Jaipur also popularly known as the Pink City, and is the largest city located in the semi-desert lands of Rajasthan. The city which once had been the capital of the royalty now is the capital city of Rajasthan. Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who ruled from 1699-1744 and initially his capital was Amber, which lies at a distance of 11 km from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water.
The King consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the layout of Jaipur. Finally under the architectural guidance of Vidyadar Bhattacharya, (initially an accounts-clerk in the Amber treasury and later promoted to the office of Chief Architect by the King) Jaipur came into existence on the classical basis of principles of Vastu Shastra and similar classical treatise.
After waging several battles with the Marathas, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II was keen on the security aspect of the city. Being a lover of Astronomy, Mathematics and Astrophysics, Jai Singh sought advice from Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal, to aid him to design many other buildings including the Royal Palace in the center of the city.
The construction of the city started in 1727. It took around 4 years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the science of Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks, of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. Huge fortification walls were built along with seven strong gates.
The very structure of Jaipur resembles the taste of the Rajputs and the Royal families. At present, Jaipur is a major business centre with all requisites of a metropolitan city. Makar Sankranti, Gangaur, Elephant Festival, Teej are some of the famous festivals.
How to reach Jaipur by Air
Jaipur has an airport called Sanganer, 15 kms from the city, which connects Jaipur to all major airports in India through direct flights. It has regular flights to Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur and Udaipur.
How to reach Jaipur by Road
The bus service between Jaipur to Delhi by Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation with buses approximately every half an hour both sides. There are several types of buses including Deluxe, AC and the superior AC Volvo buses. From Delhi you can board the bus from Bikaner House on Pandara Road next to India Gate. From Jaipur you can board the bus from Narayan Singh Circle or the main Sindhi Camp bus stand.
How to reach Jaipur by Rail
Jaipur has a railway junction, which connects Jaipur with the metros and all the major cities of India. Apart from these trains, a specialty train called 'Palace on Wheels', which leaves from Delhi and connects a number of tourist attractions. Other trains are the Shatabdi Express and the Intercity Express.
Amber Fort is located on top of a hill which is 11 Km away from Jaipur. Amber Fort is known for its unique artistic style, blending both Hindu and Muslim elements. The solemn dignity of its red sandstone and white marble pavilions, when reflected in the lake at the foot hill, is a sight to behold. The original palace was built by Raja Man Singh.
Sheesh Mahal chamber of Mirrors. Diwan-e-Am or the Hall of Public Audience is a beautifully proportioned hall open on three sides and stands on two rows of ornamented pillars. Diwan e-Khas or the Hall of Private Audience has delicate mosaic work in glass. Sukh mandir is guarded by sandalwood doors inlaid with ivory.
Abhaneri is a small town village, situated at a distance of 95 km from Jaipur. Originally Abhaneri was named as Abha Nagri, which means the city of brightness, later it is changed. Abhaneri is prominent for 'Baoris', which are the unique invention of the natives for harvesting rain water.
Amongst the other step wells, Chand Baori is one of India's deepest and largest step wells. This colossal step well is located in front of the Harshat Mata Temple. Step wells are the unique concept of India. Adjoining the Chand Baori, there is a temple, dedicated to Harshat Mata.
This museum is supposed to be the oldest museum of the state. Colonel Sir Swinton Jacob designed it in 1876 to greet King Edward VII as Prince of Wales on his visit to India. Positioned amidst the gardens of Ram Niwas Bagh in Jaipur, this museum has an assortment of rare articles on its display including textiles, carpets, paintings, metal and wood crafts, pottery, arms and weapons, flora and fauna of the state, toys, dolls and even an Egyptian mummy that belongs to the Ptolemaic Epoch and is famous for the carpets, which portrays the scene of a Persian garden carpet with running water streams. Puppets and Phad paintings occupies another gallery of the museum.
Bairath is located at a distance of 86 kms from Jaipur, on the Shahpur - Alwar road. It contains the relics and structures of Mauranyas, Mughal and Rajput periods. The excavated remains of a circular Buddhist temple, unique in Rajasthan and the earliest structural temple in India, make it an important historical place. Akbar the great, constructed a mint and his son Jahangir a beautiful Mughal garden and a remarkable monument with painted chatris and walls.
