Category Archives: Museums

Viratnagar

Beejak Ki Pahari,Viratnagar

Viratnagar is about 86 km from Jaipur on the Jaipur-Shahpura-Alwar route. You have to turn for Viratnagar at Shahpura on Jaipur Delhi Highway.

But why Viratnagar? Who goes to Viratnagar? You might ask.

A little time invested in visiting the sights this town has to offer will pay rich dividends, you will see.

Viratnagar  has been a witness to a lot of history being made. According to the excavations done around this town people have been living here since the prehistoric times.

Accorading to the Mahabharat,King Virat founded the city Viratnagar, and the Pandavs spent thirteen years of ‘Agyatvas’(exile) here. This is the city which saw much wheeling & dealing to broker peace to avoid the great war of Mahabharat. Ancient travelers have mentioned their visits to the city. The river Banganga flows near by, a fair is held here every year.

Beejak Ki Pahari
Beejak Ki Pahari,Viratnagar

This serene site is in the lap of the Aravali mountain range. On a ridge under a rock shaped like a Cannon there is an ancient Hanuman temple.
Hanuman Temple, Beejak Ki Pahari,Viratnagar
And there are remains of a Budhist Monastry & a Budhist Stupa shrine from the Mauryan times. This site was found in work done in 1935-36. This is a protected site of ASI.
Budhist Ruins on The Beejak Ki Pahari,Viratnagar

In recent development work done here a cement shelter has been built at the foot of the hillock.

Ganesh Mandir and the Local Museum. The museum has some relics of great importance and antiquity from the Ashokan period.
Ganesh Temple above the museum,Viratnagar

Viratnagar

A stepwell on the way to Panch Malla Mahal badly in need of restoration.

A Stepwell,Viratnagar

Panch Mala Mahal. Raja Man Singh had this imposing structure made.  Emperor Akbar used to stay here on his way to the Ajmer shrine.

Panch Mala Mahal,Viratnagar

I think he has seen a lot of tourists pass by this palace.

Panch Mala Mahal,Viratnagar

The paintings on the domes of the chatries of the palace.

Fresco in the Panch Mala Mahal,Viratnagar

Shri Shri 1008 Digambar Jain Nasiyan.

Shri Shri 1008 Digambar Jain Nasiyan,Viratnagar

Shri Shri 1008 Digambar Jain Nasiyan, Mughal Gate,Viratnagar

Shri Shri 1008 Digambar Jain Nasiyan, Mughal Gate,Viratnagar

Maybe the ghost who walks was here! This is his mark.

The Phantom's Cave

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JKK Gifts Jaipur With A Rajasthani Museum

The Alankar Museum at The Jawahar Kala Kendra(JKK) showcasing  Rajasthani art & cultural artifacts  is now open to the public.
Ground Floor At The Alankar Museum At The JKK

It is a timely and creditable effort to collect all the artifacts just now before they disappear forever from  apathy on our part. When  you visit the museum you might think what is so special about this artifact I have one like this at home. But you might discard it tomorrow due to space constraints or vastu advice or because you were getting a good bargain. You are under no obligation to preserve it. Furthermore the curator has gone to great effort to collect all artifacts one might find in say for example a Rajasthani Kitchen. That fact helps you visualize what a Rajasthani kitchen in the days gone by looked like and what utensils were used and how they used them.
1st Floor At The Alankar Museum At The JKK

The museum is on two floors. The ground floor has been used to display blue pottery,stone & wooden carvings & paintings. The upper floor has been used to display rural life & agricultural artifacts. It showcases a rural kitchen also with everything you might find in a rajasthani kitchen.
Wodden Furniture At Alankar Museum At The JKK

Even if you think you know everything about Rajasthani stuff you ought to give this museum a  visit because you will find long lost friends here. You will wonder whatever happened to such & such thing you had used everyday for years. Or you might realize that the thing you have been using for the past n no. of years is now a priceless collectible.
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Furthermore, if you are stuck for ideas on how to decorate your home or what to buy to take home with you, you ought to give this museum a visit,too.

According to the curator, Mr.Abdul Latif Usta,the museum  had a budget of Rs.6 lacs only & you can see it has been put to good use.
Wine Trolley At The Alankar Museum At The JKK

It is open from 10 am to 5 pm.

