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The Pink City - Jaipur

What kind of images would come up in your mind when the word Rajasthan in mentioned?

  • Forts
  • Palaces
  • Tales of Valor
  • Miniature Art
  • Precious stones
  • Colorful garbs
  • Puppets
  • Festivals and Fairs
  • Camels and Elephants
  • Old World Charm

Trust me, Jaipur is all this and lots more. I recently revisited the Pink City and it was a treat.

Jaipur, the Pink City and the Capital of Rajasthan is approximately 250km away from New Delhi. It’s well connected by road, rail and air. Built in 1727 it is one of the well-planned cities of India. The City is divided into 9 blocks with 2 blocks housing state buildings and palaces and 7 blocks for the public. These blocks are surrounded by well-fortified walls and 7 strong gates like the Tripolia gate, Sanganeri gate etc.

A little about the history of Jaipur. Prior to Jaipur, Amber (pronounced as Amer) was the capital of Rajasthan. The Kachchawa clans of Rajputs were among the first to arrive at Amber Fort. And they built amiable relationships with the Moghul dynasty. Which is one the reasons why Jaipur monuments are a mix of Rajasthan and Moghul architecture. Raja Bihar Mal gave his daughter (Jodha) to be emperor Akbar’s wife.  Subsequent Kings like Bhagwan Das, Man Singh, and Jai Singh cemented their relationship with the Moghul and continued to operate out of Amber. However Sawai Jai Singh II moved the capital from Amber to Jaipur. Jaipur was built in consultation with some of the best mathematicians, astronomers and a very reputed architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. The colour pink was chosen to cut down the glare of the suns rays.

We spent 3 days in Jaipur. Stayed at Hotel Rambagh Palace, which was built in 1835 by the Queen of Jaipur but later converted into a heritage hotel run by the Taj group. The hotel is beautiful – huge room with high ceilings, arches, facades and jharokas. Paintings of all the Kings are hung in different places. The restaurants all remind you of an era long gone- the grandeur and the look and feel of those olden days are still maintained. The Hotel houses a Golf club and Polo grounds and a wonderful garden- a veritable delight for bird watchers.  There are over 75 varieties of common and rare birds.

We spent a day at the Amber Fort and Palace.  Set against the rather drab and rugged mountain background, the honey colored Fort and Palace are a sight to watch. Earlier the Jaigarh Fort used to protect the Amber Palace but later the Amber Fort was constructed. The Palace is beautiful and overlooks the Maota Lake below. Parts of the movie Jodha Akbar were shot there. What I found the most  alluring was the Sheesh Mahal- a single light was reflected into multiple images. The Diwan-e-aam, the Diwan-e-Khaas, the Jai Mandir, the Kali temple ,the latticed walls and the intricate gardens all have stories to tell. Please don’t miss out on the light and sound show of Amber Fort.

After a visit to the Amber Palace we went to the City Palace. The royal family still resides in a portion of the city palace, the Chandra Mahal. It is a blend of Moghul and Rajasthan Architecture and has numerous gardens and courtyards

Other places, which caught my interest, were

Hawa Mahal- The Palace of Winds, which was built by Sawai Pratap Singh. It overlooks the marketplace, the Sireh deorhi Bazaar. It is a wall (behind which there is a 5 storied building) and in olden time the ladies of the royal family used to watch the happenings in the market place through the multiple windows of the Mahal. It now houses a museum.

Jal Mahal- Palace within a lake, this was created in 1799 by constructing a dam within the lake. In the evenings it is lighted up beautifully

Nahargarh and Jaigarh Forts- The Jaigarh Fort is close to the Amber Palace and Fort and the Nahargarh Fort is a little away from Jaipur

Albert Museum- a public museum situated in the Ram Niwas Bagh.

Apart from these the Jantar Mantar, Dolls museum, Birla planetarium are common tourist spots. For those who want to visit religious shrines the Govindji temple, Jagat Shiromani temple and the Lakshminarayan temple are places to visit.  

Jaipur has extreme temperatures so it would be a good idea to check out the weather before you travel.  It’s a shoppers paradise with MI road, Tripolia bazaar, Johari bazaar, Khajane walon ka rasta and multiple other places where one can shop for textiles (the Jaipuri rajais, bedcovers), semi precious stones,  lac work, marble works, miniature paintings. . If you visit during the festival seasons the Gangaur Festival, the Kite festival are quite famous.

Before you leave Jaipur don’t forget to gorge on the delicacies of the Laxmi Misthan Bhandar. Amazing Rajasthani food!.I left Jaipur with memories of a beautiful city full of history and culture. And of course lots of clothes and Jaipuri rajais J.

      Hotel Ramgarh Palace
      Nahargarh Fort
      Amber Fort
     Entrance to Amber Palace
      The gardens at Amber Palace 
      Sheesh Mahal  
     Maota Lake 
      Jaigarh Fort 
      Jal Mahal
      Hawa Mahal 
      Albert Museum