A WALK IN THE PALACE
The Leela Palace Jaipur is an amalgamation of architecture inspired by The Royal Rajputs and The Majestic Mughals on the outside and a specially curated selection of Jaipur's rich history and culture from within.
The Journey to the palace starts at Tulsi Mahal, the main reception. Tulsi, the Indian Basil, is present in abundance in the property. It is considered auspicious and should be placed before beginning an auspicious occasion as per the Hindu tradition. As we take a walk inside the Tulsi Mahal, you will witness a marble Water Fountain placed in the centre of the structure. This beautiful fountain is the exact replica of the fountain we see in The Red Fort, Delhi, constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1618 and is a major tourist attraction today. We also have these artistic chairs modelling the Raaj Sinhasan, which were specially made for the Royals of the Rajput kingdom. There is a very special Arayash finished wall inside the Tulsi Mahal. You will observe this in many parts of the Palace, especially on the exterior walls. Arayash is an indigenous wall painting technique, usually done on a freshly prepared wall surface, The Arayash technique was mostly practiced in a different part of Rajasthan like Amer-Jaipur, Shekhawati, Alwar, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Kota, and Bundi. It was used extensively for drawing, decorating, and simple plastering in ancient houses, temples, forts, and palaces as it is an excellent insulator. It helps stabilize the temperature of the building, i.e., cooler in the summers and warmer in the winters.
The Palace consists of over 70 water bodies that, apart from adding aesthetic charm, also helps to keep the temperature cooler in the hot and dry summers of Rajasthan.
The Leela Palace is home to 2 such Baradaris - The Poolside Baradari and the Courtyard Baradari situated next to the fountain. The name of this structure comes from two different Urdu words, Bara, which means twelve, and Dari, which means a door. The Baradari is a square building with 3 doorways on each side allow free flow of air. Because of its acoustic features during the Mughal rule, it was popularly used by poets and musicians for live performances and private concerts popularly known as Mujras. The Baradaris were also a place of choice for the Muslim communities to host religious congregations like Friday and Eid prayers.
The Palace also features 5 Chhatris in 5 different locations. The concept of the Chhatris is also influenced by the historical forts of Rajasthan, sheltering the pedestrians from the sun's direct heat. Two of the Chhatris are located in Kanishka Bagh, One next to our Villa Number 2, One near The Spa, and the last one is near Tulsi Mahal.
The floor or farsh was given special significance as it is believed that the flooring makes the aesthetics of the place and that our feet have 15 pressure points that help improve health conditions and relieve pain. The Palace features a brownstone floor used here called the Jaisalmeri brownstone. This particular sandstone is known for its durability, hardness and most importantly, it can withstand harsh weather conditions. Rajasthan is a state that experiences weather extremes, making this stone is the ideal choice. Another kind of stone that you see here is called Banaswadi Stone which is only found in North India and is famous for the vein-like lines in black or purple that run through the marble.
The Palace also features an alternate reception area known as Kamal Mahal. It features gorgeous Turkish Chandeliers, which are a combination of multiple pendants put together. These chandeliers create a warm ambience of luxury with their striking features. The other intriguing feature about the place is the Armoury Wall. It showcases the actual sword grips and shields that are studded with many precious and semi-precious stones. The mahal also features designer furniture, oil paintings, and metal artifacts that add to the royal aesthetics.
There is an open courtyard located towards the centre of the palace, between the palace bar, restaurants, and swimming pool named Peacock Courtyard. It is inspired by The Peacock Courtyard overlooking the Nahargarh National Sanctuary, a place known for peacocks, tigers, and other wildlife. There is an interesting and artistic installation of lifesize pair of Peacocks along with a small fountain and waterbody, creating a melodious ambient sound by water flow.
