In the heart of the old city, the City Palace occupies a large area divided into a series of courtyards, gardens and buildings. The outer wall was built by Sawai Jai Singh, but other additions are more recent, some dating to the start of the 20th century. The palace is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The son of the last Maharaja and his family still live in part of the palace.
Before the palace proper lies the Mubarak Mahal (Welcome Palace), built in late 19th century by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II as a reception center for visiting dignitaries. It now forms part of the Maharaja Sawai Mansingh II Museum and contains a collection of royal costumes and superb shawls including sanganeri block prints, royal shawls. Kashmiri Pashmina (goat’s wool) shawls, folk embroideries and Banaras saris.
At the heart of the complex is the seven – tiered Chandra Mahal where erstwhile royal family is still in residence, though only a small part of the apartments are occupied. However, it is only the buildings around Chandra Mahal that are open to the public, and these also form a part of the museum.
Through Singh Pol (Lion Gate), visitors can approach the Diwan-i-Khas and Diwan-i-Am, where the maharaja’s private and public courts would be held. The architecture seems to consist of a number of arched, pillared halls, while the courtyards with painted doorways are a prominent feature.
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