The capital city of Rajasthan is home to so many treasured gems of history. In fact, the Pink City itself was given the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Such is the opulence of Jaipur’s royal history that the city gets a title so prestigious. With the amount of historical forts and palaces in the city, it makes total sense.
The old city center of Jaipur is dotted with monuments and buildings. They are not only pivotal from just a historical perspective, but are also absolutely stunning landmarks of various styles of Indian architecture.
So here’s a list of some of the most amazing forts and palaces in Jaipur you could explore.
Jaipur City Palace – The official residence of the Royal Family of Jaipur. It is among the many other palaces that the royalty built. The city palace is perhaps the most important of the lot. The Jaipur City Palace also houses a museum of all the weapons and ammunition that were used in the many wars the Rajput kingdom fought in.
Jaipur City Palace is also known for its great architecture. The architectural style is a fusion of Rajput, Mughal and European styles of architecture. This is what makes the complex so captivating for anyone who visits. Just as it is the case with most forts and palaces in the city, visiting the site is also a unique experience in itself.
Hawa Mahal or The Wind Palace – The Palace of Winds was built as an extension to the Zenana, which was the women’s chamber of the royal palace. The Hawa Mahal in Jaipur is a Palace building made up of 5 storeys. It boasts of a spellbinding exterior of a honeycomb, with 953 small windows called Jharokhas, that are dotted across the five storeys of the building. These jharokhas are decorated with incredible latticework.
The palace extension was built for the royal women to obey the ‘Purdah’, which forbade them from making public appearances, without covering their face. The Hawa Mahal was a way for the royal ladies to observe the day to day life in Jaipur, without flouting the rules of the ‘Purdah’. With its many honeycomb windows, the Hawa Mahal, remains one of the most pleasant buildings in Jaipur, due to the venturi effect caused by the jharokhas. This is something which allows cool air to pass through. The Hawa Mahal sits just at the end of the City Palace, and is best explored together. This is one of the best parts of visiting the city. There are so many forts and palaces in Jaipur that it becomes easier to kill two birds with one stone.
Jantar Mantar – The Jantar Mantar is an open air observatory that is home to about 19 architectural astronomical instruments. Of all the forts and palaces in Jaipur, Jantar Mantar is hands down the most complex and mind-bending site. It is a supremely fascinating experience that you must not miss. You can read more about the Jantar Mantar and all of its marvels here.
Jal Mahal – One of Jaipur’s most popular monuments is the Jal Mahal Palace. This 300 year old palace stands right in the center of the artificial, Man Sagar Lake. While the entry to Jal Mahal Palace in Jaipur is forbidden, there’s enough to around to explore. Especially, the pathway around makes for an interesting sight.
Amber Fort – No doubt the most popular fort in the capital city. The Amber Fort in Jaipur, sits atop a hill, overlooking the Maota lake. From the top of the fort, your eyes are treated to really great views of the lake and the garden. The fort is built in a combination of red sandstone and marble. Amber Fort’s architecture beautifully blends Mughal and Rajput architectural elements, to depict the flamboyance of the Rajput kings.
Between 8 AM and 5:30 PM, the fort remains open to visitors. The fort organizes a laser and light show in the evening, which is an absolutely must visit time to experience a phenomenal spectacle!
Nahargarh Fort – Known to be a part of the triumvirate of forts (others being Amber and Jaigarh) that provide a strong defense of the capital. Of the forts and palaces in Jaipur, Nahargarh Fort is one of the most biologically diverse forts in all of India. At one point, it was also a popular summer retreat of the Rajput Kings.
The biodiversity of the fort can be spotted in its name. The hill on which the fort is located is called, ‘Cheel ka teela’. It stands for hill of the eagles. At the same time, Nahargarh translates into ‘abode of tigers’. The fort’s complex houses a lot of palaces, like the Madhavendra Palace, along with temples and gardens. The Nahargarh Biological Park and Zoo is also housed within the forest that surrounds the fort. Visiting here is bound to provide you an interesting perspective into the rich wildlife that surrounds the region. Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur has arguably the best views of the city, and it’s a place you must visit during your time in Jaipur.
Jaigarh Fort – Built to store weapons and ammunitions for Rajput wards, that were initially stored at Amber Fort. Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur is the highest of the three. Based atop an Aravalli hill, Jaigarh Fort provides an unobstructed view into the Amber Fort complex and its gardens. Jaigarh Fort also provides great views of the other hills and lakes, and is quite unique in more ways than one.
Jaigarh Fort holds the distinction for having the largest cannon in the world. The Jaivana Cannon was built within the premises of the fort and is said to have been used in multiple battles. Just like the Hawa Mahal, Jaigarh Fort is also renowned for its lattice work windows, through which you can experience the sweeping views of the region.
So in conclusion, forts and palaces in Jaipur are aplenty, with each of them being unique and distinct in their own ways. Even with the amount of monuments in Jaipur, you could visit it all and there would still be more to do. You could spend a day at Chokhi Dhani, a village resort that provides an insight into the intricacies of the Rajasthani Culture, or gawk at the relevance of the 18th Century Jantar Mantar, that set out to discover the secrets of the Universe. In simple words, there’s so much to experience. Go see for yourself!