ABOUT JAIPUR : Jaipur is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, after whom the city has been named. In 1876, the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria visited India on a tour. Since pink denotes the color of hospitality, Maharaja Ram Singh painted the whole city pink in color to welcome the guests. It was then that Lord Albert exclaimed Jaipur to be a 'Pink City', and hence the tradition has been sincerely followed by the residents who are now, by law, compelled to maintain the pink color. Home to opulent palaces, towering forts and holy temples, not only has Jaipur gracefully retained its royal roots but it proudly displays them for visitors to see and experience.
Amber Fort- Amber was once the capital of princely Jaipur state, and the fort was the residence of its Rajput rulers. Maharaja Man Singh, who led Mughal Emperor Akbar's army, commenced its construction in 1592 on the remains of an 11th century fort. Successive rulers added to Amber Fort before moving the capital to Jaipur in 1727. The fort is a UNESCO World Heritage site under a group of hill forts in Rajasthan. Its architecture is a noteworthy fusion of Rajput (Hindu) and Mughal (Islamic) styles. Over centuries, they created the complex whose layers of history are still visible today. Amber Fort’s imposing appearance against the skyline is enhanced by its stone ramparts and its towers of green quartzite, red sandstone, and white marble. Gateways and chhattris are set beautifully into the exterior. From the ramparts there is a panoramic view of Moata Lake, which was used to provide water to Amber, feeding the hamaams and fountains inside the fort palace. Every corner of the palace has its own particular function like Jaleb Chowk – the lowest one – was for mass gatherings. The Diwan-i-aam was used for public hearings and the Diwan-i-khaas for the main administrative functions, while Zanana Chowk (also known as Mansingh Mahal) was a residential area. Of all the courts, Diwan-i-khaas – the most important in the political hierarchy – is the most formal, with exuberant architectural decorations. There are frescos painted in different colours, such as on Ganesh pol, the elaborate mirror works of Sheesh Mahal, artefacts in stone and sandalwood, and the dazzling paintings on the walls of the dining room. The gorgeous latticework of jalis adorns most of the facades, modulating the harsh light and creating patterns on the floors and walls of the havelis.
One of the highlights of a visit to the stunning Amer Fort is the opportunity to take a ride on an elephant up the hill to the main entrance. These wonderful elephants are decorated with traditional painted patterns and effortlessly transport visitors up the steep slope to the fort. The Amer Fort elephant ride is a fantastic experience, but visitors must arrive early to guarantee a ride and expect to suffer from touts and haggling. The well- organized evening Sound and Light Show here is a fascinating attraction of the Amber Fort, with its rocky walls provided with an energetic backdrop for the light- effects. The show is made exciting by narrating the various stories and legends of the Rajput Kings, describing its traditions and the grand lifestyle of the royal family.
City Palace: The City Palace was built between 1729 and 1732 by Sawai Jai Singh II, ruler of Amer. Sawai Jai Singh II planned and built the outer walls of the palace and later successive rulers made some additions to the architecture of this palace upto the 20th centuary. The palace is located towards the northeast side of central Jaipur and has many courtyards and buildings. The architectural styles are largely based on a fusion of Rajput, Mughal and European styles. Some of the famous gates are the 'Udai Pol', 'Jaleb Chowk', 'Tripolia Gate' and 'Virendra Pol', which are the various entrances to the palace. These are all richly decorated and designed according to a 'grid style' and houses various structures such as, 'Chandra Mahal', 'Mubarak Mahal', 'Diwan-I-Khas' and the 'Govind Dev Ji Temple’. The walls and gates are ornately designed to Mughal style, with various murals, lattice and mirrors adorning them from sides. Apart from the regal architecture, the palace offers a stunning view of the Pink City and also an insight into the rich heritage of a bygone era.
Jal Mahal: Located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake, a man-made reservoir created in 1596, the Jal Mahal (or ‘Water Palace’) Sharing the common ground of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture and design. Jal Mahal is a five-storey building built of red sandstone. Only the top floor of Jal Mahal is accessible and visible, since the remaining four floors remain submerged under the water of Lake Man Sagar. Jal Mahal was originally constructed by Maharaja Madho Singh in 1750 for himself and his companions to rest during their duck hunting endeavours. Maharaja Madho Singh II developed the interior and exterior of Jal Mahal later on in the 18th ceantuary.
