An interesting contrast between the beauty of the old buildings and the greatness of the new ones, a combination between chaos and silence, a multitude of bazaars and malls are just a few of the words I would use to describe Jaipur.
After Delhi, this is the second city I have visited during my stay in India. Jaipur is the largest city in Rajasthan, a state situated in the north-west of India.
It is hard not to notice that pink is the dominant color in the city when the walls of so many buildings are painted in this color. In Jaipur I had the chance to see and admire so many lovely shades of pink. It is said that Jaipur, one of the most beautiful and vibrant cities in India, was painted pink in 1876 when the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria visited the country. This is the reason why Jaipur is also called the Pink City. Nowadays, the residents of Jaipur are compelled by law to maintain the color pink.
The founder of the city, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, was a great warrior and astronomer and this is why the city bears strong historical and astronomical traces.
Together with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur is part of the Golden Triangle of India and for good reason. The multitude of tourist attractions and interesting experiences that can be lived here, make Jaipur one of the jewels of India. No matter how you choose to spend your time there, there are a few places you should definitely not miss:
1.You should visit the City Palace and discover the simplicity of the old times. The City Palace Complex is divided into two parts: the Mubarak Mahal or the Auspicious Palace (the palace of welcoming the tourists in the City Palace) and the Maharani’s Palace (the palace of the queen). The first one shelters a museum which displays a vast collection of royal costumes, delicate cashmere shawls, silk saris and other dresses with interesting prints and folk embroidery. The second one displays a very well-preserved collection of weapons and a beautiful collection of paintings.
A visit to this place will give you the chance to admire an interesting blend between the Mogul, the Rajput and the European architecture. An interesting aspect about this place is the fact that a private section of this complex is still home for the last ruling royal family.
2.You should plunge into the mysteries of astronomy and visit the Jantar Mantar which is an astronomical observation site built in the early 18th century. One of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the Jantar Mantar is the largest one. Consisting of nineteen geometric devices, it was built with the purpose of measuring time, tracking celestial bodies and observing the planets around the sun.
In case you are curious to find out what your future looks like, you should know that there is an Interpretation Center inside the complex. This center offers you the chance to contact an astrologer from whom you can get a complete astrological report. You can also find out valuable information about the principles and the history of the observatory if you visit the Interpretation Center.
3.You could visit the magnificent Hawa Mahal, a beautiful palace whose architecture combines two styles, the Hindu and the Islamic one. Made of red and pink sandstone and embellished with small latticed windows, Hawa Mahal is built in the shape of the crown of Lord Krishna, a Hindu god.
Situated in the heart of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal or the Palace of the Winds was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. The purpose of this construction was to provide the royal ladies a view of everyday life through the windows, as they never appeared in public. According to the religion principles, the women were not allowed to appear in public without covering their faces.
4.You should definitely admire the beautiful Jal Mahal, which is one of the most wonderful palaces in Jaipur. Made of light colored sandstone, the Jal Mahal or the Lake Palace, the way it is also called, seems to float in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. Enjoying the image of the palace floating in the middle of the lake is simply amazing.
5.You can enjoy an elephant ride while you explore the ruins of the fabulous Amber Fort, which is one of the most beautiful places in the area of Jaipur. Hidden in the heart of the Aravalli Hills, 11 kilometers away from Jaipur, this complex of ruins is placed in a fairytale setting.
Made of red sandstone and white marble, the architecture of the complex combines two styles, the Hindu and the Muslim one. It will be a real delight to discover the contrast between the simple exterior and the welcoming interior design. The experience of reaching the top of the fortress on an elephant will perfectly complete the pleasure of discovering the beautiful courtyards, halls and walls.
6.You could visit the local bazaars and practice your negotiation skills. From spices and clothes to different types of services, everything is negotiable in the Indian bazaars. Any visit to Jaipur should start and end in the local bazaars, where you can find different goods at really low prices. It goes without saying that you should drive a hard bargain if you really want to get the prices you are willing to pay for. You should know that Indians usually try to charge tourists ten times more for every product.
7.Take a walk in the central area of the city where you will have the chance to admire the lively monkeys that live here. It is said that they are organized in groups and that they become aggressive when it comes to their territory. You can feed them with bananas and other fruit, but while doing this you should take care of your personal belongings in case you don’t want them to be stolen by these monkey thieves.
I also advise you to watch a few documentary movies about these monkeys before you go to Jaipur. There are a few good movies which present the life of these monkeys.
Even though there is so much more to discover about Jaipur, these are in my opinion, the things you should definitely not miss during your stay there. Add Jaipur to your trip list and you will not regret it!