Category Archives: Forts and Palaces

Rajasthan tour operators are visiting Heritage Hotels to offer fresh royal tours in the state

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Shahpura Hotels

Rajasthan is globally acclaimed for its historical forts monuments and luxury palaces that narrate the fascinating story about its kings and kingdom. Most of the majestic fort and palaces have been converted into luxury heritage hotels and resorts.

These palace hotels offer to see and experience the grandeur of Rajasthan’s regalia to its visitors from different parts of the world. So as to promote the nuances and renovations in various heritage properties in the recent past, a group of 8 prominent tour operators of Rajasthan went on a FAM Tour to a large number of heritage properties in the State.

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It is expected that this will enable the tour operators to market these properties more effectively to the tourists and visitors, as informed by the Senior Vice President, Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators (RATO), Mohan Singh Mertiya.

The visit of the tour operators has been organized by RATO along with the Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA). The group will visit Shekhawati (Nawalgarh; Alsisar, Mandawa) Bikaner; Jodhpur, Rohet, Pokaran and then reach Jaisalmer on September02, 2017 for the IHHA Annual Convention. At the IHHA Convention the tour operators will have B2B meetings with heritage property owners.

Beginning their tour from Jaipur on August30, 2017, the tour operators have already visited the heritage properties of Pink City. On the way back they will also visit Khejarala; Nimaj and  Pushkar finally to return Jaipur.

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 The group of tour operators at Hotel Hari Mahal before their departure for FAM tour.

 

According to the IHHA officials, enough attention and time was not given by tour operators to heritage hotel owners at events like Great Indian Travel Bazaar and other such travel forums since they have to compete with larger hotels and prestigious chains. This visit will be entirely focused on the heritage hotels and has been organized for the first time.

The tour operators visiting the heritage properties are : Kuldeep Singh Chandela; Mohan Singh Mertiya;  Mahender Singh; Amit Bomb;  Sukhdev Singh; Inder Vijai Singh;  Nitin Mathur and Aditya Agrawal.

It is to be recalled that 6th Annual Convention of the Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA) will be inaugurated at Suryagarh in Jaisalmer on September02, 2017. The theme of the Convention this year will be ‘Harnessing Heritage to Tourism Advantage’.
Check: https://rajasthantourismbuzz.wordpress.com/2017/08/26/rajasthan-chief-minister-to-inaugurate-the-ihha-annual-convention-in-jaisalmer/

 

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A trip to the Palace in Clouds- Badal Mahal

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Already dreaming of a romantic, indulgent evening here?

Rajasthan is rich with marvelous palaces and forts that never leave to mesmerize its spectators. In the remotes of Shekhawati in Alsisar town is a beautiful palace called Alsisar Mahal! On the top most floor of Alsisar Mahal is this paradise of colors and visual treats for the connoisseurs of luxury and lifestyle – Badal Mahal aka “Palace in  the Clouds”

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The refurbished palace – Alsisar Mahal in Shekhawati is a popular destination after the three consecutive Magnetic Fields Festivals every Year since 2014!  The 17th century palace is an epitome of grandeur and rich heritage. Alsisar Mahal exudes regalia of Royal Rajasthani lifestyle from each corner, the most fascinating and breathtaking being Badal Mahal.

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The arresting Badal Mahal encloses magnificent halls with jack-arched alley and multi hued windows. The walls and domed ceiling of the palace are festooned with exquisite paintings. These paintings are beautifully blended with soft furnishing and vibrant lanterns; all inspired by the refreshing monsoon clouds.

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With the yellow, blue and golden depiction of monsoon clouds, the entire aura of Badal Mahal is beyond your imagination.

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The restaurant has beautiful lounge to have a drink or two followed by delightful seating for dining amid clouds, vibrant lighting and intriguing antiques.  The intricate designs, the colored glass work give a rainbow effect to the clouds. All this in total make Badal Mahal a one of a kind dining experience.

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The restaurant opens up to an open air rooftop which is open only for dinner.
Treat yourself or your loved ones with an exquisite experience of dining under clouds on the top most floor of Alsisar Mahal and enjoying the interior magnificence along with commanding view outside.

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For more information about Badal Mahal and Alsisar Mahal Shekhawati, visit http://alsisarmahal.com/

Amer Fort ranks 12th among Asia’s top landmarks by TripAdvisor

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We are proud to share that tourists’ favorite and Jaipurites’ pride – Amer Fort ranks 12th among Asia’s top landmarks in Traveller’s Choice Awards by the popular travel portal TripAdvisor:D  Also, on the India list, Amer makes it to the second spot after Taj Mahal 🙂
We’re Proud indeed!