Bagru is a small village, located at a distance of 30 kms from Jaipur, on Jaipur-Ajmer Road. Its attraction is hand printed cloth industry. The desired design is engraved on the wooden block first and then the carved block is used for replicating the design in the preferred color on the fabric.
BM Birla's Science and Technology Centre is a constituent unit of Birla Institute of Scientific Research (BISR) that owes its existence of renowned industrialist Mr. B.M Birla. Located in the heart of Jaipur, the planetarium is a sprawling 9.8 acre complex that houses a science museum, a library, a computer science, an information processing and dissemination cell, as many as eight research divisions, a processing planetarium and an auditorium.
The auditorium with a seating capacity of 1350 people is one of the most modern planetariums in India. It offers unique audio-visual education about stars and entertainment with its modern computerized projection system.
Hawa Mahal is also called as Palace of Wind or Palace of Breeze. Its unique five-story has 953 small windows called jharokhas decorated with intricate lattice work is a fine piece of Rajput architecture, built in 1799, by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and is the most recognizable monument of Jaipur. The display Jaipur past and present is the special feature of this newly setup museum.
Galtaji is a holy pilgrimage of India, located 10 kms away from Jaipur in Rajasthan. The Temple of Galtaji is famous for its natural water springs. Galtaji is considered holy place, as Saint Galav spent his life meditating here. However, the temple was built mach later by Diwan Rao Kriparam, a courtier of Sawai Jai Singh II, in the 18th Century. The outstanding structure of the Temple looks more like a mansion or Haveli.
The complex of Galtaji has numerous temples, pavilions, natural springs and holy 'kunds'. Built in pink sandstone, Galtaji Temple appeals to the aesthetic sense of the visitors. The temple, dedicated to the Sun God, is the most famous temple built on the top of a hill. Out of all other temples, Hanuman temple stands out, being surrounded by hundreds of monkeys.
Located off the Jaipur-Amber road, Gaitore is the final resting place for the maharajas of Jaipur. Set in a narrow valley, the cenotaphs of the former rulers consist of the somewhat typical chhatri or umbrella-shaped memorials. Of special mention is Jai Singh IT's chhatri because of the carvings that have been used to embellish it.
Govind Dev Ji Temple is one amongst the major tourist attractions of Jaipur and is dedicated to Govind Dev Ji (Other name of Lord Krishna). Govind Devji Temple of Jaipur is situated in the City Palace complex, between the Chandra Mahal and Badal Mahal. Govind Dev Ji is the principal deity of Amber's Kachawaha Dynasty. According to a legend, Govind Dev Ji appeared in the dream of Raja Sawai Jai Singh and asked him to bring his idol from Vrindavan to Jaipur. As a consequence, Raja Sawai Jai Singh brought the idol and placed in the City Palace complex of Jaipur.
Swargasuli also known as Isar Lat meaning the heaven piercing minaret was built in 1749. It is located at the junction of the Tripolia Bazar and the Gangori Bazaar. Isar Lat or Swargasuli is a seven storey minaret built on the lines of the Qutub Minar and Kirti Stambha of Chittaurgarh. The walls are designed in archetypal Rajasthani lattice work which helps to provide air and light to the entire building.
This is built to be a pleasure palace for the royal family in 1799, Jal Mahal Palace (translated as Water Palace) of Jaipur is an extremely romantic place with its red sandstone intricate architecture casting beautiful reflections in the calm waters of the Man Sagar Lake, full of hyacinths. Surrounded by Nahargarh Hills, Jal Mahal is known for its majestic architecture and sophisticated design. Set opposite the cenotaphs of the royal family, the first four floors of Jal Mahal is under water and only the top floor is above the water level.
Jantar Mantar is the most famous place to visit in Jaipur housing the collection of architectural astronomical instruments built in 18th century by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Jantar mantar consists of 13 different instruments of various geometrical forms for calculating the time of day, the heights of heavenly bodies, predicting eclipses. These instruments are of gigantic sizes and can make accurate measurements within one second.
Jantar Mantar consists of the Jaiprakash Yantra, Samrat Yantra, Ram Yantra and the Composite instrument which contains a sundial and an enormous hemisphere on the northern wall. The colossal Samrat Jantar is the sun dial that is 90 feet high and its shadow is carefully contrived to tell the time of a day. The small domed cupola (chhatri) at the top is used for predicting eclipses and the coming of monsoons.
