Thursday, 21 April 2011

Day 236-City Palace of Jaipur

On Day 236, we toured the City Palace of Jaipur and started off with

Palace of The Winds

Picture  taken on the road  opposite Palace of The Winds aka Hawa Mahal 

This structure is not really a palace but a facade much like a gate into the City Palace. It forms part of the City Palace, and extends to the Zenana, (remember this word?  It  refers to the chambers of the harem).  This unique five-storey exterior has been likened to a honeycomb with its 953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate lattice work.

Side of palace where shops operate

Built in 1799 of red and pink sandstone, this palace is situated on the main thoroughfare in the heart of Jaipur’s business centre. The Palace of the Winds  got its name because the niches were constructed in such a way that even in the hottest of months, cool breezes could circulate keeping the royal ladies comfortable. 

Back of Hawa Mahal showing niches

As you may have already guessed from the lattice, the original intention for this building was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen. 953 niches were built behind where each queen and concubine could occupy to also welcome their Maharajah home when he returned to the City Palace on his elephant with his entourage.

Hawa Mahal- One of my must-see when I was in Jaipur

I fell in love with this palace the moment I read about it in a book 2 years back and since then I have been thinking of ways and means to replicate this (not an exact one but a symbolic one , whatever that means) in miniature.  I think one of my havelis will have this spectacular facade but maybe done in a crazier more haphazard manner, like a castle in a fairy tale. Apparently, this palace is particularly striking when viewed early in the morning, lit with the golden light of sunrise.

J A N T A R   M A N T A R

Jantar Mantar Jaipur- the biggest and best preserved, now a world heritage site

Standing right at the entrance to the palace in the old city of Jaipur is the open-air observatory, Jantar Mantar (instruments and formulae). This 5 acre park that looks like something out of a science fiction novel is built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, India’s last great classical astronomer. The Jantar Mantar (meant to read as Yantar Mantar but mispronounced over the years) in Jaipur has taken 8 years (1727-1734) to complete. It now holds 15 instruments, some of which conceived by the Maharaja himself.   

Observation deck of the "samat yantra" or "giant sundial"

This is the Samrat Yantra, also the largest sundial in the world. It is definitely the biggest clock I have ever seen.  At 90 feet high, its shadow moves visibly at 1 mm per second and is supposed to tell the time to an accuracy of about two seconds in Jaipur local time. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.

Jai Prakash Yantra, the instrument invented by the Maharaja himself 

My photo shows the inside of one of 2 bowls forming the Jai Prakash (light of Jai) Yantra. The bowls are a reflection of the sky in that every point in the sky is reflected on to a point on the bowl through the centre of a cross wire stretched on the surface of the bowl. The instrument to measure the accuracy of all the other instruments, this yantra co-ordinates the azimuth and altitude of a celestial object, tells local time and also makes other zodiac observations.

Kranti Writta Yantra is used to find the destination and measure the distance between the stars and the sun

All  fifteen astronomical instruments were made with local stone and marble. Six had solar measurement functions, eleven were for observing the night sky, and one was unfinished and I understood none of them. According to a report, these large, architecturally refined devices, capable of achieving much greater accuracy than small brass instruments, were based on Islamic astronomical theories. Most were derived from those commissioned by the fifteenth-century Byzantine ruler Ulugh Begh for the well-equipped observatory built in Samarkand in 1428.

City Palace

Joyce's wonderful photo of the brass door to the City Palace

Finally, we are here, at the astoundingly beautiful home of  Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II,  also the brainchild behind this amazing palace complex. 

 Doorway to quarters outside the palace -possibly a servant's quarters?

I am convinced (because I have seen pictures of the rooms in books and  the film "The Fall") that the best parts of this complex are the furnished rooms  which command a separate  entrance fee of US$50.00 per person. 

Virendra Pol, one of 3 gateway into the palace. Tripoli Pol is reserved strictly for the descendants of the ruling family who still live in the Chandra Mahal, or Moon Palace.

