jaipur City Guide
Jaipur, the pink city
was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, a Kachhwaha Rajput, who ruled from 1699-1744. Initially his capital was Amber, which lies at a distance of 11kms from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. Jaipur is the first planned city of India and the King took great interest while designing this city of victory. He consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the lay out of Jaipur.
After several battles with Marathas, Jai Singh was keen on the security aspect of the city. Due to this reason, he focused on his scientific and cultural interests to make a brilliant city. Being, a lover of mathematics and science, Jai Singh sought advice from Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal, to aid him design the city architecture. Vidyadhar referred the ancient Indian literature on astronomy, books of Ptolemy and Euclid, and discussed the plan with the King. With a strategic plan, the construction of the city started in 1727. It took around 4 years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the Indian Architecture
The city was divided into nine blocks, out of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, whereas the remaining seven blocks were allotted to the public. In order to ensure the security, huge fortification walls were made along with seven strong gates. According to that time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent. In 1853, when Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted in Pink color to welcome him. Still, the neat and broadly laid-out avenues, painted in pink provide a magical charm to the city. Jaipur is rich in its cultural and architectural beauty, which can be traced in the various historical and aesthetic places that reside in the city. This city of victory really wins the hearts of the people with its splendid charisma.
Forts & Monuments Jaipur
Amber Fort is located in Amber (Jaipur), which used to be the capital of the Kachhwaha clan, till Jaipur was made the official capital in 1727. The Amber Fort looks stunning, all-built in white marble and red sandstone. To add to its charm, Maotha Lake makes its foreground. The crystal mirror image of the Fort, on the still waters of the lake, seems to be a beautiful illusion. Amber Fort is usually pronounced as Amer Fort. In 1592, construction of the Fort was started by Raja Man Singh I. However, the Amber Fort took its present form during the reign of Raja Jai Singh I.
The outer appearance of the Fort, being rough and craggy is totally different from its core. The interior of the Fort provides a soothing and warm ambience, which is least expected from its outer appearance. The marvelous decoration of the Amer Fort is influenced by both, the Hindu and Muslim manner of ornamentation. Exquisite paintings of hunting scenes on the walls depict the temperament of the Rajputs, who were adventurous, revolutionary and self-indulgent.
The intricate carvings on the walls and ceilings simply astonish the visitors. The minute mirror work adds to the grand appearance and royalty of the halls. The Amer Fort undoubtedly captivates the tourists with its artistic quality of delicate work. The mighty walls guarantee the protection of the Fort against the invasion of the enemies. The Fort is divided into four subparts.
Kali Temple, which is also known as Shila Devi Temple, forms the part of the Fort. It is renowned for its glorious past, huge silver lions and silver doors. The Hall of Public Audiences, Diwan-I-Aam is a pavilion with double row of columns. Ganesh Pol, another feature of the Fort, directs the way to the inhabited apartments of the King. The Hall of Victory, Jai Mandir has a stunning ceiling comprised of mirror work and an inlaid panel. The Fort has numerous other halls and pavilions with their own specific attraction.
The best part of this tourist attractionsituated on a crafty hill, is the royal elephant ride. The flawless beauty of the Fort can be enjoyed royally with an elephant ride. Amber/Amer Fort is the part of Jaipur and its royalty. A trip to Jaipur would be definitely incomplete, without the visit to this imperial Fort of Amber.
City palace forms one of the most famous tourist attractions and a major landmark in Jaipur. The beautiful palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during his reign. Among the various forts and palaces of Jaipur, City Palace stands apart, with its outstanding art and architecture. City Palace complex covers a huge area, which is divided into a series of gardens, courtyards and buildings. Initially, Raja Jai Singh built the outer wall occupying a huge area. The additional grand buildings were constructed later by the succeeding rulers.
A part of the exquisite Palace still makes home for the former Maharaja/ King. The premises consists several buildings like Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Mukut Mahal, Maharani’s Palace, Shri Govind Dev Temple and the City Palace Museum. One would come across the Mubarak Mahal, as one enters the first square. Mubarak Mahal was built by Sawai Madho Singh in the 19th century to entertain his guests. Today, it has converted into a costume gallery, which displays royal attires of the Kings.
