The common saying that ‘a city is well defined by the hospitality of its people’ stands absolutely true to Jaipur. It’s the people of Jaipur which makes your visit memorable while travelling in this historical royal capital of Rajputs. Probably Jaipur is the only city in India which was designed on the principles of the ancient Indian text of architectural sutras. Noted architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya used the established principles of Vastu Shastra to build the city. In 1876, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur painted the entire city pink since the color pink was symbolic of hospitality. The city is adorned with numbers of forts, lakes, temples, gardens, & markets.
Amber or Amer is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, nearly 11 km away from Jaipur. It was the bastion of the Kachwahas of Amber, until the capital was shifted to the plains, to what is today Jaipur. The palace is a beautiful example of Hindu & Mughal architecture. Raja Man Sing-I began the construction in 1592 and was completed by Mirja Raja Jai Singh. Made entirely of red sandstone and white marble, the palace leaves visitors spellbound by the magnificence of the palace. The palace is seven centuries old and has a legendry past.
Located deep within the walled city, the City Palace Complex was conceived and built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur. A beautiful fusion of Mughal and Rajput architecture, the palace is still home to the last ruling royal family which lives in a private section of the palace. The City Palace Complex includes the Mubarak Mahal (the palace of reception) and the Maharani’s Palace (the palace of the queen). Mubarak Mahal now houses the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum and displays a vast and unique collection of royal costumes, delicate Pashmina (Kashmiri) shawls, Benaras silk saris, and other dresses with Sanganeri prints and folk embroidery.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is considered to be the largest of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur. It contains sixteen geometric devices, designed to measure time, track celestial bodies and observe the orbits of the planets around the sun. It also houses the Interpretation Centre that helps the tourists to understand about the working principles & chronolgy of the observatory.
Hawa Mahal, literally the Palace of Winds, was built in 1799 by the poet king Sawai Pratap Singh as a summer retreat for him and his family. It also served as a place where the ladies of the royal household could observe everyday life without being seen themselves. This unique five-storey structure is a blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture, and the exterior, with its small latticed windows (called jharokhas), resembles the crown of Lord Krishna. The windows also serve as an air-conditioner of sorts, blowing cool air throughout the palace, making it the perfect retreat during summers. Built from pink sandstone, the Hawa Mahal is Jaipur’s iconic landmark and visitors can view its complete magnificence from outside, from across the road.
Albert Hall Museum
The building gets its name from The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the inspiration for its design. The exquisitely built Albert Hall is housed in the centre of Ram Niwas Garden. Sir Swinton Jacob (who is also the mastermind behind many other palaces in Rajasthan) conceptualised and designed it using styles from the Indo-Sarcenic architecture and the Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone of the building in 1876. The museum displays a wide range of metal objects, wood crafts, carpets, stone and metal sculptures, arms and weapons, natural stones and ivory goods. It also houses a large collection of miniatures from Bundi, Kota, Kishangarh, Udaipur and Jaipur schools of art.
Nahargarh Fort sits proudly on a ridge of the Aravalli Hills, creating an impressive northern backdrop to the city of Jaipur. It was constructed during the reign of Jai Singh in 1734, and was later expanded in 1868. Nahargarh, which means abode of tigers, was a formidable barrier, defending Jaipur against attacking enemies. Within its walls, the fort houses Madhavendra Bhawan, the summer destination for the members of the royal family. Built by Sawai Madho Singh, the palace has 12 matching boudoirs for the queens, at the head of which is a suite for the king.
One of the most wonderful sights in Jaipur is the beautiful Jal Mahal or Lake Palace. The light, sand coloured stone walls and the deep blue of the water make for a wonderful contrast. The palace appears to float in the centre of Man Sagar Lake, where its magnificent exteriors can be enjoyed by tourists.
Moti Doongri Ganesh Temple
Moti Doongri is a small hill around which the city of Jaipur flourishes. Moti Doongri means pearl hill, because the hill indeed resembles a pearl drop. Visitors go there to pay homage at the famous Ganesh temple, the most auspicious and important religious temple in Jaipur. The Ganesh temple was built by Seth Jai Ram Paliwal, sometime in the early 18th century. A legend goes, the King of Mewar was heading back to his palace after a long journey and was carting a massive Ganesh idol on a bullock cart. The king had decided that he would build a temple for the idol of Lord Ganesh wherever the bullock cart stopped. Apparently the cart stopped at the foot of the Moti Doongri, which is where the temple is situated today. The hill also has an exotic palace perched right on top. A replica of a Scottish castle, it was once the royal home of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh. It continues to belong to the royal family. The mere view of this castle is extremely exotic.