Welcome to Jaipur
Jaipur is also popularly known as the "Pink City", is the capital of Rajasthan state, India. Founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, the city today has a population of more than 2 million residents. It is also known as Paris of India
The Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar - the observatory, Hawa Mahal, Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh, the City Palace, Albert Hall, the Jal Mahal, the Amer Fort, B M Birla Planetarium, Galtaji, the Laxmi Narayan Temple, are some of the architectural splendors of Jaipur. Tourists stack their bags with wonderful Jaipuri textiles and artifacts as well. Jaipur is the first well planned city of India, located in the desert lands of India, Rajasthan. The very structure of Jaipur resembles the taste of the Rajputs and the Royal families. In the present date, Jaipur is the major business centre for the natives of Rajasthan with all requisites of a metropolitan city.
Amber Fort and Palace
Around half an hour's drive from the city center, like something out of a fairy tale, Amber Fort is set on a hill top overlooking Maota Lake. It was the original home of Rajput royalty until Jaipur city was constructed, and contains a number of breathtaking palaces, halls, gardens, and temples.
The fort entrance is reached by walking up the hill, going in a jeep, or taking a lurching elephant ride. The evening sound and light show, which brings alive the Fort's history, is impressive. If you're interested in the art of traditional block printing, also don't miss the Anokhi Museum near Amber Fort. Workshops are held there. In March 2015, "Night Tourism" was introduced at Amber Fort. "Amber by Night" allows visitors to see Jaleb Chowk, Diwan-e-Aam, Mansingh Mahal and Sheesh Mahal all elegantly illuminated.
The best part of this tourist attraction situated on a crafty hill, is the royal elephant ride. The flawless beauty of the Fort can be enjoyed royally with an elephant ride. Amber/Amer Fort is the part of Jaipur and its royalty. A trip to Jaipur would be definitely incomplete, without the visit to this imperial Fort of Amber.
City Palace forms one of the most famous tourist attractions and a major landmark in Jaipur. The beautiful palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during his reign. Among the various forts and palaces of Jaipur, City Palace stands apart, with its outstanding art and architecture. City Palace complex covers a huge area, which is divided into a series of gardens, courtyards and buildings. Initially, Raja Jai Singh built the outer wall occupying a huge area. The additional grand buildings were constructed later by the succeeding rulers. A part of the exquisite Palace still makes home for the former Maharaja/ King.
Upon visiting the magnificant City Palace, it's easy to see that the royal family of Jaipur was one of the richest in India. The huge complex of courtyards, gardens, and buildings blend both Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The Peacock Gate is exquisite, and contains an alluring display of detailed workmanship featuring bright peacocks.Today, the royal family lives in the graceful Chandra Mahal (Moon Palace) bordering the courtyard. Also inside the City Palace complex is a museum, art gallery, and interesting displays of royal costumes and old Indian weapons.
"Hawa Mahal" Palace of the Winds
The intricate and fascinating facade of the Palace of the Winds is probably Jaipur's most recognized building. Constructed in 1799, it has five floors that contain rows of small windows and screens. Wind used to flow through the openings, giving the palace its name. However, the wind has now gone from the Wind Palace as most of the windows have been sealed shut.
Legend has it that the palace, which overlooks the main street of Jaipur's lively Old City, was built so that the women of the royal household could watch the streets below without being observed. A panoramic view can be had from the top of the building.
The air circulation through windows represents the marvelous touch of Mughal designing, which keeps the Palace always cool. The small screened balconies and arched roofs with hanging cornices enhance the beauty of the Palace. The Pyramidal outline and replication of pattern makes it more attractive in appearance.
Jantar Mantar Observatory
Jantar Mantar, built by King Jai Singh II between 1727 and 1734, literally means "calculation instrument". More than just a curious collection of sculptures, each structure at the intriguing Jantar Mantar observatory has a specialized astronomical function.
There are 14 structures in total, which measure time, predict eclipses, and track stars. The most impressive one is the huge Samrat Yantra sundial. At a height of 90 feet (27 meters), it has a shadow that moves roughly the width of a person's hand every minute. It's a profound display of how quickly time does in fact go!
