COLOR CONFIGURATIONS OF JAIPUR PALACES
1Masters in Interior Architecture and Design, CEPT University, Ahmedabad Postal address:
Postal address:163/4, Opal House, Mahatma Nagar, Nashik-422007
Color is a vital element in architecture and design. It informs and speaks to us in various
ways, gives expressions to the space and enhances its visual language. The study aims to
identify color shades on the exteriors and in the courtyards of the palaces in Jaipur. The
exterior color is a gesture of the building and courtyards are the most interactive and festive
spaces. Hence, five important palaces are chosen for assessment. The semi autonomous state
of Rajasthan and its political capital Jaipur has creatively used color in the parched landscape
which is elaborately demonstrated in its traditional palaces. The premise of the study is
confined only to the assessment of perceived colors of the palace buildings and does not
include the study of inherent color or the application techniques and methods. In this paper,
the focus is to unfold the attributes of its use in the palaces that have created the resulting
color configurations which is totally studied under natural lighting conditions. It creates a
rationale of colors and factors governing the relation between hues, expounding the play of
colors in the palaces of Jaipur. This can be used in today’s context for the purpose of
conservation and for the architectural colorations, art and other fields of design as an essence
of colors in the palaces of Jaipur.
KEYWORDS: Color assessed in Natural light, Palaces of Jaipur, Exterior Color, Courtyards,
Attributes for use of Color.
India portrays a wide range of colors in architecture which is governed by the regional,
climatic and cultural diversities. The state of Rajasthan and its political city Jaipur is a hub for
traditional crafts and its polychromatic display of color which is known internationally. The
palaces belonged to the royal clans where they used the best possible features of aesthetic
representations, through the fine workmanship of the use of color. The important space
making elements in the courtyards such as walls, columns, gates, doors and openings, semi
open spaces comprising of pavilions inside courtyards are assessed for their colors. Colors in
the palaces are seen as kaleidoscopic visual mix. They show a strong traditional background
and are related to traditional Indian treatise which explains their existence. These colors show
strong relevance with the local crafts in Jaipur, where they portray their metaphor in
architecture. Textiles and paintings are the major contributors to the life style in Rajasthan and
it has been like a trigger to the development of the tradition of color. The surface colorations
in palaces have brought out the metaphors of the traditional crafts in architecture. All these
colors are best sensed as a visual display than described but to understand their interactions,
there is a need of a system that will break down the components of colors and help in a
systematic analysis. There are several colors that human eye perceives and it is difficult to
describe the color verbally. Hence, NCS has helped in plotting the exact color shades whichhas helped in analyzing them along with a set of parameters derived out of observations
The palaces are identified which are assessed as a visual match with a NCS fan deck of 1,950
colour shades in the natural light in the month of March 2010 in between 10.00 a.m to 5.00
p.m. Extensive photographs have been taken as a part of the documentation. The color
pigments and influences for the use of colors have been identified. Further the analysis
parameters are derived out of overall observations, finally performing a comparative analysis.
3. COLOR PIGMENTS AND INFLUENCES AND ASSOCIATIONS:
Color pigments in Rajasthan have a strong traditional origin and have governed the schools of
painting. In the Vedic tradition, the transformation of mineral stones and metals into colour
pigments is seen as an inherently alchemical journey. They have been identified as primary
colours and secondary colours. The surface colorations show direct influences of the color
shades and designs seen in the crafts of blue pottery, mandana paintings and the colours in the
textiles of sanganer and leheriya fabrics. These are specific to Jaipur and are flourishing
Mandana painting Blue pottery Leheriya(wave patterns) textiles
The terracotta brown color, blue pottery color and the wave patterns are a few examples of
4. ANALYSIS PARAMETERS:
There are two sets of analysis parameters which are clubbed together. The first set is the one
that is derived out of the NCS plotting, where the colors are segmented in their singular
components of hue, chroma, nuance, blackness and whiteness. The analysis parameters
derived out of the observations are categorized as color as massing and color as decoration.
These further are governed by two sub parameters – firstly geometry, motifs and patters and
secondly the relation between hues.
5.1 Character of five palaces in Jaipur:
The palaces selected for the study are – City Palace complex Jaipur comprising of the main
palace building, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, and other palaces like the fort of Amber and
Entire color palette of the palaces describing the rationale of colors as a comparative
The most prominent color families seen for massing are in the range of Y70R, Y20R, Y30R.
The connotations show the details of the colors as per the plotting done in NCS. The colour
families of all the palaces demonstrate that most of the colours have their blackness in the
range of 30-50% and whiteness in the range of 20-30%. This quantifies the pastel character of
the colours. The colour as massing and as decoration highly falls in the range of off-whites.
The other colour families identified fall between: R70B, R80B, B10G, B90G and G60Y. The
layering and revealing of architecture is enhanced due to the modulations in the use of colors.
The colors used are not many, but the kaleidoscopic display is an outcome of the geometry
and color compositions. The colour summary of all the palaces show strong coherence. Also
the exterior colours of the palaces are in harmony with the ochres seen in the city. The study
can be used further for the conservation of the palaces in Jaipur in the present time as well as
in the future. Colorations with such a sensitive approach on the basis of precise interpretation
of color shades and color interactions can be imbibed in new contemporary spaces. Palaces
are not very prevalent in today’s context, but the essence of colors extracted from them has a
wide range of applications. They have the potential to give a new dimension to colour usage
for designers and craftsmen in the fields of art, design and interior architecture.
________ ______ ________ ___ ______ _______ ______ __ ____ ___ ______ _ __ __
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Saili Sonar has done her PG in MIAD (Masters in Interior Architecture & Design) from School of Interior Design, CEPT University, and is currently working with Canna Patel in Ahemdabad.