A trip through one of India’s most beautiful cities douses us in all it’s traditional glory. Once a centre of Rajputana power, Jaipur was built in the eighteenth century by Sawai Jai Singh. A walk through Jaipur, one of India’s first planned city, you will find that it is known as a major tourist attraction amongst Indians as well as international travellers. It belongs to the tourist Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Jaipur is often called the Pink City in reference to its distinctly coloured buildings, which were originally painted this color to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities. It also serves as a stepping stone for travellers heading to the desert cities of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.
Jaipur gets its name from its founder Maharaja Jai Singh II(1693-1744), ruler of the Kucchwaha Rajputs. Much of the credit for Jaipur goes to Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, the chief architect from Bengal who founded the city on strong scientific principles. It remains one of India’s best planned cities. We bring you a two day trip through the streets of Jaipur which will take you back to royal resplendent luxuries of the city.
Forts in Jaipur
Amber Fort: This massive fort-palace complex built in hybrid style dates back to Raja Man Singh; it was the royal palace of the Kachwahas. The fort is named after the town of Amber, which is in turn named after the goddess Amba. The main sights within the fort include the Sheesh Mahal, adorned with thousands of mirror tiles on the walls and ceiling. With its sprawling grounds, the Amber Fort will take you back to the lap of royalty.
Jaigarh Fort: A kilometre uphill from the Amber Fort, the massive Jaigarh fort will blow your mind away. The strongest of the three forts in Jaipur, the Jaigarh Fort has never been captured in battle. It is best known as the site of the world’s largest cannon, the Jaivana, which was test-fired only once — according to legend, the cannonball flew more than 20 miles. There is a beautiful garden inside the ramparts of the fort along with a breath taking view of the hilly, mountainous region with the Amber Fort in the background.
Nahargarh Fort: The smallest of the three forts, it has shot to fame with the shooting of Amir Khan’s Rang De Basanti. The Fort has a picturesque view over Man Sagar lake and the vast sprawl of Jaipur. The fort also houses the Madhavendra Bhawan Palace. The place has become a haunt for youngsters with a plethora of graffiti covering the walls.
Palaces in Jaipur
City Palace: Originally built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the sprawling City Palace spreads across a huge area of the old Jaipur city. The complex is divided into a series of courtyards, sprawling gardens, and buildings. It is home to several palatial structures like the Chandra Mahal, (home to present Maharajah of Jaipur), Mubarak Mahal (housing a textile museum), Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of Private audience), the Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) and the gateway Ridhi Sidhi Pol.
Hawa Mahal – Palace of the winds
The Palace of the Winds or Hawa Mahal a unique creation of Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. It is part of the City Palace complex and has many small windows facing the street and forms an elaborate facade. The theory is it was designed to allow the royal ladies to view the activities in the street below without being seen by common folk. The breeze blowing through the windows also keeps the palace cool and gives Hawa Mahal its typical name. It has intricate over-hanging balconies and is a perfect example of the Rajput architecture with a strong influence of Mughal architecture.
Jal Mahal: The water lake resides in the beautiful Maan-sarovar Lake. The lake is often dry in the winter, but summer monsoons frequently turn it into a beautiful lake filled with water hyacinths.
Other attractions in Jaipur
Jantar Mantar: This UNESCO world heritage site is the largest of five astronomical observatories build by Maharaja Jai Singh during the period 1727-1734. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits, ascertaining the declinations of planets and determining the celestial altitudes etc. A trip around the observatory will show how advanced the scientific prowess of the Rajputana empire was.
Amber Fort, Jantar-Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Albert Hall (Central Museum), Nahargarh Fort 5-monument 2-day Composite Ticket for sale at any ticket booth costs INR 50/30 Indian/student and INR 300/150 foreigner/student.
City Palace and Jaigarh Fort also share a 1-week ticket for Rs.300.
Shopping in Jaipur
Among other things to do in Jaipur, shopping remains paramount. The markets of Jaipur will impress you with a riot of colours with everything ranging from handicrafts to jewellery being sold in the shops. One of the most essential points to remember is to never buy after looking at a product at a single shop especially when it has been recommended by your guide. Bargaining astutely is the way to go. Even in fixed price shops, you can bargain your way to prices way cheaper that what you can believe.
Johari Bazaar: The market is famous for it’s jewellery, especially the lac jewellery. A bright explosion of colours with dirt cheap prices. Johari Bazaar will impress you with hand crafted jewellery along with a smattering of rare gemstones.
Chandpol Bazaar: Chandpol Bazaar is apt for the traveller looking for handicraft pieces. A selection of creative crafts on marble will take your breath away.
Nehru Bazaar: Those looking for textiles and the famous Jaipuri razaais, Nehru Bazaar is one stop destination with a plethora of tie and dye textiles especially Baani prints along with Jootis(Indian footwear).
Bapu Bazaar: If you aren’t one of those who like to travel deep into the markets for finding your dream item, the Bapu Bazaar is perfect for you. You will find a bit of everything here ranging from handicrafts to textiles.
Where to eat?
Jaipur, being the seat of Rajputana power holds a special place in the heart of all food lovers. With a plethora of dishes that characterize the Rajput palate, Jaipur is an ideal place for vegetarians and non- vegetarians alike.
Chokhi Dhani: Replete with all the shenanigans, Choki Dhani is a mini Rajasthan in itself. A bouquet of activities including horse riding, camel riding, pottery and puppet show, Chokhi Dhani takes you back to the essence of rural Rajasthan. The food here is exceptionally good with the famous Laal Maas and Daal Baati Choorma.
Rawat Mishthan Bhandar: The speciality of the restaurant is the famous spicy and savoury Pyaaz Ki Kachori and the sweet Mawa Kachori.
Where to Stay?
Jaipur has a lot of places to stay ranging from budget hotels to luxury hotels. We are going to enlist three of the most luxurious places that Jaipur has.
The Fairmont, Jaipur amalgamates the royalty of Rajasthan along with some world class facilities and top of the line hospitality to create a space for you that makes you keep coming back for. A royal welcome awaits you the moment you enter the Fairmont. With the rumble of Nagadas and the delicate sounds of the Saarangi and the Santoor, rose petals shower down on you as you transcend into the lap of luxury. With 199 rooms inclusive of 3 massive suites, you can come, lie back and enjoy the touch of royalty. Be it the super soft mattresses with the four poster beds, or the wooden floors, the LCD TV or a marble floored walk in bathroom with a separate Hammam bath, the Fairmont attends to each and every one of your luxuries.
To provide guests with a comfortable stay, Crowne Plaza Jaipur provides them with biggest rooms in Jaipur which are around 40 sqm in size. The inward facing rooms provide beautiful view of pool side and the central courtyard. The Sleep Advantage program which includes premium bedding, aromatherapy, Quiet Zone floors and a Guaranteed Wake-up Call will help guests unwind and rest easier, ensuring a productive day ahead.
Built from the remains of the 15th century Fort of Prithviraj Chauhan, Neemrana Fort Palace has been transformed into a luxurious hotel. Roam through the pages of history as you see architecture coalesce from different eras. But, it’s the way that 21st century architecture has also been amalgamated into the fort that impresses you tremendously. The Fort is split into two distinct areas, the old and the new wing. Although the stone from the mountains may have a different colour, but the royalty that transcends the place leaves you spellbound.
For more places to visit or things to do in Jaipur, visit Cleartrip.
The royal luxury of Jaipur is a walk among the pages of history with the forts, palaces and temples taking you back to an era when the Hindu warrior ruled proudly. Tell us your Jaipur story in the comments below.