It is undoubtedly the most beautiful fort and the pride of Jaipur!!  Amer Fort, also known as Amer  Palace boasts of an artistic grandeur and structural expertise. It is a reminiscent of the bravery and courage of the mighty Rajputs, who had played a remarkable role in the history of medieval India.

Amer Fort, Jaipur

Amer Fort, Jaipur

Crowning the crest of a hill, Amer Fort offers a panoramic view of Maota Lake and the historic old town at the base of the hill, which was the early seat of the Amer kings before they made the fort their capital.

This rambling Palace depicts the true lifestyle of the gutsy Rajputs who are better known for their radical, audacious, volatile and decadent behavior. One among the best hill top palaces, Amer  palace presents a curious blend of Muslim and Hindu architectural design. An aide memoir of the yester years, this palace is a redolent of creativeness of the artisans of ancient time.

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Light & Sound show at Amer Fort

 

In last couple of years, two major developments have taken place at Amer fort. A very old tunnel to connect Amer  Fort and adjoining Jaigarh Fort is now opened for public along with the electric cab facility for the tourists. Though, the magical epitome of grandeur Amer  Fort under the sun light during day is a mesmeric place for tourists in Jaipur, but now it also caters to the night tourists. The fort turns even more fascinating and enticing with the launch of night tourism. Besides, Elephant rides to fort, sound & light shows and cultural evenings have always been a favorite among the visitors.

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Certainly, Amer  Fort, is one of the few places in India where the entry fee is worth it with never ending, consisting of a maze of rooms, tiny and grand!!  Spectacularly set within surrounding rugged hills and dotted with majestic architecture, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Amer Fort is one of the best places to visit on your trip to Jaipur. Now TripAdvisor also agrees 😉

A voyage to discover the City Palace by night-Jaipur!

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To the eye, Jaipur offers a landscape of opulence that tells of a magnificent and bygone but always a well-built era. The capital city of Rajasthan is the most flamboyant and colorful city and the rulers always have that flair to preserve heritage of this world’s most fancied destination that opens its windows to many wonders. Of all the beautiful monuments of this city, there is one, which is a treasure trove of centuries old art and craft, a place that loves fêtes, refreshes the glorious past through a spectacle Sculpture Lumiére Show and where one can experience an unparalleled gateway to Rajasthan’s Royal hospitality under the magnificent dining arcades of Baradari restaurant- The City Palace, Jaipur.

So, let yourself loose on a voyage of discovering the City palace, at night. Located in the heart of the city in a rambling walled enclosure, the splendor of this Palace turns manifold when seen under the pristine night sky.

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The City Palace, Jaipur-History

The City Palace in Jaipur is spread out over a seven interconnected courtyards. Some courtyards are now public property. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II as part of his ambitious city project founded it in 1727, and his successors continued to ornament and add to the elegant buildings up until the 20th century. The palace has always been much more than the grand residence of a royal family. It was also, from the start, a centre of patronage of the arts and of learning, and with its many temples; it is also a place of ritual and worship. On important festival days such as Gangaur and Teej, the procession of the image of the Goddess through the streets unites the City Palace and the people of the city in shared celebrations. Today, the palace has thrown open its exclusive spaces to the public through the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust, welcoming domestic and international visitors from far and wide.

The Museum began during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II in 1952, when the Silehkhana and an Art Gallery were opened to the public. At that time, a turban or pagri was a part of the entrance requirement for male visitors, as wearing one was the contemporary etiquette of the Palace. In 1959, a Textile and Costume gallery was added (in the Mubarak Mahal), and the Museum was formally named the Maharaja of Jaipur Museum. In 1972, after the death of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II, his son and successor Brigadier Maharaja SawaiBhawani Singh reorganized the museum to expand the collections and buildings, and renamed both the Museum and its managing Trust in honour of his father.

Voyage at Night

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Based on our personal experience, we will take you to discover City Palace but remember, the City Palace is beautiful by day but simply stunning by night.

As Rajasthan Tourism Buzz was invited to take this royal tour, we moved inside from the ceremonial Tripolia Gate that takes us straight to Mubarak Mahal. Usually, only royal family uses this gate.

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Traditinal Welcome

Mubarak Mahal – As you enter from Tripolia gate, the first thing that your eyes meet is the striking Mubarak Mahal, which was commissioned by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II in the year 1900 for use as a guesthouse to receive foreign visitors. As it was situated in the outermost courtyard of the palace, it allowed him to be a gracious host while maintaining his, and his family’s privacy.