We were also told by our guide that many parts of the main palace, Chandra Mahal or the Moon Palace were closed as these were the lodgings of the descendants of the ruling family. Yes, they still live there to this day.

One of the four seasons gates in the palace courtyard. This one is the Lotus Gate symbolising summer.

Perhaps when I next visit Jaipur, I will  see more of these spectacular rooms.  In the meantime, I stand just as enthralled  in front of the various gates and doorways of the City Palace.

Details of the Peacock Gate representing winter 

Speechless and humbled, overwhelmed with awe. There is no question that these entrances and exits are works of wonder themselves. Every single carving, each piece of tile , a feast for the eye, holding promises of more wonders to come. 

Scene from The Fall of The Green Gate, representing Autumn

 My own The Fall moment after some heavy editing to black out unsightly bulges. Notice I even gave myself more hair?

I really did not want to post this picture but it was the only one of this iconic Green Gate that my camera took.  Just to be able to say-I was here-threw all my caution to the winds. So after a little Hollywood touch up,  here it is for me to announce to the world 

There sat Sans!
I was here.


Dark Squirrel Victoria said...

Amazing pictures. I love the peacock gate :)


rosanna said...

WOW, great pics of a fabulous voyage! Matteo will love the ones of the observatory, he is much taken up by astronomy.
I saw the interiors and private rooms of the Chandra Mahal in the same documentary I told you about on Italian tv. You might try and look for : Ulisse, il piacere della scoperta by Alberto Angela and look for Jaipur and Moon Palace. May be you can find it on Youtube.Have fun, Rosanna

The Old Maid said...

Glad you posted Your photo with the Green Gate because it is the best of all, Sans!:D
Another great trip :) Thank you so much for that Sans!I love the doors so I am so happy to see a few fab Indian ones. The Palace of the Winds is my favourite as I love when there is a bit of wind around;D

Eva said...

First while I was reading tour post, I was thinking that the Palace of the winds is an amazing building. I can not imagine how men can build a building so beautiful and different.
Then I have seen the Samrat Yantra...and my mouth is still open, really!! Always when I read about ancient cultures that can measure how stars move, eclipses...and so on, then I feel small because now with all our technology sometimes we can not still predict a lot of things...
And finally all these carved doors...I would like to learn how to carve :)
Wonderful pictures and a delightful reading.
Un beso


bastrota said...

I can only say:

beautiful Sans and beautiful palaces!

Hugs and greetings

Kikka said...

So Beautiful , beautiful!
The Palace of The Winds is wonderful!
That Open-air observatory amazing! They say that those Measuring devices are accurate in seconds, and you can use them today also! ?
All the photos are so gorgeous, the Green Gate with You in it is Perfect!

WeeLittleWest / Kathy Olaf-Obrenski said...

You pictures are fabulous!!

Ana Anselmo said...

oh! this is so beautiful!!!! I fall in love by the "astronomic garden" with that fabulous instruments!!!

Alienora said...


contar said...

tiene suerte de poder admirar una ciudad tan bella, sus fotos nos transportan a un lugar de ensueño.
un abrazo

is lucky to be able to admire a city so beautiful, your pictures take us to a dream.
a hug

Drora's minimundo said...

My husband and I too have been there, but let me tell you, you are better than our guide. Beautiful photos! and I thing you too are beautiful.

BiWuBär said...

Thank you for taking me in some way with you on this wonderful journey - I could stand forever and look at all those miracles, especially the doors... I often wonder how they built these things, how many talented artists were needed... This pic of you is a great way to say "Sans was here"... ;O)


Daydreamer said...

