Jaipur is Rajasthan’s biggest city and its capital. It is known (somewhat incorrectly) as the Pink City due to the distinct color of its buildings. The ‘pink’ of the Pink City is Gerua (or ochre) in which the city was coated during the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1905-06. Jaipur is known as much for its fascinating monuments and colorful markets as it is for its gorgeous handloom garments and wonderfully laid-out gardens. It is really not very difficult to fall in love with Jaipur the moment you land here. Along with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur forms the Golden Triangle of Indian tourism. Not only does it attract domestic travelers, Jaipur is often an important stopover for foreign tourists. Jaipur also serves as a stepping stone for those who want to travel to the interiors of Rajasthan. Whether it is the majestic Jodhpur or Jaisalmer, the desert city of Rajasthan or quite simply the lesser-known Shekhawati region, Jaipur serves as a starting point for all these places and more. So far, traveling within Rajasthan was restricted to road and rail. However starting September 2016, Rajasthan’s three major airports (at Jaipur, Udaipur and Jodhpur) will be connected by flights.
Before we take you around this majestic city, let’s take a short detour back in time. The city of Jaipur gets its name from its founder, Jai Singh II. Unlike several other kings and emperors of his time, Jai Singh II was as keen an astronomer as he was a great warrior. He ascended the throne at the tender age of 11 after his father Bishan Singh passed away. Hailing from the Kucchwaha Rajput clan, Jai Singh carried on his ancestral alliance with the Mughals, in line with the Kucchwaha Rajput policy of diplomacy over war. This isn’t to say that Jai Singh’s alliance with the Mughals was always a happy one. As with all alliances, this one too had its share of ups and downs but the lowest point came after the death of Aurangzeb who once favored Jai Singh and had also given him the title Sawai. When time came, Jai Singh II allied himself with Azam Shah and his son Bidar Bakht, who lost the succession battle and Jai Singh found himself alienated in the Mughal court. Bahadur Shah succeeded Aurangzeb and demanded that Jai Singh II be removed from the throne of Jaipur. Not the one to take setbacks lying down, Jai Singh II allied himself with two other Rajput states. He married the princess of Mewar and won the trust of the Marwar king and together they expelled the Mughals from Rajputana. Jai Singh earned his place at the table once again and was appointed to govern important Mughal provinces. DON’T MISS 11 stunning photographs of Jaipur that are so inviting, you’ll start packing immediately
With the dust settled and peace won, Jaipur prospered even as its borders expanded. And it was then that he built a city around Amber Fort that would serve as his capital. He named the city Jaipur, after himself. Along with Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, his architect, Jai Singh II laid out the plan for Jaipur based on the ancient architectural manual Shilpa Shastra thus making Jaipur India’s first planned city. Jai Singh’s interest in astronomy also led to the construction of Jantar Mantar the observatory not just in Jaipur but also in Ujjain, Delhi, Mathura and Varanasi. While four of them remain landmarks in their respective cities, there are no traces of the Mathura Jantar Mantar.
View of Amber Fort from Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur
Jaipur earned the sobriquet of Pink City after Jai Singh’s descendant Ram Singh, painted the city in gerua to welcome the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) in 1876. For the want of a name for the color (gerua is closer to ochre than pink) the British called it pink and the name stuck. Despite the rampant construction and unplanned development in the modern times, Jaipur still retains much of its charm. CHECK OUT How Holi is celebrated in Jaipur
Sightseeing in Jaipur
A composite ticket will cover your entrance fees for five of Jaipur’s major monuments: Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall (Central Museum), Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort and Nahargarh Fort. The ticket costs Rs 50 for Indian citizens, Rs 1,000 for foreigners and Rs 30 for Indian students and is valid for two days. This ticket is available at the booking counter of all of the five venues.
Built by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799, Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds is the most iconic landmark or Jaipur. Indeed, Hawa Mahal symbolizes Jaipur in a way that Gateway of India symbolizes Mumbai and Shaniwar Wada symbolizes Pune. Built as a high screen for the women of the royal household, Hawa Mahal is made from red and pink sandstone and stands right at the edge of the City Palace and extends to the women’s chambers or zenana.
