Jaipur also known as the ‘Pink City’ is the capital of the North Indian State of Rajasthan. Named after its founder Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743), this royal city of the former Rajputana is one of the most glorious places to visit in India. In fact, Jaipur is a famous stop on the favourite tourist circuit of India, the Golden triangle tour. Surrounded by the Aravalis, the city is dotted with hill forts-listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in India, splendid palaces, and many fascinating architecture. Jaipur tours are perfect for history lovers, the cultural enthusiasts and visitors who love to be pampered by royal hospitality.
Houses in the city were coloured pink in 1876 to honour the visit of the British Monarch, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, by Maharaja Man Singh II. Extremely well-planned, Jaipur city was designed by an engineer and scholar Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, in accordance with ancient Hindu treatise on architecture, Vastu Shastra. In fact, the old city is one of the proposed world heritage sites in India. The walled city has seven gates, built for protection from invading armies and wild animals. The planned grid system has wide straight avenues, roads, streets and lanes and uniform rows of shops on either side of the main roads. Amazingly, Jaipur remains the only place where the nine sectors that sub-divide the city symbolise the nine divisions of the universe.
Now with the changing time, Jaipur city has become a treasure of fascinating sights. Perched on the hills are the Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort and the Nahargarh fort. In the heart of the city is the beautiful City Palace, which is the residence of the royal family and also one of the finest museums in Rajasthan. Jantar Mantra, the royal observatory is one of the listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. An unmissable gem in the city, looking like floating in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake, is the grand red-sandstone palace made of red sandstone, most of it submerged. The Hawa Mahal is an iconic landmark in the city that is a tribute to the glorious days of royalty.
As delightful as its sights are the arts and crafts of the Rajasthan. For the shopaholics there is much to explore. From the multi-coloured ‘bandhini’ fabrics, richly-decorated handlooms, jewellery and other trinkets, the colourful bazaars of Jaipur have it all. Keeping the traditions of the former days alive there is the delicious gastronomy of Rajasthan, elephant rides and pampering hospitality. Besides the tourist attractions in Jaipur, the city serves as a gateway to the other royal cities of Rajasthan.