Dear Sans! Beautiful! So Beautiful! If I try VERY hard, I can almost imagine myself sitting in one of those latticed windows enjoying the Soft WARM breeze! The Palace of the Winds sounds so Delightful.... as I write this the North WIND is Howling and rattling my windows and the temperature is about 37 degrees farenheit outside .... we are having a cold spring! The very IDEA of warm breezes just sounds so EXOTIC to me! That is what fascinates me most about India.... Everything is SO EXOTIC! And your pictures bring me a glimpse of this distant world.... I am enjoying them... every one! I had no idea about the Palace of Instruments! That Sundial is AWESOME! I LOVE to watch shadows move across the floor, or the stars pass between the branches of a tree... Seeing the passing of Time is just Magical!
And as for your GATES! Even if you never see behind them they are Gorgeous and Evocative! My Favorite is the Peacock Gate... :) But I will LOVE seeing as many pictures of Gates as you have taken! There is something about Doorways that fascinates me..... Please do NOT stop indulging your avid followers! I LOVE this Post.... And if I were you I would have taken a "Sans was here" picture too! It is wonderful to see you in a place that has spoken to your heart! Just BEAUTIFUL!

Sans! said...

Thank you Victoria :). I love that peacock gate too. I can't decide which one is my favourite, the Green Gate or this peacock gate, probably the peacock one. The sun was not in my favour so I could not take a good frontal picture of the gates . Had to crop mine and just highlight the elements. There are some fine specimens in the web though :).

Sans! said...

Thank you Rosanna!! Just what I need . I am going to you-tube right now to check it out :)

You will have to let Matteo know about these 14 instruments. Maybe he can explain to me what they are for :)!

Norma Soulet (AZArtist) said...

Hi Sans,
Wow that city is unbelievable! The Palace is beautiful and those gates are gorgeous! Thanks for the lovely tour. :)
You are so pretty don't know why you had to edit your photo.
Naughty girl! :)

Susanne said...

Beautiful pictures, Sans, and very inspiring, thanks for showing us!
Love, Susanne

Patty said...

Sans, The Palace of the Winds is just amazing! I love all of your pictures and the wonderful history lessons that you give us! Your music choices are perfect too. Makes me want to stay here for hours!!

I love your rusty bucket that you made in a previous post! The smaller one with the cucumber is wonderful too. You are so talented!!

TreeFeathers said...

Great photos, Sans! That palace and the observatory are amazing. Nice to see a photo of you, too! :)

- Grace

GB said...

Grand! is the word that came to mind....what lovely pictures, Sans!

What bulges? You look adorable!

Jollie said...

Again such a beautiful photos, our world is sooo pretty it has so many gorgeous places... :)

Hugs Jollie

Janice said...

Oh my gosh, simply amazing photographs, I can't even imagine how it felt to actually be there!

Snowfern said...

it's great to be able to read your travelogues early in the morning, sets the mood for the rest of my day :)


Sans! said...

Rosanna, thank you thank you thank you! :):)

Last night, I told you I would go straight to youtube to look for the documentary you mentioned. I didn't find it or rather, not the episode on Jaipur but I did find something even more precious. I found a series of short documentaries (15 minutes) done by a production company called Fitzpatrick Pictures in the 30s on India! :) One of them is called Colourful Jaipur (in black and white of course :) ) and there's another one called Gateway to India, Bombay 1932 where there was a footage of a trained little birdie stringing beads!!!! They showed a fishing village with houses like Ro's :). I had a great time watching these videos.

So thank you again!

Sans! said...

Teehee Gagan, no bulges = paint magic :). Have no photoshop program on this laptop or I may even make myself look like Aishwarya Rai :)

By the way, G, you may be interested in these documentaries I mentioned in the previous reply . Links on my left bar under Old India. I kept thinking about what you said when I was watching Colourful Jaipur. Remember you mentioned those good old days when life was simpler but better in India back then? I think the documentary has proven your case. Don't mind the commentary which can get a little trying after a while :) (some people find it a little offensive). Just watch the footages, they are priceless.

Kikka said...

Happy Easter to You Dear Sans!

Sans! said...

Thank you Kikka :):). I just spent Good Friday with my sister and her friends talking politics :). Election day is May 7 in Singapore. :):)

Sans! said...

