Popularly known as the 'Pink City', Jaipur is one of the most visited travel destinations in India. This city of majestic forts, palaces and beautiful havelis is one of the preferred travel points of most foreign travelers visiting India.
Being the capital of Rajasthan, the city has always been on the lime light for different reasons: be it politics, economy or tourism. In possession with a glorious history and vibrant culture, Jaipur is the perfect place to witness and experience the royalty of erstwhile Rajput kings.
Built by the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727, the city still holds the old charm, affluent traditions and customs. As far as tourism is concerned, there are a series of palaces and forts with a rich style of architecture and history intact.
Falling under the Golden Triangle Tour, there is no dearth of travel attractions in Jaipur. And the ancient testimonials in the form of magnificent historic monuments constitute the lot. Some of the well-known attractions of this place are listed below, depicting the magical spell of royal Rajasthan.
Hawa Mahal (or Palace of Winds) - Built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799, it is one of the splendid examples of Rajputana architecture. This signature construction style of this five-storey building is based on small-screened balconies, arched roofs and ornamental design, keeping this distinct from others.
Looking at the history of the palace, it is an integral part of the Jaipur City Palace. Hawa Mahal was specially designed and built for the female members of the royal family to witness processions and other street activities, since they had to observe the Purudah.
City Palace - Located adjacent to the Hawa Mahal, the City Palace is yet another superb palace covering a huge area with several buildings, courtyards and gardens. Travelers certainly need time to visit every corner of this exquisite palace, as each has its own story and history added to the unique cultural saga.
Just after the entry point, you will surely get the feel of lifestyle of the Maharajas with those long and wide halls, intricate interior design and decoration. Interestingly, the Royal Family, the former Maharaja, still lives in part of the palace. The Chandra Mahal, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the Museum inside the City Palace are worth of your time.
Jantar Mantar - It is the world's largest stone astronomical observatory with several typical astronomical instruments. Designed and built by astronomer-king Sawai Jai Singh II, Jantar Mantar or the "Yantras" drives the curiosity of visitors.
In fact, this is not the only astronomical observatory in India, there are four more founded by Maharaja Jai Singh. The others are in Delhi, Varanasi, Mathura and Ujjain; however, this one is the largest.
The significance of the observatory can very well be observed with the fact that it has 14 statistical instruments, which were used for specific purposes such as weather forecasting, time measurement, predicting eclipses and other astronomical events.
Amber Fort - Also referred to as 'Amer Fort', it is one of the biggest forts in the entire Rajasthan state. Located high on a hill, the fort was once the center of all activities under the Kachhawa dynasty. Just 11 km north of Jaipur city center, the fort is rightly placed as one of the most visited spot of the region.
Raja Man Singh started its construction in 1592, while it was Maharaja Jai Singh I who brought this to its present form. With wonderful carvings, paintings and mirror works, the fort today stands tall among the list of Rajputana architecture.
The Amber Fort complex is a blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture and art forms. Intricate paintings on the walls and ceilings and minute mirror works behold its visitors with an experience they have never before. Some of the highlights of the fort are the Seesh Mahal, the Sheila Devi Temple, Diwan-I-Aam and Jai Mandir among others.
These are not all; you have the option to extend your Jaipur city tour to few other tourist attractions, including the Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort along with a quick stopover at the Government Central Museum, the Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh and even the Ramgarh Lake (32m km to the north-east).
Getting to Jaipur
Jaipur is well connected with a good network of air, rail and road. The city has its own airport which offers regular flights to some of the important cities in India, in addition to limited service to Dubai.
Foreign tourists usually land at the New Delhi international airport and then proceed to Jaipur with connected flight, or by bus or train after a brief stay in the national capital.
However, make sure to book your air or train tickets in advance, as it?s nearly impossible to get one in the peak tourist season. Those who want to travel on their own terms may take help of public transport or even tourist taxis as convenient modes of transport.
Other than traveling and visiting the above-mentioned travel attractions, you also have the choice to explore few more things in this princely city with vibrant colors. Jaipur is rightly termed as a treasure trove for shoppers with numerous artistic items, antiques, handicrafts, gems and jewelry. Besides, don't forget to take an elephant ride near the Amber Fort and sample the delicacies of Rajasthani food; the city is just wonderful to catch your imagination in the best shape.