The colorful and vibrant capital of the State of Rajasthan is popularly known as the 'Pink City' because of the pink-colored buildings in its old city. it sits on a dry lakebed in a somewhat arid landscape, surrounded by barren hills surmounted by forts and crenellated walls. The city owes its name, foundation and careful planning to the great warrior-astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743). In 1727, with Mughal power on the wane, Jai Singh moved down from his hillside fort at nearby Amber to a new site on the plains. He laid out the city, with its surrounding walls andrectangular blocks, according to principles set down in the Shilpa Shastra, an ancient Hindu treatise on architecture. It is one of India most well planned cities with wide straight avenues, roads, streets and lanes in a grid system.
The walled old city is in the northeast of Jaipur, while the new parts are spread to the south and west. The main tourist attractions are in the old city. the principle shopping centre in the old city is the Johari Bazaar (Jewelers Market). There is a timeless appeal to Jaipur's colorful bazaars where one can shop for Rajasthani handlooms and trinkets. Beautifully laid out gardens and parks, attractive monuments and marvelous heritage hotels are worth admiration. Not to mention the ambling camels and cheerful people in multi-hued costumes who make a trip to the pink city a memorable one. The Jaipur Vintage Car Rally held annually in the month of January has become a big draw for car lovers, sports lovers, vintage beauty lovers and tourists alike. A keenly contested event, this rally is an inimitable display of well-maintained cars of yesteryears.
Places Around Jaipur
Located 11km north of Jaipur, this was the ancient capital of the Jaipur State. Construction of the fort-palace was begun in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh, the Rajput commander of Akbar's army. It was later extended and completed by the Jai Singh before the move to the plains. The fort is a superb example of Rajput architecture, stunningly situated on a hillside and overlooking a lake, which reflects its terraces and ramparts. The Fort is a beautiful complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and
temples. Centuries of disuse have not withered their pristine beauty. Notable structures include the Diwan-I-Am (Hall of Public Audience), a pillared hall with latticed galleries. The Jai Mandir or Hall of Victory is noted for its inlaid panels and glittering mirror ceiling. The Sukh Niwas or Hall of Pleasure has an ivory inlaid sandalwood doorway. The Shila Mata temple has the image of the patron deity Kali, a form of goddess Durga. The temple is still in use. The best way of experiencing the majesty of the Bygone era is by taking an elephant ride to the top of the fort.
The city of Amber sprawled below the Fort, once a settlement of nobles, craftsmen and common folks, is now mostly is ruins. The remnants of its rich past are the beautifully carved and planned Jagat Shiromani Temple, a Krishna temple associated with Meerabai, an ancient temple of Narsinghji and a magnificent step well, Panna Mian-ka-kund.
Located near Amber, this imposing fort built in 1726 by Jai Singh was opened to the public in mid 1983. The fort was never captured and hence has survived virtually intact through the centuries. Its splendour can be seen in its palaces, water reservoirs, gardens, puppet theatre, several temples, a granary, an armory, a well planned cannon foundry, the Diwa Burj watch tower and Jaya Vana, the giant canon. It offers great views over the plains from the tower.
Also known as the Tiger Fort, overlooks the city from a sheer ridge to the north. Located about 8km from Jaipur, the fort was built in 1734 as a sentinel to the Pink City. Although much of it is in ruins, the lovely buildings added by Sawai Ram Singh II and Sawai Madho Singh II provides interest to the fort.
Royal Gaitor :
Is the site of the cenotaphs of the royal family and is located just outside the city walls. The cenotaph of Maharaja Jai Singh II is particularly impressive.
Located about 16km south of Jaipur, this town is entered through the ruins of two tripolias or triple gateways. In addition to its ruined palaces, Sanganer has exquisitely carved Jain temples. the town is noted for its hand made paper and block-printed fabrics.
Located about 40km north of Jaipur is a small village nestled among rugged hills dominated by its famous and beautiful Palace . although strictly speaking, it was not owned by a ruler but a nobleman. This palace was owned by the Rawal of Samode. The highlight of this building is the exquisite Diwan-I-Khas, which is covered with original paintings and mirror-work. The Palace has been rebuilt and renovated and provides a fine example of the Rajput Haveli architecture. The sleepy village, with its local artisans producing printed cloth and glass bangles, nestles within its old walls. The palace has now been converted into a heritage hotel.