You are the biggest sweetheart, Ewa :):) and the things you say just to make me smile ! :)

I love winds too. And rain . But only in tropical countries. When it is winter , snowing and windy while I am out there with the elements, I feel like I will just freeze and turn into stone and my ears and nose , fingers and toes will fall off. ;)

Sans! said...

Eva, if anyone can carve, surely it will be you. I bet (and will put money down too) that you will turn out to be quite a carver with enough practice. I have already seen your birds and you are magnificent!

I think you were spot on when you said that some of these instruments were used to predict events. Our guide in fact told us that astronomy was followed in ancient India by some of these Maharajas specifically so that they can determine the horoscopes of their princes and to pinpoint auspicious days. In the 1st picture, you can see a cluster of structures that look like little staircases, they are actually the constellations for the stars in the horoscope. The stars are just like the ones in the zodiac we know. I was quite surprised when I could find my star sign (Leo) amongst the "constellations". :)

Sans! said...

Marion,from one "beauty" to another:

"I spent hours in front of a mirror admiring my beauty. Do you think that's vanity?" ask Beauty No.1

"No, my dear, of course not" answered Beauty No. 2 "That's just your imagination!"


Happy Easter Marion :) and thank you :)

Sans! said...

Kikka, the peacock picture is for you :). You wanted details?

Yes, they can still use the instruments today. If you look at my picture of the Samrat Yantra (great sundial), you can see its shadow on the curved stone. On it are markings so that you can tell the time. Its Jaipur local time though :).

I have one more post with details on tile paintings. Now that post is really for you and Betsy and all lovers of Indian miniature paintings :) or art in general.

Ascension said...

Sans me encanta el Palacio de los vientos y ese color rojizo tan especial.
953 habitaciones son muchas habitaciones y muchas concubinas no?, ya tendria el Maharaja tiempo para todas jejeje
Es verdad que parece un panal de abeja, es absolutamente precioso.
El reloj es una verdadera maravilla, me ha encantado todo el reportaje que has hecho.
Como siempre me has transportado a un lugar de ensueño.
Me encantaria que te atrevieses ha hacer algo similar a ese Palacio, seguro que seria fantastico.
Una buena eleccion de la musica para este post.
Un placer.
besitos ascension

Liberty Biberty said...

Wow! Those windows!! Awesome! How lucky you are to have been there!

Katie said...

Sans! You pictures are incredible! I can only imagine seeing it in person....

Cute hair extensions!! Lol...

Norma said...

Incredibly beautiful colours and textures.

Piikko said...

Oh Sans, I wish I was there too!
Happy Easter!
Hugs, piikko

Sans! said...

Kathy, thank you :):).

Sans! said...

Ana, why am I not surprised that you love the Jantar Mantar :). Definitely the scientist in you :). Maharajah Jai Singh built 5 of these observatories but I think only 2 of them survive. This one in Jaipur (biggest and best preserved) and another in Delhi. Apparently the one in Delhi is now a popular site for holding protests over all kinds of issues :). "Come to Jantar Mantar" may have a different meaning for the locals :).

Sans! said...

Thank you Alienora :)

Sans! said...

Contar, the dream can be yours :). India is fairly affordable if you don't live in palaces :):).

Sans! said...

Drora :):), you are a SWEETIE :):). The information is largely from Guide Google :). Of course, there are some juicy snippets from my own guide as well :). We had a fairly good one in Jaipur. He's been working as a guide for a long time although he told us he's also into real estate. Being a guide is his hobby :).

My best friend's dream job after retirement is also to be a tour guide. I think I will fall asleep listening to myself say the same things everyday ..hahaha!

dale's dreams said...

I love the Palace of the Winds! So many details! That would be very difficult to come up with in miniature, but, I am sure you will replicate it in a way that pays homage to the site. :)

Love all the doors! and how cute is that for you to recreate that last photo. You look Hollywood glam. :)

Slum Dog Millionaire was just on the tv the other day, but, I missed it. :(

Hugs, dear! :)

Pubdoll said...