Now, this elaborately decorated building displays the museum’s textiles collection. This embraces all textiles bought for or collected and used by the men and women of the royal family, irrespective of where they were made. No doubt, City Palace has the largest group of historic royal textiles surviving in India today. These are usually part of the personal collection and being relatively fragile, do not last long.

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Opposite there is Painting and Photography Gallery, which is the latest edition in 2015. There is a broad selection of pictures from the Museum’s reserve collections that have been displayed for the first time. Many new and interesting stories about the paintings have emerged as a result. The exhibition begins in the era of the founder, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, in the 18th century and concludes after Indian independence in 1947, when ruler of the time, Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II, was no longer the sovereign ruler of Jaipur, but the democratically appointed symbolic head or Rajpramukh of the Indian state of Rajasthan.This room contains paintings bought for and commissioned by the founder and his sons.

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Sarvato Bhadra- 

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Image Courtesy-City Palace Official

The SarvatoBhadra (where the famous silver urns are displayed) is built on a plinth or platform, with marble pillars that hold up the roof. SarvatoBhadra means single-storeyed, square, open hall, with enclosed rooms at the four corners. The rest of this building and the courtyard around it is built with ordinary stone pieces, finished smoothly with plaster and then painted pink. One use of the SarvatoBhadra was as the Divan-e-Khas, or the Hall of Private Audience, which meant the ruler, could hold court with the officials and nobles of the kingdom in a more private, intimate space than the grand spaces of the SabhaNiwas which was open to more people. But it’s also one of the most important ritual buildings in the complex, and continues to be so today, representing ‘living heritage’. The SarvatoBhadra is at its glorious best when illuminated with lights at night.

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The gate on the western side of the Sarvato Bhadra courtyard is called Riddhi-Siddhi Pol. Unlike most of the other gates, which are only plastered and painted, this gate is decorated with beautifully carved marble, giving us a hint about its importance – it was used by the Maharajas to enter their private residence! It leads into the Pritam Niwas Chowk, with the 7-storey Chandra Mahal on the right.

The courtyard is rectangular and has the famous painted and carved gateways. All four arched and painted gateways carry pictures of dancing peacocks and blossoming lotus flowers. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, who lived about 200 years ago, built them. The courtyard was used for the Maharajas’ private gatherings and events, and the women could look down on them the same way they looked at functions in the Sabha Niwas.

Opulence – Museum at Night with Sculpture Lumiére Show

Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust has recently started a Sculpture Lumière Show, created by the world’s renowned light artist Patrick Rimoux, an introduction by the Shri Amitabh Bachchan and the State Anthem which has been revived by the Jaipur royal family and re-recorded by Rajasthan Roots inside the City Palace for visitors.

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The Museum at Night offers an élite experience of the City Palace. The buildings are specially lit and magically transformed, and selected galleries are open for viewing. The Sculpture Lumiére Show is an enlightening experience, basking in the glory of its past to today’s royal family it takes you on a enchanting journey covering the history of Jaipur and its rulers, through images from the Museum collection, video, and graphics, all projected onto the walls of the SarvatoBhadraChowk, and the Chandra Mahal. Guests can visit the illuminated palace buildings, courtyards and museum galleries before the Sculpture Lumiére Show.

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Chandra Mahal

Drenched in the spirit of pride, Chandra Mahal or the moon palace was the main residence of the Maharajas of Jaipur. It is seven storeys high, and was built in just seven years. The state flag of Jaipur, called the panchranga, or five-color flutters on the top. You may notice a smaller, quarter flag flying above it. That denotes that the Maharaja is in residence and is connected with the title ‘Sawai’ that is added to the names of the rulers of Jaipur. The founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Jai Singh the second, was honoured by the Emperor Aurangzeb with the title of ‘Sawai’ literally meaning ‘one and a quarter’.

IMG_8009-001.JPGThe seven storied building, Chandra Mahal is built with such proportion that one can hardly realize its grand scale without going around its various apartments. The walls of the verandah of Chandra Mahal on the first floor are covered with life size portraits of Jaipur rulers painted by German Artist A.H. Muller during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. The verandah faces Royal Jai Niwas gardens, GovindDevji temple and the scenic view of the tiger fort on the Aravali Mountains all in one line.

The second storey of Chandra Mahal is Sukh Niwas. The gilded room has walls decorated with gold work from over 200 years ago. The room is full of royal memorabilia, including the famous Lalique Peacock table, an incredible piece specially made for the Royal Family of Jaipur by the world renowned artist Marc Lalique.

Chandra Mahal’s third storey, called Rang Mandir is embellished with mirrors on the walls, pillars and ceilings.