Hawa Mahal has been designed to look like the crown of Krishna and stands tall at five stories, its façade resembling a honeycomb. With 953 intricately latticework jharokhas or small windows, Hawa Mahal served as a perfect cover for the Rajput women to watch the everyday goings-on and the special processions on the streets below. Jhunjhunu’s Khetri Mahal served as the inspiration for this spectacular structure after Pratap Singh was intimidated and inspired by it. In the centuries that followed, it was Hawa Mahal that shot into prominence and became the icon of a city that attracted people from all over the world. DON’T MISS
While the intricate latticework is spectacular to look at, it also served a paractical purpose. The lattice permitted the royal ladies to watch life pass by in the streets below without being seen in return and thus maintaining their purdah. The latticework also serves another purpose by allowing only the cool breeze to pass through thus working as a natural air conditioner of sorts even in peak summers. Because of its strategic positioning, Hawa Mahal was offers breathtaking views of Jantar Mantar, City Palace and the Siredeori Bazaar.
Hawa Mahal timings: 9am to 5pm
Approximate visit duration: Two hours
Right next to Hawa Mahal is Jaipur’s City Palace that predates the latticework masterpiece by a few decades. Construction on the City Palace was completed in 1732 and it served as the seat of power for the Maharaja of Jaipur. Even to this day, a part of the City Palace is out of bounds for general public because it continues to serve as home to the erstwhile royal family of Jaipur. The city Palace complex is home to Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal and its various iconic gates — Udai Pol, Tripolia Gate and Virendra Pol among others — blend the Rajput style of architecture with that of Mughals and European, the two powers that the Kucchwaha Rajputs allied themselves with during their time in power.
Jaipur’s City Palace was commissioned by Jai Singh II who moved the capital down from Amber Fort to the plains since there wasn’t enough water for his burgeoning population. The city of Jaipur was planned in six blocks that were separated by broad avenues. Jai Singh II ruled over his people from the City Palace even as he oversaw the construction of Jantar Mantar, which was completed two years after the City Palace.
City Palace also has a museum that displays a wide array of royal costumes, some very exquisite and precious Pashmina shawls, Benaras silk saris, Sanganeri prints and folk embroidery as well as weaponry used by the Rajputs and other knick-knacks that provide a glimpse into the life and times of the various Sawais.
City Palace timings: 9am to 5pm
Approximate visit duration: Two hours
Jantar Mantar of Jaipur is one of the five observatories constructed by Jai Singh II. Ujjain, Delhi and Varanasi are the other cities that house the remaining Jantar Mantars but there remain no traces of the one at Mathura. Among the many instruments that are part of this observatory is the world’s biggest sundial. Jantar Mantar is located just a stone’s throw from City Palace and Hawa Mahal and features instruments made of stone and brass that were built using instrument design principles from ancient texts. In all there are 19 instruments that help observe astronomical positions with the naked eye. Jantar Mantar is a fine example of Ptolemaic positional astronomy and has instruments that operate in each of the three main classical celestial coordinate systems: the ecliptic system, the horizon-zenith local system and the equatorial system. When it suffered some damage in the 19th century, Major Arthur Garrett, an amateur astronomer who was posted as the Assistant State Engineer in Jaipur, undertook the first major restoration work on Jantar Mantar. As of 2010, Jantar Mantar has been included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites and remains a gem of Jaipur that cannot be missed.
Jantar Mantar timings: 9am to 5pm
Approximate visit duration: One to two hours
One of the oldest museums in Rajasthan, Albert Hall Museum is located amidst the sprawling Ram Niwas Gardens just on the outskirts of the traditional market area of Jaipur. Albert Hall Museum doesn’t just house a collection of rare paintings but also showcases some exquisite pieces of jewelry, chiseled brass-ware, pottery and natural stones, ivory goods, metal sculptures and crystal works.
Designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, the building of Albert Hall Museum is an example of Indo- Saracenic architecture and its foundation was laid by Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward) during his visit to India in 1876. While it was being built, there were various suggestions about how to put the building to the best use. Needless to say, the building was considered as a venue for a town hall or as a venue for a school or an education institution. But Madho Singh approved the idea of turning it into a museum in 1880. Construction on the building was completed in 1887. Albert Hall Museum has a somewhat eclectic collection of things on display — from dioramas to tribal costumes, miniature paintings to carpets and, for good measure, even an Egyptian mummy!