Reading about your trip and seeing all these photos is both interesting and a treat for the eyes! Love the peacock gate and the palace of the winds. So nice that they took so much effort in giving the harem girls the chance to look out without being seen.
And so great to have that The Fall moment! And I love your Hollywood makeover, especially giving yourself more hair! :-) Can you come and remove my bulges too?

cockerina said...

thank you very much, Sans, for sharing these wonderful images!
your trip, also enrich me with wonder and amazement, before such beauty.
nowadays, we must thank for the development of progress, but we especially thank our ancestors for their great culture and great ideas of genius, who still resist time ...
Sunday is already over here, but tomorrow we celebrate yet, so Happy Easter to you too!

Margriet said...

Wonderful photo's Sans...the palace of the winds is overwhelming and beautiful!
Love the photo of you at the green you know I bought the movie "the Fall" because of your post about it ;-)
Loved the's magical!!!
Thank you for taking us on this wonderful journey with you!!!

Maria Blanca"AyamontinoMaria" said...

Hi Sans! ..Really are a beautiful photos!! Thank you for showing them to us...Hugs. Maria

Sans! said...


You know I always save your comment for when I need a boost and tonight is it. It has been such a hectic day for me, my friend :). 12.30am and I am finally feeling a little wind down and relax :). Having slept only 3 hours (thanks to my last post) I have just come home at 11pm.

It's election time in Singapore and election time for me is like the World Cup for the men in my life. I am glued to the screen devouring any news I can on my right to vote :). I will know tomorrow as it is nomination day on whether I get to vote this year. Since about 20+ years ago, my constituency has not been contested !! I will have to wake up at 6.30am tomorrow morning so that I can be at a nomination centre to support my friends who are running in this election. Will be a long, tiring but hopefully exhilarating day :).

That's why it is so good to read your wonderful comments, Bets. The air is still tonight but I am listening to Radiohead's House of Cards on my blog radio. This song always makes me want to close my eyes and pretend the wind is blowing in my hair :). So yes, I can imagine gentle breezes like you across the world.

I am thrilled that you like posts like this. I have one last one for you and I think that one will be of particular interest to you :).

Sans! said...

Norma Soulet, maybe you thought I was pretty because of my editing? If only I can master photoshop like my sister, I will be drop dead gorgeous! hehehe :):)

Thank you sweet friend. If you guys were here, I would treat you to a nice Indian dinner !

Sans! said...

Susanne, thank you for visiting :)

Sans! said...

Patty , thank you for the compliments on my pails!!! :) But if you read my next posts and see my earlier attempts, you will know that talent does not figure much with me :):). I am not a natural like you guys!

Sans! said...

Grace, thank you :). I love your latest creations - the house of cards. I hope you like Radiohead's House of Cards. The song's for you, my friend :)

Sans! said...

Bulges , Gagan, have been "mini"-mised. I am getting good at mini-mising, in more ways than 1 ..tee hee!

Sans! said...

Can't agree with you more, Jollie. Beauty is everywhere if we want to see it!

Sans! said...

It was a damn good feeling, Janice! It is so good to be able to love a place. :)

Sans! said...

Cindy, which constituency are you in? VOTE WISELY!!! :):):)

Sans! said...

Jajajaja, Ascensión, el maharajá realmente había más de 900 reinas y concubinas. Creo que podría haber sufrido de una hernia de demasiadas mujeres! Teehee:) Pero siempre se enorgullecen de su capacidad sexual!

Voy a aceptar el desafío de hacer mi propio palacio de los vientos, pero no 953 ventanas. tal vez sólo 10 :):). Estoy seguro que usted puede hacer 953 aunque :):). Usted es tan bueno con el barro!


Sans! said...

It was like a dream come true, Mercedes, being there in Rajasthan :)

Sans! said...

