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The Chandra Mahal’s Seven Floors: Stories of Opulence and Functionality

Discovering the private space at the Jaipur City Palace

When one thinks of Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan, images of bustling bazaars, majestic forts, and colorful traditions often come to mind. Indeed, Jaipur is a must-visit destination for travelers exploring the rich cultural tapestry of this region. However, beyond the well-trodden paths of the Pink City lies a hidden gem – the private rooms of the Jaipur City Palace. These sanctuaries of opulence and history, tucked away within the sprawling palace complex, are one of Rajasthan’s best-kept secrets.

The Enchanting Blend of Old and New

Jaipur, often referred to as the Pink City, is a city that seamlessly blends the old with the new. Here, you can witness camels ambling past modern motorbikes and see youngsters in jeans rubbing shoulders with turbaned elders. The city earned its nickname when its prominent buildings were painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria in 1876, a tradition that continues to this day. At the heart of this vibrant city lies the Jaipur City Palace, which has been the residence of Jaipur’s rulers since the early 18th century.

The Splendor of Jaipur City Palace

The Jaipur City Palace is a masterpiece of architecture, fusing Rajput and Mughal styles. Its open courtyards and ornate design elements are a testament to the wealth and craftsmanship of the maharajas who once resided here. Today, much of the palace complex is accessible to the public, known as the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum or the City Palace Museum. However, what remains relatively unknown to most visitors are the private rooms nestled within the Chandra Mahal, also known as the ‘Moon Palace,’ where the erstwhile Maharaja still resides.

A Journey Through Royal Opulence

The Chandra Mahal, a seven-storeyed palace, is a treasure trove of history and beauty. Each floor has a unique name and function. The Sukh Niwas, or ‘Hall of Rest,’ serves as the fully-furnished royal dining room, while the Rang Mandir on the third floor dazzles with mirror work adorning its walls and ceiling. The Shobha Niwas on the fourth floor, aptly named the ‘Hall of Beauty,’ boasts walls lavishly embellished with mirrors, tiles, and gold leaf detailing. The Chhavi Niwas on the fifth floor, known as the ‘Hall of Images,’ was the Maharaja’s monsoon retreat.

Shri Niwas occupies the sixth floor, and the seventh floor is home to the Mukut Mandir or the ‘Crown Temple.’ At the pinnacle of the Chandra Mahal, the flag of the Jaipur royal family unfurls only when the Maharaja is in residence, a symbol of his presence.

Preserving the Mystique

While the City Palace Museum allows visitors to glimpse the grandeur of the past, photography is understandably restricted in the private rooms. The exquisite royal dining room, where the Maharaja hosted his guests, is one such place where cameras are off-limits. These restrictions serve to preserve the mystique and exclusivity of these hidden treasures.

Beyond the Private Rooms

In addition to the private rooms, the City Palace Museum houses other remarkable artifacts. Two giant silver urns in the Diwan-i-Khas are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest silver objects globally. Originally, they were used to transport sacred water from the river Ganges to London for Madho Singh II’s consumption during his stay there in 1901.

The Pritam Chowk – A Court of Seasons

As you explore the palace complex further, you’ll come across the Pritam Chowk, the ‘Court of the Beloved.’ This enchanting courtyard features four delicately painted doorways representing the four different seasons, a testament to the intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail that permeates the entire City Palace.

A Hidden Treasure Awaits

While Jaipur’s City Palace and its public areas are celebrated and well-visited, the private rooms within the Chandra Mahal remain a hidden treasure, waiting to be discovered. These rooms offer a rare glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the erstwhile maharajas and provide a unique perspective on Rajasthan’s rich history. So, when you find yourself in the Pink City, don’t miss the opportunity to explore these secret chambers and embark on a journey through time and luxury.

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