What Makes A Walk With Jaipur City Palace Museum Curators Unique?

It was last week when I heard about the City Palace Jaipur guided walking tour with museum curators. I mulled over the possibility of joining this walk but, there was one problem; it was to take place during the office hours. After much thinking, I decided to skip work for a few hours to join an informative guided walking tour of Jaipur City Palace.


It was Wednesday morning in March with an overcast sky when I reached City Palace entry gate 1 & inquired about the City Palace guided walking tour. The palace office possessed no information about the same and directed me to the Gate no. 2 which is the main entrance near Baradari restaurant.

Pink walls of Jaipur City Palace

On inquiring about the walk at the ticket window they suggested me to buy an entrance ticket and proceed towards the coffee shop near the entrance of Sarvato Bhadra Chowk.


The curators of the city palace museum, two affable sassy ladies introduced themselves – Aparna and Sania and greeted everyone. They arranged it to celebrate the women’s day week with this event. The walk aimed at highlighting the importance of women in Jaipur court; Select people possessing a keen interest in heritage and art attended it.

City Palace Museum Curators – Aparna and Sania at the start of a walking tour

Sabha Niwas

Aparna led the walk, and it started with a visit to Sabha Niwas, a hall equivalent of Diwan-e-Aam in Amer where the king would meet officials and public. Diwan-e-Aam is an emulation from Mughal court and shows Mughal influence in Jaipur court.

Sabha Niwas is a spacious hall having the paintings and photographs of the Jaipur rulers on its walls. This is where many prestigious ceremonies and events took place graced by eminent personas of its time. Aparna urged the attendees to undertake a brief tour of the hall and figure out if they could observe women in any picture or paintings. It turned out that one can spot women only in the paintings as a muse.

Aparna suggested an intriguing book in this context which highlighted the life of royal women – Polygamy and Purdah women and society among Rajputs by Varsha Joshi. Also, worth mentioning here is that there were tussles for power among queens. The rules regarding accessions and lineage were ambiguous and led to confusions, schemes, plots, and wars.

After a quick tour of the Sabha Niwas, we moved to the Sarvato Bhadra.

Sarvato Bhadra

Sarvato Bhadra

Sarvato Bhadra is an equivalent of Diwan-e-Khas in Amer Fort, meant as a meeting place for a chosen few. This place is legendary for the display of two huge silver urns used by Maharajah Sawai Madho Singh II during his tour of England in 1902 on the occasion of Coronation of King Edward VII. He carried the holy water of the river Ganges in these urns to last him for the two-month journey.

Museum Curator’s walk at Sarvato Bhadra

The talk continued about the life of women in royal courts. In most Rajput principalities women lived behind Purdah or curtain. They never made public appearances & observed public processions and events on the street behind lattices. They built Hawa Mahal to let royal women witness street & public processions behind the lattices. Purdah system added an element of mysticism and suspense with the royal women.

Read The architectural marvel called Hawa Mahal

In conversation – Sania and Aparna

A remarkable but esoteric fact is that the royal women conducted the affairs of Jaipur for years acting as regent queen (for juvenile king). Historians mark the period before Maharajah Sawai Ram Singh II with conspiracies and plots schemed by the royal ladies. The women lived in a separate enclave inside the City Palace called Zenana Deori. Another intriguing aspect is royal women of Jaipur court was people never addressed them by the first name. Their names always had the reference of the maiden Rajput clan or places to which they belonged. The most well-known case is Sisodia Rani who hailed from Sisodia clan of Mewar and Bhattiyani Ji from Bhati clan.

Four Gates of Jaipur City Palace

The Pritam Niwas represent the most iconic section of Jaipur City Palace; pictures of the four City Palace gates are a massive hit on Instagram. It figures in the top places for Instagram worthy photos in Jaipur.

The Lotus Gate in The City Palace, Jaipur

These four City Palace doors represent four distinct seasons. The peacock gate represents autumn, Lotus gate summer, Green Leheriya gate spring, and the rose gate winter.


It doesn’t stop here; the gates also represent gods and goddesses – Lord Vishnu, Shiv-Parvati, Lord Ganesha, and Goddess Devi respectively.


Unlike today, Pritam Chowk was not accessible to everyone in the past. It overlooks the Pritam Mahal which remains a residential area of the royal family till date. As soon as we reached Pritam Chowk it started drizzling.

