Before I begin my weekly babble, let’s hear some wise words from Julius Caesar himself….’Veni Vidi Vici’
Last week, we ‘Veni-d’ and ‘Vidi-d’ a certain Palace by the name of Amber Palace. But in order to attain the status of ‘Vici’, we need a….wait for it….House Tour™.
Alright, we ain’ conquering anything, we’re simply visitors(said every conqueror ever).
Ye wee folks can find the intro post here. That being said, let’s get the tour on!
This is the prettiest part of the Amber Palace. It is called ‘Sheesh Mahal’ or the ‘Hall of Mirrors’. All the engravings on the walls are made out of mirror work and natural vegetable dyes. The glass used to decorate this hall was imported all the way from Belgium which is truly mind-blowing, given the era in which it was constructed. This hall was once the Winter Quarter for the Kings. This room in particular was where the kings of old had their banquets and entertained their royal guests. The inner rooms were the bedrooms. An interesting thing here is that the dining room is decorated with motifs related to food and drink with the glasses and jars. The attention to detail is simply amazing.
I absolutely love how glass and semiprecious stones have been inlaid so intricately and to fill an entire room with decor like that is so amazing. Here’s a video showing a close-up.
I really wish I could explore the rooms inside the hall but pandemic rules and other safety norms don’t allow tourists to enter inside. A hall of mirrors like this one is quite famous in palaces in India. I’ve seen another one in a Mughal Palace called Agra Fort. That one was used as a bathroom for the Queen of the Palace. There’s another such hall in the city of Udaipur which is not far from Jaipur. I love how similarly decorated halls are used for different purposes. These halls have also served as filming spots of various old Bollywood movies which were period dramas set during the Mughal Era of India.
Alright, Imma move on but this hall is so aesthetic:)
Our next stop is the Summer Quarter of the King. The state of Rajasthan is a desert so summers get pretty boiling and uncomfortable. Now, back in the days of the Kings, air conditioning wasn’t exactly invented so the King’s staff and architects thought of something ultra cool(pun probably intended). The blue glass covered channel in the picture was built to pass a stream of water and when the air blew over that stream, the rooms would get thoroughly pleasant and would be a comfie haven during the summers. Curtains of wet leaves were also used to sway in the air and give off cold currents. I love how people utilised nature to obtain luxury. An air conditioning setup such as this one is not only effective but also sustainable considering there’s zero emissions. Also, it’s real cost effective cause I really doubt the royal household had an electricity bill the size of a nation’s debt for such brilliant air conditioning….hehe:)
The next room on the Royal House Tour is none other than the Ladies’ quarters. Back in those days, the Queens couldn’t share the same room as the King so His Majesty had a full quarter built for their stay, along with rooms for their attendants and servants and also the Queen Mothers. Men weren’t allowed to enter these quarters and that rule applied to the King as well. In those days, polygamy was a common practice so the King literally had to call for the Queen he wanted to spend time with and she had to go to his chambers and meet him. The Queen on the throne or the Maharani as it’s called in Hindi was the King’s first wife and for this reason, she had a special room. The room pictured is the Maharani’s room. Hers is the only room with a bath tub(the fenced structure in the middle) and her living quarters are slightly larger than the others.
The number of wives differed from King to King. One of them had eight, one thirteen, one had 31 while Raja Jai Singh I had just one so he combined all the Queens’ quarters of his predecessors and gave her one giant room.
Who are we simpletons to know the games of royalty eh?
Honestly, these folks could have a reality show hehe….
Keeping up with the Kachwahas….
The dynasty that ruled in Amber Palace are called Kachwahas, hence the joke….
Talking of Queens, this is what I like to call ‘The Runway Tunnel’. So whenever there was a festival or a wedding or even a fancy music night in the Palace, the Queens dressed in their most dazzling attires and donned jewels only dreamt of by Gods. The traditional attire of an Indian Queen would either be a saree or a blouse with a heavy skirt called a lehenga. Now when I say heavy, I mean a minimum of eight kilograms minus the jewellery. Obviously, when you where an 8kg skirt, it’s gonna be massive cardio to walk and with the jewellery added on, standing might be a full blown workout so in order to spare the Queens the sweat, special rickshaws were made to carry them from their chambers to the site of festivity and these tunnels were the paths used by such rickshaws.
Of course for those who aren’t Indian, it may seem as though I’m exaggerating with the weight of the clothes but Indian attire is a lot about intricate design and it’s usually made with stuff like mirrors, bells, glitter and even silver and gold thread. Besides, Indians are big on heavy gold jewellery and there’s an ornament for every part from head to toe. Even today, Indian wedding attires(both for the bride and the women guests) are super heavy but when you’re in that festive mood, it can easily be carried. Besides, it looks so pretty that the inconvenience of carriage becomes secondary hehe….
This is the view from one of the balconies. The fort that can be seen on the hill is the Jaigarh fort. The hill on which that fort is built is called ‘Cheel ka Teela’ or Eagle Hill cause apparently a lot of eagles are found there. I personally feel that the Amber palace fort is prettier but the Jaigarh fort has a very raw look which gives it a slight haunted vibe. The quarters in the front used to be servant quarters for cooks and other members of the staff.
This is the Palace prison. The worst part about the prison was the dementors….
This is one of the exit routes of the Palace. A lot of Bollywood movies were filmed here and some of the stuff, like the statue in the second picture is actually a prop used for the films.
This is a King’s chest kept in one of the shed’s on the exit route. I wonder if it’s got jewels.
Finally, we’ve got the Palace bookstore. A lot of the books are autobiographies or biographies of Gayatri Devi, the last Queen of Jaipur. She was the wife of King Man Singh II and was a very strong and outspoken woman. She is also one of the most beautiful women in India and personally, I think she is the epitome of a true Queen. I also love the fancy books of curries and block prints, it makes me feel so vintage and cottage core hehe….
And that is a wrap,
Until next time….