After crossing the first square, a beautiful gateway welcomes to Diwan-I-Khas, a hall meant for private audience. It has two sterling silver vessels on display and they are acclaimed to be the world’s largest silver vessel. These vessels were made for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II to carry water from River Ganga to drink on his trip to England. Diwan-I-Aam, which was meant for public audience, forms the other attraction of this courtyard. At present, it makes an art gallery showcasing enthralling painted ceilings and rare ancient handwritten original manuscripts of Hindu scriptures.
In the series, Maharani’s Palace, which was meant for royal queens, has been converted into a museum, showcasing weapons dated back to 15th century. Chandra Mahal is essentially regarded as the best part, out of the whole tour to City Palace. It has seven stories and each story is known by a different name. The topmost story is known as Mukut Mahal. The wonderful architecture of this Palace with delicate paintings, mirror work on walls and floral decorations, makes it a “must-see” for every visitor. In the present day, this palace serves as the residence of ex-ruler.
Badal Mahal stands opposite to Chandra Mahal and while crossing the path, one would find Govind Dev Ji Temple between them. Above all these, the Palace also offers delicacies in its multi cuisine restaurant. To sum up, the City Palace is a structure of historical importance and a souvenir of the regal past. The palace, with its royal grace stands as a symbol of magnificence. All these features of City Palace leave the tourists with no other option, but to visit it
Gagaitoreitore is situated on the Jaipur-Amber road, about 15 kms from Jaipur. Gaitore is a royal cremation site of the majestic rulers of Jaipur. There is a cenotaph for each Maharaja, built in his honor. These royal cenotaphs of the Maharajas are commonly known as ‘Chhatris’. The royal chhatris are engraved with typical Rajasthani carvings. Gaitore is regarded to be the mispronounced form of a Hindi phrase ‘Gaye ka Thor’ which means ‘resting place of the departed souls’.
The cenotaphs are erected with a perfect blend of architectural essentials of Islamic tomb architecture and Hindu temple architecture. Amongst all the cenotaphs, the one dedicated to Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II appeals the most. This Chhatri is built in pure white marble, ornamented with delicate carvings, peacocks and beautiful designs. Although all the Maharajas of Jaipur were cremated here, but Maharaja Sawai Ishwari Singh was an exception to this ritual. He was cremated behind the Chandra Mahal in the City Palace complex, so his cenotaph was built there with the due respect.
The designs carved on each Chhatri represent the taste of the particular Maharaja, in whose honor it was built. This cremation ground of the Kachhawaha rulers of Jaipur stands there, since the time of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur. The Cenotaphs, which were built in the honor of Maharanis of Jaipur, are located in the Maharani Ki Chhatri complex near to Ramgarh road crossing.
Gaitore is a special place with its own charm, displaying the royal past of Jaipur and its imperial rulers. Gaitore Chhatris with its beautiful artistry and majestic history attracts tourists from India as well as abroad.
Hawa Mahal is a major landmark and a famous tourist attraction of Jaipur. The Palace offers a beautiful sight to behold. The splendid Rajputana architecture of Hawa Mahal, still speaks the glory of the royal family. However, one can also find a glimpse of Mughal architecture, which is blended perfectly to make it different from others. The literal meaning of Hawa Mahal is Palace of Winds. Hawa Mahal was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799.
Hawa Mahal is a pyramid-shaped facade with five stories. It has 953 small windows decorated with tiny lattice work. These pink sandstone windows commonly known as “Jharokhas” are constructed in such a style, that it looks like a giant honeycomb. The air circulation through windows represents the marvelous touch of Mughal designing, which keeps the Palace always cool. The small screened balconies and arched roofs with hanging cornices enhance the beauty of the Palace. The Pyramidal outline and replication of pattern makes it more attractive in appearance.
As a matter of fact, Hawa Mahal is believed to build for the women of the Royal Families, since they had to observe strict “purdah” (cover). The small windows and screened balconies serve the women to watch processions and different activities taking place on the streets. In this manner, the women could enjoy a sense of freedom without showing themselves.