Read 5 most Instagram worthy places in Jaipur

One of the four gates of Pritam Chowk

The discussion here turned towards the life of women in Zenana Deori. Deori remains a world of its own. The queens had their own quarters replete with servants and assistants. Zenana was a big power center; many conspiracies owe its origin to Deori. Males had no access to this area of Jaipur City Palace except the king who could gain it through a maze of tunnels and underground passageways. It was not merely queens who lived in Zenana but other women like concubines too. Two significant processions start and end in Zenana – Teej, and Gangaur. It is a time-honored tradition which still has continued to date. Zenana is off-limits for everyone because of judicial issues pertaining to its ownership.

Mubarak Mahal

Mubarak Mahal

Maharajah Sawai Madho Singh II constructed Mubarak Mahal to receive dignitaries. The inputs of Samuel Swinton Jacob who built the Albert Hall Museum are clear from fusion architectural style of the building. One of the most remarkable features of this building is intricate marble Jali work. While they constructed it to welcome the state guests, today it houses a textile gallery. Its display includes dresses assumed by the kings and queens.

Aparana escorted us to a display comprising an intricate & opulent dress worn by a queen on the occasion of Diwali. Each color had its own significance like green Lehariya signified monsoon. Another unusual thing on display was a special metal ball used by the royal ladies during night polo matches. Why night polo matches? The logic provided was that women were under purdah and played polo only during the night. There is a long history of Chovgan being played in this region. Chovgan is an ancient polo game which owes its origin in Persia. It is likely it gained entry with Mughals. Jaipur has its first Chovgan ground called Chogan Stadium. Many people claim that modern polo first appeared in Jaipur during the late 19th century; we know for sure that Chovgan was one of the favorite sports of Jaipur royalty.

Aparna reading out a passage from the book

As soon as we stepped out of Mubarak Mahal, Aparna suggested we all should visit arms and armory museum once the walk is over. She mentioned they trained Rajput women in warfare techniques. Even now many Rajput women carry a small dagger, a customary practice, though. She read out a passage from the book to validate this claim. As far as I know, women from the Jaipur court never took part in wars and battles. The solitary instances of battles were for power between Maharajah Sawai Ishwari Singh and his brother Maharajah Sawai Madho Singh I. Marathas fought from the latter side. Technically, all these battles took place in far-off places but never in Jaipur.

The discussion turned to the difference between the Rajput practice of Sati and Jauhar. There is innumerable mention of Jauhar in history books. Sati practice involved a widow throwing herself on to her husband’s funeral pyre and ending her life. Jauhar is an act of self-immolation by women to avoid being captured by the opposing army during a defeat. They did this to avoid enslavement and rape which were too common in those days. The Sati practice continued for years despite being banned in 1846 in Jaipur. It was in the 1980s when Sati incident of Roop Kanwar in Sikar brought it back in limelight. Government and women social activists launched an active campaign to banish it completely. Thankfully, this practice doesn’t exist anymore.

The newest museum of Jaipur City Palace – Painting and Photography Museum

Painting and Photography Museum

From Mubarak Mahal, we walked to the most recent addition of museums in Jaipur City Palace, Painting and Photography Museum. It contains many rare paintings, maps, layouts, books, and pictures. I enthusiastically recommend it for the art lovers.

One of the most unusual items on display in an enlarged map of Surat City dating to 1700 AD. It will be hard to mention all the discussion pertaining to the art on display in those blog post.

Aparna explaining the concept of Raag and paintings on display


Another fascinating gallery in this museum is pictures clicked by Maharajah Sawai Ram Singh II. There are many old portraits of women, royal guests, nobles and Jaipur city. It is worth mentioning his photographic equipment is on display. While today we can click excellent pictures with our smartphones, the equipment used in 1850-60s was bulky and complicated. Developing prints was time-consuming, laborious and expensive; only a wealthy could afford a hobby of photography.

A huge painting depicting Lord Krishna’s Raas Lila in the museum

The City Palace walk culminated in a gift shop near the painting and photography museum. Was it worth it? It sparked off many new & fascinating discussions. It provides alternative perspectives and dimensions; it was definitely fruitful for the first-timers. City Palace Museum curator’s walk is not available commercially. However, you can hire a trained guide in Jaipur city palace. Mr. Sunil, a guide at Jaipur City Palace accompanied us to provide more inputs during the walk.

Travelers clicking a picture of these Guards at Riddhi Siddhi Pol is a common sight

For those intending to visit, here is a quick Jaipur City Palace Guide.


