The capital of the State of Rajasthan, which was once a stronghold of Rajput rulers is a beautiful city and is known as Pink City due to the lavish use of pink stones in their huge structures—forts, palaces and residences etc in and around.
Jaipur is one of the largest cities of India and was built in the 18th century by Raja Sawai Jai Singh. Jaipur is a major tourist attraction amongst Indian as well as international travelers due to its vast and diverse heritage, architecture, cuisines and way of living as well as natural scenic beauty. It is pivotal to the tourist Golden Triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. It hosts several attractions like the City Palace, Govind Dev ji Temple, Vidhan Sabha, Birla Temple, several massive Rajput forts. It also serves as a stepping stone for travelers heading to the desert cities of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.
(1) Amber Fort
Although Rajasthan and forts are like synonyms, Amber Fort in particular is a treat for your eyes! The intricate work on the walls and the ceilings, the Jharokas are mind blowing. You are transported to the time of Rajas and Raanis (Kings and Queens). It truly is mesmerizing. To top the royal feel, is the elephant ride provided here! Once you climb to the top of the fort, just sit back and look at the view of the entire city laid out in front of you. If you have enough time at hand, you must see the fort lit up in the dark.
There are many places where amazing pictures can be captured. Also, in the far corner of the fort there is an eatery joint and a coffee day. A great place with a guide and one of the few can’t miss sites in the city. It has great expansive views of the city and some amazing photo opportunities. The history behind the place is fascinating, so hiring a guide might be a good idea. If you want to avoid the continuous harassing, an audio guide is the optimal solution!
A must visit place if you are in Jaipur is Sheesh Mahal or hall of Mirrors, as called in English. It is inside the Amber Fort. The fort is an architectural wonder and the Sheesh Mahal is just mind blowing. It is a hall of mirrors and you will only see mirrors everywhere.
On the walls, on the roof, on the pillars everywhere it is an amazing experience and one wonders how much time they took to construct this building. It is really amazing. This is the place, where the king used to have important meetings when needed to be held in private. Entrance to the Mahal is not allowed and visitors are made to see it from outside only. It is said that a single candle can illuminate the entire Mahal because of convex mirrors in it. Don’t forget to see the magic flower on its pillars.
Celestial beauty on earth, that’s how one would describe the lord Govind ji and his temple. Don’t miss while you are in Jaipur. Experience the aarti and the bhog, it’s great. Evening is perfect time. After your visit to city palace or Hawa Mahal, visit the temple. The environment here is full of devotion to Shri Govind Devji. There are a number of shops to selling photos of Govindevji. While in Rajasthan a must visit along with Govind devji is the temple of Sreenathji in Nathdwara near Udaipur.
This is one of the oldest temple in Jaipur, very well maintained by Archeological Department of India. It’s must visit place in Jaipur at early morning. It is said that the morning prayer (Known as Mangla Arti) gives peace to Soul. The sound of Conch shell & bells create a divine environment and takes you to a different world altogether. Prasad of the temple is mouth watering. Outside the temple there is a nice shopping area where you can do shopping. One should visit this temple at-least once in his life time.
Birla Temple (Laxmi Narayan Mandir) is another attraction for the devotees visiting Jaipur. Birla Mandir is a huge temple made in white marble in the heart of the city. It’s very clean and calm. The idol of Radha-Krishna are very beautiful and there are many other beautiful artworks on the walls in the temple.
When you do the parikrama of the idols, there are a few pieces of beautiful carvings on marble that adorn the walls. They depict images and scenes from the Hindu mythology and epics. There is a very large space to sit and just watch the idols or to relax and meditate. That amount of space also makes you feel that the temple is empty, even if there’s a big crowd in there.
(5) Hawa Mahal
The Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 AD and is a major Rajput landmark.This 5 storey building along the main street of the old city is in pink splendour with semi-octagonal and delicately honey combed sandstone windows.
The monument was originally conceived to enable ladies of the royal household to watch everyday life and royal processions of the city. It’s a very beautiful building with lots of corridors, chambers and small windows where you can see outside without being seen (they were made for that).
Moti Dungri Temple might be one of the biggest and renowned “Lord Ganesha” temple in the country which attract tourists not only from Jaipur City but from across the country.
This is one of the oldest temples with a huge Ganesh Idol in the sitting position which is rare to see in any other part of the country. The temple is next to Birla Mandir. On Wednesdays, you will have maximum worshippers coming to the temple. Outside the temple, there is a small hat market from where you can buy handicraft items.
(7) Jaigarh Fort
Also called as the Victory Fort, the Jaigarh Fort was precisely built as a military structure in order to protect the Jaipur city and more so the Amber Fort. As the highest structure of the city, the Jaigarh fort overlooks the Amber Fort and the Maota Lake near Amber. The best way to delve into the absolute beauty of the city of Jaipur is to stand at a hill-top fort and have a panoramic view of the city.
The fort houses several residential palaces, temples, water reservoirs, gardens, a granary, an armory, a tall tower and cannons in its vicinity. The world’s biggest cannon on wheels, the Jaivana Cannon, which was manufactured within the fort, is still stationed inside it. A huge treasure of Maharaja Jai Singh was believed to be buried under the fort, which was reportedly seized by the Government of Rajasthan after its discovery. Even though the fort is plain and simple in its architecture, it is no less than a palatial structure in its appearance. The astounding grandeur of this fort is something that should not be missed while visiting the pink city!
(8) Nahargarh Fort
By the time Nahargarh Fort was built, British architecture had made inroads into India. In this fort, the British and Indian architecture styles have a mesmerizing amalgamation. From the roof of the structure, one can see how neatly the fort has been planned. Built by Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur, this fort was added to Amber and Jaigarh to make an impressive line of defense. The walls and battlements reach out along the same ridge and are connected to Jaigarh fort. Nahargarh was used more as a retreat and hunting lodge than purely defense.
Although in 1857, during the Indian mutiny, all the Europeans moved here as a precautionary measure. Although many of the buildings are falling into disrepair due to age and harsh weather conditions, the main palace of Madhavendra Bhawan is still in a good state with some lovely decorations. There are 12 similar apartments for the nine Queens and one for the King. Apparently, the rooms and corridors are so designed that the King could visit any one Queen without the others knowing. Difficult to visualize as there is no furniture in the rooms. Outside is a small reservoir with its own ghats for bathing. The terrace offers great views of the city from the top. You can easily drive down to Nahargarh Fort as well as Jaigarh Fort, else taxi services are in abundance.
(9) Jal Mahal
The Jal Mahal is true to its name bliss to watch. There are plenty to eating places in front of the place. Do visit during evening or morning. You can feed the fish in the lake, children would enjoy it.
It’s on the way to Amber / Jaigarh / Nahargarh fort. All the tour operators stop here for a few minutes. Bird watchers may do some good spotting here. One cannot go inside the Mahal. Take photographs and freeze the moment.
(10) Jantar Mantar
The Jantar Mantar monument of Jaipur, Rajasthan is a collection of nineteen architectural astronomical instruments, built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh, and completed in 1738 CE. It is situated near City Palace and Hawa Mahal. The instruments allow the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye.
The monument expresses architectural innovations, as well as the coming together of ideas from different religious and social beliefs in 18th century India. Built from local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining. Bronze tablets, bricks and mortar were also employed in building the instruments in the monument spread over about 18,700 square meters. The observatory consists of nineteen instruments for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking location of major stars as the earth orbits around the sun, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides.
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