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Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan, is popularly known as the 'Pink City' because of the pink-colored buildings in its old city. It sits on a dry lake bed in a somewhat arid landscape, surrounded by barren hills surmounted by forts and crenellated walls. This buzzing metropolis is certainly a place of wild contrasts and a feast for the eyes. Jaipur has long outstripped the confines of its city wall and is today among the most tumultuous and polluted places in Rajasthan. Despite this, it seldom disappoints the first-time visitor. The city owes its name, its foundation and its careful planning to the great warrior - astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743).
Jaipur is considered as the best planned city & Rajasthan's most popular tourist destinations. Jaipur forms the southwest corner of India's 'Golden Triangle' joining ranks with Delhi & Agra. The seat of both Rajput splendour and modern urban squalor, jaipuris extraordinary bawaars, forts, and elegant architecture, assail the imagination while its throbbing polluted streets and ruthless touts assault the senses.
How to reach Jaipur
By Road: The city is situated 261 km from Delhi. Jaipur can be accessed from all the major places in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Delhi and Mumbai by bus. Rajasthan roadways runs excellent regular service of AC and Deluxe Coaches from Delhi.
By Rail: The train service to Jaipur is available from all the major parts of the country. An excellent connection from Delhi is Shatabadi Express that provides a fast, air-conditioned rail service. Other direct connections to Jaipur are from Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Secunderabad, Agra, Lucknow, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta.
By Air: Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and domestic carriers operate regular flights to and from Jaipur. Jaipur is connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Aurangabad, Calcutta and Varanasi by domestic flights.
Jaipur has an extreme type climate or you can say a moderate type of climate.in summers the max. temp is 45 degree C and min. is 25.8 degree C. but in winters jaipur has max temp upto 22 degree C and min. upto 8.3 degree C. jaipur has such climate due to proximity to the thar desert. normal annual rainfall is 556mm.
Places of Interest
The Hawa Mahal (literal meaning, palace of the winds)was constructed in 1799 is an important landmark of the city of Jaipur, the pink city of India.. This honeycombed building was originally built to enable the women of the royal household to watch the everyday life and processions of the city.
The Palace was built by Maharaja Sawaj Pratap Singh and is a part of city palace complex. The city of Jaipur reflects a clever amalgamation of the Rajput and Mughal styles, which has given this city a unique character. Being close to Delhi and Agra, and the fact that its rulers were powerful members of the Mughal durbar (court), ensured that its rulers kept the special Mughal touches of filigreeing marble and sandstone alive.
This five-story, pyramid-shaped structure is made up of small casements, each with tiny windows and arched roofs with hanging cornices, exquisitely modeled and carved. Its façade makes Hawa Mahal look more like a screen than a palace. Its top three stories are just a single room thick but at the base are two courtyards. It is a fifty-foot high thin shield, less than a foot in thickness, but has over 900 niches and a mass of semi-octagonal bays, carved sandstone grills, finials and domes, which give this palace its unique façade.
The Hawa Mahal lives up to its name as one climbs up to the balconies and is almost swept away by the cool breeze. The royal ladies not only enjoyed the view but also did so in great comfort and style. Today, Hawa Mahal provides the visitor with some excellent views of the city and a bird's eye view of the Jantar Mantar (a medieval observatory and an important tourist place in Jaipur). The best time to view Hawa Mahal is sunrise when it catches the early morning sun and is bathed in its golden light making it glow like a gem. The entrance to this strange building is on the rear side.
Nahargarh Fort also known as Tiger Fort is located on the sheer rugged ridge of Aravali Hills and it forms an impressive northern backdrop of Jaipur. It looks most classy when floodlit at night. The fort overlooks the city and presents a glittering view of the city lights. It was built in 1734 and extended in 1868. Nahargarh meaning abode of the tigers was built by Jai Singh to bolster the defense of Amber.