Mohan Mahal, a marvel of creativity, a unique experience which we proudly promise our guests, a dining room with no lights. Crafted for 3 years by the family of the same artisans who designed Sheesh Mahal of the Amber Fort in Jaipur. The 3.5 lakh pieces of cut glass reflect the light from the candles lighting up the Restaurant in the most beautiful way possible. This glasswork is called Thikri, the art of mirror mosaic. Thikri originated in 1631 with the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan creating the Sheesh Mahal in Jaipur itself. This form of art is very expensive and needs especially skilled artisans. Hence only the rich merchants and royalties could afford it. The Thikri work is gaining a lot of popularity in the modern world and is being used by a lot of temples and hotels as a form of decoration for the mud-finished walls. Please don't miss admiring the water fountain carved out of a single marble stone and the Lapis lazuli artwork used in the floorings. The Restaurant is an epic display of inspiration from Rajputana architecture. The evenings are glorified here by live performances by the locals, specializing in Rajasthani folk music.
The architecture of The Sukh Mahal - All-day dining restaurant is inspired by a palace on the water in the small town of Bundi called Sukh Mahal. It was built as a summer palace by Rao Ummed Singh with lots of greenery around it. The Sukh Mahal is designed to comfort our guests where they can enjoy their meals amidst lots of cool breeze from all the water bodies and lush greenery around.
As we walk by the poolside, one would notice more clearly that the hotels have three types of Gumbads. These are influenced by three different kinds of architecture, The Mughal, The Rajput, and The Indo-Persian styles. One can also see the fine detailing in the different Jharokas and wall structures like the Pan Pattas, Gardens, and the Arches.
Jaali Wall is a perforated stone wall with ornamental designs and patterns created through the use of calligraphy and geometry. This is very common to Indo-Islamic architecture. The perforated wall structure lowers the temperature of a place by compressing the airflow and increasing the velocity of the air passing through the vents.
Kanishka Bagh, The interesting fact about this section is that the peacocks fly across the fence and land into our Palace's backyard. The Palace features 2 Peacock sculpted walls, one located at the Bagh beneath the Aravali hills. We can also closely observe the handcrafted Thikri work done by the local artisans with colourful cut glass. As per Hindu Mythology, the peacock birds only enter a home with abundance - food, shelter, and a place to strut. The Bagh also consists of a wall painting depicting a traditional Indian wedding procession with the King and Queen on the elephant's back.
Apart from intricate architecture, The Palace also features a vivid variety of Horticulture consisting of Herbs, Flowers, and Fruits. Most of the plants that you see grow locally. The Palace does have a horticulturist team who work very hard to ensure the plants look lush through the changing seasons. The pink flowers on the exterior wall of the hotel are called bougainvillea, which is a very signature plantation in the region.
Elephants for centuries have been considered to be a cultural symbol of Royalty and Divinity. A traditional Rajput welcome would always include an elephant or a horse. There are 6 magnificent white marble elephants that have been strategically placed across the Palace. The number 6 signifies harmony, happiness, and stability.
Sunderban Lawns display three life-size Fresco Paintings, which talk about the rich Rajput culture and traditions. The first is a painting portraying the Kalbelia Dancers. Kalbelia in ancient times was a community in Rajasthan that used to catch snakes and trade snake venom. They travelled from place to place and took great pride in their unique singing and dancing traditions. The second painting is a victory procession showing the celebrations in the kingdom where a victorious Rajput King is returning with his soldiers, ministers, and advisors. The third set of paintings depicts the celebrations of a Rajasthani cultural festival called Teej Gangor dedicated to Teej Mata. During these celebrations, the king leaves the Palace and takes the Goddess around town to bless his kingdom. They return to the Palace, and the women of the Palace conduct a grand puja.
The palace houses a temple devoted to resident deity Maa Durga. The Temple's structural design is inspired by a very famous and sought-after temple in Amer Fort. If one observes closely, one will notice that each of the jharokha on the temple's door depicts nine different avatars of the Goddess. The Temple is made out of 55 kgs of pure silver and an idol of the Deity. The temple also has a dedicated priest appointed who performs pooja twice every day in the morning and the evening.