Built by the visionary Maharaja JaiSingh in the 18th century, Jaipur is a beautiful city full of colorful buildings and amazing history. From the world’s largest stone sundial to ancient palaces, Jaipur has something for the explorer within everyone. Come and see the “Pink City” at its best with Adam Travel!
As India’s first planned city, Jaipur was built in 1727 during the reign of Maharaja JaiSingh II (1693-1744) and is part of the tourist Golden Triangle that includes Delhi and Agra. Jaipur is a colorful and chaotic mix of old and new, palaces and temples, and beautiful pink buildings. Jaipur is also known as “The Pink City” because of the the color of the buildings, painted in 1876 for the arrival of the Prince of Wales, to evoke the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities. Today, Jaipur is growing exponentially and has become a major tourist destination, and was ranked as the 7th best place to visit in Asia by the 2008 Conde Nast Traveller Readers Choice Survey.
In the center of the Old City is the City Palace, built in 1729 as the home of the family of Maharaja JaiSingh. The palace comprises nearly 7% of the entire city of Jaipur, and is separated into courtyards, gardens, and living quarters. When you first enter you’ll see the Mubarak Muhal (Welcome Palace), designed by architect Sir Swinton Jacob in a melting pot of architectural styles, where Maharaja JaiSingh met with visiting dignitaries. Next is the Sarvatobhadra, an open-air courtyard set between the Armory and the art gallery. The art gallery, Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), includes exhibits of miniature holy scripts and texts, small enough to hide in case of foreign invasion. The Armory is home to the country’s best weapons collection, still in fantastic condition and many with elegant engraving and embellishments. The former royal family does still live in the City palace, in a private inner palace, which you will need to purchase a separate tour to visit.
Next to the palace is Jantar Mantar, an observatory also built by Maharaja JaiSingh. It houses nineteen geometric devices, or yantas, for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking the stars in their orbits, determining the deterioration of planets, etc. Jantar Mantar is also the location of the world’s largest stone sundial, at 90 feet in diameter. The observatory was damaged in the 19th century and restored by Major Arthur Garrett, who was stationed as the Assistant State Engineer in the Jaipur District at the time. Added as an UNESCO’s World Heritage Site in 2010, there are signs around the observatory explaining the use and function of all the instruments.
The Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, was built as a screen so the women of the royal household could watch street festivals without the people seeing them as well. Designed by Lal Chand Ustad in the form of the crown of the Hindu god Krishna, the Hawa Mahal is five stories tall with the exterior reminiscent of a honeycomb and in the same pink and red shades as the rest of the city. The lattice design also provided cooling ventilation in the hot summers, with the breeze moving through the pattern to keep the royal women cool. If you’re claustrophobic, be aware that the corridors in the palace are narrow and can get crowded during peak times. The palace has a museum with miniature paintings and ceremonial armor that give a peek into the palace’s history. In 2006 the palace underwent renovations with assistance from the corporate sector for the first time in 50 years.
The original home of Maharaja JaiSingh before he built the City Palace, the Amber Fort is built from sandstone and marble and divided into four main sections, each one with its own courtyard. You enter the fort through the Suraj Pol (Sun Gate), either walking or on elephant-back, or through the Jaleb Chowk (Moon Gate) if you arrive in a vehicle. From Jaleb Chowk, go right and you’ll see the silver doors with relief etchings that leads to the Siladevi Temple. The second courtyard houses the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), which features columns topped by elephants under ornate latticework. In the third courtyard is the maharaja’s quarters, with the Jai Mandir (Hall of Victory), with a mirrored ceiling and inlaid panels along the walls. The fourth courtyard is for the women’s quarters, with each wife and concubine having a separate room that only connected by a corridor.
Jai Mahal Palace is located in the heart of Jaipur and is the former residence of the Prime Minister of Jaipur. This 260 year old hotel is spread over 18 acres of landscaped gardens and has been recently refurbished to retain the traditional Rajasthani decor.
The Oberoi Rajvilas revives the gracious lifestyles of India’s legendary Rajput prince. Located in over thirty acres of beautiful gardens, pools, and fountains in the peaceful rajasthani countryside eight kilometers from the city of Jaipur. The hotel is an oasis of elegance and luxury offering high standards of facilities.
The Raj Palace is an extremely convenient place to stay during your visit to Jaipur, being in the middle of four main palaces complexes of Jaipur (Amer Jaigarh Fort, Nahargarh Fort, and the City Palace Complex). It is located a short distance from all sightseeing and shopping. Moreover, the fact that it is situated on the main Jaipur-Delhi road and is only about half a kilometer away from Jaipur-Agra Highway also makes The Raj Palace an ideally located tourist stopover.
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