Jaipur was founded by Maharaja Jai
Singh II (1693-1743) and is the capital of Rajasthan. Jaipur
is surrounded by hills and dotted with forts. Houses with pink
latticed windows line the streets, and look almost magical at
An extremely well planned city, Jaipur was designed by an
engineer and scholar Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, in accordance
with ancient Hindu treatise on architecture, the Shilpa Shasta
It was planned in a grid system with wide straight avenues,
roads, streets and lanes and uniform rows of shops on either
side of the main roads. Jaipur remains the only place where
the nine sectors that sub-divide the city symbolise the nine
divisions of the universe. Jaipur is surrounded by a wall
having seven gates and was built for protection from invading
armies and wild animals that lurked just outside in the
jungles that surrounded the city.
The Old City, also known as the Pink City, is a wonderful
place to wander around. The whole city was painted pink by
Maharaja Man Singh II when Prince of Wales, later Edward VII,
visited Jaipur in 1876. Today, every home within the city is
obliged by law to maintain this facade.
Jaipur’s regal heritage is evident in its architecture and
culture. Beautifully laid out gardens and parks, attractive
monuments and marvellous heritage hotels, once the residence
of Maharajas are testaments to the Rajasthan of yesteryears.
The arts and crafts of the state are amazing. You’ll find
elaborately fashioned jewellery, the multi-coloured ‘bandhini’
fabrics, richly decorated handlooms, and other trinkets at the
colourful bazaars of Jaipur. These bazaars are a lot of fun
not just what’s available, but also for the cheerful people in
their traditional costumes.
For the first-time visitor, it is an intriguing and
Population: Approximately 1.9 million
Climate: Summers are hot, with temperatures soaring
beyond 45°C. Winters are cold with temperatures as low as 8°C.
Best time to visit: October to March. The weather is
pleasant, but you should go prepared for winter.
This magnificent fort with its huge ramparts & watchtowers, is
believed to have been the capital of the "Minas", the original
inhabitants of Rajasthan.
A magnificent structure, the palace occupies one seventh of
the walled city of Jaipur and is a wonderful blend of Rajput
and Mughal architecture. Constructions and additions to the
palace continued until twentieth century. The palace houses an
extensive collection of rare manuscripts, Mughal and
Rajasthani miniatures, Mughal carpets, costumes and textiles,
arms and weapons, objects of art and royal paraphernalia.
This fort was cleverly built to gives its archers an advantage
over their targets. It is said that Raja Man Singh buried huge
treasures here. The fort also houses the Jai Ban – the largest
cannon in Asia, rumoured to have been test fired only once.
The enchanting Hawa Mahal is a multi-layered palace, with a
profusion of windows and stone screens.
Jantar Mantar, one of the five observatories built by Maharaj
Jai Singh, in 1718. He was an avid Astonomer and loved to
study the movements of stars. It is the one of largest and the
best preserved observatories today. A collection of complex
astronomical instruments chiselled out of stone - most of
which continue to provide fairly accurate information to this
day - is the highlight of the observatory. Constructed with
stone and marble, its complex instruments whose setting and
shapes are precisely and scientifically designed represent the
high -points of Medieval Indian astronomy.
Nahargarh meaning abode of the tigers was built by Jai Singh
to bolster the defense of Amer. Originally called Sudarshan
Garh, Nahargarh offers a breathtaking view of Jaipur.
Erected in the middle of Ram Niwas Garden, Albert Hall was
built in 1876 to mark the visit of Prince of Wales. It was
designed by Sir Swinton Jacob and opened in 1887 as a public
museum. It contains a fine collection of sculptures,
paintings, decorative art objects, natural history specimens,
an Egyptian mummy and a celebrated Persian Garden Carpet.
Makar Sankranti (January 14)
Makar Sankranti ushers in the New Year. Across India it is
celebrated as a harvest festival. This is the period when the
winter recedes, paving the way for summer. This is the day of
kites at Jaipur. Jaipurites are famous for their expertise in
kite flying. The kite flying starts well before the Makar
Sakranti day, and continues after the festival. It is a treat
to watch the skyline of the Pink City, studded with colourful
This is the festival of women, dedicated to Goddess Gauri.
This festival, dedicated to Goddess Parvati, is celebrated
only by women. Teej welcomes the monsoon rains. The women
dress in bright costumes and flock to a swing hung from the
branches of trees. They then lead a procession of Goddess
Parvati signifying her departure from her parental home to her
new home with her husband Lord Shiva. Elephants, camels and
dancers form a part of the processions
Though Diwali or the festival of light is celebrated all over
India, Jaipur's Diwali is something special. The entire city
is ornamented and dressed like a new bride. Every corner of
the city sparkles. The skyline is filled with colourful light
crackers and the Nahargarh Fort over the hill seems like a
glittering palace in the sky.