Pinkcity : Jaipur
This famous city is the capital of Rajasthan and has earned universal renown as the " Pink City ", and pink it is, with beautiful constructed palaces, havelis and forts. Tall, rugged men with handle-bar whiskers sport bright pink turbans. Jaipur which means the city of victory was built exactly 273 years back and is 262 km by road from Delhi ( Capital of India ). A strong wall encircles the old city and even today has a suggestion of formidable strength, its function of protecting all within is obvious. The plains of Rajasthan of which Jaipur is the capital once thundered and echoed with clash of swords and the drums of wars.
Built in 1727 by Sawai Jai Singh-II, Jaipur was the first planned city of its time ( the earlier planned city in northern India having been built near Taxila sometime in the 2nd century BC ). Jaipur was planned by Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, a Bengali architect, in a grid system with wide straight avenues, roads, streets and lanes and uniform rows of shops on either side of the main bazaars, all arranged in nine rectangular city sectors (chokris). The city itself is an attractive creation worthy of universal admiration.
There is a feast in store for tourists. Attractive monuments where one can breathe the fragrance of history. Comfortable and luxurious hotels, once the proud of kings, parks, gardens, and excursions of nearby places of interest, make Jaipur a tourist's paradise.
Area : 64.75 sq.km.
Altitude : 431 metres
Rainfall : 64 cm
Climate : 45 max. 25 min. ( summer); 22 max. 05 min. ( winter )
Languages: English, Hindi, Rajasthani
The City Palace is a historic landmark. The carved arches are supported by grey-white marble columns studded with floral motifs in gold and coloured stones. Two elephants carved in marble guard the entrance, where retainers whose families have served generations of rulers are at hand to serve as guides.
The palace interior houses a Museum containing select collection of various types of Rajasthani dresses, a fascinating armoury of Mughal and Rajput weapons; swords of all shapes and sizes, with chased handles, some of them inlaid, enamelled, encrusted with jewels and encased in bold and magnificent scabbards.
It also has an art gallery with a fine collection of paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin and Sanskrit, acquired by Sawai Jai Singh-II for his study of planets and their movements.
Jantar mantar is one of Jai Singh's five remarkable observatories. Constructed with stone and marble its complex instruments whose settings and shapes are precisely and scientifically designed represent the high points of Medieval Indian astronomy. The Ram Yantras used for gauging altitudes are unique in their isolation. this is the largest of the five observatories founded by Sawai Jai Singh-II in various parts of the country.
Built by the poet king Sawai Pratap Singh, the Hawa Mahal is the most strikingly designed monument in Jaipur. What is seen from the Sireh Deorhi Bazaar is the multiniched five storey high backside of the complex ( see it in photo gallery ). It was conceived to provide adequate vantage position behind delicate stone carved jali screens to the palace women for watching the royal processions passing through the bazaar below.
In the central pavilion of the sprawling Jai Niwas Garden to the north of the Chandra Mahal is the spire less temple of Lord Krishna. the image in the form of Govind Devji, originally installed in a temple of Vrindavan, was reinstalled here by Sawai Jai Singh-II as his family deity. this is the most famous and popular temple in Pink City attracting devotees from all over the country.
The tower dominating the skyline on the western side of Tripolia Bazaar is the highest structure in Jaipur. It was built by Sawai Ishwari Singh in 1749 to commemorate an important victory.
To provide open space and greenery to the citizens, this large garden with a zoo, an aviary. a green house, a herbarium, a museum ( Albert hall ) and several sports grounds was built during the reign of Sawai Ram Singh II in 1868 as a famine relief project. The beautiful structure of Indi-Saracenic structure of Albert hall ( see it in the photo gallery ) designed by Sir Swinton Jacob was opened later with scluptures, paintings, decorative art objects, natural history specimens, an ezyptian mummy and the celebrated Persian Garden Carpet.
Recently. the Ravindra Manch with an auditorium, a modern art gallery and an open air theatre have been added to promote cultural activities.
Equipped with modern computerized projection system, the planetarium offers unique audio-visual educational entertainment.
A Science Museum is also a part of this one of the most modern planetarium in India.
Beyond the gardens amidst the low hills guarding the city lies the old pilgrim centre of Galtaji. Temples, pavilions and holy kunds ( natural springs and reservoirs ) do the serene green landscape. The small temple of the Sun God, built by Diwan Kriparam on the top of the highest peak, is visible from all parts of the city.