Jantar Mantar: Jantar Mantar—the name derived from “Yantra Mantra” (instruments and formulae) -- situated just outside the gates of the City Palace in the Walled City area of Jaipur, is one of the five astronomical observatories built by the former ruler in various parts of the country including Delhi. Considered to be the largest stone observatory in the world, Jantar Mantar took its final shape around 1733.The monument, a remarkable collection of architectural-astronomical instruments, was renovated at the turn of the previous century and was declared a national monument in 1948.
Hawa Mahal: This unique and beautiful palace was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. Also known as ‘Palace of Winds’ was constructed in red and pink sandstone in the form of crown of Hindu gold Lord Krishna; the five storey structure was designed by famous architect Lal Chand Ustad. The exterior looks like the honeycomb of a beehive with 953 small windows called Jharokhas. These small windows or Jharokhas are decorated with intricate and beautiful latticework. The purpose of the lattice work in the palace was to allow the royal ladies to observe the festivals and everyday life in the street below being unseen from the outside. The lattice also allows cool air or breeze pass through the intricate pattern and air conditioning the entire palace area during the summers.The cooling effects in the palace chambers, provided by the cool air passing through the Jharokhas of the façade, was improved by the water fountains at the center of the each of the chambers in the palace.
Nahargarh Fort: Nahargharh Fort is situated on the ridge of Aravali, looks most classy when floodlit at night. The fort was built in 1734 and extended in 1868. Nahargharh means ‘abode of the tigers’, was built by Sawai Jai Singh to bolster the defence of Amber (Amber Fort). The fort overlooks the city and presents a glittering view of the city lights. Nahargarh Fort is associated with several legends, offers exquisite vistas of the Man Sagar Lake. The fort served as a rest retreat for royal guests and dignitaries who were invited to join the maharaja for duck shoots.
Jaigarh Fort: Also called as the “Victory Fort of Rajasthan. The Jaigarh fort was established between 15th and 18th century to reinforce the protection of Amer. It is located on the Cheel ka Teela Hill amidst the Aravalli range and has various complexes within its premises including the palace complex, a museum, armoury, temples and so on. The highlight of the fort is definitely ‘Jaivana’, a cannon on wheels manufactured in the fort itself and was once upon a time, the world’s largest such cannon. Visit the fort to admire its magnificent architecture, to walk through its history and to just surround you with royal charm and strength.
Galtaji Temple: Galta ji temple is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site which is surrounded by Aravalli Hills at the bottom of the hills in a lush landscape of trees and bushes. The temple has a Galta Kund which is a holy water tank and the water of the tank never dries. Some parts of Ram Charit Manas i.e. Ramayana is written in this temple by Goswami Tulsidas. Images of Brahma, Vishnu, Parvati and Ganesha are also made on the walls of this temple. There is a resevoir in Jaigarh fort, which is situated above the Galta ji temple, contains pure water, which appears to fall from the Gaumukh or you can say from the mouth of cow. During sunset, many monkeys come to this place hence, the place is also known as Monkey temple.
Govind Devji Temple: Govind DevJi Temple is situated in the City Palace complex of Jaipur in Rajasthan, India. The temple is devoted to Govind Dev Ji or Lord Krishna and is one of the 7 temples of Thakur of Vrindavan. The murti or the idol of the deity was brought to Jaipur from vrindavan by Raja Sawai Jai Singh II who was the founder of Jaipur. But the temple was constructed by Akbar, the Mughal Emperor. It is also believed that the idol of Lord Krishna in the temple look exactly like the form Krishna took during his incarnation on Earth.