City Palace Timing

9 AM to 5 PM

City Palace Entry Fee

Rs 200 for Indian travelers. Rs 500 for foreign travelers

City Palace Jaipur History

The City Palace in Jaipur was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II around the same time when Jaipur city was founded. The history as per records suggests Jaipur City Palace was built between 1727 AD to 1732 AD in stages. It started with the building of the outer periphery and walls. As with many other royal abodes like Udaipur City Palace, successive generations kept adding buildings when required. The layout of Jaipur followed the ancient science of Shilpshastra and Vaastu Shastra. Jaipur City Palace has been placed in the center of the plan suggesting it a nucleus. Among the rulers who have contributed significantly to the history of City Palace apart from Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II are Maharajah Sawai Pratap Singh, Maharajah Sawai Ram Singh II, and Maharajah Sawai Madho Singh II. Maharajah Sawai Man Singh II, the last ruler of Jaipur started staying in Ram Bagh Palace instead of Jaipur City Palace.

What To See In City Palace Jaipur?

  • Sabha Niwas

(already featured in this walk)

  • Mubarak Mahal-Textile Museum

(already featured in this walk)

Mubarak Mahal


  • Sarvato Bhadra

(already featured in this walk)

Sarvato Bhadra


  • Riddhi Siddhi Pol

Riddhi Siddhi Pol connects Pritam Chowk with Sarvato Bhadrariddhi-siddhi-pol-city-palace-jaipur

  • Pritam Chowk

Pritam Chowk is where you will find the four doors of City Palace featured earlier in this blog.

Beautiful gates of City Palace, Jaipur


  • Rajendra Pol

Maharajah Sawai Madho Singh II built Rajendra Pol along with Mubarak Mahal which explains the similarity in architectural styles and theme of both structures. Rajendra Pol connects Mubarak Mahal with Sarvato Bhadra.

Rajendra Pol


  • Arms & Armoury Museum / Sileh Khana

This museum is in the north-west corner of the Mubarak Mahal square. There are many interesting arms and weapons on display in this museum used by erstwhile rulers of Jaipur.

  • Private rooms of Pritam Niwas

A special ticket of Rs 2000 will secure access to some iconic rooms and quarters of City Palace. One of the most famous is the blue room, a big hit on Instagram.

  • Painting and Photography Museum

(already featured in this walk) place-to-see-city-palace-jaipur-painting-photography-museum

  • Souvenir Shopping at Jaipur City Palace

Souvenir shop of City Palace is near the exit of Painting and photography museum.  If you are a shopaholic, there are plenty of things to buy i.e. paintings, garments, and books to name a few.

  • Buggi Ride

An old horse carriage called Buggi is available for the travelers to take home the experience of yesteryears. You can hire a ride near Mubarak Mahal.

THe Buggi ride
  • City Palace Jaipur Restaurant – Baradari

Baradari is a good choice for those seeking to unwind over food and drinks in the walled city. Personally, I feel its interiors don’t go too well with the traditional Rajput architecture. The renovation emulates old European architecture with raw stone walls. Most travelers enjoy a pit stop at Baradari, though.

Baradari restaurant

Things To Do And Place To Visit Near City Palace Jaipur

  • Nakkarkhana Darwaja

Nakkarkhana Darwaja or gate is one of the first ones to encounter when entering through Sirehdyodi Bazaar near Hawa Mahal. Musicians used this gate to announce the king’s arrival by playing the relevant instruments (as per occasion). These days it is just another gate.

Nakkarkhana Pol


  • Jaleb Chowk

Jaleb Chowk is a large public square. In the past, the rooms lining the walls performed the function of a secretariat. Post Indian Independence, the government took over the entire area. They used it for many government departments till they shifted them all in new buildings. These days the entire area is unkempt and fallen into disrepair. It only serves as unregulated parking.

Places to visit near Jaipur City Palace

  • Govind Dev Ji Temple

Govind Dev Ji temple is worth visiting to experience the atmosphere. Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II found this temple at the same time as Jaipur city. The idol of Govind Dev Ji was originally in Govind Dev Ji temple of Vrindavan but shifted to Jaipur in the late 17th century to save it from destruction order by Mughal ruler, Aurangzeb. Read the complete post on Govind Dev Ji Temple Devotees at Govind Dev Ji Temple 





  • Jantar Mantar

Jantar Mantar is a solar observatory in the City Palace complex and worth visiting. The solar instruments made from metal and masonry structure are as precise as modern instruments and still functional. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Jantar Mantar entrance is near City Palace entry gate no 1.