Entry fees is Rs.20/- only per pax.

Still Camera Fees in JKK is Rs. 50/- per camera.

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The Salt Lake of Sambhar

Sambhar,SaltLake

About 65km from Jaipur the city of Sambhar with the salt lake & the migratory birds it attracts and the holy places of Shakmbhari Mata temple & Devyani Tank is an ideal spot for a day trip excursion out of Jaipur.
Sambhar,SaltLake

Sambhar Lake is the largest salt lake in India. It has produced salt for more than 700 years. Three small towns of Nawa, Sambhar & Gudha are located on the banks of this lake & all are engaged in producing salt. The salt produced from the Sambhar Lake water is much more salty than the salt produced from ocean water & it comes in three different colors, ordinary white & pink & grey.
Sambhar,SaltLake

In 1876 this area was connected by narrow gauge train. Trains were a boon to this area as the lake is spread over an area of 190 sq km. The trains not only connected the area effectively but also were a big help in shifting the salt from one place to another.You can see these trains or trolleys in use even today.
Sambhar

A.O.Hume, the founder of Indian National Congress (INC), was the first commissioner of Sambhar Salt. He was also a keen ornithologist.
Sambhar,SaltLake,Salt Museum

There is a detailed report on the method of salt production in a historical account written during the time of the rule of Aurangzeb. Abul Fazal has also mentioned Sambhar in accounts written by him.

The Circuit House of Sambhar was built by the British in 1880. There is a salt museum housed in a heritage building nearby, also.
Sambhar

During the monsoon the fresh water of the rains attracts a lot of migratory birds. But they fly away once the weather starts getting hotter and the lake water starts becoming salty.

You should take packed lunch and lot of water and cold drinks with you. You can get ice and softdrinks at the Sambhar Bus-stand, also. If you like eating dhaba food, the dhabas at the Nawa bus-stand are a good option. Sambhar is also famous for its feenees, a sweet dish.

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An Evening At The Jal Mahal Palace

Jalmahal

These are some of the photos of the newly renovated Jal Mahal Palace in the Man Sagar Lake,Jaipur. It is a huge project as you can see and a lot of work has been done. But  a lot of work needs to be done yet though the buzz is they are going to open it to the public in the near future.
Jalmahal

Jalmahal

I have been to the Man Sagar Lake a lot of times but have only seen Jal Mahal Palace’s  view from the Amber Road side. It was a novelty to view it from another angle while sitting in a boat, no less. They have put in a lot of research and effort to faithfully reproduce the finer details as they must have been in the past. The look of the boats has been copied as they were depicted in paintings of days gone by when the boats of Royalty used to ply on the Man Sagar Lake. The top floor has also been faithfully preserved or reproduced as it was in ancient times. There are fountains and marble flooring and lights. The chatris you see from the Amber Road have been painted with murals. A gallery  is also being developed on the floor below the top floor. Original ancient paintings are being blown up and each detail is being reproduced as per the original drawings. I think the artist is going to have his work cut out for him as he will have to maintain them in pristine condition as the moisture from all the water in the lake is going to play havoc with the murals.

They are also  trying to save trees threatened with extinction because of various reasons by transplanting them at great cost in the campus here.

A recent Time Magazine article suggests it is one of the top reasons to visit Jaipur.

All in all this project is a winner and it was an evening well spent.

Jalmahal
I must thank JPC – Jaipur Photographers Club- for organizing this  photo shoot for the photography enthusiasts of Jaipur as one of their weekly photo walks.

Jalmahal

Jalmahal
Jalmahal

Photographing Monuments Of Jaipur

The Young, The Old And The Ancient.

Light plays a big role in making a photo stand out. Golden hours are the sunrise and the sunset.When shooting monuments you have to know where the sun will be at a given time.

It is a good idea to start the day at the Amber Fort because the rising sun illuminates the Fort and you can have early morning darshan at the  Silla Mata Temple.You can not take pictures around the temple and the palaces will open later on.You should concentrate on the exterior of the Fort only. If you want you can take pictures or make a video   riding an elephant to the top of the hillock. One tourist tweeted from her smart phone while riding an elephant up to the Amber Palace. She wanted to be the first to do so.