FAIRS AND FESTIVALS:
Elephant Festival: The elephant festival is celebrated anually in the month of Phalgun (March) on the eve of Holi, the festival of colours. During the festival, Jaipur comes alive with elephants, dancers, musicians and draws visitors from all over the world. The festival begins with a procession of elephants, camels, and horses, lovingly painted and beautifully attired with glittering ornaments and embroidered velvets, followed by lively folk dancers entertaining at their best. The elephants greet the visitors, offer garlands to the guests and walk past the ramp before a jury of experts and tourists to select the best amongst them for the ‘Best decorated Elephant’ Shield. Elephant races and elephant polo matches are special features. The most hilarious highlight of the festival is a tug of war between elephants and men. Then there is a unique ‘Gaj Shringar’ exhibition displaying everything connected with the elephant-ornaments, textiles (Jhoo), howdahs and carriages, paintings, medicines and food.The tourists have an opportunity to mount the elephants and play Holi.
Teej Festival: Rajasthan is a hub of fair and festival and Jaipur is the capital of fest. Teej is the most celebrated festival in Rajasthan. Teej refers to the monsoon festivals, celebrated during the month of 'Saawan'. This festival is dedicated to the reunion of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. It was said that goddess Parvati prays to lord shiva for many years to marry Shiva and when Lord Shiva fullfilled her wish, that day is celebrated as Teej. Women pray to Goddess Parvati for well-being of their husband and girls pray to get the husband like Shiva. Traditional dance and traditional dress like 'lahriya sari' are the main features of this festival. In Teej men and women give performance on folk dance in colored dress. On this day, women and young girls wear their traditional clothes with fine jewelry. In this festival you can see the traditional parade. In this parade you can see the goddess teej mata palaki picked up by many people on their shoulder. Camels and Elephant are covered by traditional dresses.
Ganguar Festival: This festival is dedicated to Gauri, a manifestation of Goddess Parvati; consort of Lord Shiva which commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and lasts for 18days. The festival is celebrated by girls and married women throughout Rajasthan. The images of Gauri are ornamented and offerings are made. Gauri is worshipped by unmarried women for blessing to get a good husband and by married women for the welfare, health and long life of their husbands. This is also an auspicious day for young people to select their life partners. The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing designs with 'mehendi'/Henna.
SHOPPING: WHAT TO BUY?
Jaipur is one of the most important centers in the world for cutting and polishing precious and semi-precious stone, diamonds, Jewellery, exotic blue pottery, the batik painting, block printed textiles of Sanganer, tie & dye fabrics, Mojari- (the local shoe), sandalwood carving items, beautiful stone carvings, Lac Work, Meenakari, Metal Work, Marble Work, Paintings, Leather Work, Carpets, Wooden Work etc. are the most famous things for shopping in Jaipur.
Some of the best markets of Jaipur are as follows:
CUISINES: WHAT TO EAT?
Jaipur is famous for its Dal-Bati-Churma, Mawa Kachori, Ghewar, Mirchi Bada, Gatta ki sabji and different kinds of Chapattis. Recognized as a Rajasthan speciality, Dal-Bati-Churma is a wholesome Rajasthani meal. Dal, or lentil curry, is served with Baati, a roundel of stuffed flour that’s baked in a charcoal fire or oven. Choorma is a sweet dish made with flour, jiggery/sugar and ghee. Sweet dishes include Ghevar, Feeni, Gajak, Chauguni ke laddu, Moong Thal etc.
HOW TO REACH?
By Air: Air travel to Jaipur is the most convenient way to reach the city. The Jaipur airport is located at Sanganer, which is 12 kilometres from the heart of the city. It has both International and Domestic terminal and is well connected to most of the cities across the globe with a number of airlines operating on a regular basis.
By Bus: Taking a bus to Jaipur is a pocket friendly and very convenient idea if you are looking to have a budget holiday. The Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) runs regular, Volvo (air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned) and deluxe buses between Jaipur and other cities within the state.
By Train: You can travel to Jaipur by trains which connect Jaipur to many important Indian cities. Also, with the advent of the Palace on Wheels, a luxury train, you can now enjoy the royalty of Jaipur even when you are on the move. Operating to, in and around Jaipur, this luxurious ride for a train leaves you in awe.
By Road/Self Drive: The Delhi-Jaipur National Highway offers a smooth ride (260 kilometres) with plenty of restaurants and amenities on the way. The road leading to Jaipur is well-connected by National Highways 8, 11 and 12.