In the southern horizon is a privately owned hilltop fort of Moti Doongari shaped like a scotish castle. At the foot of the hill, Laxmi Narayan Temple, beautifully built in sparking white marble, is located.
For seven long centuries before Jaipur was built, Amer served as the capital as Kachhwaha rulers of the old state of Dhundhar.
Amer Fort is the complex of palaces, halls, pavilions, gardens and temples, which were built by Raja Man Singh, Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh over a period of about two centuries.
The palace complex rising from the placid waters of the Mootha lake is approached through a steep path, now often traversed by tourists on elephant-back, to Singh palace and Jaleb Chowk. Two flights of stairs rise from one end to the chowk, one leading to the elegant temple of Shila Mata and other to the palace complex. The image of the Mother Goddess worshipped with reverence by thousands o devotees every day was brought from Jessore in East Bengal ( now in Bangladesh ) by raja Man Singh and installed here.
The front courtyard of the palace complex is dominated by the spectacular pillared hall of the Diwan-e-Aam and the double storeyed painted gateway Ganesh Pole. Beyond the corridors and galleries on the either side of a small elegant Charbagh style garden are Sukh Niwas to its right and Jas Mandir to its left. The Jas Mandir in the upper floor combines the finest elements od mughal architecture and interior decoration in a Rajput setting with intricately carved jali screens, delicate mirror and stucco works and painted and carved dadodes. The older and simpler structures at the far end were built by Raja Man Singh in the later year of the 16th century.
The well proportioned Mohan Bari or Kesar Kyari in the centre of the Mootha lake and the Dilaram Bagh at its north end provide a spectacular view from the palaces above.
Along the road to Agra through a narrow garge in the southern eastern corner of the walled city, several landscaped gardens were constructed by the Kings and important courtiers in the 18th and 19th centuries. The largest and the most famous ia a garden built by sawai jai Singh II for his Sisodia queen-the Sisodai Rani Ka Bagh. It consists of tiered multilevel gardens with fountains, watercourses and painted pavillions.
The western skyline is dominated by the extensive parkotas (walls), watch-towers and gateways of jaigarh. It is one of the few military structures of the mediaeval India preserved almost intact containing palaces, gardens, open and covered reservoirs, a granary, an armoury, a well-planned cannon foundry, several temples, a tall tower and a giant mounted cannon-the Jai Ban - the largest in the country.
Beyond the hills of Jaigarh stand the Fort of Nahargarh like a watchful sentinel guarding Sawai Jai Singh's beautiful city. Much of the original structures are now in ruins, but the lovely building added by sawai Ram Singh II and Sawai Madho Singh II still survive.
12 km on Tonk Road. It has beautiful Jain temples and important craft industries besides the ruined palaces, broken city walls, triple gateway and a neglected Mughal garden. Large and small units of block and screen printers produce some of the finest hand printed textile in the country.
35 km south west on Ajmer road. The ground level fort is still in good shape. Its attraction is hand printed cloth industry. The designs are simpler here, the techniques less complicated and the colours of more earthly shades.
32 km north-east. It is famous for its huge artificial lake created by constructing a high bund amidst tree covered hills where the citizens throng in a large number for picnic during the rainy season. The temple of Jamwa Mata and the ruins of the old fort still reminds of its hoary antiquity.
40 km north-west. The old palace renovated and rebuilt provides the most gorgeously decorated and painted examples of Rajput haveli architecture. It provides an ideal spot for outing.
86 km on the Shahpura-Alwar road. It contains the relics and structures of Mauranyas, Mugahl and Rajput periods. The excavated remains of a circular Buddhist temple, unique in Rajasthan and the earliest structural temple in India, make it an important historical place. Akabar the great, constructed a mint and his son Jahangir a beautiful Mughal garden and a remarkable monument with painted chatris and walls.
128 km north-east off the Agra road near Bandikui. It is famous for the temple of Harshad Mata built in 7th-8th century and the stepped Chanda Baodi. Two Jain temples were built at a later period.
94 km west. It is famous for the country's largest inland salt lake. It is also known for holy Devayani tank, beautiful Shakambhari Devi temple, the palace and the nearby Naliasar. Sambhar lake is also famous for the illusion of water ( mirage ) during noon times.