The legends also have it that it was named Nahargarh after Nahar Singh a prince whose spirit would destroy the construction and not allow its progress further. So after a tantrik prayer to the spirit it agreed to leave on condition that the fort is named after him. The Madhavendra Bhawan, built by Sawai Ram Singh II has uniquely a cluster of 12 identical suits for queens and at the head is a suit for the king himself. The rooms are linked by corridors and retain some delicate frescos as well as toilets and kitchen hearths. It was used by members of the royal family for excursion in summers and is now even a favored picnic spot. Durg Cafeteria just above the entrance sells meals and refreshments, while Padao Restaurant on the west sells drinks around sunset.
Built on the hilltop outside Jaipur, Amber Fort is another famous tourist attraction in Jaipur. The Amber Fort was built by Raja Man Singh in the 16th century and was completed by Sawai Jai Singh in the 18th century. The fort offers magnificent views of the surrounding area. The fort is a mix of Mughal and Rajput architecture and is built in red stone and white marble.
About Amber Fort
Place : Amber, 11km from Jaipur, Rajasthan
Highlight : Exquisite Seesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors)
Best time to visit : October to February
Timings : Open 9 a.m - 16.30 pm
Ambar palace is situated in Amber, the former capital of the Kachhwaha Rajputs on a hillside overlooking Maotha lake, 11 km from Jaipur on the Delhi - Jaipur road. Its construction was started by Raja Man Singh I, army commander of Mughal Emperor Akbar in 1592 and was completed by Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh, over a period of about two centuries. It is a classic fusion of Mughal and Hindu architecture, built in red sandstone and white marble.
Amber fort and palace is a 10 minute steep climb through Jai pol (Gate of Victory) from Amber/ Ambar / Amer, 11 km from Jaipur on the Delhi- Jaipur road. Facilities available for elephant back ride up to Amber fort.
In the heart of the old city, the City Palace occupies a large area divided into a series of courtyards, gardens and buildings. The outer wall was built by Sawai Jai Singh, but other additions are more recent, some dating to the start of the 20th century. The palace is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The son of the last Maharaja and his family still live in part of the palace.
Before the palace proper lies the Mubarak Mahal (Welcome Palace), built in late 19th century by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II as a reception center for visiting dignitaries. It now forms part of the Maharaja Sawai Mansingh II Museum and contains a collection of royal costumes and superb shawls including sanganeri block prints, royal shawls. Kashmiri Pashmina (goat's wool) shawls, folk embroideries and Banaras saris.
At the heart of the complex is the seven - tiered Chandra Mahal where erstwhile royal family is still in residence, though only a small part of the apartments are occupied. However, it is only the buildings around Chandra Mahal that are open to the public, and these also form a part of the museum.
Through Singh Pol (Lion Gate), visitors can approach the Diwan-i-Khas and Diwan-i-Am, where the maharaja's private and public courts would be held. The architecture seems to consist of a number of arched, pillared halls, while the courtyards with painted doorways are a prominent feature.
0930 to 1645 hrs Daily
Entry Fee :
Rs 110 for foreigners ( includes entry to Jaigarh and the ticket is valid for 2 days)
Photography is prohibited inside the museum
Central Museum or the Albert Hall lies in the Ram Niwas Garden. It is a vast and verdant garden housing a zoo, a greenhouse, an aviary, a museum and a sports ground. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II built it in 1868 as a relief project for his famine struck subjects.
It has been modelled on the Victoria and Albert Museum in London -. The hall was named after Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria’s husband. Albert’s son the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) laid the foundation stone in 1876. It was designed and devised by Colonel Sir Samuel Swinton Jacob (1841-1917).
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 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. It was made in Kerman, Persia in 1632 and represented the garden of paradise based on a quadrangular design.
Visiting Hours :0930-1630 Hrs. , It is closed on Friday
Next to the City Palace entrance is the Jantar - Mantar, begun in 1728 by Savaii Singh whose passion for astronomy was even more notable than his powers as a warrior. Before commencing Jantar Mantar, he sent scholars abroad to study foreign observatories. This observatory is the largest and best preserved of the five he built, with 13 different instruments for calculating the movement of celestial bodies. It was restored in1901. The others are in Delhi, Varanasi and Ujjain. The fifth observatory, at Mathura, has disappeared.