The fourth storey is called Shobha Niwas. Created in 18th century, it is a room of mirrors embellished with decorations in colour and gold. This is the point that heralds all the royal ceremonies.

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The fifth storey is the Chhavi Niwas, which is painted with floral pattern in blue & white to depict the reflection of clouds in the sky.

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The Sixth storey of the palace is Sri Niwas, one of the finest examples of Mughal artwork decorated with mirror & gold during 18th century. The reflections of the intricate glass work in candlelight is a treat to the viewer’s eye.

The top of Chandra Mahal or seventh storey is known as Mukut Mandir. It is the crown of the royal Palace over which the flag of Jaipur flies relentlessly. One can have a panoramic view of the walled city of Jaipur from the Mukut Mandir. While standing on the terrace you will find that there is something that carries a whiff of magic about the most beautiful city of Jaipur from here.

Baradari Restaurant

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When grandeur of past magically blends with avant-garde settings, a gorgeous ambiance is conceived, which can be experienced at the restaurant, Baradari the latest in a series of initiatives by the Jaipur royal family for the visitors at City Palace. It wraps around the courtyard of what was once the historic service court of the City Palace. With cooling water cascades and an elegant bar that plays with the traditional form of baradari (a columned, open pavilion), it is the perfect place to conclude a visit to the Museum, or to host a meal. It serves sumptuous Indian and international cuisines in elegant surroundings and also runs a Snack Bar for the convenience of visitors who wishes to grab a meal on the go. Baradari has won the INSIDE Award for the Best Building in the Creative Re-use category.

So the next time you are planning a trip to Jaipur in Rajasthan,  soak in the character of beauty and royal grandeur at the City Palace during night!

Jaipur’s Rambagh Palace listed among the top 10 Heritage Hotels in the World

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Yet another feather has been  added in the cap of Rajasthan with Jaipur’s iconic hotel, ‘Taj Rambagh Palace’ being declared among the top 10 heritage hotel properties in the world. This ranking was declared on Wednesday this week by the prestigious travel publication of the United Kingdom, ‘Travel Weekly’. Among the rankings the Rambagh is placed at the 6th rank. It is the only heritage hotel in India to feature in the list.

The magazine quotes the renowned travel company, Cox & Kings which describes the 19th century Palace as one of the best selling hotels among higher-end clients. It goes on to say that originally a hunting lodge of the Maharaja of Jaipur, it was converted into a hotel in 1957.

The magazine further adds that “The Palace now houses 78 restored rooms and suites with elaborate décor filling the interiors, hand- carved marbles latticework, sandstone balustrades and ornate cenotaphs. Guests can explore the Mughal Gardens and dine in what was once the Palace Ballroom, complete with crystal chandeliers and 18th century French architecture… or try yoga, meditation and Indian treatments at the Spa, safe in the knowledge they’re staying somewhere that is, quite literally fit for a prince.”

The General Manager of the hotel, Mr. Manish Gupta said that the ranking has only reiterated their conviction of providing top class luxury and services. Delighting the customer has always been the forte at the Rambagh Palace managed by the Taj Group, he said.

It is to be recalled that the Rambagh Palace had also been declared as the best hotel in the world by Conde Nast Traveller Reader’s Awards in 2009.

Among the other top heritage hotels announced by the Travel Weekly are – Omni Shoreham Hotel (US), Treetops Lodge (Kenya), The Don CeSar (US), Hotel de Rome (Germany), Parador de Santiago de Compostela (Spain), Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (Canada), Raffles Hotel (Singapore), Inkaterra La Casona (Peru) and Intercontinental Marseille Hotel Dieu (France).

http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/articles/277137/10-of-the-best-heritage-hotels

Jaisalmer Fort in danger, may lose its UNESCO World Heritage Title

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It was yesterday when we were going gaga about the heritage grandeur and architectural beauty of Rajasthan and this news popped from Jaisalmer. The only living fort from 12th Century with a UNESCO World Heritage title is in the dilapidated state now. Jaisalmer Fort is losing its glory due to seepage of water tank and lack of maintenance.

 

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Rajasthan is one of the most attractive and architecturally rich destinations in the world. It has magnificent forts, monuments and sites that attract people from across the world. The problem is that not all the grand structures are in great shape. Sometimes it’s either due to the ignorance on government’s part or the visitors deface them.

