May 192013
 

Jaipur is a labyrinth of fascinating bazaars, opulent palaces and historic sights, often called the “Pink City” because its prominent buildings are washed in this colour. Its building took six years from 1727 and is laid out in a geometric grid of streets and squares and is one of India’s finest examples of a planned city.

 

  • Amer Fort Lake Gardens

    Amer Fort Lake Gardens

  • Amer Fort Inner Courtyard

    Amer Fort Inner Courtyard

  • Amer Fort

    Amer Fort

  • Jaipur - the Pink City

    Jaipur – the Pink City

  • Amer Fort Complex

    Amer Fort Complex

  • Ishwar Lat

    Ishwar Lat

  • Elephant Polo

    Elephant Polo

  • Entrance to Amer Fort

    Entrance to Amer Fort

  • Hawa Mahal

    Hawa Mahal

  • City Palace

    City Palace

  • Ladies at the City Palace

    Ladies at the City Palace

  • Decorative Stonework

    Decorative Stonework

  • Jal Mahal (Water Palace)

    Jal Mahal (Water Palace)

  • Intricate Architecture

    Intricate Architecture

  • Snake Charmer

    Snake Charmer

  • Walled Gateway

    Walled Gateway

  • Taxi!

    Taxi!

Things to see

Tripolia Bazaar

P1240697This colourful area hasn’t changed much since it was built in the 18th century. There are many small streets off the main thoroughfares  and “Chaupars” (Squares), where artisans  fashion puppets, silver jewellery, and other local handicrafts in tiny workshops. The area is a hub of activity, rich with pungent smells and vibrant colours with the temple bells adding to the range of sounds. There are flower markets, pottery sellers, and vegetable markets amoungst the ornate mosques and even an astronomical observatory with an array of sculpture-like instruments.


Hawa Mahal

Hawa MahaHawa Mahal or ‘Palace of Winds’ is Rajasthan’s most famous building.The palace is a five-storey pyramidal shaped monument that rises to a height of 15 m. The top three floors of the structure have a dimension of one room width while the first and second floors have patios in front of them, on the rear side of the structure. The front elevation, as seen from the street, is like a honeycomb web of a beehive built with small portholes. Each porthole has miniature windows and has carved sandstone grills, finials and domes.It was built in 1798 in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god.The original intention of the lattice was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen, since they had to observe strict “purdah” (face cover).


City Palace Museum

P1240688The City Palace was the home to the rules of Jaipur from the first half of the 18th century. This sprawling complex is a fantastic fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture incorporating airy Mughal-style public spaces. Today, part of the complex is open to the public as the City Palace Museum. It holds an array of Jaipur’s old treasures including paintings, manuscripts, musical instruments royal costumes and weaponry.


Jantar Mantar

jantar-mantar-observatoryThe Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Sawai Jai Singh who was a Mughal  Emperor. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars’ location as the earth orbits around the sun and predicting the position of planets. The Samrat Yantra, the largest instrument, is 27 m high, its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day. Built from local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining. Bronze tablets, all extraordinarily accurate, were also employed. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.


Amber fort

AmberjprThe fort palace of Amber was the Kachhawaha capital until 1727, when it was moved the 7 miles to Jaipur. It was established in 1592 on the remains of an old 11th century fort. The fort is situated at the mouth of a rocky mountain gorge, above the Maotha Lake. It is a remarkable example of combined Rajput-Mughal architecture. The outer appearance of the fort; rough and craggy, is totally different from its ornate interior.The fort is divided into four main sections each with its own entry gate and courtyard.

Places to Stay

Taj Rambagh Palace

p1240732Another impressive Taj Group hotel, the Rambagh Palace is often referred to as the “Jewel of Jaipur”. It is Jaipur’s most magnificent palace hotel, and was home to the royal family for over 30 years. The hotel is set amongst 47 acres of magnificent gardens to the south of the Old City. The hotel of choice for celebrities and sport stars across the globe, Rambagh Palace, is widely considered to be one of the best hotels around the world.


Samode Haveli

 samode-haveli-in-rajasthanThis restored haveli in the heart of old Jaipur has character in abundance. No two rooms are the same but all are gorgeously decorated with style and opulence, a few even have a small outdoor terrace. The swimming pool and surrounding relaxation area are simply gorgeous with enormous canopied day beds to chill with a cold aperitif at the end of a busy day. The central courtyard turns into a magical candle lit dinner venue in the evening and the food is very good indeed. All in all, a very impressive package – I loved it!


Shahpura House

Canopied BedShahpura House is a friendly Heritage Hotel with loads of character, located around 4 kms from the city centre. Rare among hotels, it has remained a family home and they will welcome you as their honoured guest. Mixing old and new, the hotel boasts stunning Shekhawati decor and royal architecture with stylish and modern, comfortable facilities. All rooms are different but equally gorgeous, my personal favourite having a pretty sit out overlooking the inner courtyard. A secluded swimming pool and fantastic rooftop restaurant serving delicious local food complete this very reasonably priced hotel.