Solar Instrument at Jantar Mantar. Jaipur
  • Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal needs no introduction. It is as iconic as Eiffel Tower and Taj Mahal. Most travelers only witness the facade on the street but there are lots to discover and experience by taking a tour inside the Hawa Mahal complex. I did and you can read more about it here The architectural marvel called Hawa Mahal. City Palace to Hawa Mahal is a walking distance.

Hawa Mahal picture
Hawa Mahal-Inspired by the Mukut or crown of Lord Krishna.


  • Isarlat Sargasuli

Isarlat is a seven-story victory tower in Tripolia Bazaar. It is worth visiting for the great views of the old Jaipur city. It is also called as Sargaguli.

Sargasuli history-Isarlat was built by Sawai Ishwari Singh to commemorate a win against wars fought with Marathas and his brother Sawai Madho Singh II.  This building is part of the composite ticket issued by the Department of Archaeology which includes Amer Fort and Albert all Museum. issar-lat-sargasuli-tripolia-bazar-jaipur-blog

  • Heritage Temples of Jaipur

Jaipur has many heritage temples, Jaipur Court commissioned and built many of these. Although it is difficult to cover them all, some are worth visiting. Check out Ramchandra Temple, Brij Nidhi Temple, Galta Ji Temple, Radha Madhav Temple at Kanak Vrindavan to name a few.



  • Heritage Walk in Jaipur City

A walking tour in old Jaipur is worth experiencing to uncover its true essence. Although there are many operators offering such heritage walks in Jaipur, many of them rely on cooked up stories rather than facts and this is true even for some known names. Read more Heritage walk in Jaipur | walking tour in the old walled city




City Palace Jaipur Weddings

The City Palace Jaipur is one of the most sought after places in Jaipur among destination weddings in Rajasthan. The regal setting of the City Palace is a big draw for NRI destination weddings. This is why many wedding planners in Jaipur recommend the City Palace for HNI clients. It is one of the most expensive wedding venues in Jaipur ranked just after the Rambagh Palace and the Raj Palace. The receptions with small gatherings are commonly organized in the courtyards of the Jaipur City Palace -Sarvato Bhadra Chowk and Pritam Niwas Chowk; ideal for 500-900 people. For bigger ones, there are lawns just behind the Chandra Mahal – Jai Niwas Lawns.


Diwan-i-Aam, City Palace Jaipur during a wedding


City Palace Light And Sound Show

City Palace light and sound show called SCULPTURE LUMIÈRE SHOW is held at 7.30 PM every day. The ticket is priced at Rs 250 for Indians and Rs 500 for foreigners. You can also combine a museum visit with City Palace Light and Sound show and save money. Plan your visit around 6.30 PM, ticket costs Rs 300 for Indians.

Is it worth visiting the City Palace in Jaipur?

The City Palace is one of the top places to visit in Jaipur. Lately, Jaipur City Palace has become one of the most sought after places among the Instagrammers. A reason why it is rated high among the Insta-worthy places in Jaipur. The City Palace interiors of few rooms of Chandra Mahal accessible with a premium entry ticket are worth the price. This popular tourist attraction can easily be covered even if you have limited time.

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101 thoughts on “What Makes A Walk With Jaipur City Palace Museum Curators Unique?

    1. Thanks, Marcus. Most of these pictures were clicked with a smartphones so they are quite basic and not comparable with the kind of pictures you take. These pictures are documentary in nature with no creative control. Thanks for sharing your views, Marcus. Appreciate it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This City Palace walking guided tour seemed like a good reason to skip work, and sounds like it was time well spent. Very in-depth tour about women over the years, and interesting to know women in royal courts were often hidden behind lattices during processions – such stark contrast where women are often seen as to be seen for one’s gaze. Also fascinating to know Rajput women were trained in warfare techniques, and it goes to show that women have been very strong over there for a long time – despite not participating in warfare, they were capable if they wanted to. A great write up and as usual, great photography 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You have highlighted an important aspect – people wait for the gaze! This definitely added a different element altogether. It is true that women didn’t have independence in the current context but they were empowered with many other things. I’m sure there were many interesting stories that we have missed because the narratives were never recorded and were passed down generations verbally.

      I’m keen to know about women’s status in your native country, Mabel. Were Chinese women independent or it was a similar case?


