Jaipur, also called ‘The Pink City’, is the capital of the state of Rajasthan and is one of the most sought after travel destinations in Rajasthan. Jaipur is one of those cities of India which acts as a connecting link between the past and the present. It is so because this fast developing city has an array of mighty forts and elegant palaces. Originally Jaipur city was enclosed within the walls, and all the buildings were painted pink. Eventually the city sprawled beyond the walls and the consistency of the colour couldn’t be retained.
Attractions in Jaipur
Jaipur city came into existence in the early 18th century when the capital was shifted from ‘Amber’ to here. This city became the first well-planned city of India; the City Palace occupies the heart of the walled-city. This sprawling palace complex is a wonderful blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture. The construction of this complex of pavilions, courtyards, and chambers was begun by Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727. The subsequent kings did the additions. The highlights of this complex are Mubarak Mahal, armoury, Diwan-i-Khas (hall of private audience), Diwan-i-Am (hall of public audience) and Pritam chowk (courtyard). Read More
The unique facade of Hawa Mahal represents Jaipur in several travel guides and magazines. This ornate pink facade has a delicate honeycomb design with numerous projecting windows. All windows have perforated screens. Hawa Mahal literally means ‘The Palace of Winds’ and was built in 1799 by Sawai Pratap Singh. It was meant for the ladies of the harem who can discreetly watch the activity on the street below. Many travellers just stop here to see the facade. But if time permits, do enter this five-storey structure and climb up to the top, you’ll enjoy the views. Read More
Amber Fort (or Amer Fort)
Amber was the seat of power prior to Jaipur. The fort, noted for its sturdy battlements, is spread across a range of craggy hills. Its palace complex perched on a rocky ridge is a major tourist attraction of Jaipur. The construction of this palace was initiated in 1600 by Raja Man Singh and it exhibits a fine blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. Along with its artistic chambers, the rustic setting in the hilly countryside makes it enticing for the travellers. The significant elements of this sprawling palace complex are Diwan-i-Am, Jas Mandir, Shish Mahal, Sukh Niwas, Sohag Mandir and Baradari (12-arched pavilion). Amber is situated 11 km north of Jaipur City. An interesting light-and-sound show is played here every evening; tickets can be bought from the palace itself. Read More
Jaigarh is perched on the top of a hill behind Amber Palace. This fort of medieval India has never been captured and so has survived almost intact. Its walls, bastions, gateways and watchtowers are an expression of the might of the rulers. There are several places in this fort from where you can get extensive views of the surroundings. You can also get a commanding view of the Amber Palace from a corner near the Mughal Garden. Jaigarh Fort houses palaces, granary, open and closed reservoirs, ancient temples and remains of a Mughal Garden. Deep inside the palaces of the fort, there is a complex warren of dark passageways. The star attraction of Jaigarh is the massive 50-tonne ‘Jai Ban’ cannon, standing atop a tower. Read More
Important: Many tour operators will just drive you up till ‘Jai Ban’ cannon and conclude the visit of Jaigarh. But then you miss out on many amazing things. Jaigarh Fort is best explored on foot and if possible with a guide. Entry is free with the City Palace ticket, if utilized within 48 hours.
Nahargarh, also known as ‘Tiger Fort’, was built by Jai Singh II in 1734 and some of the subsequent rulers added new structures. Not many structures have withstood the test of time. A palace called ‘Manvendra Bhawan’, built by Madho Singh II still stands erect and is worth visiting. Don’t forget to climb to the rooftop of the palace to take in the commanding views of the Jaipur city. This small fort with its immense walls and bastions is situated on a ridgetop. Walking along its ramparts will surely earn you the views of the surrounding scrub-covered hills and valley. Nahargarh is a short uphill drive from Jaigarh. It can also be reached by a 2 km long hike from Jaipur city. Read More
Important: It is suggestible that solo women travellers be accompanied with somebody for visiting this fort as the secluded atmosphere and the presence of a bar attract several nasty youngsters.
Jantar Mantar is an observatory built by Sawai Jai Singh II and is situated near the City Palace. Of all the observatories built by Jai Singh II across northern India, this is the largest and the best preserved. It was built in 1726 out of masonry, marble and brass. It has several solar instruments called ‘Yantras’ but the star attraction is the Brihat Samrat Yantra (Large Sun Dial). The entire site is open to the sky without any shade, so plan your visit accordingly. Hiring a guide is advisable.
This building, built in 1876 in Indo-Saracenic style, was designed by Samuel Swinton Jacob. It houses the central museum which is spread across two floors. On display are artefacts, textiles, weapons, crafts, scriptures, and sculptures. Even if you aren’t keen on visiting the museum, a visit to take a glance of the elegant architecture of the palatial building is recommended.
Gaitor (or Gatore)
Situated in the foothills of Nahargarh, Gaitor is a royal crematorium. The complex houses beautiful cenotaphs and memorials dedicated to the members of the royal family. The area is peaceful and is surrounded by the hills with the ramparts snaking up and down.
This is a modern temple built by the Birla family and is situated below Moti Doongri (Pearl Hill). This temple, made from pure white marble, is noted for its excellent architecture and exquisite carvings.
This temple is located in a picturesque setting. Separated from the crowded streets of Jaipur, this temple complex is surrounded by low hills. The architecture of this 18th-century temple is in sync with the architecture of other monuments in Jaipur. However, the premises aren’t very well maintained, pools are beautiful but are tainted. This place is a favourite haunt of monkeys, so don’t carry any eatables in your hand unless they are meant for feeding them. To reach here you need to drive 10 km around the hills behind Jaipur. Alternatively, you can hike up the hill near Suraj Pol and then climb down on the other side.
Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh
The name literally means ‘the garden belonging to Sisodia queen’. There is a small pleasure palace set amidst lush gardens and surrounded by hills. This palace was gifted by Jai Singh II to his second queen who was from Sisodia clan of Udaipur. This place falls on the way to Galta temples and receives very few travellers. The palace is locked, the terrace of the building and the garden are open to tourists.
This palace, situated in the middle of Man Sagar Lake, lies on the way to Amer. As it is not accessible to the travellers, you can just stop for a few minutes to gaze at it.
SRC Museum of Indology
This museum has a collection of folk and tantric art which includes manuscripts, textiles, paintings, medals, fossils etc.
Travel Tips: You’ll need 2 to 3 days to explore Jaipur comfortably. Avoid one day tours of Jaipur offered by several travel agents. That way you will only get a glimpse of the monuments.