Winters is approaching, making it
a good time to visit the desert state of Rajasthan. The easily
accessible state capital of Jaipur has several forts and historical
structures worth seeing.
Overview. The buildings of the
walled Old City of Jaipur are all painted pink, giving it the name
'Pink City'. Jaipur is also said to be the only planned city in India
when it was built. The city is best visited in the cooler days of
November to March, when seeing places is not a sweaty affair.
Orientation. Most of the ancient structures of
Jaipur are located around City Palace in Old City. The new city is
the modern sprawl of Jaipur to the west of Old City. The two well
known forts are both outside the city: Nahargarh fort is on a hill
overlooking Old City while Amber Fort is a 20 minute drive from
Sightseeing and Activities
City Palace. The City Palace was
built by Sawai Jai Singh in early 18th Century. The
Diwan-i-Am and Diwan-i-Khas are the most prominent structures inside the palace.
The four-season gates have beautiful paintings of peacocks
representing each of the season. The descendants of the kings still
live in the palace in 7-storey tower of Chandramahal. The palace has
a arms museum with a large collection of ancient firearms, and
another museum with artifacts belonging to the royals. An art gallery
has a vast collection of carpets, paintings and metal artifacts.
Jantar Mantar. Right
next to City Palace is Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory
built by Maharaja Jai Singh. It looks like a clutter of odd
shaped buildings at first sight, so take a guide to understand each one
Mahal is a building that epitomizes Jaipur's ancient structures. The
tall pink building has always been a part of brochures telling about
Jaipur. Overlooking a wide main road, this building was once used by
women of royal families to watch festive processions of the city.
Nahargarh Fort. Nahargarh
Fort, built by Maharaja Jai Sawai Singh in early 18th
century, also called Tiger Fort,
is located on a hill overlooking the old city, and offers panoramic
views of Jaipur.
Amber Fort. The
large Amber Fort is located outside the city on the top of a hill, and is surrounded by
hills, with beautiful views. A large tank in front of
it adds to the beauty. The interiors, with spacious Diwans and living
quarters are a must see.
outside the Old City, this place hosts the cenotaphs of the rulers of
Jaipur and their descendants. The structure is entirely built of
Rajasthan Marbles and has some beautiful carvings. The marble
Chhatris of Gaitor with Nahargarh fort in the background are a great
Jal Mahal. On
the way to Amber is this curious place built in the middle of a lake.
It is interesting to see a few trees that have grown over the palace
and have overshadowed the structure.
Food and Accommodation.
There are plenty of budget hotels, guesthouses and restaurants all
around Jaipur. Rajasthan Tourism promotes home-stays, and you can
inquire at their office for addresses of approved home-stays. Hotels
of every budget are easy to find it the city, but most premium hotels
are located outside the town. Not to miss is the resort at Chokhi
Dhani which has Rajasthani cultural evenings every night and has
excellent local food. Also visit the Om Hotel, where a revolving
restaurant gives you panoramic views of the city.
How to Reach.
Jaipur's train station and airport have direct access from most of
the major cities. You can also take a bus or drive down from Delhi(7