If you’ve been to my blog before, you know that I love to match, whether it’s travelling with a capsule collection where all my clothes match – OR trying to match the monuments I’m going to visit. I’m a bit extra, and it’s probably a habit I’m going to have to wean myself off of slowly.
Jaipur is a place that I love going back to. No matter who you go with, there is something new to explore every time. One of my favourite spots obviously is the hugely popular City Palace. The doors, the rooms and the pastels hues everywhere are as dreamy as you can imagine.
I’m not going to lie, I really wanted to get some pictures for Instagram! Eventually, I’m going to have kids, and I want them to see their mom and comment on my “travel” lifestyle, just like I did with my mother and her pictures from the 80s and 90s.
So, Is the City Palace worth it?
You haven’t really been to Jaipur if you don’t stop at the City Palace. The doors, gates and royal rooms are gorgeous and just have to be photographed. Get there early, as you’ll beat the rush who want to take their own photos. They open at 8:30am and have an entrance fee, it’s Rs 3000 for Indians and Rs 3500 for Non-Indians, this includes a tour of the whole City Palace with a guide, which I highly recommend doing. The other tour is just of the open grounds around the palace and includes the iconic four-season Gates or Pritan Niwas Gates. However, if you’re just going to be visiting once, spend the money and see the entire palace.
The morning light in Jaipur has a majestic feel, especially if you’re going like we did in January where it’s still cold and a little misty in the mornings. I absolutely loved the blue and white patterned room, called Sukh Niwas. That’s where my D&G skirt matched perfectly, totally planned of course. Luckily, we didn’t have too many people around, so I manage to get some great photos for my album.
This one was a bit of a disappointment. The mirror room called Rang Mandir, was more impressive when we visited 25 years ago. Unfortunately, it has lost its sparkle, quite literally. The Rang Mandir is a room filled with mirrors in an intricate design, that when lit with a simple candle would light up the whole room. However, due to time, the mirrors have lost its reflective properties. They even did a demonstration with two candles, but the room did not light up as it once did. They could restore the mirrors, but then it would lose the authentic feel and story behind it. Although a little disappointed, it was still very beautiful.
Diwan-I-Aam and Shoba Niwas
There are other rooms and spaces which are just as delightful and if you’re walking around taking it all in, you’ll find many places to stop and take pictures. I loved the meeting room or Shoba Niwas, where the walls were gilded in 24-carat gold.
Another favourite spot of mine is the peachy hued courtyard or Diwan-I-Aam. It’s where, as you enter the palace, you see two of the king’s pure silver water jars – they’re massive and he even took them when he travelled to England. All his water had to be from those huge silver jars or he wouldn’t touch it. Now that’s luxury for you.
Pritam Niwas Gates
And then there are the doors or Pritam Niwas gates. They are based on the four seasons, and rumour has it that the King would enter the palace through the gate of the current season – fancy!
These elaborately designed doors are worth seeing and if it’s crowded, just wait your turn, it’s worth waiting patiently for your turn to take a picture. They are as stunning as you can imagine and no matter what you wear, your picture will look incredible. The Royals really did know how to live, and I wish our modern Indian architecture took a few pointers from them!
Udai Pol Gate
One of the bigger gates to the palace are the Udai Pol Gates, which is guarded by two royal guards – they are friendly and love to take pictures with you! The metallic gates with geometric pattern caught my eye. They looked incredible and almost subtle compared to all the other sights in the City Palace.
Oh, And Now for the Hawa Mahal
To be honest, go see the Hawa Mahal at night. Jaipur is beautifully lit up at night, and the Hawa Mahal with is 900+ windows looks impressive all lit up. During the day is another story. The main facade of Hawa Mahal can only be seen from a public road that is crowded and a bit dirty. Even if you don’t want to take a picture, you’re constantly being pushed around by pedestrians and shoppers. However, if you can go early or find a quiet time, you can be like me and take a truly awkward picture in front of it!
So, That’s it
Alright, I know what you’re thinking – “why did she only do the super touristy stuff?” Well, my answer is simple, I live in India, and there is a direct flight to Jaipur from my hometown. I have the luxury to go there whenever I want. That’s why each time I go, I try to explore one monument in detail.
Having said that, this recent trip was with my mom and her main goal, considering that she saw all the sights 25 years ago, was to shop! Stay tuned for our shopping haul blog post (which include buying chillies). I’m waiting on a beautiful hand block-print Jaipur razai (quilt) to reach us. Once that’s received, I’ll take pictures and post my Jaipur shopping spree blog.
Till next time,