Continued from Jaipur – A Picturesque tour (Part I) | Dew Drops
After the elaborate visit to Chokhi Dhaani, the next morning after breakfast, we headed towards, Hawa Mahal.
Hawa Mahal (Hindi: हवा महल, translation: “Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”), is a palace in Jaipur, India. It was built in 1799 by MaharajaSawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Its unique five-storey exterior is also akin to the honeycomb of the beehive with its 953 small windows called jharokhas that are decorated with intricate latticework. The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to observe strict “purdah” (face cover). Besides this, the lattice also provides cool air caused by the venturi effect (doctor breeze) through the intricate pattern and thereby air conditioning the whole area during the high temperatures in summers.
Built of red and pink sandstone, the palace is situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur’s business centre. It forms part of the City Palace, and extends to the Zenana or women’s chambers, the chambers of the harem. It is particularly striking when viewed early in the morning, lit with the golden light of sunrise.
Information courtesy: Wikipedia
After taking a glimpse of Hawa Mahal, we headed towards City Palace, where the current king, 15-year old, Prithviraj Singh (son of Maharani Kishore Kunwar), stays.
There are two huge sterling silver vessels of 1.6 metres (5.2 ft) height and each with capacity of 4000 litres and weighing 340 kilograms (750 lb), on display here. They were made from 14000 melted silver coins without soldering. They are officially recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest sterling silver vessels. These vessels were specially made by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, who was a highly pious Hindu, to carry the water of the Ganges to drink on his trip to England in 1901 (for Edward VII’s coronation) as he was finicky about committing religious sin by consuming the English water. Hence, the vessels are named as Gangajelies (Ganges-water urns).
We also visited Maharani Palace, which was originally the residence of the royal queens. It has been converted into a museum, where weapons used by the royalty during war campaigns are displayed, including those belonging to the 15th century. The ceiling of this chamber has unique frescoes, which are preserved using jewel dust of semiprecious stones. A particular weaponry on display is the scissor-action dagger, which when thrust into an enemy’s body is said to disembowel the victim, on its withdrawal. The other artefacts on display include swords with pistols attached to it, the sword presented by Queen Victoria to Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh (1835–80) which is inlaid with rubies and emeralds, guns serving as walking sticks.
Information courtesy: Wikipedia
We were amazed to see ek myaan mein do talwaar (two swords in one sheath) and also the belt like sword at the Sileh Khaana (Artillery Museum) in Maharani Palace.
Before leaving City Palace, upon Lil Love’s request, we also saw the snake dance… 🙂
Oops…it was not just one cobra, but two. Thankfully, they didn’t step out before we ran off.
After this, we went and roamed around the city for over an hour searching for the restaurant, Copper Chimney. You must be wondering why only Copper Chimney. The kids were tired of having vegetarian food (yes, I have given birth to Asuras :-D), were desperate to have some non-vegetarian cuisine and this one was tried and tested by their Dad. We had some starters, butter chicken and Rajasthan’s popular, Laal Maas. More about the deadly spicy dish here (Laal Maas – The food of the Rajput Hunters). Frankly, I did not have it, for the first time I tasted itself, I could feel the fire. But it is said that it is a popular dish there.
In the evening we went to the Amer Fort, recently designated as one of the World Heritage Centers. We went for the Sound and Light Show, which ran for about an hour. A magical experience which I was witnessing for the second time. Of course, Lil Love could not understand the English narration much and got distracted half way through, disturbing all of us in turn. A must watch for all who haven’t seen it. The guide told us, they are working on improving and increasing the narration to include many parts which aren’t covered.
The next morning, we went to visit Amer Palace. Yes, after listening to the history of Amer, we finally decided to go and check out the heritage monument for ourselves. My third visit, but the best one because we got a nice guide.
A particular attraction here is the “magic flower” fresco carved in marble at the base of one of the pillars around the mirror palace which is identified by two hovering butterflies depiction; the flower has seven unique designs of fish tail, a lotus, a hooded cobra, an elephant trunk, a lion’s tail, a cob of corn and a scorpion, each is viewed by a particular way of partial hiding of the panel with hands.
Scientific inventions can be dated back to centuries and some of it was visible in the architecture of this palace, especially this bath tub, which was built in such a way that the Maharani got luke warm water straight into this tubs as showers.
Jaipur was a wonderful experience, though we are yet to cover many a places. The reason why we loved this visit can be attributed to the dupe guide we hired in the first place, who made us value the government appointed guides. The experience depends a lot on the story telling skills of the guide.
We got to know that Jaipur was more of Meena community and we also learnt a lot about Meenakaari, Tarkashi, Baandhni, Painting using vegetable colours, and so much more. I ended up buying 3 dress materials, two footwear, traditional lehanga for my little darlings, a pashmina shawl, bed sheets and few wall hangings. Shoppaholic I am… 🙂