Among its admirers was the author Rudyard Kipling who was so impressed, not just by the building but also its curated contents, that he wrote that it was ‘a rebuke to all other museums in India from Calcutta downwards. ‘
Albert Hall Museum timings: 9am to 5pm
Approximate visit duration: One hour
Rambagh Palace is often called the Jewel of Jaipur and it doesn’t take a lot to see why it has earned this sobriquet. One of the most beautiful palaces in India, Rambagh once served as the residence to the Maharaja of Jaipur. While the palace has been converted into a very fine hotel, the family continues to receive preference even to this day. By all estimates, Rambagh is the most expensive hotel in Jaipur.
Interestingly, Rambagh was originally built as a garden house in 1835 for Kesar Badaran, the wet nurse of Ram Singh II. Under the reign of Madho Singh, this garden house and its surroundings received an upgrade and the house was converted into a royal hunting lodge since at the time it was surrounded by thick forest. This task — of converting a garden house into a hunting lodge — was given to Sir Swinton Jacob, the same man who designed the Albert Hall Museum. Eventually marble halls, corridors and courtyards were added to the garden site and Man Singh II made Rambagh Palace his main residence in 1931. The palace was also home to Maharani Gayatri Devi and has hosted several dignitaries from India and around the world. Among those who have stayed here are Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, Jacqueline Kennedy, the former First Lady of the United States and, of course, Prince Charles of England. CHECK OUT Nahargarh fort: 6 fascinating facts about Jaipur’s 18th century masterpiece
Today, Rambagh Palace has 78 rooms and four suites, a restaurant, a coffee shop and a bar as well as conference rooms, swimming pools and a spa. Suvarna Mahal, located in the former palace ballroom, serves Indian cuisine, Rajput Room and Verandah Cafe offer multi-cuisine options while Steam, the lounge bar offers some great Mediterranean delights. Rambagh’s watering hole is called Polo Bar, which with its trophies and memorabilia of the Jaipur polo team on display, makes for a great place to wind down after a long day. Rambagh Palace showcases the best of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture and since it is run by the Taj Group, it remains one of the few well-maintained buildings of its time.
Rambagh Palace is not open for public viewing. To see it from the inside, you will either need to book a stay here or get a table at one of the restaurants. Since it is a five-star hotel, the prices are obviously steep but there are few things that come close to walking down the haloed corridors of this spectacular structure. If, however, you do book a stay at Rambagh, ask the duty manager (0141 6671234) for a heritage tour of the palace. The tour lasts about 45 minutes.
Located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake is the spectacular Jal Mahal. At first glance, the palace that was constructed in 1745, appears to float on the waters of the lake (thus giving it the name). Jaipur’s Lake Palace is modeled on the Lake Palace of Udaipur. Man Sagar Lake, amidst which it stands, is an artificial lake that was formed when a dam was constructed over the river Dharbawati in the early 1600s. Jal Mahal is located on the outskirts of Jaipur en route to Amber. The hills across the lake are dotted with forts and old temples which can be seen in the background of the palace. While boat rides to the palace were available a few years ago, they have now stopped making it a photos-only destination. Constructed in red sandstone Jal Mahal is a five-storied building that blends Rajput and Mughal styles of architecture. Four floors of Jal Mahal remain underwater when the lake is full.
Today, Jal Mahal has been converted into a luxury hotel and is managed by the Taj Group. Restored and refurbished, Jal Mahal Palace Hotel has 94 rooms and six suites as well as multiple restaurants. Cinnamon (0141 2223636) serves Indian cuisine from the four princely states and Giardino (0141 6601111) is to be Jaipur’s only contemporary al fresco Italian restaurant. Marble Arch (0141 6601111) is a multi-cuisine all-day dining restaurant and Marigold Bar (0141 6601111) boasts of a spectacular selection of single malts and cigars and innovative cocktails. Since Jal Mahal is a private property, it remains out of bounds for public. The only way to see Jal Mahal from the inside is to either stay there or book a table at one of these restaurants.
Amber Fort stands on the outskirts of Jaipur, some 13 km from the city center. As with almost all other structures in the area of its era, Amber Fort brings together elements of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Before Jai Singh II founded Jaipur in the plains and moved his capital there, Amber served as the seat of the Kachhawa Rajput clan to which Jai Sing belonged. Construction on Amber Fort began in 1592 when Raja Man Singh I built over the remnants of an earlier fortification. Built with red sandstone, Amber saw considerable modifications over time as successive rulers added their own elements to it over a span of a century and a half. Amber’s moment of glory was under the reign of Man Singh I. The commander-in-chief of the Mughal army and one of Akbar’s Navratnas (or nine jewels of Akbar’s court) Man Singh I commissioned the construction of Amber.
