Category Archives: Forts and Palaces

Tourists denied free entry to Chitrashala: Bundi’s spellbinding miniature paintings

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Tourists denied free entry to Chitrashala: Bundi’s spellbinding miniature paintings

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The eighteenth-century Chitashala of Bundi is nothing lesser than a mesmerizing result of art and creative imagination at one place all together. Numerous tourists from across the world come to come to Bundi to see the miniature paintings of the world-famous school of Bundi paintings.

The mesmerizing miniature paintings of Chitrashala are the most striking reminiscent of the rare art. The walls, ceiling of Chitrashala are completely covered with paintings of the Bundi school which are still in very good condition. These splendid paintings in the Chitrashala are par excellence and can be compared with probably the best anywhere in the world.

Chitrashala is situated within Taragarh Palace, for which the management of the palace is charging an entry fee of Rs. 500/- Chitrashala, however, falls in the list of monuments protected by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and as per the norms, visiting such monuments cannot be charged or restricted between sunrise and sunset.

On our tour of Rajasthan, when we were traveling different places and exploring hidden gems of Rajasthan for the second edition of our coffee table book, Soul of Rajasthan, it was the paintings of Chitrashala that caught our fancy the most. Awestruck by its intricacy we decided to make Chitrashala’s photograph as Soul of Rajasthan’s cover picture.

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Depriving the tourists of cherishing these beautiful miniature paintings by charging a fee would not justify the purpose of opening the art palace and injustice towards the connoisseurs of the rare art.

Here’s a glimpse of Chitrashala from the time when we visited Bundi.

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Udaipur:  Among the Top 15 Cities of World

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Venice of the East and the City of Lakes- Udaipur is a lakeside paradise of shimmering marbles and oozing romance. A peaceful city on the banks of Lake Pichola wins hearts of millions. Udaipur is said to be one of the best cities in India. Well, turns out that it is not just best of India, but stands among the best cities around the world. It has been ranked third best out of the listed 15 best cities of the world by Travel + Leisure magazine based on sights and landmarks, culture, cuisine, friendliness, shopping, and overall value. Udaipur excelled leaving behind Mumbai and Delhi and is the only Indian city in the list.

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Image via Google

Known for its breathtaking scenery, class apart museums and luxurious hotels, Udaipur holds pride in its history. With the explosions of colors in the markets, Udaipur is a city full of cultural and traditional marvels. With its numerous lakes and unusually calm and peaceful aura in India, Udaipur has become World’s Third Best City making India proud.

Amer Fort ranks 9th in Asia’s top landmarks 2018 by TripAdvisor

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We are proud to share that tourists’ favourite and Rajasthan’s’ pride – Amer Fort ranks 9th among Asia’s top landmarks in Traveller’s Choice Awards 2018 by the popular travel portal TripAdvisor 😀

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 reminiscent of the bravery and courage of the mighty Rajputs, who had played a remarkable role in the history of medieval India.

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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 behaviour. One among the best hilltop palaces, Amer Palace presents a curious blend of Mughal and Rajput 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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Though the magical epitome of grandeur Amer Fort under the sunlight of the 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 favourite 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 Trip To The Museums Of Rajasthan On International Museum Day

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A Trip To The Museums Of Rajasthan On International Museum Day

For a state that is rich in its culture, traditions, history and heritage, museums have been the only source to safeguard and preserve the artefacts of the bygone era and further, thus leading to become an important part of our society.

International Museum Day which is celebrated every year on May 18 is the occasion to raise awareness on how important museums are in the development of society. Keeping in mind how these museums have been an important part of cultural exchange, cooperations and mutual understanding among people and the countries for a positive development, the theme of International Museum Day this year is “Hyperconnected museums: New approaches, new publics”.

On International Museum Day let’s take a trip to the famous museums of Rajasthan that form an intrinsic part of the tourist attractions.

  1. Albert Hall Museum, Jaipur

Established in the year 1876 to welcome Prince of Wales, this is the oldest museum in the state of Rajasthan. It is full of rare and tastefully decorated collection of various displayed objects, arms and carpets. The main attractions include the Persian carpets, coins, jewellery and costumes from different period of history and an Egyptian mummy.

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  1. City Palace Museum, Jaipur

Also known as Sawai Man Singh Museum, it houses the largest and finest collection of arms in India. The sword of Maharaja Man Singh which weighs about 5 kgs is one of the attractive exhibits.

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  1. City Palace Museum, Udaipur

The main part of the City Palace complex is open to the tourists as the City Palace Museum. It rooms historical paintings of which several are of the battle of Haldighati. Except this, the museum also rooms a remarkable collection of miniatures. It has a unique depiction of the architectural and artistic evolution of Mewar through centuries.

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Image via Google

  1. Mehrangarh Museum Trust

The Mehrangarh Museum showcases the heritage of the Marwar. The museum houses an exquisite collection of palanquins, howdahs, royal cradles, armaments and costumes.

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  1. Chitrashala, Bundi

Bundi is famous for its wall paintings and tourists from all around the world visit to see this intricate piece of art. The Garh Palace is host to ‘Chitrashala’ where the walls and ceilings are embellished with miniature paintings and are still in its original form.

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These are some of the main museums which caught our attention. Though every city in the royal state of Rajasthan has its own addition to history, culture and tradition and has preserved it in their respective cities.

