Jaipur Rajasthan India
Jaipur is popularly known as the 'Pink City'. It is also the capital of the state Rajasthan. Jaipur is one of the most visited tourist places of India. The old city of Jaipur is partially encircled with seven gates - the major gates are Chandpol, Sanganeri, and Ajmeri. The bustling bazaars of Jaipur, famous for Rajasthani jewellery, fabric and shoes, possess a timeless quality and are surely a treasure trove for the shoppers.
City Palace (& Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum)
The former ruling family still lives in seven-story Chandra Mahal (Moon Palace) built by Sawai Jai Singh II, but the outer and inner courtyards have been converted into a museum. The first courtyard is where you’ll find Mubarak Mahal (Welcome Palace), a “reception center” constructed by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, grandfather of the present maharaja. Mubarak houses the textiles and costume section, where regal costumes provide insight into the tremendous wealth and status that the family enjoyed, as well as the extraordinarily high level of craftsmanship available to them over the centuries. These include embroidery so fine it looks like printwork, some of the best bandhani odhnis (tie-dye scarves/veils) to come out of Sanganer, Kashmiri shawls, gossamer muslin from Bangladesh, and silk saris from Varanasi. The Armoury, with a selection of exquisitely crafted yet truly vicious-looking daggers and swords, is housed in the adjacent palace—if Mughal history, with all its valor and intrigue, has caught your imagination, ask one of the attendants to point out the items belonging to the emperors Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan. The next courtyard reveals the raised Diwan-i- Khas (Hall of Private Audience), built in sandstone and marble. Look for the sun emblems decorating the walls—like most Rajput princes, the Kachchwaha clan belonged to the warrior caste, who traced their origins back to the sun (see “Once Were Warriors: The History of the Rajput,” earlier in this chapter). To the west is Pritam Niwas Chowk (Peacock Courtyard), with its four beautifully painted doorways— from here you can search for signs of life from the royal residence that towers above. Move on to Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), which houses a simply fantastic collection of miniature paintings, carpets, manuscripts, and photographs— look for the self-portraits of eccentric Ram Singh II, who found expression for his vanity in a passion for photography. The Friends of the Museum section sells lovely art and crafts; it’s a good place to pick up a quality miniature painting or Kundan jewelry. Trying to see everything is time-consuming, but for many this is the real highlight of their visit to Jaipur.
Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds)
Hawa Mahal is the most strikingly designed monument in Jaipur. Built by the poet-king Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799, the Hawa Mahal is centrally located and is multiniched, five storey high. It was conceived to provide an adequate vantage position behind delicate stone-carved jail, screens for the palace women to watch the royal processions passing through the Bazaar below without being seen by outsiders. The top of the palace affords a beautiful view of the city. A small archaeological museum is yet another attraction in the palace.
The City Palace
The City Palace is a historic landmark. Grey-white marble columns studded with flora motifs in gold and colored stones support the carved arches. Two elephants carved in marble, guard the entrance, where retainers whose families have served generations of the rulers are at hand, to serve as guides.
It was the capital of Kachhwaha’s of the old state of Dhundhar for over six centuries, before the birth of Jaipur. The mighty ambr fort stands astop a rangeof craggy hills overlooking the Jaipur – Delhi highway. The fort is a fine blend of Rajput and Mughal styles and is noted for its sturdy battlements and beautiful palaces. The original palace was built by Raja Man Singh, while the successive rulers contributed to the development of the place in their own way. The majestic Amber Palace complex is approached through an imposing gateway called as ‘Ganesh Pol’. It has magnificent halls, pavilions, gardens and temples built by Raja Man Singh, Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh, over a span of about two centuries. The main sites here includes, Diwan-i-Am or the ‘Hall for the Public audiences’, Sukh Niwas or the ‘Hall of Pleasure’, Jai mandir or the ‘Hall of Victory’, Sheesh mahal or “Hall of Mirrors’, Diwan-i-Khas or the ‘private Meeting hall’ and Jas Mandir or ‘Hall of Glory’ etc. The sacred Shila mata Temple adjacent to the Singh Pole is dedicated to Shila mata (an aspect of Goddess Kali), the patron goddess of the royal family. << Click to Book Your Tour Online>>
Jagat Shiromani Temple
The beautifully carved shrine is located at the foothills of the Amber Palace. It enshrines an idol of Lord Krishna and is regarded as one of the marvels of Indian temple architecture.
This hill-top fortress overlooks the palaces and the old town of Amber. It was built by Maharaja Jai Singh II in 1726 and is among the few fortresses of medieval India which are still preserved, almost intact. Within its rugged bastions are beautiful palaces, and gardens. ‘Jai Ban’, the world’s biggest cannon on wheels is placed here. It has a 20ft long barrel and the wheels are 9ft in diameter.
It is the third hill-top fort guarding the Jaipur city and was initially built by Sawai Jai Singh in 1734 and later enlarged by Sawai Ram Singh.
The small town is famous for the beautifully carved Jain temples and palace ruins. It is also renowned for hand block printed textiles and hand-made paper.
This quaint village is known for the Samode Palace of Nathawat family. It is now a famous heritage hotel. Other attractions are Samode Garden and Samode Haveli.
The Jal Mahal Palace, Jaipur is noted for its intricate architecture. The palace was developed as a pleasure spot. It was used for the royal duck shooting parties. On the road to Amber Palace at a distance of 6.5km from Jaipur are the cenotaphs of the royal family. A causeway leads to Jal Mahal Palace situated in the middle of Man Sagar lake, opposite the cenotaphs. The first four floors f this building is under water, only the top floor remains outside. One can have a wonderful view of the lake and the palace from Nahargarh Fort built in 1799.
Jantar Mantar is one of Sawai Jai Singh's five remarkable observatories. Constructed with stone and marble, it is scientifically designed, and represents the high-points of medieval Indian Astronomy. The two Ram Yantras used for gauging altitudes are unique in their isolation. This is the largest of the five observatories founded by Sawai Jai Singh-Ii in various parts of the country.
As is the case everywhere in India, Jaipur seems to celebrate something new every month, but the following are worth noting: In February during the Harvest Festival (Basant Panchami) the city celebrates a Kite Festival, when hundreds of colorful kites sail the blue Jaipur sky, especially around the City Palace area; there’s also a competition and display. In March, when Holi celebrants throughout the country splash color on anything that moves, Jaipur celebrates an Elephant Festival. The massive pachyderms— dressed to the nines and decorated with paint—march through the city’s streets to the City Palace, accompanied by loud drumbeats and chanting. The event sees a tug-of-war between the elephants and their mahouts (elephant trainers/caretakers), as well as men playing polo—on elephant-back, of course. Make sure you book accommodations in advance during this period. The following month (Apr) is Gangaur, when the women of Rajasthan pray to the goddess Parvati (also known as Gangaur) for the longevity of their husbands or for husbands fair and kind. This culminates in a procession to Gangaur Temple by the symbolic Siva, accompanied by elephants, to take his bride home. Teej (July–Aug) sees Rajasthan’s always colorfully clad women dressed in full regalia to celebrate the onset of the monsoon, while Diwali (Festival of Lights), the Hindu New Year, is celebrated throughout India in November.