Now you have a choice either you can wait for the Amber Palace to open to photograph the interiors and then visit the Jaigarh Fort for taking pictures of the Jaigarh Fort and the Cannons and to take pictures of Jaipur and Amber fort from the Jaigarh Fort OR you can head back to Jaipur and take pictures of the Jal Mahal Palace in the Man Sagar Lake against the rising sun and take pictures of  the facade of Hawamahal bathed in the early morning sun light.

Later on around noon you can take photos of the Jantar Mantar, Isar Lat  & the  City Palace. If the spirit moves you you can climb the Victory Tower after paying a small fee and take pictures of the Nahargarh Fort from there.

On your way to the Nahargarh you can take pictures of Jal Mahal from high up.

If you do not mind heights you can even book an early morning hot air balloon ride  to take pictures of the city from high up.

Sisodia Rani ka Bagh has to be captured in your camera in the morning. In the evening you will be shooting the palace against the light. Central Park is nice in the evening.The facade of the B.M.Birla Conference venue on the Statue Circle  is best shot in the setting sun. The founder of Jaipur’s  Statue stands tall at the Statue Circle.You can take its picture also now.

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This Jaipur-At A Glance

Birlamandir
Listed here below are some of the important posts about the city of Jaipur on this Blog for your ready reference.

BIRDING

This Pink City-In 1000 Words!

Museums

Shopping

Jaipur By Night

Books

Clubs

Gardens

Morning Walk

Birding

Thikana Govind Devji

Libraries

Jantar Mantar

Around Jaipur

Some Recipes

Jaipur Marriages

Where to Eat-1

Where To Eat-2

WORSHIP

Karan’s Guesthouse

Almost Twilight

An old man in the Central Park of Jaipur

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Jaigarh

Jaigarh

Jaigarh

One of the three forts which have stood sentinel over  the city of Amber & Jaipur ,  Jaigarh has been standing proud since the 11th century when Kakil Deo laid its foundation. The fort has been added to and brought to its present state over the years by the successive Kachawaha rulers of Amber and Jaipur. Jaigarh is built atop the aravali hills at a height of 602 meters above sea level.From North to South it stretches for 3 km while it  has a width of about 1 km. To guard this vast region from intruders there used to be  27 maned check posts. Jaigarh is 15 km from Jaipur thru the Doongar Gate and only 1.5 km from Amber thru the Awani Gate which connects the Amber fort with Jaigarh by a steep road paved with stones. One more Gate known as the Sagari Gate is, now a days, used only on the day following Deepawali when anakoot is celebrated here and on the eve of Bhairav Asthmi.

The Fort had an elaborate Palace Complex, the Lalit Mandir, for the summer retreat of the Maharajas and Subhat Niwas where he addressed the soldiers and Khilbati Niwas where he met with the generals and Lakshmi Vilas the royal drawing room and the puppet show room and 2  Dining halls and kitchen and Garden  and garden house known as Aram Mandir and ladies Quarters known as  Vilas Mandir and Surya Mandir was used for the Gun foundry. There was even a small castle inside the Fort which was used as the armoury  of Jaigarh. Two temples dedicated to Ram Harihar and Kal Bhairava are in  the Jaigarh where most hindu festivals are celebrated.

Jaigarh

Jaigarh

The rulers of Jaigarh took  great effort to harvest water for the people of the fort.They had five big tanks where rain water  was stored  after being lifted from the Sagar lake. For 4 kms around the Fort they had pucca canals made which brought the water of first couple of rains from the catchment areas  to one of the tanks for the use of the horses etc. Some of these tanks are in use even today by the staff running the fort for their drinking water supply.

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Cannon Foundry Of Jaigarh

Bajrangvana at Jaigarh

Bajrangvana at Jaigarh is a garrison cannon. It rests on a 2 wheeled carriage and needed 16 pairs of oxen to move it.

