Jaipur, the glistening Pink City, was founded by and named after Sawai Jai Singh II. It beckons tourists with a magnificent display of its royal Rajput heritage in its imposing forts and impressive palaces. Added bonus is the warm hospitality of its colorful people and of course a plethora of handicrafts to shop for. Tourists can enjoy watching and participating in various festivals that Jaipur hosts-from the modern Jaipur Literary festival to the traditional Teej, Gangaur and Kite festival.
Amer Fort lies atop a hill about I km away from the city. Within its complex are temples, gardens and pavilions built by generations of its rulers. Tourists can ride elephant- back up the steep road to the palace complex and from the chowk or the center of the complex, climb up the stairs to the Sitala Mata temple.
The western skyline is dominated by the extensive parkotas (walls), watch towers and gateways of Jaigarh. Jaigarh fort, one of the best preserved medieval military forts, lies high on a hill, a few kilometers away from the Amer fort. Inside is a weapons museum displaying a large collection of swords and small arms. Also displayed is a giant cannon- Jai Ban Cannon- believed to be the largest cannon on wheels in the world. It is intact and contains palaces, gardens, open and covered reservoirs, a granary, an armory, a well planned cannon foundry, several temples, a tall tower.
Nahargarh fort lies about 8 km away. Floodlit at night, the fort has beautiful building added by later rulers, though most of its original structure is now in ruins. It is 15 kilometers from Jaipur beyond the hills of Jaigarh and is like a watchful sentinel guarding Sawai Jai Singh’s beautiful capital. Much of the original structures are in ruins. From atop a hill, the fort offers a scenic view of the city below.
City palace, the home of the former maharaja lies within the walled part of Jaipur, in the heart of the city. Inside this imposing palace are a textile museum of various Rajasthani dresses, and a weapons museum of the Rajput and Mughal armoury. In the corner of the courtyard is an art gallery with a fascinating collection of paintings, carpets and rare ancient manuscripts.
Hawa Mahal, the palace of winds a fascinating landmark of Rajasthan, was built by the orders of poet-king, Sawai Pratap Singh in the 18th century and is the most remarkably designed monument in Jaipur. It is a red sandstone structure with intricately latticed windows or jharokhas is one of easily recognized monuments of Jaipur. The anterior of the five storey palace is viewed from the streets of Deohri bazaar. It was conceived to provide adequate vantage position behind stone carved mesh like screens to the palace women for watching the royal processions passing through the bazaar. It now has a museum and the collections include paintings, coins, handicrafts and sculptures. ‘Jaipur-past and present’ is the special feature of the museum.
Jal Mahal was built by Sawai Pratap Shing in 1799 A.D. in the midst of the Man Sagar Lake as a pleasure spot. The Lake was formed by constructing a dam between the two hills by Sawai Man Singh I. During winter months one can see a large number of migratory birds at the lake.
Jaipur Jal Mahal
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Jagat Shiromani Temple
The beautifully carved Jagat Shiromani Temple houses the idol of Lord Krishna and is popularly associated with the celebrated saint poetess Mira Bai. The old temple of Narsinghji and a step well Panna Mianki-Baodi, which still bears witness to its past glory are also located in the vicinity.
The city place complex also houses the Govindji Temple and is a temple of Lord Krishna and large number of people visits it. The temple was built in such a fashion that the king could see the deity from the Chandra Mahal, opposite it. The temple is surrounded by gardens and palaces. The image of Govind Devji was originally installed in a temple in Vrindavan.
Jantar Mantar is the largest and best preserved of Sawai Jai Singh’s five observatories. It is built in stone and marble whose setting and shapes are designed scientifically and which are one of the high points of medieval highpoints of medieval Indian astronomy. There are also two Ram Yantras for gauging altitudes.
Moti Doongari and Lakshmi Narayan Temple
Among the important landmarks dotting the southern horizon is the small privately owned hilltop fort of Moti Doongari which is shaped like a Scottish castle, the Ganesh Temple at the foot of the hill and the marble built Lakshmi Narayan Temple.
Jaipur Birla Temple
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Ram Niwas Bagh
To provide open space and greenery to the citizens, there is a big garden, with a zoo, an aviary, a greenhouse, a herbarium, a museum and several sports grounds. It was built during the reign of Sawai Ram Singh II’ in 1868 as a famine relief project.
It is situated in the beautiful Ram Niwas Garden. This beautifully designed Saracenic structure was designed by Sir Swinton Jacob. It was opened in 1887 as a public museum. It contains a rare collection of decorative art objects, paintings, sculptures, natural history specimens, an Egyptian Mummy and the well known Persian Golden Carpet.
Located near the Police memorial towards the back side of SMS Hospital is the Dolls Museum. There are attractive dolls from various countries and is housed in the compound of the school for the deaf and the dumb.
Sisodia Rani Garden
It is eight kilometers away from Jaipur on the road to Agra. Several landscaped gardens were constructed by the kings and the courtiers in the 18th and 19th centuries with the biggest and the most famous being one built by Sawai Jai Singh for his Sisodia queen, the Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh. It consists of tiered multilevel gardens with fountains, watercourses and painted pavilions.
The full length white marble statue of Sawai Jai Singh installed in the centre of the circle in the newly developed C-Scheme area was erected as a tribute to the founder of Jaipur.
Eight kilometers on the road to Amer, it has memorials of queens in the Maharani-ki-Chhatri complex near the Ramgarh road crossing, the island palace – Jai Mahal built by Sawai Madho Singh as a pleasure spot at the Man sagar lake and the Kanak Vrindavan complex temples and gardens recently renovated. To the west, in a narrow valley, is the royal cremation ground and the cenotaphs of Jaipur rulers with the exception of Sawai Ishwari Singh, who was cremated outside the Jai Niwas Garden.
In the vicinity of the city, 10 kms. from Jaipur, Galta is situated amidst the range of hills east of the city, on the top of the hill. Overlooking the Galta valley is a sun temple. To the east of the temple is a reservoir or a tank which is fed by spring of pure water falling from a Gaumukh or an outlet shaped like the mouth of a cow. On way to Galta, by the Ghat-ki-Guni, is a range of hills crowned with the fort of Amargarh.
The planetarium is on the Statue Circle and is made of white marble. One can get a view of the cosmos with the production and sound system of the planetarium
Birla Auditorium and Convention Centre
Over 9.5 acres, it houses a museum, auditorium, a library, a planetarium and a big exhibition area. The convention centre hosts major conferences. The entrance facade is a replica of Ganesh Pole of Amber Palace.
One may also visit the markets that are spread across the city of Jaipur. The markets exhibit a rich collection of handicrafts, dresses and ornaments that are not only colorful but equally stunning. They display the rich tradition of the Jaipur city that is still present in today’s fast paced life.