Early morning is considered as the best time to visit the Palace, when it is drenched in the golden light of the Sun. At this time, Hawa Mahal appears incredible. One cannot possibly describe the beauty of the Palace in words. The golden light of the early morning sun floats beautifully through the windows of this palace creating a wonderful sight for one and all. The palace has to be visited to experience the true beauty
Jaigarh Fort is located on the top of the hill, by the name of Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles). Jaigarh Fort is also known as the ‘Victory Fort’, located at a comfortable distance of 15kms from Jaipur. Jaigarh Fort is considered as one of the spectacular forts in India. This Fort is on top of the hill, while Amber Fort is at the bottom. Many people regard the two as one complex however both of them are well connected with well guarded passages. Jaigarh Fort positioned centrally in the thorn-scrub hill, leaves a stern impact on the spectator at once.
The highlight of this Fort is the massive cannon by the name of Jaivan, which was made in the same production house. Jaivan, the cannon, is believed to be the largest cannon in the World and the main attraction of the Jaigarh Fort. The Fort discloses the mastery over architecture of the former age. Jaigarh Fort has many wide water channels, which were a part of a rainwater harvesting system. The Fort also has 3 underground tanks, the largest one of which can store 60, 00,000 gallons of water. One can plan to visit the armory and museum, which are worth seeing.
The museum has a remarkable collection of coins, puppets, photographs of the royal kings, buildings, processions and even a circular pack of cards besides many other remnants of the past. The armory has numerous swords, shields, guns, muskets and even a 50 kg cannon ball, which would take you back to the gallantry days of the Kings. One can also see a few weather beaten sedan chairs and drums at the Shubhat Niwas or the Meeting Hall of Warriors. Above all, the Fort offers a wonderful view of the city below. Jaigarh Fort is a perfect destination for a traveler, interested in the majestic past of India.
Jantar Mantar at Jantar Mantar Jaipur is the largest stone observatory in the World and this feature makes it, a special destination for a traveler. Jantar Mantar of Jaipur is one of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. During the period between 1727 and 1733, Jantar Mantar took its form and structure. Initially Jantar Mantar was named as Yantra Mantra, which means instruments and formulae, but due to mispronunciation of the term, it is changed to the recognized name.
Jantar Mantar has a remarkable collection of architectural astronomical instruments. It portrays noteworthy attempt of the ancestors, who were interested in astronomy and knowledge of celestial bodies. Above all, this observatory still, provides accurate information, which can be compared with today’s modern instruments undeniably. The compound instruments, whose settings and shapes are scientifically designed depicts the forte of Medieval Indian Astronomy.
Jantar Mantar is wholly constructed with stone and marble. The observatory has fourteen statistical instruments for measuring time, predicting eclipses and to ascertain other astronomical events. Amongst all the instruments, the Sundial usually attracts the maximum attention of people, which tells the time to an accuracy of about two seconds in local time of Jaipur. Jantar Mantar was carefully renovated in 1901 and was declared a national monument in 1948. Today, Jantar Mantar has become a major tourist attraction in Jaipur.
Nahargarh Fort is the first of the three forts built by Maharaja Jai Sawai Singh of Jaipur. The Fort stands at the top of rugged point of the Aravalis and offers a spectacular view of the City. Keeping this fact in mind, the fort was made to serve as a means of supporting the security of Amer. The term “Nahargarh” refers to “the Abode of Tigers”, so it is also known as the Tiger Fort. The Fort was constructed mainly in 1734, however further additions were made to it, by the succeeding rulers in the 19th century.
According to a legend, the Fort was named after a prince, whose spirit used to haunt the construction site. As a result, a tantrik was called and the ghost agreed to leave the fort only if, the fort was named after him. There are numerous buildings situated inside the Nahargarh Fort and amongst them, Madhavendra Bhawan appeals the most. It was built by Sawai Ram Singh II and has a series of interconnected rooms with colorful corridors and hallways. This Place was used as a picnic spot for the members of the Royal family.
Another major attraction of the Fort is that, it provides an eye catching view of the Man Sagar Lake and the suburbs. The geometrically designed Nahargarh Fort looks at its best in the night, when it is dazzlingly lit. To add flavor to your trip to rajasthan, the cafeterias inside the fort offer the finest drinks and snacks. Nahargarh Fort forms a remarkable backdrop of Jaipur and offers a glittering view of the city lights.
However, the older parts of the Nahargarh Fort got wrecked with the times, but the further additions to the Fort, are still charming and well-preserved. Nahargarh Fort stands as a symbol of the Royal heritage and speaks of its majestic past. A visit to this fort will definitely make your trip, a memorable one.