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Friday, August 15, 2008

Jaipur



Sawai Raja Jai Singh founded Jaipur, which is now the capital of Rajasthan, the Land of Rulers. The city has evolved into a great tourist attraction in India and is one of the three cities of the acclaimed Golden Triangle of India besides Agra, the city of Taj and Delhi, the capital of India. The fantastic forts, pompous palaces, full-of-life temples, multihued bazaars, effervescent streets have earned it a special place in the hearts of the people. Its uniqueness lies in the use of a rusty pink color that envelops all the structures and edifices of the building and has earned the city its oft-used name, 'The Pink City'. The color was meant to 'welcome' the Prince of Wales in 1876 and was envisioned by the then ruler Ram Singh II as an effective scientific way to cut down the severe glare of the sun.It is compulsory for everybody residing in the old city to maintain this distinctiveness of the city. The name 'Jaipur' has dual emphasis - 'Jai' means victory and was also the first name of its maker while 'pur' meant city. Most of its house has beautiful latticed windows with intricately carved lattices. Govind Deo ji ka Mandir is perhaps the most magnificent temple of the city while Galtaji has natural springs to boast of. The three massive forts of the city are the Nahargarh Fort, the Amber Fort and the Jaigarh Fort. Jal Mahal or the Water Palace is a perfect royal retreat while the sprawling mansions of the City Palace recreated the times of Kings and Queens with its rugged exteriors and tasteful interiors. Hawa Mahal has almost become the icon of Jaipur tourism.
Jaipur's Prime Attractions


Amer Palace Raja Man Singh built the 16th century palace using an eclectic mix of Hindu and Mughal architectural styles. The palace complex houses the stunning edifices such as Jai Mandir, Sheesh Mahal, Sukh Niwas and Ganesh Pole.
Hawa Mahal Delicate stone screen façade made in the style of a honeycomb is the key point of Hawa Mahal or the Wind Palace. The latticed windows and beautiful trellises and intricate carvings embellish the multi-layered look of Hawa Mahal. Raja Sawai Pratap Singh, the grandson of Sawai Jai Singh, built it in 1799 to enable the ladies of the royal household to look at the colorful bazaars and the proceedings of the court without being seen.
City Palace A part of Chandra Mahal or the City Palace is still the private residence of the erstwhile royalty of Jaipur while the rest is occupied by the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum that has various sections related to rare manuscripts, Mughal carpets, armory, regal costumes and textiles and Mughal and Rajasthani miniature paintings.
Nahargarh Fort Raja Jai Singh II built Nahargarh or the Tiger Fort in 1734. It was then known as Sudarshan Garh. One of the three forts of Jaipur, it provides some of the most breathtaking views of the Man Sagar Lake and its scenic surroundings.
Jai Garh Fort Sawai Jai Singh built this fort prior to Nahargarh in 1726 and it is similar to Amber Fort in architecture. The stately canon 'Jaivana', which is the largest wheeled canon in the world can be seen here. The fort also houses a museum; three water tanks and some good views of Amber.
Samode Palace 40 km from Jaipur, Samode Palace belongs to Rajput royalty that has now been converted into a heritage hotel run by the family. Apart from the Rajput Haveli architecture and picturesque landscaping of the gardens and lawns, the facilities, treatment and services provided to the guests here is also reminiscent of the past royal traditions.


Jal Mahal Water Palace of the 18th century, this island palace is situated in the Mansagar Lake and cast mesmerizing reflections of its magnificence and majestic bearing in the water. One can also cross the bridge and visit the royal cenotaphs nearby.
Government Central Museum Colonel Sir Swinton Jacob founded the oldest museum of Rajasthan in 1876, known today as the Government Central museum or Albert Hall Museum. The edifice has Indo-Persian architecture and is situated in the Ramnivas Gardens. It has utilitarian metal objects on its display along with Bundi, Kishangarh, Kota, Udaipur and Jaipur schools of miniature paintings, traditional ceremonial dresses for the royalty and the wood block printing.
Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh Built for Sisodia queen, the wife of Raja Sawai Jai Singh II, it has gorgeous multi-tiered gardens featuring fountains, pools and painted pavilions along with sculptures that are fabulous to look at.
Vidyadhar's Garden The garden is dedicated to Vidyadhar, the chief designer of the Pink City and has been remodeled recently. It is situated picturesquely in a narrow valley and has high hills all around it. It has also served as the vineyard of the royalty in the past and has been terraced. The royal resort is also fitted with beautiful fountains, pool and pavilions to give it an imperial look.
Jantar Mantar The observatory built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh is three-storey-high. It was built between 1728 and 1734 and its name means 'Magical Device'. The masonry instruments of this observatory are so accurate that their readings can compete with the most modern astronomical instruments.
Elephant Festival Held in March or April every year on Holi, it features parade of a number of bedecked elephants at the Chaugan stadium, where a prize is given to the 'mahout' (caretaker) of the best-attired elephant. Other interesting events here are Elephant Polo and tricks performed by these giant beasts and folk and cultural songs and dances.
Jaipur Festival A recently started event to promote tourism in the city, it is celebrated in the month of November annually and features programs, competitions and felicitations meant to revive old customs and traditions of this princely state. It ends on 18th of November, which is supposed to be the 'birthday' of Jaipur.
Jaipur City Facts
Location:
Situated in Rajasthan in North India. It is 259 km from Delhi and 232 km from Agra.
Climate:
Hot and sultry summers characterize Jaipur while winters are cold with pleasant and sunny days but hazy evenings and temperature as low as around 5ºC in the nights.

How to Reach:
By Air: Jaipur's airport is 20 km from the city centre and has daily domestic flights to and from Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ahmedabad, Jaisalmer, Aurangabad and Kolkata.
By Train: Jaipur is well linked by trains but some of the best options from Delhi are Shatabdi Express, Intercity Express, The Pink City Express and Chetak Express and from Mumbai, the Super Fast Express. To travel royally, opt for specialty trains like 'Palace On Wheels' and 'The Royal Orient'.
By Road: The central bus stand is at Sindhi Camp and connects Jaipur to Delhi, Agra and other major cities of Rajasthan with frequent deluxe and luxurious air-conditioned government and private bus services.

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