Kathy, a huggggggggggge kiss for you :). You are the only one who liked my hair extensions !! hehe! I can give you my hairdresser's number ...LOL

Sans! said...

Thank you Norma :) Good to see you here!

Sans! said...

You can Piiko, you can. Anytime you need company for India, dial S-A-N-S-! :):)

Sans! said...

Dale!!!!!!!!!!! I am glad I catch you here! Sorry dearie, I haven't been able to read your email at all! It's on the other computer ! I have been running around, "going bananas" :):). I want to be able to sit down with my cuppa and read and then reply to you :). Please bear with me !

Dearie, soon, we will be celebrating the 1st anniversary since your last visit :).

Sans! said...

Hehe, Helene, you are the Photoshop 2nd Queen (after my sister who's really the undisputed queen ) :). You not only don't need me to remove anything, maybe you can help me ? :)

You must be laughing your head off at my amateurish effort :)

Sans! said...

Wow, Sunday was 3 days ago! Caterina, I have taken too long! :):)

You are so right about culture . What are we without our culture?

But Mahatma Ghandi has this to say:

“I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”

I wonder what he would say if I tell him I am blown away by his. :)

Sans! said...

Wow, Margriet, did you really? I too got to know about "The Fall" from another blogger :):).

I am glad you love it as much as I do. I had many "The Fall" and "Jodha Akbar" moments in Rajasthan :)

Sans! said...

Thank you so much , Maria Blanca :) for being here ! This is your 1st time ? :):)

I visit your blog all the time! I think your work is mind blowing! Am I gushing too much? But you are that good! :):):)

dale's dreams said...

Oh! We should celebrate with a phone call! :)

Kim said...

Sans- I have saved your posts again for when I could snatch time to appreciate them. What gorgeous photos!!! The very first of Palace of The Winds is my favorite! I can almost imagine sitting in one of the jharokhas waiting for the Maharajah to return. In reality of course I would probably be toiling in the kitchens- but since I am imagining I shall be one of the royal ladies! Then....all the doors- amazing! I think I would like to print out each and every one of these pictures and glue them into my journal for inspiration when I am not feeling creative. Just incredible ♥

Daydreamer said...

Dear Sans! I am Happy that my words bring you Happiness! And I hope your Election goes well! It is exciting to feel a sense of meaningful participation in the worlds affairs.... even if just locally! As I am reading your message my Window is WIDE OPEN and a soft breeze of 73 degrees farenheit is wafting in, bringing the bird-songs and smell of warm pavement with it! We have a Spring afternoon AT LAST! Such is the fickle nature of weather here that it will be cool again tomorrow... But I like to think your Palace of the Winds Soft Breezes finally reached me here in the North! :)
Sweet Dreams.... and Good luck with the Voting!

Snowfern said...

ahhh i donno i'm waiting for my notification card!!! first time i'll be eligible to vote i think! vote vote vote!

Sans! said...

Cindy :), we must meet soon and exchange notes on how you feel about the election. Bring Luds :).

Sans! said...

Betsy, hot summer May is here in Singapore . Usually the hottest month here, I am not a May fan :). Freckles and sun burnt nose :), who needs them? I am yearning for a beach holiday :). Maybe I'll go walk around my "lotus pond" and cool off in never never land :).

Ahhhhh...House of Cards (again! Must be you :) ) :):)...maybe I will just play this song for every single post :). *close eyes again and imagine breeze in hair :)

Sans! said...

Kim, you are such an angel :). It's nice to read your comments tonight even though you are on blog break :)

I am feeling less than inspired myself but I am going to try and create nonetheless :). That journal of yours is a treasure :). You must store them in a time capsule so they will last for generations to come :).

Sans! said...

Dale, we can chat on FB too :) . I will find you :)

property dealer in gurgaon said...

Great advice. I generally ignore anyone that does not use their name, they rarely have anything interesting to say for themselves!
it is a great blog for city place in jaipur. i want go to jaipur and go city place. i am also like it.

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