Jaipur

Rajputs (residents of Rajasthan) give great importance to impeccable hospitality. Guests are treated like royalty, and with the backdrop of palaces and forts around Jaipur, it’s not difficult to get into the act.

Colour, music, and royalty make up the Jaipur experience. It’s really easy to see why Jaipur is called the ‘pink city.’ The exterior of most houses are painted pink and a view from the top shows off this spectacular similarity. Put on your royal robes while sitting on elephant back to explore the well preserved Amber Fort. Here, you can marvel at the sandstone and marble walls or stare at an exquisite room filled with hundreds of mirrors. Turn into demure royalty at the Hawa Mahal, a place that allowed queens to look at the world passing by, without being seen. Switch to your inquisitive side while exploring Jantar Mantar, a fascinating complex filled with astronomical instruments. There are fourteen simple but brilliant geometric devices here that can measure time, predict an eclipse, and track stars

Local bazaars are explosions of colour and culture. A slow walk through these busy streets will take you through collections of handmade textiles, bright bangles, mirrored wall hanging, and the famous cozy quilts. Spend some time here to be able to take home a bit of Jaipur.

Sights & Activities

Amber Fort

On a vantage point atop a hillock near Jaipur, overlooking the Maota Lake, the opulent Amber Fort was once the residence of India’s Rajput Maharajas. Unlike the forts of Agra and Delhi, Amber Fort exudes a Hindu aesthetic, and is best known for its Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace), literally made of a million little pieces of glass glittering in the sun’s reflections – a sight to behold! In its Sukh Niwas (Peace Palace), the weather remains naturally cool with winds blowing over the artificial water cascade in the palace. Connected underground with the nearby Jaigarh Fort, Amber Fort had an escape route in times of war, parts of which are still accessible to the public.

City Palace

Symbolic of the Pink City’s royal hangover, City Palace is a palace complex in the heart of Jaipur, featuring the grand Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal, among other ancient monuments. Built in the early 1700s, it fuses Indian architectural styles with European, Rajput and Mughal styles. The imposing royal residence, which was once the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, is an ode to the city’s pre-colonial architecture, with European-style courtyards and manicured gardens, surrounded by the rocky Aravali hills.

Jantar Mantar

The Jantar Mantar, literally meaning “calculation instrument” is a fascinating collection of ancient astronomical instruments, used to measure time, predict eclipses, and track the planets and the sun – dating back to the Rajput era when modern science and technology were in their very nascent stages. The brainchild of a Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh, the Jantar Mantar has five counterparts across northern India, but the one in Jaipur remains the largest and most well preserved, with a place on the World Heritage List. Most of the instruments in this observatory are made from stone and marble, huge structures with such a striking degree of accuracy that current day students of astronomy and Vedic astrology are required to take lessons here. Few attractions in India are more intriguing than this old-school collection of seemingly outdated equipment to study the skies; astronomers now use it to calculate auspicious dates for weddings.

Jaipur Shopping

Shopaholics behold! The traditional bazaars of Jaipur are a shopping haven, with an incredible range of local artwork, semi-precious gems, pottery, textiles, jewelry and clothes on sale. The most popular of the lot is Johri Bazaar (Jeweler’s Market), in the crowded by-lanes of which you can still find traditional jewelers working at their stations with glittering gems and gold and silver studded jewelry, and designer stores selling wedding sarees and lehengas. Hit the streets of Bapu Bazaar (Father’s Market) for typical Jaipuri quilts, cushions, bed sheets and apparel, Chaura Rasta (Crossroads) for books and stationary of every imaginable variety, Busy Bazaar for textiles in traditional prints, and Badi Chaupar, near the famous Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace) for local handicrafts. Remember to carry your shopping wish list and an empty bag!

LODGING IN Jaipur

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