Renowned as India’s first planned city, the city of ‘Jaipur’ is the place where the traditional Indian culture & the modernization goes hand in hand! This colorful, effervescent & bustling city is world-famous for its phenomenal collection of meticulously maintained architectures which were built when the ruling Kucchawaha Rajput reign was at its apex. The historic buildings which were built majorly in pink hued stone have given this lively city a unique identity- ‘Pink City’! The city is known for its regal appearance & opulence that reflects vividly from the extravagant architecture & a rich cultural heritage!
The city of ‘Jaipur’ is the capital of India’s most colorful state called Rajasthan. The city was founded in 1727 by the great ‘Kucchwaha King’ & an astronomer, Maharaja Jai Singh II. This capital of former ‘Kucchwaha’ monarchy has now become one of the premium tourist hotspots in the country. The splendid fortresses, imperial palaces, serene temples, pleasing gardens, bustling markets & gourmet cuisines…. Jaipur has so many things to bestow upon the tourists!
This regal city of former ‘Rajput’ maharajas portrays a perfect picture of the fairy tale world. The locals, who welcome the guests with their ear-to-ear smiles, are known for their amiable behavior & pleasant hospitality. ‘October to March’ is the best season to visit ‘Jaipur’ as the city gets draped with nice & cool weather that allows visitors to explore the jewels of ‘Jaipur’ without getting scorched in its otherwise hot & dry climate.
WHAT TO SEE?
Meticulously planned city of ‘Jaipur’ was built following the guidelines of Shilpa Shastra, the science of ancient Indian architecture, whereas, the massive structures that the city encloses are based on Vastu Shastra, the science of interior designing.
The city was divided into nine blocks, out of which, two blocks were dedicated to housing imperial buildings, while remaining blocks were open for public. The city was secured within the sturdy fortifications & the entry was allowed only through seven massive gates. Suraj Pol (the Sun Gate) situated on the eastern entrance & Chand Pol (the Moon Gate) located on the western entrance are the most remarkable gates of ‘Jaipur’.
Myriad fortresses & palaces built in Jaipur’s vicinity are the most fascinating destinations, which magnetizes hordes of tourists!
Amber Fort: The huge castle of ‘Amber’, the former residence of ‘Kucchawaha’ monarchy, was built by Maharaja Man Singh. The fort resides atop a hillock, some 11km north of ‘Jaipur’. ‘Amber fort’ demonstrates the stupendous blend of traditional ‘Hindu-Muslim’ style of architecture. Shish Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) is the most significant building of the fort-complex wherein, the walls & the ceilings can be seen adorned with thousands of mirror tiles.
The magnificent ‘Jaigad fort’ was the strongest & the most invincible fort of the three forts in this area. This fort was never seized in the battle, testifying the significance of its name-Jaigad, which means ‘Victory Fort’! The fort is world-renowned for the cannon Jaivana, which is reckoned as the largest cannon in the world. A legend has it that the cannon ‘Jaivana’ was fired only once during which, the cannonball hit the target located at 35 km away, even when only half of the designated gunpowder was used!
Nahargad Fort: Smallest of the three, the ‘Nahargad Fort’ receives a major attention from tourists since it offers mesmerizing panoramic view of Man Sagar Lake & ‘Jaipur city’. ‘Madhavendra Bhavan Palace’ is the most notable building within the fort complex.
The most beautiful of all, the massive ‘City Palace’ that sits right in the heart of the city, demonstrates an exquisite blend of traditional ‘Rajput-Mughal’ style of architecture. Built by Maharaja Jai Singh II, this amazing palace houses a series of courtyards, gardens & several imperial buildings. ‘Chandra Mahal’, ‘Mubarak Mahal’, ‘Diwan-e-Khas’ & ‘Diwan-e-Aam’ are the most significant palatial structures in the palace complex.
Stupendous palace built amidst the Man Sagar Lake was used as a summer retreat of royalties which would relieve the agony of scorching heat of this arid land. The palace was built-in traditional Rajput style of architecture & is very popular among the tourists.
An epitome of brilliance of ancient Indian architecture- five storied, red sandstone building of ‘Hawa Mahal’ sits next to the bustling bazaar, at the center of the city. This marvelous structure flaunts staggering 950 intricately ornate windows which provide passage for the free circulation of breezes throughout the palace, proving worthy of calling it as ‘Hawa Mahal’ (Palace of breezes). ‘Hawa Mahal’, which, from outside, looks like a giant honeycomb, is one of the most favorite destinations of visitors!
The extraordinary astronomical observatory of ‘Jantar Mantar’ is an epitome of ancient India’s prowess in the fields of astronomy, mathematics & physics! Built between 1727-1734 by Maharaja Jai Singh II– who himself was a reputed astronomer, ‘Jantar Mantar’ houses fourteen major geometric equipment for measuring time, tracing the paths of the stars, predicting eclipses & tracking down other important astrophysical details. This amazing observatory was duly inscribed by UNESCO in the list of ‘World Heritage Sites’!
Temples: Massive temples of various Hindu & Jain deities are also located in ‘Jaipur’. Some of the notable temples, including ‘Govind Devji’ Temple, ‘Laxmi-Narayan’ Temple, ‘Jain Mandir’, ‘Akshardham Mandir’, ‘Moti Doongari’ etc. are worth visiting.
WHAT TO DO?
Shopping is the ultimate & most fascinating activity that visitors love to do in ‘Jaipur’. The bustling bazaar that occupies the center of the city, gets flooded with the visitors from the country as well as from outside. The narrow, colorful bazaar lanes get flanked by a bevy of shops selling a wide range of products & artifacts.
Typical Rajasthani artifacts, which include intricately patterned, colorful textiles, imitation ornaments, statues carved diligently into wood or marble, traditional leather footwear called Mojris etc. record the highest sell among the other things. Colorful, thriving bazaars pump the life in this historic city of Maharajas & the tourists just love to stroll through the time-bound, charming lanes of ‘Jaipur’!
The grandeur of this mesmerizing city can never be explained in mere words. The sense of royalty oozes out from every corner of this city & its charm conjures the minds. The magical spell that it casts is so alluring, that everyone visiting this city returns home only with the promise of revisiting this city, as a solitary visit is not enough to get absorbed in the eternal charisma of this vivacious city!