Travel: Jaipur, Rajasthan, India | Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, and the Pink City | Facades and Nuances: Travel: Jaipur, Rajasthan, India | Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, and the Pink City

Monday, February 2, 2015

Travel: Jaipur, Rajasthan, India | Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, and the Pink City

Jal Mahal

Jaipur is one of those cities that everyone always recommends to see when in India. Granted, everyone gives you an odd look when you announce that you are going to go in the middle of summer. Jaipur is located on the border of the Thar desert and even though it is somewhat protected on three sides by the Aravalli hills it is still scorching hot seeing temperatures of about 110oF in the summer.

Jaipur has a lot to offer and sadly we weren't able to see it all in a day and half. Part of the reason is that our drive from New Delhi took 8 hours due to traffic and road blockage. And since we started at 4 in the morning and thought we would get there in 4 hours and decided to skip breakfast (terrible idea) we arrived in Jaipur incredibly hangry. After checking into the hotel and eating, we started exploring Jaipur. Today, I will be sharing some history and pictures from the city of Jaipur and some of the smaller monuments that we saw along the way. Also, full credit goes to my brother for getting most of these pictures from a moving car!

Isn't that the cutest elephant?!

Jaipur has been dubbed the "Pink City" for - you guessed it - the abundance of pink walls. Interestingly, these pink walls are fairly new. The city was painted during the regime of Sawai Ram Singh to welcome Edward, the Prince of Wales, who later was known as Edward VII. They have been maintained in their pink splendor ever since.
The Pink City

Of course, the origins of Jaipur and its rulers are older. Jaipur's royal family are descended from the Kachwaha Rajput tribe who ruled over the region since the 12th century when they took the power from the original Meena tribe to the formation of India. The original story is that the Meena King took in a Rajput woman and her child. When the child grew up, he was sent to Delhi to represent the Meena kingdom. Instead, he attacked the Meenas with other Rajputs on Diwali, a day when Meenas did not carry weapons. The Kachwaha Rajputs ruled from over the region from the city of Amer until the seat of power shifted to Jaipur in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II.

The city of Jaipur was the first planned city in India and was designed by Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. The city was formally founded on November 18, 1727. The royal lineage continues today complete with Maharajas and Princesses. What I found to be interesting was that in order to keep the royal lineage going, male heirs from noble families have been adopted. In fact, the current Maharaja was adopted by his grandparents.  The royal family now resides in the City Palace.
Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal

You can't miss Hawa Mahal since it sits right on the road. We didn't go inside on the recommendation of some locals who told us that our time would be better spent exploring the forts and palaces. Hawa Mahal which translates to "Wind Palace" was a wall from which women of the royal household could watch parades and festivities away from the public and stay cool due to the air flowing through the latticework. It was air-conditioning 2.0. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh.

Jal Mahal

Jal Mahal is a small "palace"/lodge that is located in the  middle of Man Sagar Lake. The lake was the byproduct of a dam that was constructed in the 16th century after a severe famine in the region. Although you can only see one story, the building is actually five stories high. The other four stories are underwater. Though it has the word Mahal in its name (which translates to Palace in Hindi) it was only intended as a lodge for Madho Singh during his duck hunting. It was constructed in 1750 by Madho Singh and was subsequently renovated on by his son.

Jaipur is a fascinating place to visit and the royal family and the government of India have put in a lot of effort to keep these sites in their original splendor. I will be sharing more of my stories from Jaipur in the next couple of days/weeks so stay tuned!

I will be sharing more stories from my times in India, so stay tuned! Follow me on any of my platforms for my updates!

Check out my earlier post about Humayun's Tomb in New Delhi

Information Sources:
And the lovely locals and guides who were kind enough to share their city's history!


  1. Fascinating! I have never been to India, although I have two aunts who have been there over a 20 times each and converted to Hinduism (interesting because they we were brought up Catholic from S. America!). Great photography; I especially love Hawa Mahal's architecture - and also the building that has 4 stories under water?!

    Thanks for sharing :)


    1. You should definitely go sometime! There is a lot to see and the heat and amount of people can be a little overwhelming but its worth it! That is really interesting! Did they go to a lot of religious sites? And I got lucky with my pictures - everything was gorgeous and the sun provided ample light and heat! :)


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