      1. As far as I know, for a long time Chinese culture leans towards patriarchy. Most of the time if women had nothing to say, it would be acceptable. Times have changed, and definitely for the better. Once again, such an interesting tour.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Jaipur is indeed stuffed with so much of royal treasures that it would actually take a lifetime to document them. Every by-lane has a history to share. I believe these monuments were all within arms reach but it is just that I knew only about the usual ones. Thanks for sharing.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is true, Rajat. Jaipur is only 300 years old. In a stark contrast there are many towns and cities whose history stretches to thousands of years. Unfortunately, we don’t have a formal system of recording events of everyday lives except the ones in the royal courts. All these monuments and places are within a walking distance. As a traveler, often we are short of time which is a big limitation. I’m hoping you will visit Jaipur soon. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rajat. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I recollect to have spoken to you briefly about Sanjay Museum earlier Arvind. I guess, you must take a trip there. It is right next to Jal Mahal. It has a rich collection of historic artifacts and since you are in Jaipur, you can actually dig out a lot of things about Jaipur from there. I could take only a brief glimpse of the place but I could gather that there is lot more to explore than what they actually share with their visiting travelers. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks, Rajat. I remember you mentioned this before. Sanjay Sharma museum is popular among many tourists and I’m yet to make a visit. I need to plan well for this because it needs a couple of hours. I’ll do that soon since you have recommended it, Rajat. Thanks for suggesting it again. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What is the need to travel and go in person after reading this exhaustive post, with lovely pictures! Thank you for this walk arv, I couldn’t have known so much history without it! How you remember so much of info is a marvel! 🙂 Do you jot down the points when you visit such places?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it is true that blogs allow us “virtual travel”. Isn’t it so? I probably will never be able to visit so many places that I read in blogs. At least not in this lifetime!

      To answer your question, I never makes notes. I get engrossed in the conversations. And then the sights are too tempting to miss, so photography keeps me engrossed. Do you make notes in such instances?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Arv, this is a difficult question as choosing one among them would be injustice to the other as they compliment each other making it a complete story, so niether words nor pictures but the story together was enjoyed. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Mel, I’m happy to read that you have visited Jaipur twice and are considering another one! Indeed, Jaipur is quite popular among travelers because it is not just about heritage and tourist places. Jaipur offers so much more. It is a unique mix of culture, heritage, religion, and tradition. Where are you based, Mel?


      1. Hi Arv. On top of all that, in Australia the last couple of weeks they have been playing The Indian Dream Hotel on ABC TV. This focuses on a group of English retirees who live in Jaipur for three weeks to see if they could retire in India. A really interesting show and so much lovely footage of Jaipur.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Great! I think this is a British series called The Best Exotic Marigold hotel. I haven’t seen it yet,
        but it seems to be popular. I’m glad you enjoyed this show.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Loving it how you’re really digging deep into featuring Jaipur with each of your posts. Incorporating the people who help spread the love for culture and heritage and of course featuring different aspects of places makes for wonderful reading. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Raghav. Jaipur being one of the popular tourist cities, I’m sure a lot of travelers have already ticked City Palace from their list. An offbeat stuff like this is a nice addition since it’s unlikely that someone will visit City Palace again. I’m sure the museum curators of City Palace are doing a great job!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Lot of interesting information you have gathered. The colours of the lehengas of the queens, Maharaja carrying Ganga Jal of two months with him. It seems to have been a good idea to bunk office and go for this tour 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice and detailed description. Although general guides also gave many of the information, the info about ladies quarter was new. Not that I did not politics and power struggle, but the information that underground tunnel was used to reach the ladies quarter was new. Did they show such passages? Your posts are good to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree that much of information is generic but sometimes you find interesting ones too. Most residential sections of forts and palaces had secret tunnels meant for emergency exits in case of wars. I’m not sure about other cities but they designed the palaces in such a way that king could access any of the queen’s quarter discreetly. To rule out jealousy, I suppose!

      Unfortunately, no one can visit the Zenana so underground tunnels are not accessible. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. 🙂


    1. I wouldn’t say that one gets to know much about history, it is rather a peek into the past with collections of garments, furniture, personal weapons etc. Only way to know more about the history of Jaipur is by hiring a guide which many of us don’t do. I wish the museums in India provided some bits of history as it enriches the visitor experience.


  7. It’s interesting to get new perspectives and history provides us plenty of scope…… The women though behind purdah were great at what I learnt “rasodey ki rajneeti” 😀 There are books on royal women & concubines that throw a light on how these zanana section & harems were a seat of politics, schemes, secret rendezvous and much much more

    As always Arvind 🙂 fantastic post with perfect captures !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Monika, you are right. Even though royal women were never out in public but they were behind the games of politics and schemes. There was always something cooking!

      Is Jaipur discussed in the book you mentioned?

      Thanks, for stopping by and adding your perspective, Monika! Hope you are doing well. You have been away for quite some time!

      Liked by 1 person

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