from Jantar Mantar. There is a parking area next to Jantar Mantar and due to this, there was so much crowd and vehicles. We came out of Jantar Mantar, crossed this parking area to reach City Palace Jaipur. We entered into City Palace through Virendra Pol (Gate), this gate is used by general public. There is another gate named Tripolia gate, which is used by the royal family. Mubarak Mahal is the first building in the compound as we entered. This Mahal’s design is a fusion of Rajputana, Islamic & European architect. Mubarak Mahal has now converted it into a museum and there is a fine collection of textile used by Jaipur’s maharajas in past.
I walked around in city palace Jaipur’s compound to explore other buildings.
Other important buildings in city palace Jaipur are Chandra Mahal, Pritam Niwas Chowk, Diwan-e-aam, and Diwane-e-khaas. All these places are beautifully decorated with paintings and glasswork, inside gates have beautiful peacock paintings.
Some parts of Chandra Mehal and Maharani palace are converted into the museum and open for public. Rest of the palace is used as the residence by the descendants of the former rulers of Jaipur city and restricted for the public. The city palace still hoists the flag of Maharaja of Jaipur.
Diwan-e-aam is an open place built in red color and it was used by the king to meet general public of his state.
Diwan-e-khaas was used to meet special dignitaries and head of other states.
In one part of city palace, we saw old baggies on display, these were used by Kings in past.
While we were coming out we saw a singer near the gate in the open courtyard, he was playing a traditional instrument and singing a folk song. There was a snake charmer also, he was playing his “Been” and snake was moving with it. We liked both the acts and gave them tip as a courtesy. It took us more than 1.30 Hours to see all the important structures in the city palace Jaipur.
By the time we finished city palace Jaipur we were very hungry due to walking around. We decided to go for the lunch. The City Palace Jaipur is in market area so we had a lot of options to select from, we ate a vegetarian meal at Midtown Multi cuisine Restaurant.
Jaipur gets hot during the day even in winter months. It was hot outside, so we decided to go to Albert Hall Museum because there is so much to see inside it and we can skip the heat. We booked a taxi through the app and reached Albert Hall Museum in 10 minutes.
It is a beautiful building made in Indo-Saracenic architectural style. We bought the tickets and went inside, there is a rich collection of artifacts including paintings, carpets, ivory, stone, metal sculptures, and works in the crystal. We sat inside the covered area after exploring the museum and it was nicely cool. There is a well-maintained garden around the palace. The whole compound is covered with iron railing. Outside the museum’s railing towards city side, people were feeding grains thousands of pigeons. It was a beautiful sight.
We have planned to go to Chokhi Dhani for dinner but it was still late afternoon and we don’t want to go to the hotel, so we went again to the market near Hawa Mahal. There are so many shops in this market selling traditional items and clothes. One should be good at bargaining while shopping in this market. The view of Hawa Mehal from across the street was best around sunset.
We did some souvenir shopping and returned to our hotel.
Later on, we went to Chokhi Dhani for an evening outing and dinner. It is little outside the city so, we have booked a cab for few hours. There is an entry ticket for Chokhi Dhani, which includes food also.
Chokhi Dhani is recreated like a Rajasthani village to show the rural culture of Rajasthan. Inside we saw bullock carts, elephants, and camels for a ride. All these rides were available on the paid basis. Other then these there was a puppet show, a Kalbelia dance and folk music performances by local artists in the open area of Chokhi Dhani for everyone.
We spend some time watching different activities and then we went for dinner inside the hall. The food is served in a big hall, they have regular table chairs and also sitting arrangement in the traditional way on the floor. The food is vegetarian Rajasthani delicacies, which they serve us in our sitting place in thali on an unlimited basis. The serving staff was efficient but some of them expect a tip after the service, which was a bit annoying. We spent approx 2.5 hours here and returned to our hotel.
Our third day was our last day in Jaipur and we have not kept many things for this day. A couple of my friends wanted to visit temples and others two wanted to do shopping. So, we decided to go to temples in the morning and do shopping afterward as most of the markets open after 11.00 AM.
We first went to Galta Ji Temple, which is also known as monkey temple. This temple is slightly outside the city on a small hilltop. The monkies of this temple are very naughty and try to snatch things from you if they think you have something to eat. One of the monkeys tried to snatch the mobile from my friend but as we all screamed together, he got scared and left. After this incident, we were scared and kept all our phones and cameras inside bags. This temple is built in a narrow fissure and surrounded by hills from sides. The design of the temple is traditional Rajputana architect with rounded roofs, carved pillars, and painted walls. There are natural springs in the temple and all the water of these springs accumulate in a water tank in the temple compound. The temple is popular for these springs and water tanks. Some small monkeys were jumping into the water tanks for fun. Due to so many monkeys, we were very scared and left asap. It was an adventure trip for us.
From temple, we returned to the city and went to Birla Temple. This is a beautiful temple constructed of white marble and situated on a small hill in the Jaipur city. The white marble used to build the temple is carved to depict mythological stories. The carving on the walls is of the finest quality and make Birla Temple a must visit place even for nonreligious people. The stained glass windows depict the scenes from Hindu scriptures. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Lakshmi, they have decorated the statue of both with beautiful clothes and jewelry. Here they perform a morning and evening aarti every day with music, which is very nice experience (I attended one in the past). The temple looks spectacular at night when they switch on lights around it.
After visiting temples we went for shopping. The main shopping areas for traditional materials is Bapu Bazar and Johri Bazar but these markets require good bargain skills. Jaipur is very popular for precious stone and semi-precious stones handmade jewelry. Other then this Jaipur is famous for Bandini tie & dye fabrics, embroideries fabrics, traditional shoes, Turbans, traditional block printed home textile, ready-made fashion garments, camel leather shoes & bags, puppets for decoration, Bengals and wooden handicrafts. We spent few hours shopping different things and also had lunch at LMB.
After shopping, we returned to our hotel and checked out. Our return was not booked in advance but we managed to book Volvo bus tickets for our return journey to Delhi. Rajasthan roadways buses are very comfortable and they give 30% discount to woman passengers, which makes them economical.
P.S. While returning, I got the Rawat’s pyaz kachori for home. It’s one of the few items one should not miss when in Jaipur.