After exploring The City Palace of Udaipur, we explored the bustling local produce market of Udaipur. We found the locals to be quite shy as they went about their business, but soon we had made a few friends who happily showed us around the market.
City Palace, Udaipur, is a palace complex in Udaipur, in the Indian state Rajasthan, built over a period of nearly 400 years by several kings of the dynasty. It is located on the east bank of the Lake Pichola and has several palaces built within its complex. Udaipur was the historic capital of the former kingdom of Mewar.
The City Palace in Udaipur was built in a flamboyant style and is considered the largest of its type in Rajasthan, a fusion of the Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles, and was built on a hill top that gives a panoramic view of the city and its surrounding, including several historic monuments such as the Lake Palace in Lake Pichola, the Jag Mandir on another island in the lake, the Jagdish Temple close to the palace, the Monsoon Palace on top of an overlooking hillock nearby and the Neemach Mata temple. These structures are linked to the filming of the James Bond movie Octopussy, which features the Lake Palace and the Monsoon Palace.
The City Palace is opened from 9AM to 5PM daily and the entry fee is Rs 115 for foreigners.
Legend has it that the young prince Maharana Jagat Singh II indulged in moonlight picnics with the ladies of the Zenana on the lake island palace of Jag Mandir until his father found out. With that option closed to him, he built his own palace on a different island in Lake Pichola. Begun in 1743 and inaugurated in 1746, the new palace was named Jag Niwas. What may have begun as a prince’s rebellious gesture was turned into one of the most romantic hotels in the world by Maharana Bhagwat Singhji in 1963. The palace’s decadent reputation was cemented when the James Bond film Octopussy was filmed on the premises.
Our stay at the Lake Palace was incredible. From the time we arrived by car, after a 5 hour drive from Jaipur we were treated with the most wonderful hospitality by the staff of the Lake Palace. We waited under beautiful archways for the boatman who would take us across the lake where we were greeted with a shower of rose petals as we entered the lobby of the hotel. After check-in, we were then accompanied to our room walking by the lotus pond made famous by the James Bond film, Octopussy. It truly is even more spectacular in real life.
There are 4 restaurants at the Lake Palace. We took a buffet breakfast in Jharokha with views of the lake and City Palace and tried Bhairo situated on the rooftop of the Lake Palace we watched the sunset while enjoying the beautiful contemporary cuisine. The Amrit Sagar restaurant is a more casual dining experience which offers high tea and Neel Kamal offered elegant traditional indian cuisine from the region.
The Amer Fort (also known as The Amber Fort) is located in Amer, 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) from Jaipur, in Rajasthan India and is one of the most famous forts of Rajasthan and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Amer Fort was built by Raja Man Singh I in the 16th century and is known for its artistic style of Hindu elements combined with Muslim architecture. With its large ramparts, series of gates and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks the Maota Lake, at its forefront.
The opulent palace complex built with red sandstone and marble, consists of the Diwan-e-Aam or the “Hall of Public Audience”, the Diwan-e-Khas or the “Hall of Private Audience”, the Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace) and the Sukh Niwas where a cool climate is artificially created by winds that blow over the water cascade within the palace.
We took a private car from Jaipur to the Amer Fort for flexibility. Opened daily from 9:30AM to 4:30AM (except on Holi), the entry fee is Rs 50 for foreigners and Rs 10 for children and Indian citizens. There is an additional fee of Rs 70 for a still camera or Rs 150 for a video camera for foreigners.
The Amer Fort elephant ride is quite a sight to see, especially with the Amer Fort in the background. Visitors should try to arrive early (before 9AM) if they are interested in a ride as most of the 80 elephants will have finished their quote of rides by 11AM. The Jaipur government routinely perform health checks and each elephant is limited to carrying two passengers plus the driver, only making 5 trips each day. The Amer Fort elephant ride costs Rs 1,000 for two people and it takes approximately 20-30 minutes (depending on elephant traffic!) for the elephant to slowly trudge up the hillside to the main courtyard.
The Maota Lake and garden, which sits in front of The Amer Fort.
Inside the Amer Fort there are beautifully manicured gardens.
Getting dropped off in the courtyard before entering The Amer Fort on foot.
The beautiful mirrored walls and ceilings of the Sheesh Mahal ‘Mirrored Palace’ inside The Amer Fort.
Hawa Mahal or the “Palace of Winds” or “Palace of the Breeze”, is a palace in Jaipur, so named because it was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivities while unseen from the outside. Constructed of red and pink sandstone, the palace sits on the edge of the City Palace.
The structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Its unique five-storey exterior is akin to the honeycomb of a beehive with its 953 small windows 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 obey strict “purdah” (face cover). The lattice also allows cool air through the intricate pattern, cooling the palace during the high temperatures in summers.
The palace is open daily from 9AM to 4:30PM and the entry fee is Rs 30 for foreigners (an extra Rs30 for a still camera) and Rs 10 for Indian citizens.
The Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan is the former residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur and now a luxury Taj Palace Hotel, located 5 miles (8.0 km) outside of the walls of the city of Jaipur on Bhawani Singh Road. Built in 1835 on a modest scale for the queen’s favourite handmaiden Kesar Badaran, and later refurbished as a royal guesthouse and hunting lodge, the mansion was renamed Rambagh, after the then reigning Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II. Rambagh remained the home of Jaipur’s Royalty until 1957, when it was first converted into an upscale hotel and is now managed by the Taj Resorts and Palaces group. For more information visit the hotel’s website.
We had an incredible time at the Rambagh Palace. The staff were very accommodating and great with our kids. The food was wonderful and we were spoilt for choice – in the morning we took a buffet breakfast in the Rajput Room a more casual all day dining experience, in the evenings we either enjoyed drinks at The Polo Bar or on The Verandah while we watched the evenings dance and music performances or had our palms read and we even tried Steam – a restored steam engine complete with a Victorian style station on site – you can either have a drink on the platform or have dinner inside the train! The kids can also have a play in the actual driver’s compartment.
The kids also loved chasing (or being chased) by the beautiful peacocks on the manicured lawns of the Rambagh Palace as well as swimming in both the indoor and outdoor pools. Each day, there was a new beautiful petal flower arrangements by the pools and around the paths leading towards the spa.
City Palace, is a palace complex that lies in the heart of Jaipur city and incorporates an impressive and vast array of courtyards, gardens and buildings that blend both Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The palace was built between 1729 and 1732, initially by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber. A highlight of the City Palace is the Peacock Gate which is exquisite and contains an alluring display of detailed workmanship featuring bright peacocks.
The City Palace and the Museum are open to visitors daily between 9.:30 AM to 5PM (Closed on Diwali / Holi and a select few holidays) and an entry fee of 300 rupees for foreigners (includes camera fee and entry to Jaigarh Fort) and 75 rupees for Indians, plus 75 rupees for a still camera.
Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by King Jai Singh II between 1727 and 1734, literally means “calculation instrument”. The Jaipur observatory has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as “an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period”. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses and tracking stars’ location as the earth orbits around the sun. It is located next to the City Palace in Jaipur and is opened daily from 9AM to 4:30PM. The entry fee is 100 rupees for foreigners and 20 rupees for Indians.