 

Let’s Celebrate the Heritage of Rajasthan On World Heritage Day

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World Heritage Day is not just a day to cherish the beautiful monuments around us. The day which is celebrated every year on April 18 is meant to raise awareness to protect our history and culture. International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is the one behind the idea of celebrating a day called International Day for Monuments and Sites. The day came to be known as World Heritage Day and is celebrated by countries that are members of UNESCO.

The theme for World Heritage Day 2018 is ‘Heritage for Generations’. It has been decided keeping in mind the fact that communication across the generations of heritage practitioners generates enriching exchanges by combining the knowledge with the energy and dynamism thus bringing a more holistic approach. Rajasthan is globally popular for its rich heritage of architecture and culture. Having some of the best forts, palaces and monuments in cities like Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur and Udaipur which are till date maintained in really good conditions are very precious to the lives of Rajasthani’s.

Today we want to remind everyone that our heritage needs to be protected. This is an important step towards maintaining the beauty of our state and keeping the spirit of Rajasthan alive forever.

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 vigour. This massive fort though being attacked thrice by the enemies, couldn’t take over the powerful people of this place. The fort of Chittorgarh is known for its own beauty and uniqueness.

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3) City Palace, Udaipur

The grandness of this palace can be seen, 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.

City-Palace-Udaipur-Picture courtesy: myudaipurcity.com

4) Umaid Bhawan Palace, Jodhpur

One of the largest private residences in the world, it 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 colour 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 it gets 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 arid desert of Rajasthan is an architectural wonder in itself.

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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 as a part to boost night tourism. With a blend of folk music, the show brings to life the legends, history, traditions and cultures of the Rajputs.

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8) City Palace Jaipur

Located in the heart of the old city of Jaipur, City Palace was 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.

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These are only a few to mention, but when you come to the land of royals, there will be many to add on to the list.

Holika Dahan at the City Palace Jaipur

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Jaipur witnessed a royal ceremony of Holika Dahan at the City Palace Jaipur with HH Sawai Padmanabh Singh and Rajmata Padmini Devi.

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The evening of March 01, 2018 also hosted the launch of the album return to Rajasthan by the ‘House of The Gypsies’ presented by PDKF (Princess Diya Kumari Foundation)

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The City Palace in Jaipur is one of the best privately conserved palace complexes in India. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh and his dynasty between 1729 and 1732 A.D. Since Independence, it has been the residence of Jaipur royal family and a large part of the complex is open for visitors.

 

Chittorgarh Fort, the Witness to the Valor of Rajput Queen Padmavati

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Chittorgarh Fort, the Witness to the Valor of Rajput Queen Padmavati

Chittor established in 728 AD by Bappa Rawal is one of the oldest cities of Rajasthan. The imposing Chittorgarh Fort here among the oldest in the state is not only grand to look at but also has equally grand stories attached to it. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Chittorgarh fort might be in ruins now but that doesn’t diminish its importance.

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The fort has total seven gates or Pol-  Padan Pol, Bhairon Pol, Hanuman Pol, Ganesh Pol, Jodla Pol, Laxman Pol and Ram Pol which is the main gate. A circular road in the fort links all the gates.

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Vijay Stambh is called the symbol of Chittor and was built by Rana Kumbha to celebrate his victory over Mahmud Shah I Khilji. The 72 feet high Kirti Stambh built by a businessman, Jijaji Rathore is dedicated to the first Jain tirthankar Adinath.

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There are 130 temples in the fort premises. The most popular ones are- Meerabai Temple, Kumbha Shyam Temple (Varaha Temple), Kalika Mata temple and Tulja Bhawani temple.

 

The three-storied Rani Padmini’s palace is surrounded by a water-body. Legend has it that Sultan of Delhi Alauddin Khilji saw the Padmavati’s image in the same water-body and got attracted to her.

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The fort has another impressive palace known as Rana Kumbha Palace. This is the place where Rani Padmini, Rani Nagmati and other women of the fort did Jauhar. Jauhar was a Rajput tradition where women immolated themselves on burning fire when the defeat in a war was certain. It was done to not get caught by vicious attackers. The brave Rajput warriors fought to death but never surrendered. This reflects the courage and pride of Rajput clan.

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Chittorgarh Fort was attacked thrice, once each by Alauddin Khilji, Bahadur Shah and Akbar. The story of the attack by, Alauddin Khilji is the most well-known. Poet Malik Mohammad Jayasi wrote a poem known as Padmavat which mentions the legend. According to the poem- Rani Padmini or Padmavati was the wife of Rawal Ratan Sen the ruler of Chittor. Padmavati was exceptionally beautiful and hearing about her beauty, Alauddin Khilji attacked Chittorgarh to get the queen. A battle ensued where Ratan Sen was killed and Rani Padmavati along with Rani Nagmati and other women committed Jauhar.

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The authenticity of this story has not been established but that hasn’t made it any less popular. Jauhar was anyway a tradition. It shows that Rajput women were symbols of gallantry, honor and culture. The upcoming Hindi movie ‘Padmavati’ has got mired in controversies over various events depicted in it. The idea of taking creative liberties might not have gone down well with some people but the fact remains that a movie cannot lessen a fearless woman. Whatever is shown in a movie can’t take away from history and what Rajput women stand for.

If you are also enamored by the legends and want to witness the place where it all happened, head to Chittorgarh Fort.