Jantar Mantar has a remarkable collection of architectural astronomical instruments. It portrays noteworthy attempt of the ancestors, who were interested in astronomy and knowledge of celestial bodies. Above all, this observatory still, provides accurate information, which can be compared with today's modern instruments undeniably. The compound instruments, whose settings and shapes are scientifically designed depicts the forte of Medieval Indian Astronomy.
The massive Jaigarh Fort was built in 1726 and holds great appeal for military lovers. Flanked by towering gateways and watchtowers, it contains the world's largest cannon on wheels. The cannon has never been fired though, and neither has the fort been captured. As a result the fort has remained intact over its long life, and is very well preserved.
Infact, it's one of the best-preserved military structures of medieval India. Jaigarh doesn't have the delicate interiors of Amber Fort, and therefore appears as a real fortress. Climb the Diwa Burj watchtower to get an excellent view over the plains.
Jaigarh Fort was made to tighten the security of Jaipur and Amber. Due to this fact, one may not find this fort as artistic as other forts and palaces, but it certainly has its own charm. The Fort has many structures of medieval India, which are worth exploring. It has several palaces, granary, well-planned cannon foundry, several temples and a tall tower. Jaigarh Fort used to serve as the center of artillery production for the Rajputs.
Nahargarh Fort, also known as Tiger Fort, is perched high on the rugged Aravali Hills overlooking Jaipur city. The fort was built 1734 to help defend the city. It found fame in 2006, after many scenes from the movie Rang De Basanti were filmed there. Nahargarh Fort offers spectacular views, which are best seen at sunset.
It also makes a great place for a picnic as there's a cafe on the premises, which serves beer and snacks until 10 p.m. The fort looks particularly attractive at night when it's lit up.
Nahagarh Fort stands on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, overlooking the pink city of Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The view of the city from the fort is breath taking. Along with Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort it formed a strong defence ring for the city. Legends say that it was name after Prince Nahar whose spirit haunted the place and obstructed construction of the fort.
Markets and Shopping
Jaipur is an excellent place to shop and you'll find an enticing variety of goods available there. Some of the most popular items are precious gemstones, silver jewelry, bangles, clothes, blue pottery, and textiles.
The main shopping area is M I Road. Johari Bazaar, in the Old City, is renowned for bangles, inexpensive costume jewellery, gold and silver.
Getting to this rather ruinous but holy Hindi temple, nestled in peaceful surroundings between two granite cliffs, is quite an adventure but it's completely worth the effort. The temple is part of a larger temple complex, which also has three sacred pools of water. One of the pools has been taken over by thousands of monkeys that congregate there to swim and bathe.
They're generally friendly and love to be fed. Unfortunately, the area is not well maintained. Be prepared to encounter dirty and trash, as well as priests and pseudo holy men coercing people for money.
Government Central (Albert Hall) Museum
This old and famous museum was modeled on the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Its collection includes portraits of local kings, costumes, woodcarvings, paintings, and arts and crafts. Unfortunately photography isn't allowed.
Central Museum or the Albert Hall lies in the Ram Niwas Garden. The Albert Hall has been converted into the Central Museum which proudly displays Rajasthan's art and culture and outlines the Rajput morality with these lines: "A Rajput puts his life at risk if he is forced to abjure his faith, if he is deprived of his lands, and if his womenfolk are molested."
It now houses an exquisite collection of metalware, decorative wares,iniature portraits, sculptures, paintings,natural history specimen, an Egyptian mummyamong various other objet d' art. Rajasthani village life is also displayed through costumes, pottery, brassware and woodwork. The Durbar Hall, usually locked, houses several stunning carpets including the magnificent Persian Garden Carpet, one of India's finest art treasures.
Elefantastic offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with some of India's much loved elephants for a day. An elephant farm in an elephant care village, Elefantastic was formed in 2012 to promote the wellbeing of these giant creatures and show tourists that not all of them are mistreated.
Before starting Elefantastic, Rahul (the founder) worked as an elephant rider for nine years. At Elefantastic, you'll be able to wash, feed and water the elephants, learn about elephant decorating and have a painting class, and learn about the elephants' medicines and treatments.