Jaipur Things to Do Tips by Siddha3th
Jaipur Things to Do: 588 reviews and 1,417 photos
One of the wings at Amber
There are many instances of a Rajasthani/ Mughal fusion in the architecture at Amber Fort. It's really beautiful, the way this merging of designs and styles looks to the naked eye.
The medieval way of life, as it was during the times of Man Singh, and Jai Singh I and II, is on full view at every corner. After you've explored Amber to your heart's content, stroll through the old city which lies beyond the ramparts.
Here, in the rustic lanes which wind along, you'll come across many temples, memorials and townhouses... all of which succeed in keeping that old city flavour well and alive.
Heart of the market-place
Everything happens at the same time - people, rickshaws, thoughts, feelings come flooding at you from all quarters... and it's an enthralling experience! To take it all in, just bring yourself down to where the drama's at its maddest - the marketplace.
All the major street markets are close to each other, either running parallel or just a few streets away. It's great to experience all the sensations head-on, especially during the bitingly cold winter.
I met a whole motley crew of characters within half an hour - vendors, kite-flying specialists, tourists, and most unforgettably, a couple of kids who just wouldn't leave unless i took their photograph first :)
Bathed in a full moon
Friends have told me that Jal Mahal during the monsoons is really something to behold, 'cause the lake gets filled with water hyacinths, and there's this amazing contrast between the green on the water and the crimson of the Palace walls.
That's something I'll have to save for another trip.
But on my last journey, i was fortunate enough to see the Palace bathed in a full moon's light, and the sight of the silently regal Mahal shimmering as if in a crystal dream is one of those memory gems I'm going to carry with me always.
Man Sagar Lake, with Jal Mahal in its midst
Jal Mahal (The Water Palace) was built by the ruler Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 A.D. It stands like some tragic love story, full of remembrances past, in the midst of beautiful Man Sagar lake.
This lake itself was formed by construcing a dam between the two hills by Sawai Man Singh I. Interestingly, four floors of Jal Mahal lie underwater, and what you see is just the one floor, peering up above the still waters.
Like many of the Palaces in and around Jaipur, there's this mythical aura surrounding Jal Mahal, an unexplainable grace that seems to pervade the very fabric of the city.
Jal Mahal, silent and sensual
About 25 minutes from the heart of Jaipur, on the way to Amber Fort, you'll come across a sight so calmly beautiful, you'll be forced to step off and pay homage to it.
Jal Mahal is almost like a mirage rising out from the middle of a lake. In the morning, there's this golden glow which envelops the Palace, slowly shifting hues to a magenta-type varnish by the time evening arrives.
I don't think the general public's allowed to go up to the Palace itself, owing to its fragile nature. But you can content yourself by strolling up and down the promenade facing Jal Mahal, soaking in all its silent, sensual beauty.
How's this for beautiful!
Once inside the main Jaleb Chowk courtyard of Amber, you can explore the rooms and blaconies higher up by entering through different parts of the fort. There's a small entrance fee, and additional charges for camers and camcorders.
The Shila Mata complex is one of the structures within the fort complex, where you'll see a beautiful enshrined image of a Goddess. Within the main palace compound, you'll find many things to explore. There's Ganesh Pol - an imposing gateway paying homage to the elephant God Ganesh. Diwan-i-Am, the former hall of the public audience, has some amazing pillars.
Most amazing of all is Sheesh Mahal, the Hall of Mirrors, where the interplay between light and architecture will just take your breath away. Even a little bit of sunlight, and the intricate network of mirrors reflectively bring the whole hall to life!
Majestic Amber Fort
Perched proudly atop a hill situated roughly a half hour's drive away from the heart of Jaipur, Amber Fort is as magnificent as palace forts come. To reach the entrance to the fort, you can either walk up the winding pathway or do the more touristy thing and hitch an elephant ride!
This is Jaipur's primary tourist attraction, and that means the presence of way too many hawkers, peddlars and "historical guides". I've never been much for history, so I just shoved everyone off and made off on my own - idling along the beautiful courtyards and lawns, getting my fill of some magnificent views.
When you're up on one of the fort's high verandahs, peer down into the lake, and see Amber reflecting quietly in all its glory.
The Hawa Mahal
Now this is one beautiful structure! Hawa Mahal (or Palace of the Winds) was designed in such a manner, that all the maharaja's wives and courtesans could get a front-row view of the streets below, without being spotted in turn!
Architecturally, it's superb. There's nothing like this anywhere in the world. It's pretty in the morning, and even prettier at night - when the rousing markets in front of the Mahal swing into all their frenzied activity - making the Palace seem like its come to life. Enchanting :)
Street-sellers with their lanterns
Jaipur's streets are like a big Broadway theatre - of dreams, hopes, trinkets, clothes, and what have you. You're likely to come across some pretty amazing stuff in the millions of gullies and little side-roads that dot the city.
Just outside the front gate to the City Palace, I stumbled across these guys on the left - a troupe of about ten gypsy sellers, peddling their amazing-looking ornate oil lanterns.
Also, whatever else you do, don't forget to sample the road gourmet - samosas, wadas, peanuts - there's enough in here to keep a foodie from getting to the palaces and forts!
Up there, in the sky!
A beautiful, surreal spectacle awaits you on Jaipur's myriad streets. You're likely to see hundreds of colourful kites renting the sky, zig-zagging across the big blue canvas. Following the kite strings down to their owners, you'll see loads of excitable boys and girls on the rooftops of their houses, revelling in the freedom of their endless playground.
The scene is charming enough to begin with - old, rose pink, Islamic style houses with open rooftops and corridors. And then you've got these little devils enacting their own star wars episodes from street to street! Life's just one big adventure :)
Directions: Just get into the thick of the city, where all the markets are.
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