In several ways, Amber is less of a military fortress (like Jaigarh or Nahargarh) and more of a pleasure palace. Precious stones were once embedded in the walls and ceilings of Amber. The stones have long gone but the intricate carvings and mirror work remain and offer a glimpse of just how grand Amber Fort must have been at the peak of its power. The fort complex houses several palaces constructed in the Mughal style of architecture and a fortified tunnel that connects it to Jaigarh. The tunnel was built as an escape route for members of the royal family so they could take refuge in Jaigarh, a far safer place than Amber.
Amber gets its name from Amba, the goddess of the Meena clan that ruled the fort and its surrounding areas in 967 AD. Amber fell into the hands of the Kucchwaha Rajputs in 1035 AD. Amber flourished under the reign of the Kucchwaha Rajputs, especially so under the reign of Raja Man Singh I and became capital in 1036 AD. Amber remained the seat of power of the Kucchwaha Rajputs for close to seven hundred years, right up until 1727 AD. Jai Singh II built a new city for his fast-growing population.
Amber Fort timings: 8am to 5.30pm
Approximate visit duration: Two to three hours
Standing on the edge of the Aravallis and overlooking Jaipur, Nahargarh Fort is one of the three major forts on the outskirts of the city. Alongside Jaigarh and Amber, Nahargarh formed defense ring of Jaipur. But Nahargarh went by a different name. Originally called Sudarshangarh, the fort was renamed to Nahargarh or the abode of tigers, presumably after Nahar Singh Bhomia whose spirit reportedly haunted the region and obstructed the fort’s construction. It was only after his temple was built within the fort that the spirit was satisfied and the fort’s construction resumed. Compared with Amber, Nahargarh is a far newer fort.
ALSO READ 6 little-known facts about Nahargarh Fort
Constructed in 1734 by Sawai Jai Singh II, Nahargarh served as a place of retreat on the summit of the ridge above the city. Nahargarh’s fortifying walls connected it to Jaigarh that itself overlooked Amber. Because the Kachhawa Rajputs were the allies of Mughals, Nahargarh never really came under attack and the famed field guns of Nahargarh were fired only to denote the passing of the hour. Since the Rajputs had sided with the British during the Indian Mutiny of 1857, Sawai Ram Singh moved several Europeans to Nahargarh for their protection.
But Nahargarh isn’t all just military. Madhavendra Bhawan, which served as a zenana for the royal women, is one of the most beautiful buildings in the fort and has a dozen identical suites, each as spectacular as the other. Hallways that connected the suites featured gorgeous frescoes and the suites were constructed in a manner that the king could visit any queen of his choice without the others getting a wind of it!
Nahargarh Fort timings: 10am to 5.30pm
Approximate visit duration: Two hours
Jaigarh Fort is the third imposing fort that overlooks the city. It is part of the three-fort defense ring that protected Jaipur and indeed Amber. Located some 400 m above Amber, Jaigarh’s primary aim was to protect the lower fort. Constructed by Jai Singh II in 1726, the fort took the name of the king who commissioned it. The name Jaigarh is also fitting because the fort has never been conquered. Situated on Cheel ka Teela (Eagle’s Hill) of the Aravalli mountain range, Jaigarh overlooks the lake Maota and Amber Fort. Standing amidst thorn-scrub covered hills with a steep road rising up to the main gate, Dungar Darwaza, Jaigarh is one imposing fort capable of striking feat in the hearts of its enemies. Subterranean tunnels connect Amber to Jaigarh and the two forts, despite the distance between them are generally considered part of one fort complex. The tunnels were meant for the use of members of the royal household who could escape to Jaigarh, the safer fort, from Amber should there be an attack.
Jaigarh is one of the rare military structures built in medieval India and one that remains intact even today. The fort stands preserved with palaces, granary, canon foundry, many temples, a tower but the main attraction of the Jaigarh Fort is the Jaivana.