Many tourists visit the cities like Jaisalmer, especially, for their legendary forts and palaces.   Around 3,000 inhabitants, who live inside 853 year old fort, fear that the seepage of sewerage water might turn out to be a disaster resulting in damage to lives and properties. The sewerage line which is affecting maximum houses in the fort due to which the walls of the fort are becoming hollow has become a worry for its residents. According to the residents within the walls of Jaisalmer Fort, they are facing the seepage problem since long time. New sewerage line was laid but water is still leaking. The fort is being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) but from last one month no work has been taken place.

Another fear for Jaisalmer Fort is to lose the UNESCO World Heritage Site title. After the collapse took place, International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) visited the site and sent their report to UNESCO.

A special committee of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) led by ASI superintendent P S Raman in his investigation has mentioned that wall collapsed due to weakening of structure due to seepage in the hill. Jaisalmer Fort may soon slip in the danger list and apprehensions are made that UNESCO might disown it. Shikha Jain, director, DRONAH and coordinator of ICOMOS India said, “After the wall collapse incident UNESCO is monitoring it closely. We have sent two reports and this world heritage site may soon slip into the danger list.”

Apart from that, it is also a bad news for tourists visiting Jaisalmer.  A tourist visited who visited the fort lately has mentioned, “The Fort is in very bad shape and the colour of the stone that should be ‘Golden’ has become dull.”

Today we want to remind everyone that our heritage needs to be protected. This is an important eye opener  towards maintaining the beauty of our state and keeping the spirit of Rajasthan alive forever. Archeological Department will be doing its worl, but let us all on our part be aware of the importance of our heritage and try not to harm these treasures by scribbling on their walls, spiting and littering.
“Our heritage is the most precious treasure, preserve it because we will not be able to create it again”

News Source Courtesy- http://www.deccanherald.com/content/606964/12th-century-jaisalmer-fort-might.html

Visit the 8 best heritage monuments and sites of Rajasthan on World Heritage Day

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World Heritage Day is celebrate across the globe on 18th April every year. It is not just a day to cherish the monuments from history, but to raise awareness about protecting our history and culture.  Rajasthan is globally popular for its rich heritage of architecture and culture. Having some of the best forts, palaces and monuments are till date maintained in really good conditions as they are very precious to the lives of Rajasthanis.

1) Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

Recognized as the World Heritage Site, this observatory fascinates the visitors with the collection of various  astronomical instruments which were used earlier to know the correct timings through the movement of celestial bodies.

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2) Chittorgarh Fort, Chittor

One of the largest forts of India, it is the true epitome of Rajputana pride and vigor. This massive fort though being attacked thrice by the enemies, couldn’t take over the powerful people of this place. The fort of Chittor is known for its own beauty and uniqueness.

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3) City Palace, Udaipur

The grandness of this palace can be seen now, as it took almost 400 years to construct this complex. The attractiveness of this palace is shown more effectively as it is surrounded by Lake Pichola. This magnificent palace stands as a fusion of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture.

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4) Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

One of the largest private residences of the world is the house of the erstwhile Jodhpur royal family. Not only being a private residence, it also provides the chance to experience the royal and luxurious life at the Taj Palace Hotel in Umaid Bhawan, Jodhpur.

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5) Hawa Mahal, Jaipur

Hawa Mahal, also known as the Palace Of Winds is situated in the capital city of the state of Rajasthan. Its walls of pink color give a hint of the Pink City – Jaipur. It was constructed especially for the royal women to be a part of the festivities, as they were secluded from the society by ‘parda’ system. Having its own history, today gives it a worldwide recognition.

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6) Chand Baori, Abhaneri

A 13 storey step well is one of the oldest and most attractive landmarks of Rajasthan. Constructed mainly to conserve water in the dry desert of Rajasthan is an architectural wonder in itself.

Chand Boari

7) Amer Fort

Amer or Amber Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is among the most visited places in Jaipur. The fort situated high on a hill overlooking the Maota Lake, is spread over a vast area with four levels. Every evening, the fort hosts a spellbinding Light and Sound Show. With a blend of folk music, the show brings to life the legends, history, traditions and cultures of the Rajputs and Jaipur City.

Amer Fort, Jaipur

8) City Palace Jaipur

Located in the heart of the old city of Jaipur, City Palace is where the Kachwaha Rajput clan ruled from. Built in the 18th Century, the Palace is a blend of Rajput, Mughal and European styles of architecture. Within the premises, one will find many gardens, ravishing courtyards and a Museum displaying many artefacts from the bygone era. Buildings like Mubarak Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Maharani Palace add to the allure of the Palace. Their richly crafted walls and ceiling, marble flooring and the mirror work are just an addition to the beauty of the palace. Govind Dev Ji temple, which is in the palace premises, is also a major tourist attraction and sees a heavy footfall daily.

City Palace Jaipur