Our day in Jaipur is not over; we therefore decided to walk through the historic center, entering the City Palace, built by king Sawai Jai Singh II, between 1729 and 1732. The complex includes several buildings erected at different times; I am more struck by the Chandra Mahal, the red sandstone palace developed around a rectangular square on some floors and embellished with colonnades, white floral decorations and games of mirrors. Only the first floor can be visited; the Palace is in fact still inhabited by the noble descendants of the Marajà.
To enter the interior courtyard of the Chandra Mahal it is necessary to pass through four doors; each of which represents a season; the most visible entrance is certainly that of the Peacock; dedicated to the autumn and to the god Vishnu. The painted blue and green feathers are represented in an intricate geometry that expands the surrounding space; after all, the peacock is the bird that symbolizes immortality and is well suited to the surrounding environment.
We pass through the Diwan-I-Khas or Private Atrium of the Audience; a magnificent portico paved with pink and white marble tiles, surmounted by pink colonnaded arches whose lines are highlighted by white floral and geometric decorations.
Here are preserved two huge silver amphorae with a capacity of 4000 liters; their story is interesting: the marajà Sawai Madho Sing II, a very religious man, took them full of Gange’s water during his trip to England. He thought he was committing sin by drinking English water! If you now see the state in which the sacred river is reduced!
Looking for rest in Jaipur
Fatigue begins to be felt; we do not visit the internal Museums which contain ancient manuscripts, armories, precious fabrics and so on; we just pass along the white Mubarack Mahal Palace of the nineteenth century and look for a park to rest.
We arrive at the edge of the walls of the historic center; where we are attracted by deafening music. Under a portico similar to the Diwan-I-Khas, but decidedly smaller, we find many women sitting on the ground, in their beautiful saris, intent on playing cymbals and singing. We stay a few minutes looking at them, until one of them beckons us to come, smiling.
We accept for curiosity and sit next to her; having fun. With my usual cheek, I ask, “What are you doing?” “We celebrate Holi.” “But isn’t it the day after tomorrow?” “Holi lasts three days; today it is the first. This party is reserved only for women; we are here together singing to thank the gods.” “I understand! Thank you!”
Some girls give us little rattles and we try to imitate them. We are tired now and we signal to go; but we cannot without one of them tinting our foreheads in orange. “Have a good trip!” she blessed us.
For information about Palace of Winds, click here.