WEEKEND GETAWAYS FROM DELHI: Jaipur (Rajsthan)
Overview: Jaipur Tourism
“The Pink City”
The moment you set foot in Jaipur, you will feel like everything has come straight out of the pages of some epic novel. Majestic buildings, tales of heroic battles, resplendent forts and palaces, and multi-faceted characters – Rajasthan is one of the most colorful and flashiest states in all of India, and its capital Jaipur lives up to the same reputation as well. Jaipur is a vibrant amalgamation of the old and the new – highly urbanized pockets and shopping areas have casually sprung up beside gleaming forts and palaces. Jaipur has long been one of the shiniest cultural jewels in the history of the Indian subcontinent, and the royal corridors of the famously named ‘Pink City’ offer up a plethora of adventures and activities that make for a memorable holiday experience.
Jaipur is known for its forts and palaces, and the most famous fort in the vicinity is the Amber Fort. Also commonly known as the Amer Fort, this majestic building with its maze-like passages and serpentine staircases is a very popular tourist attraction. Overlooking the Maota Lake, the fort is big enough that it will take you at least two to three hours to explore it in detail, and you can also choose to avail of the audio guides to lead you through this fascinating building while explaining the history of the place. Getting an elephant ride up the stairs to the Amber Fort is also a popular tourist activity.
City Palace is another top draw for anyone wishing to know more about the rich history and culture of the Pink City. Home to Rajasthani Maharajas back in the 1700s, this building has now been converted into a museum where tourists can learn about the history of the city in detail. City Palace comprises Mubarak Mahal and Chandra Mahal, with the Chandra Mahal being only partially open to visitors, as the rest of the building is used as the residential place of the Maharajas’ descendants.
Jaipur is more than just ancient glitz and glamour. It is home to Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory site that has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Containing the world’s largest sundial and about 20 other fixed instruments used to make various astronomical observations, the Jantar Mantar is an exemplary example of how far architecture and science have progressed in India. You can avail of either audio guides or human guides to give you a tour of the entire place.
Other famous attractions in Jaipur include the HawaMahal, the Nahargarh Fort, and the JalMahal, and, with the Nahargarh fort situated high in the Aravalli hills, and offering spectacular views of the entire city and its surrounding landscape.
Jaipur is filled to the brim with bustling local bazaars where you can shop for local handicrafts and trinkets to your heart’s’ content. Popular bazaars in the city include Bapu Bazaar, Tripolia Bazaar, and Johri Bazaar. The entire state of Rajasthan is renowned for its delicious cuisine, and Jaipur is no exception! The local cuisine of Jaipur is as mouth-watering as it’s buildings are gorgeous. Don’t forget to try traditional Rajasthani dishes such as Ghewar and Dal BaatiChurma.
Places to Visit:
- Hawa mahal:
The massive edifice of HawaMahal stands at the intersection of the main road in Jaipur, BadiChaupad. It is regarded as the signature building of the city and was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in the year 1799. Hawa mahal derives its name from its unique structure, which is a mesh of small windows that allowed the cool wind to enter the palace and hence kept the palace comfortable during the hot summer months. The main reason behind the palace’s construction was to allow the women of the royal house to observe the festivities on the streets whilst being unseen from the outside.
Hawa Mahal is built in the Rajput architectural style and is constructed of red and pink sandstone. The Palace has a pyramidal structure which almost resembles a crown, and is embellished with myriad tiny windows. From within, the HawaMahal palace is based on five floors with each and every one of them housing uniquely decorated chambers. A charming fountain welcomes you inside the main palace, from whereon you can make your way up to the different floors. The top of the palace offers a brilliant view of the City Palace, Jantar Mantar, and the ever-busy Siredeori Bazar. There is a small museum as well which holds some rich relics and miniature paintings.
Albert Hall Museum:
Situated in the Ram Niwas Garden of Jaipur, the great Albert Hall is the oldest museum of Rajasthan. Standing as a perfect epitome of Indo-Saracenic architecture, the building is named after the Prince of Whales, Albert Edward. Also called the Government Central Museum, it has an extensive collection of artifacts brought from the different regions of the world which makes it a hub of imparting knowledge on Indian history. Night tourism is even more exciting. The entire building glows with yellow lights in the evening which looks extremely beautiful. You can relax in the gardens with the stunning view of Albert Hall in the backdrop. Or gorge on the ice-creams and chaats from the fellas that are parked nearby. The Albert Hall is the right place to head when you feel like knowing about Indian history profoundly.
Flanked by lush green gardens, the foundation of Albert Hall was laid on 6 February 1876 when Albert Edward visited India. The galleries of the museum have a collection of antiques and artifacts from the past that will blow away your mind. The ancient coins, marble art, pottery, carpets, and especially the Egyptian mummy are a treat to the eyes of history buffs. The building itself from the outside has an alluring architecture. The Indo – Saracenic inspired domes and intricately carved arches constructed from sandstone is mesmerizing.
