December 31, 2011

Two nodes of the Golden Triangle (Part-III) (Jaipur Day 1 - Continued)

Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds):
Hawa Mahal is a 5 story lattice structured pyramid shaped building that is 15 meter high from its base. Entrance to Hawa Mahal is not from the front side which is shown in pictures but from a side road approaching towards backside of the building. Entry fee is Rs. 10 per person. Most of the local people discourage you to go on top of the building stating that there is nothing inside the building. They say that it is not worth spending time by going inside. But on the contrary I found this building a marvelous architecture which is worth a visit up to the top floor. From the top you also get a 360 degree view of the city and an ariel view of Jantar Mantar, Pink City, Nahargarh etc. So do not hesitate and devote at least an hour or more to explore the building.
Hawa Mahal Introduction

Entrance of Hawa Mahal

Inside court

View from the Top
Nahargarh fort on the far hill as seen from Hawa Mahal Top

Inside view from top floor

Badi Chaupar from top
Front view from the Road

Govind Dev Ji Temple:
It was around 0400 PM and we spend around six hour in three monuments namely City Palace, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal including intermediate rests. Now we inquired about the old temple of Govind Dev Ji which is in the same campus of City Palace near Jaleb Chowk. But we were told that the temple will be closed now and can be visited after 1745 hrs. The temple is dedicated to Lord Krishna. This temple is must visit place due to several reasons. It is very old temple and considered an important temple of Lord Krishna outside Vrindavan. Also it is mentioned in Guinness Book for the largest RCC roof span in the world without any pillar.

Guinness Record
Prasad of Halwa and Pakodi is distributed at the exit gate of temple. Timing for Aarti are 0430 to 0500, 0730 to 0845, 0930 to 1015, 1100 to 1130, 1745 to 1815, 1830 to 1945 and after 2130 to 2200 hrs. Timings change as per seasons also, so it is better to know the timings beforehand. 
How to reach temple

Albert Hall Museum:
As the temple was closed we planned to visit immediately the Albert Hall Museum, which closes by 1730 hrs. We reached there by a paddle rickshaw within 10 minutes. It is situated outside walled city on the road in front of New Gate. It is a historical museum displaying Royal collections, artifacts and a 4000 years old mummy too. Images of some artifacts are here for a feel of the museum. The place is worth devoting 1-2 hour if you are interested in historical time-travel. Photographs of the museum building and some of the displayed artifacts are shown below.

Handmade statue of artist making lac bangles

Display of string instruments

Musical instrument in larger than life size

Bal Ganesha made of marble
Wood Carving on door panel
Pigeons outside Albert Hall 
Birla Temple:
After visiting the Albert Hall Temple we proceed towards Birla Temple (Laxmi Narayan Temple) which is situated on the same road ahead at a 10 minutes paddle rickshaw drive. It is a Hindu temple among many such Birla Temples across the country and is built by finest quality marble. You may also see mythological scenes on stained window glass. It is situated at the bottom of the Moti Dungari fort, which forms a nice backdrop for temple in the night. After sunset this complex provides stunning views. Moti Dungari fort at the top of the hill is like any Scottish fort and is opened only once in a year (on the day of Shivratri, as per hindu calendar) for public viewing. An added attraction is another temple dedicated to lord Ganesha, at the bottom of the Dungari fort. You may find some foreigners also visiting the Birla Temple. Here are some pictures of the place.
Side view of Birla Temple
Front view Birla Temple
Way to Ganesha Temple and Moti Dungari Fort 
Moti Dungari Fort in night
Stained glass window depicting Lord Shiva's family
Lord Shiva's Temple in the campus
Lord Ganesha temple at Moti Dungari base
Full view of Ganesha Temple
The Birla Temple complex gives you best feel if you visit it in evening and see it before sunset and after sunset lighting. After this we again took an auto rickshaw back to Govind Dev Ji Temple and had a darshan. After offering our puja to Lord Krishna, we returned back to the hotel. It was 2000 hrs and time for dinner. Next day i.e. 21 December 2011 was scheduled for visiting the forts of Jaipur, which is covered in next part of the article.
Next: Two nodes of the Golden Triangle (Part-IV) (Jaipur Day - 2)