Jaivana is the world’s largest cannon on wheels. It was manufactured in the foundry of Jaigarh that was famous for producing cannons for the Mughal Empire. Jaivana was manufactured during the reign of Jai Singh II. Jaivana is mounted on roller pin bearings on four wheels, which helps it turn 360 degrees and fire in any direction. The carvings on Jaivana’s barrel — trees, an elephant scroll and a pair of birds — are a merry distraction from the fierce capability of the cannon. Jaivana needs balls weighing 50 kg that can be fired as far as 35 km. Interestingly Jaivana was and continues to be nothing more than just a showpiece. With Mughals on their side, the Rajputs never really faced any major attacks. Jaigarh was never invaded and Jaivana was used all but once to test its firing capabilities.
Jaigarh extends for three km. It has a well-maintained garden within the fort and embankments in every corner that slope down to give access to the upper lever of the structure. In the center of the fort complex is a watch tower that stands on a raised platform. The tower offers excellent panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The Aram Temple and garden in the courtyard on the northern end of the fort has a triple arched entrance that is known as the Awani Darwaza. This triple arched gate was repaired recently and provides beautiful views of Sagar Lake. Jaigarh also has two ancient temples with its premises: Ram Harihar Temple dates back to the 10th century while Kal Bhairav Temple dates back to the 12th century.
Jaigarh Fort timings: 9am to 5pm
Approximate visit duration: Two to three hours
Best places to eat in Jaipur
Nothing comes close to representing a culture than its cuisine. And Rajasthani cuisine is a classic example of this. The dishes cover the entire spectrum — from the very sweet to the very spicy — and everything in between. Jaipur has several restaurants that serve authentic Rajasthani cuisine. But being the capital, you will also have a choice of restaurants where the dishes are tweaked to suit the international palette. But if you are in Jaipur, there are some places you absolutely cannot miss visiting:
Laxmi Misthan Bhandar (or LMB, 0141 4001616 0141 2565844) is a pure vegetarian restaurant that has been in business since 1954. LMB serves a wide range of Rajasthani and Bengali sweets and even has a large restaurant serving vegetarian Rajasthani delicacies. The Rajasthani thali, though tad overpriced has a great spread that gives you a taste of almost every major vegetarian Rajasthani dish. Alternatively try out the Pyaaz Kachori and certainly don’t miss the kuly and falooda.
Khandelwal Dhaba Purana Wala (0141 5102935, 0141 5102937), located along Sikar Road, is as good an option for vegetarian Rajasthani cuisine as LMB. Since it is on the outskirts of the city, Khandelwal Dhaba also offers al fresco seating and a wide range of veg fare. Khandelwal Special Thali is a good choice here.
Spice Court (0141 4108252/0141 2220202) in Civil Lines is an upscale restaurant that specializes in Laal Maas. While the Laal Maas here is indeed good, the unsung star of Spice Court is Junglee Maas, which beats the former hands down. Douse the fire in your mouth with some kulfi or drop by at the neighboring Dzurt patisserie, which is very much part of Spice Court but run by a Le Cordon Bleu chef.
Chokhi Dhani (0141 5165000 +91 9667222203) can be translated as ‘special village’. Located some 20 km from Jaipur along Tonk Road, Chokhi Dhani recreates the ambience of a Rajasthani village. The large open-air ‘restaurant’ offers a typical ‘rural Rajasthani experience’ complete with traditional entertainment, snack stalls, merry-go-rounds for kids, camel rides and of course a proper sit-down Rajasthani meal which is served by enthusiastic servers. Chokhi Dhani was the first restaurant of its kind, offering rural experiences. Since then it has opened several branches around the country and set off a similar trend of places attempting to recreate an authentic rural Indian experience.
Lassiwala on MI Road opens its doors as early as 7.30 am and serves absolutely nothing but thick delicious lassis in earthen glasses of different sizes. But what makes Lassiwala really unique is the fact that the owner shuts shop as soon as the stock for the day is over! They put out the curd for setting for the next day, down the shutters and simply leave! So if you are craving for a lassi, we suggest you make a trip as early on in the day as possible. There are several imitations along MI Road, look out for the outlet that says Shop 312 and ‘Since 1944′. If Lassiwala is open late at night, there is more than a decent chance that it is not the original.