Jaigarh Fort or Fort of Victory is located 15 Km away from Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan and is the most well fortified structures in India. The magnificent fort was constructed by Sawai Singh of Jaipur in 1726 on the top of the hill in order to tighten the security of Amber and Jaipur. The main highlights of the fort are massive Cannon, fortification, museum, palaces, temples and the magnificent water tanks. Among all the major highlights Cannon is the prime attraction of the fort and is the largest cannon in the world.
Kanak Vrindavan Valley is an exotic place in the desert lands of Jaipur, Rajasthan. Kanak Vrindavan is situated in the bottom of Nahargarh hills adjoining the ex-Amber Fort, on Jaipur-Amber Road. The beautiful green valley was labeled as Kanak Vrindavan Valley by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, almost 280-years ago.
The valley seemed like a mythological Vrindavan (Land of Lord Krishna) to the King, consequently he installed an idol of Shri Govind Deoji in the complex and is the blessed place where holy water from several rivers was gathered to carry out the Ashwamedh Yajna. The beauty of valley, covered with Dhok and Kadama trees, get enhanced at the sight of the scenic water cascades, blossoms, brook, ponds and lotus ponds.
Birla Mandir, in pure white marble, dominates the skyline of southern part of Jaipur. The enormous temple was built during the year 1988, by Birla Group of Industries and is situated just below the Moti Dungri Fort. Dedicated to Lord Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi, Birla Mandir in the pink City exhibits contemporary architecture.
Amongst all the idols, the marble idol of Ganesha is a masterpiece which looks almost-transparent. The idols of Lord Vishnu and his consort, Lakshmi attract the attention, being made out from one piece of marble. Its three domes symbolizes the rich secular principles of Indian democracy.
Nahargarh Fort is the first of the three forts built by Maharaja Jai Sawai Singh of Jaipur. The term "Nahargarh" refers to "the Abode of Tigers", so it is also known as the Tiger Fort. The Fort was constructed mainly in 1734. There are numerous buildings situated inside the Nahargarh Fort and amongst them, Madhavendra Bhawan appeals the most.
Another major attraction of the Fort provides an eye catching view of the Man Sagar Lake and the suburbs. The geometrically designed Nahargarh Fort looks at its best in the night, when it is dazzlingly lit.
Sambhar is a small town, located at a distance of 60kms in the west of Jaipur. Sambhar is famous for the largest saline lake in India and is known as Salt Lake City. Literally, Sambhar means salt and the lake has been providing salt for over a thousand years. Sambhar Lake is a place where horizons stretch to perpetuity, where water and sky merge in a shimmer of gossamer blue.
The waters here are glacially still, edged with a glittering frost of salt. The Goddess Shakambhari bestowed the lake for the benefit of people around 2,500 years ago. A small sparkling white temple in her honor stands in a rocky outcrop on the southern bank of Sambhar Lake.
Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh is a beautiful garden, located at a distance of 10 kms from Jaipur, on Jaipur-Agra Highway. In 1728, Sisodia Rani Garden was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, with an intention to gift the garden, to his Sisodia Queen from Udaipur and was named after the queen, who was adorable to the King.
Sisodia Rani Garden served as a natural sanctum and a getaway for the Maharani of Jaipur. The Garden houses fragrant shrubs and exquisite variety of plants, which exclaims the fact that it made a perfect sanctum for the lady of the royal household. The structure of the garden is imbibed from the Mughal style of Architecture, which makes it a well-designed garden. Set amidst the desert land, the garden exhibits skill of a human hand and the beauty of nature.
The City Palace is situated in the heart of the old City, it occupies about one seventh of the old city area. The palace is a blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture, it houses a Seven storied Chandra Mahal in the centre, which affords a fine view of the gardens and the city.
Diwan-E-Am (Hall of public audience) has intricate decorations and collection of manuscripts, Diwan-E-Khas (Hall of private audience) has a marble pawed gallery. Mubarak Mahal has a rich collection of costumes and textiles. There is a Clock Tower near Mubarak Mahal. Sileh Khana has a collection of armory and weapons.
Ramgarh Lake is located at a distance of 25 kms from the city of Jaipur. The best time to visit the lake is between October to March. The ruins of an old fort and the Jamwa Mata temple are seen here. The other adventures during the visit to Ramgarh Lake are boating from October to June, fishing, trekking in the beautiful mountains, driving to the nearby forest, travel to the carpet village and a marble quarry.