Jaipur: The Pink City
Imbibed in the grandeur of a rich traditional past that jauntily plays along with the elements of today, Jaipur, the capital city of the state of Rajasthan is a destination of vibrant and chaotic beauty that runs along its roads and paints interesting reflections upon the windows of its enthralling palaces.
Known as the Pink City, there’s an anecdote behind how the city earned that nickname for itself. In 1876, it so happened that Prince Albert of Wales and Queen Victoria visited India on a tour and planned a stopover at Jaipur. So, to welcome the guests, the then Maharaja Ram Singh repainted the entire city in terracotta pink. The Prince is said to have exclaimed the words “Pink City!” upon his visit, thus giving the city its much renowned nickname.
Places to Visit:
- Amer Fort: Located in the town of Amer, 11 kilometres away from Jaipur, this magnificent fort encompasses a vast palace complex built from yellow and pink sandstone, and white marble. The fort is divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. Although a mere 10 minutes’ walk from the road will take you the fort, the most preferred manner of getting there is a ride atop an elephant’s back, something that is recently being frowned upon by animal welfare groups.
- Jantar Mantar: Begun by Jai Singh II, a lover of astronomy, Jantar Mantar was built for measuring the heavens. The name is derived from the Sanskrit yanta mantra, which means “instrument of calculation”. In 2010, Jantar Mantar was added to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. If you’re someone looking to learn more about the fascinating mechanism of the instrument, you’ll definitely require a local guide to run you through the technicalities of the historic observatory.
- Hawa Mahal: A monument that is almost synonymous with the city itself, Hawa Mahal is a grand honeycomb painted pink and climbing up to a dizzying height of five storeys. Constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, the building served the purpose of enabling ladies of the royal household to witness the life and processions of the city. From its top, one can capture the gorgeous views over the Jantar Mantar and the City Palace.
- Nahargarh Fort: Overlooking the Pink City from over the edge of the Aravalli Hills, the Nahargarh fort once served the purpose of a defence ring surrounding the city. Extending over the surrounding hills, the walls of this magnificent fort have been witness to some historical events that occurred around the city, particularly the treaties with the Maratha forces who warred with Jaipur in the 18th century.
- City Palace: Right at the centre of the Old City, the City Palace is a labyrinth of courtyards, gardens and buildings, that never fails to impress all those who enter its premises. Its outer wall was built by Jai Singh II, but inside its boundaries and over the centuries the palace has seen its own dimensions expand. On the whole, the City Palace is a site comprising of exquisite palace buildings dating back to different eras, and demonstrating an appealing blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture.
- Choki Dhani: The Chokhi Dhani Group is synonymous with the Rajasthani village themed hospitality. It is a place where many tourists and locals go almost every day for revelries and the appeasing food the place has to offer. The complex of Choki Dhani is abuzz with elements of traditional Rajasthan: camels carrying a bunch of riders, stalls of chat papdi, kulfi, and various local drinks.
Transportation in Jaipur
Auto rickshaws are the most viable means of getting around the city if you remember to always go by the metre. However, additional luggage charges can be expected.
For sightseeing, you can hire a car or a radio taxi for rent, which usually charge per kilometre from the pick- up point to the drop- point.
Where to Stay?
For those who prefer peace, hotels near the lake palace would be ideal. Other proper areas include Bani Park, and Hathroi Fort area.