The magnificent City Palace is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the city of Jaipur, Rajasthan. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during the years 1729 to 1732, the vast complex of the palace occupied one-seventh of the walled city. The imposing complex of the palace used to be the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur. Planned with precise intricacies, the palace was divided into a series of courtyards, buildings, and gardens including the Chandra Mahal and the Mubarak Mahal along with various other palaces. The Chandra Mahal is now a museum but the major part of it is still the royal residence. The museum showcases various unique handcrafted products and other things that belong to the royal heritage of the City Palace. It is a structure of historical importance and a souvenir of the brave past.
The architecture of the City Palace will strike a sense of awe in you from the very beginning. The facade itself is designed with acute and detailed handiwork and showcases a gentle blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture styles. The outer wall was built by Jai Singh II, but the palace itself has been subjected to various changes over the course of time, with some of them even belonging to the early 20th century. The City Palace has three gates, out of which the Virendra Pol and Udai Pol are open to the public. The striking courtyards, lush green gardens, and splendid edifices will transport you to the era of the Regals for sure!
Pink City in Jaipur refers to the old walled city that was built in the year 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II. The wall that marks the boundary of the Pink City is about six meters high and three meters thick and encompasses a number of structures within its confines. In keeping with the magnificence of the structure, there are seven different gates that provide access to the Old City, namely Chand Pol, Suraj Pol, Ajmeri Gate, New Gate, Sanganeri Gate, Ghat Gate, Samrat Gate, and Zorawar Singh Gate. Built about 275 years ago, today it presents the glorious past of our country through its culture and architecture.
Steeped with rich past and heritage, the Pink City of Jaipur is a place of royal heritage, culture, and architecture. The city is covered in the tint of pink color oozing charm and attracting tourists from all over the world. The place offers a feast to its visitors in the form of its historical saga with magnificent palaces and forts and stunning Havelis. A number of important structures such as BadiChaupar, Jantar Mantar, and City Palace are situated in this part of the city. The vibrant bazaars of Jaipur like Bapu Bazaar and Johri Bazaar are a paradise for shopping lovers offering beautiful Rajasthanijewellery, fabric, shoes, and handicrafts. Bustling with colors, a walk around this old city gives you a glance into is the wealth of handicrafts, the royal legacy of the palace, and a shadow of their rich past.
- Amber Fort, Jaipur:
Cradled on the top of the Aravali Hill and forming a beautiful reflection across the Maotha Lake, lies the Amber Fort. An architectural masterpiece and with significant reference in Indian history, it is visited by over five thousand tourists daily. Only eleven kilometers away from the capital city of Jaipur, Amber Fort is clad in pink and yellow sandstone and is a part of an extensive complex. The Fort gives a mesmerizing view from the bottom of the hill when it is illuminated every evening. Built by one of the most trusted general of Akbar, Man Singh who had a huge impact on Indian politics and society in the sixteenth century; Amber Fort, or Amer Fort as it is locally referred is a photographer’s paradise.
The Amber Fort through its large ramparts and several gateways and paved path overlooks the Maotha Lake. Amer is a small town with an area hardly over four square kilometers, it once served as a capital city of Rajasthan and is one of a prominent tourist attraction today with visitors coming from all over the globe. You have an option of visiting the fort on elephant-back which has drawn immense flak from animal rights activists with reports of animal abuse and injuries to the elephants from carrying tourists uphill. Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort, both located atop the hill called ‘CheelkaTeela’ were part of a single complex. They are also connected through an underground passage meant as an escape route during emergencies.
Located in the Pink City of Jaipur is the Nahargarh Fort, which is one of the many countless palaces and beautiful historic buildings that speak of the magnificent and rich history of this city. Embellished with delicate carvings and stonework, the Nahargarh Fort is an impregnable fortification that together with its two neighboring forts, Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort, once stood as the strong defense of Jaipur city. Standing tall on Aravalli Hills, the Fort was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in the year 1734 as a retreat. It was originally called Sudarshangarh Fort, but was later renamed Nahargarh Fort which literally translated to “The Abode of Tigers”. With some breathtaking views of the city, the Nahargarh Fort is known for its extended wall which connects it to Jaigarh Fort.
One of the main attractions in the premises of the Nahargarh fort is the MadhavendraBhavan, which is a magnificent hall designed with intricate murals and stucco work. Nahargarh Fort was primarily used as a retreat for the ladies of the royal household and has a ladies’ quarters by the name of ‘Zenana’. Also known as the MadhavendraBhavan, the ‘Zenana’ was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Its counterpart, the ‘MardanaMahal’ was also constructed in the complex for the royal men. Another attraction in the Nahargarh Fort is the Nahargarh Biological Park, which is an asylum for majestic animals such as tigers, leopards, and the Asiatic lions.