Polo Bar (0141 2211919) is one of Jaipur’s best-known watering hole. Located inside the Rambagh Palace Hotel, Polo Bar is adorned with polo memorabilia and doffs its hat at the polo exploits of the erstwhile kings and princes of Jaipur. Martinis of Polo Bar are particularly recommended. Ask for Abdul, who wasn’t just involved in setting up the bar several years ago, but was also a member of the staff of the royal family.
Shopping in Jaipur
Jaipur is, without a doubt, a shopper’s paradise. With people flocking to Jaipur from all over the world to shop for gems, crafts and other artifacts, the markets of Jaipur are always buzzing with activity on any given season. If you shop too much, the stores will even arrange to deliver your shopping home for you! The old market is spread out around Hawa Mahal and is divided into specific quarters that sell specific goods.
For instance Bapu Bazaar is a great place to shop for saris and fabrics. It is also the perfect place to go shopping for trinkets and other small return gifts. Siredeori Bazaar and Johari Bazaar house jewelry stores and are especially known for meenakari jewelry, a specialty of Jaipur. You can also find some sweet deals for fabrics in Johari Bazaar. Kishanpol Bazaar is known for the bandhani work, Nehru Bazaar for its fabric, jootis and perfumes and Manigaron Ka Rasta is a great place to go shopping for bangles.
Rajasthali Emporium (0141 237 2974) opposite Ajmer Gate is a state emporium that sells all things Rajasthan — from artifacts to embroidery, pottery to woodwork, puppets to miniatures and brassware to bandhani fabrics. While the store is a great place to shop if you’re in a hurry, use the trip to gauge the prices of items before setting out into the bazaars of Jaipur. Not only will you find a larger variety in the stores outside but if you bargain well you might even manage to get a sweeter deal!
For a more sophisticated shopping experience, head down to Anokhi (0141 4007244) that offers some great block-printed fabrics, bed covers, linen, scarves and other items of Indian clothing for a premium. Anokhi even has a cafe on its premises and a small bookstore. Along similar lines and philosophy is the much-older brand, Fabindia (0141 5115991), which has evolved into a brand name for all things Indian. From kurtas to saris and bedspreads to furniture, Fabindia is the sanitized and polished version of the country… but we aren’t complaining. ALSO SEE Your ultimate Jaipur itinerary!
Gem scam of Jaipur
Jaipur’s gem scam is one of the oldest in the country. Touts will have you believe that the gems you buy here can be sold for a higher price elsewhere. The touts are a patient breed, luring tourists with their excellent English and people skills. The scam is breathtakingly simple: They approach you, befriend you and before long they get you hook, line and sinker. It could be hours, even days before they bring up the matter of re-selling. Whatever they say, don’t let greed get the better of you. Also know that Jaipur has a gem-testing laboratory (0141 2568221, Monday to Saturday). They will be happy to test the authenticity of the gems for a price (Rs 1,000 per stone or Rs 1,600 per stone for a same-day delivery if you deposit the stone before 1 pm).
Gem Palace: India’s oldest jewelry store
By no means would the chaotic MI Road meet the high standards of any luxury brands around the world. Its busy thoroughfare of camel carts and auto rickshaws, the several eateries and shops that line both sides of the street doesn’t necessarily provide the ‘right environment’ for a luxury store. But that hasn’t made any difference to The Gem Palace that stands proudly on this very road since 1852 in a haveli that boasts of Mughal-style minarets and columns. Run by the ninth generation of the Kasliwal family that arrived in Jaipur sometime after the city was built. It was the royal family of Jaipur that invited the Kasliwals to the new capital and work as palace jewelers. The Kasliwals began their business in the same haveli which is now a store.
If anything spells luxury, The Gem Palace is it. Quite like the owners, its clientele goes back generations and its wares, though understated, are stuff that legends are made of. The astute Kasliwals purchased several pieces of jewelry from several royal families of Jaipur in 1970s when the Indira Gandhi government abolished the privy purses forcing them to sell their precious items.
Today, Gem Palace has everything for someone — from contemporary designs in 18 carat gold to Rajasthani-Mughal pieces for the traditionally inclined. And unlike most jewelry stores, Gem Palace even has something for the men — from cuffs to sherwani and tuxedo buttons to walking sticks with bejeweled handles and more. Over the years, Kasliwals have diversified to some extent and they even deal in select miniature paintings, even though gem trading remains at the heart of their business.