Jantar mantar (or 'instrument of calculation') is a curious if somewhat compelling collection of sculptures. In fact, each construction has a specific purpose, for example, measuring the positions of the stars, altitude and azimuth, and calculating eclipses.
Time : 9:00 A.M.- 4:30 P.M. (Daily)
Photography is allowed inside the Jantar Mantar
Jaipur shopping is great fun and a matter of delight. Popularly known for its ethnic Jwellery, Bandhni textile and Bagru Print, market overflows with colorful carpets and kota doria mats.
The well known Jaipur shopping markets are Jauhari Bazaar, Bapu Bazaar, Nehru Bazaar, MI Road, Tripolia Bazaar and Chaura Rasta.
Jauhari bazaar glitters with jewelries embedded with precious stones and gems. one can also get ethnic saris and dress materials from this shopping market. Bapu Bazaar and Nehru Bazaar is ideal for shopping special shoes made out of camel skin. Others include textiles, local scents and perfumes besides bags and belts. MI Road market provides you with ethnic kundan jewelries, earthen potteries, brass made articles and other kinds of excellent wood made items. If you are looking for beautiful and cheap ornaments like colorful bangles, then step into the Tripolia Bazaar and Chaura Rasta market place.
Other markets for shopping in Jaipur are the Ramganj Bazaar known for embroidered shoes and Kishanpol Bazaar for tie and dye garments. Also pay a visit to Achrol House and Subhash Chowk for beautiful carpets. For the block printed garments and blue potteries, the best place for shopping is the Saganer village.
Jaipur is a city of royalty, a land which has served rich food to the Kings and queens of the royal family. The imperial kitchens of Rajasthan used to employ 'Khansamas' (the royal cooks) to make the best gastronomy. The Pink city still serves the best delicacies to its residents and tourists. If you are planning a trip to Jaipur, leave your worries aside as the city has myriad number of restaurants. Almost all the restaurants serve every type of cuisine, so you need not to think about what to eat.
Jaipur is famous for its Dal Batti, Churma, Mawa Kachori, Ghewar, Mirchi Bada, Rajasthani Subji and different kinds of Chapattis. For those who are not very ardent on trying the traditional Rajasthani food, there are ample of restaurants that serve special cuisines from Chinese and Thai to Intercontinental and Italian food. If you are a lover of fast food, the great variety of patties, pastries, sandwiches, pizzas, Indian chat etc. will definitely satisfy your appetite.
Among the various restaurants, LMB, Rawat and Suvarna Mahal are the most famous for Rajasthani cuisine. There are numerous multicuisine restaurants offering Indian, Continental and Chinese cuisine along the famous MI Road. Hotel Maharani Palace, Hotel Rambagh Palace, Hotel Mansingh Palace and Hotel Jai Mahal Palace are some of the palace turned hotels that have some quality bars and multicuisine restaurants too.
List of Restaurants in Jaipur
Rajasthani and Indian
- Laxmi Misthan Bhandar (LMB)
- Surya Mahal
- Rawat Misthan Bhandar
- Suvarna Mahal Restaurant
- Gulab Mahal
- Dasaprakash Restaurant
- The Niros
- Natraj MI Road Multicuisine
- Copper Chimney
- The Temptations
- Shivir Restaurant
Nightlife in Jaipur is limited to watching a movie, dining, shopping or getting a drink at a local bar or restaurant.
If you have time and patience to sit through an Indian movie then try a visit to 'Raj Mandir'. With ornate interiors and blends of incense, it's a pretty popular place with both locals and tourists.
'Chokhi Dhani', a restaurant near the airport organizes Rajasthani folk performances. This can be your one-stop to enjoy the meals and get some insight into local folklore. The place however is about 30kms from the city and you would need to hire a cab.
Also consult your hotel or agent for any other musical extravaganza taking place in the city at the time of your travel.