- Jantar Mantar:
Located near the City Palace in the regal city of Jaipur, Jantar Mantar is the largest stone astronomical observatory in the world. This ancient study boasts of nineteen instruments built out of stone and brass and was built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh in 1727-33. The intelligent construction and placement of these instruments allowed the observer to note the position of heavenly bodies with their naked eye alone. Time has failed to lay dust upon this engineering marvel and it still works as well as it used in the olden times. An amalgam of various disciplines, Jantar Mantar stands proudly as a witness of the wisdom and mathematical prowess of a former age. Owing to its rich cultural, heritage, and scientific value, Jantar Mantar has also been featured on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.
The main objective of building this vast observatory was to study and gather information about space and time as was known. The instruments here pertain to Egypt’s Ptolemaic astronomy and follow three classical celestial coordinates to track the positions of heavenly bodies- namely the horizon-zenith local system, the equatorial system, and the ecliptic system. This observatory also employs the “KapalaYantraprakara”, which allows the transformation of one coordinate system in the other direction. Another fact that makes this destination unique is that the world’s largest sundial is situated here. The observatory in Jaipur is a part of a collection of five other such observatories built by Raja Jai Singh, which are located in New Delhi, Ujjain, Varanasi, and Mathura. The architectural brilliance of Jantar Mantar is an amazing thing to experience and is a delightful look into the days bygone.
- Galtaji Temple
- Birla Temple
- Ram Niwas Garden
- Swaminarayan Temple.
Events in Jaipur:
Kite Festival 14th January 2019 to 16th January 2019
The International Kite Festival is an annual event that takes place on MakarSankranti in the city of Jaipur. The festival attracts enthusiastic kite fliers from different parts of India to enjoy the delight of kite flying. It is one of the most colorful festivals and is marked by much amusement and excitement. Held on the occasion of MakarSankranthi, the Kite Festival of Jaipur takes place in January every year. Various kite flying competitions are organized at the Polo ground of Jaipur where the festival is hosted. If you want to experience the glorious sight of a thousand kites, make sure to catch a glimpse of the lanterns at night.
Rajasthan is one of the most vibrant states of India, and its charm reaches up to the brim during the International kite festival in Jaipur. Celebrated every year from 14th-16th of January; the festival witnesses huge participation from voracious kite fliers. People from all over India travel to the city to rejoice in the fun and frolic of the kite festival. The three-day festival spills both colors and thrill in the air of Jaipur. As MakarSankranti is a government holiday, the city celebrates the day off during the festival as people from different age groups engage themselves in the battle of kites. One can usher in the aura of children running over the streets, kids chasing kites, and people from their rooftops struggling to cut the other person’s kite. The whole city witnessed the flying of myriad kites with their different shapes and colors. The kites which are adorned with lights add more brightness to the already illuminated scenario. People cheer in the revelry of kite festival by either enjoying the enchanting spectacle of blue, green, yellow, purple, and orange kites against the serene blue January sky or by zealously participating in the battle of kite flying. The festival provides a kaleidoscopic view of the vibrant art, culture, and heritage of Rajasthan. One of the unique festivals in Rajasthan, the carnival is enjoyed equally by all the people.
Free of cost and open to all.
Jaipur Elephant Festival 21st March
Conforming to the idea of a central festival celebrated with regional variations, the ‘Pink City,’ the city of Jaipur witnesses an extraordinary form of celebration on the occasion of Holi. The city of Jaipur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan, organizes a festivity cum show of elephants on this occasion. Widely famous by the name of the ‘Jaipur Elephant festival’ the festival produces the most spectacular of scenes for the onlookers. Female elephants are adorned with decoratives like jewelry and are made to participate in various ceremonial activities, including parades, Elephant Polo, and Elephant dance. The tinkle of their ornaments as the elephants walk, make the scene a most wonderful one to behold, together with the discipline they are prepared to perform. The show takes place in the city of Jaipur, where people from all parts of India as well as from abroad can be seen being witness to this beautiful festival.
Best time to visit Jaipur:
- October to March is a good time to visit in Jaipur in Winter
- July to September is a good time to visit in Jaipur in Monsoon
- April to June is a good time to visit in Jaipur in Summer.
How to Reach:
How to Reach Jaipur by Flight
Air travel is the most convenient way to reach the pink city. The Sanganer Airport is well connected to the major cities of India as well as the globe through a number of airlines operating on a regular basis. Flights to international cities like Kuala Lumpur, Sharjah, and Dubai are also easily available. Buses, taxis, and cabs are easily available from the airport to reach the main city.
Nearest Airport: Jaipur International Airport (JAI)
How to Reach Jaipur by Road
The Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) runs luxury and deluxe buses between Jaipur and other cities within the state of Rajasthan. There is a regular service from cities like New Delhi, Kota, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Udaipur, Vadodara, and Ajmer at reasonable fares.
How to Reach Jaipur by Train
The Indian Railways offers a number of express trains to reach Jaipur from other parts of India. Trains like the Shatabdi Express connects Jaipur to almost all major cities of India. A train journey through the desert is an enthralling experience in itself.