Cannon foundry at the Jaigarh Fort was the brain child of Maharaja Man Singh Ji-I. Its plans were based on his extensive knowledge of  cannons gleaned on his Kabul campaign in the 16th century as commander of Akbar’s army. It covers an area of  about 9000 square feet. The furnace and the drilling complex are its two major parts.The furnace its self is of the dimensions of 24 X 12 X 10 feet. It is an open hearth furnace where very high temperatures of about 1000 to 1200 degree Celsius can be attained.There are two charging windows and three chimneys.The hearth of the furnace is oval and made of fire bricks and clay.There are two opening in its ceiling which open into the chimneys above.The hearth has a small 2X2 feet window which opens into the pit outside so that the molten metal can fall into the mould and take its shape. A 72 feet long tunnel in the lower part of the furnace worked as a wind tunnel.

The Drilling Complex is an octagonal room with the ceiling at the height of 31 feet where the barrels of cannons moulded in the foundry were bored.  Four pairs of oxen were used to turn the levers of the machine which bored the barrel of a cannon in the making.

The moulds used for casting the barrel of the cannon were made in two halves and joined together after layering the inside with clay mixed with adhesives, granular sand ,silica,mica,coal etc. These moulds were also bound together with strips of iron so that the mould could stand the pressure of molten metal.

The Jaivan was the most famous cannon cast at the Jaigarh Cannon Foundry.It is the largest cannon on wheels in the world. The height of the front wheels is 9 feet and the height of the rear wheels is 4.5 feet.Its barrel is braced by a 24 feet long shaft. The barrel of the  cannon is carved with flowers, animals and birds. The charge  required  to fire the cannon was 100 kg of gunpowder and a cannon ball weighing 50 kg.

Dhoomvan was also cast at Jaigarh Foundry in 1622. Nahar Mukhi was also cast at Jaigarh in 1675. Karak Bijli was one of the earliest cannons to be cast at Jaigarh. A flat trajectory cannon it is light in comparison to the other cannons.

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Ravindra Manch And Jawahar Kala Kendra

Ravindra Manch, Jaipur located in the Ram Niwas Garden was one of the 17 cultural centers envisaged by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1961.It was opened to public on 15th August 1963 by the then cultural minister Mr.H.Kabir. It has been newly refurbished by an expenditure of 90 lac rupees.It has all the facilities needed in a theater including an open air theater and ample parking and an art gallery.

On  8th November 2008 a three day cultural  festival was organized honoring the Nobel lauret Guru Rabindra Nath Tagore.It is proposed to hold this festival every year.

Jawahar Kala Kendra on JLN marg, designed by Charles Correa, was opened for public by the then President of India, Dr.Shankar Dayal Sharma, on 8th April 1993.It is located on a  parcel of land having an area of 9.5 acers and the building is surrounded by  lush green landscaped garden.On one side it has a Shilp Gram made in a replica of a cluster of village huts.When you look at the number of facilities it provides to the aspiring artists, artists and local residents alike it is not hard to understand why it is thronged by them everyday.It has an open air theater, art galleries, library,print making shop,audio visual department and an outlet of India Coffee House.Besides this there are cultural programs, exhibitions,plays etc held all the year round.

A Village For The Elephants Of Amber

Elephants have been around Jaipur even before the foundation stone of Jaipur was laid.They were being used in the Royal armies and in the Royal shikars.They also helped to build Jaipur.
Now a days they are a very popular mode of transport up the Amer hill. The ride is much in demand by the foreign and indian tourists alike.They are also used in the groom’s wedding procession and for playing elephant Polo and in Bollywood films.In a case of Indian ingenuity a local entrepreneur runs a thriving business making hand made paper from Elephant dung.
RTDC organizes an Elephant festival around Holi in which Elephant beauty pageants and Elephant Polo and other events related to elephants are organized for the tourists visiting Jaipur and local residents alike.

India’s first and the world’s third elephant village( Budget Rs.5 Crores)- the other two are in Kegalla, Sri Lanka and Pattya,Thailand- is almost ready for occupation by its residents. 2km from Amber in the village Kunda off Jaipur-Delhi highway 51 quarters for the elephants, mahawats and their families have been made.Provision has been kept to house all of the about 95 elephants in Amber here at a later date.An elephant veterinary hospital, a cafe,a riding track,large water bodies, a museum and a shilp gram are also proposed.RTDC proposes to develop the village in a tourist spot so that visitors can watch the elephants going about their daily lives.