Travellers on city breaks to Jaipur cannot fail to be spellbound by one of the country's leading cultural sites - the City Palace.
The architectural wonder that is the Chandra Mahal palace is today home to a museum.
But the main chunk of it is still a royal residence within the capital of the Rajasthan state.
Completed in 1732, the palace complex fuses a mesmerising, huge array of courtyards, gardens and buildings, with the number 7, both horizontally and vertically, a recurring architectural theme.
A sense of progressing towards a safeguarded hub is maintained, and visitors approaching from the main eastern entrance still pass through a sequence of seven gates.
The first is the Sireh Deorhi or the boundary door situated at the centre of eastern side of palace Sarahad.
The Shastric texts stress the importance of seven storeys for the palace of kshatriya kings and the Chandra Mahal is one of the few Rajput palaces to achieve this paradigmatic number.
On the ground floor is Pritam Niwas with a tiny audience hall in its heart.
The next two storeys are inhabited by the awesome Sukh Niwas.
Above this is the Rangmahal also known as Sabha Niwas, with colour glasswork and then the Chhavi Niwas with blue painted interiors, Shri Niwas with the Sheesh Mahal (or Palace of Mirrors) and finally the crowning painting of Mukut Mandir.
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