The ‘pink city’ of Jaipur, so called after the prevailing colour of its prominent buildings, is the capital of Rajasthan, and lies 265 km south west of Delhi, accessible by a four-hour train journey and served by a domestic airport. Until India’s liberation in 1947 it was the autonomous kingdom of Rajputana (Land of Kings). It is the second most visited part of India after Agra, and continues to display the rigidity of India’s traditional caste system. In such proximity to the desert, the familiar site of cows on India’s streets is augmented by the additional presence of numerous camels.
Places to Visit
A package tour of all the main sites below can be easily arranged from the City Palace.
The Amber Fort
Overlooking the artificial lake south of the town of Amber, it is one of the most popular tourist sites in Jaipur. Famed for its mixture of Hindu and Muslim architecture, the fort surrounds the magnificent Amber Palace, the Kali temple and the mind-blowing Hall of Mirrors. Visitors can take an elephant ride from the town below to the palace courtyard.
The Jaigarh Fort
Situated on top of the hill above Amber Fort is Jaigarh Fort (the two are connected via fortified passageways). Its lofty location offers panoramic vistas of the Aravalli foothills, while inside it contains a remarkable collection of medieval artillery, including the Jaivana, reputed to be the world’s biggest wheeled cannon.
An astronomical observatory built in the 18th century, Jantar Mantar is an impressive collection of huge stone and marble structures designed to monitor time and the movement of the planets.
March to April
Gangaur Festival – celebrated with a huge procession through the city with locals dressed in colourful traditional dress.
July to August
On the edge of the Aravalli Hills, Nahargarh Fort offers magnificent views of Jaipur below.
An impressive complex of gardens, courtyards and Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. There’s a beautiful temple, a useful small museum and a plethora of gift shops.
Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds)
An extension of the City Palace. It was built in 1799 to enable the royal ladies to spy on local life from a suitably discreet distance.
Some Key Jaipur sites
The Amber Palace
Galtaji (ancient Hindu pilgrimage site)
Hawa Mahal – Palace of Winds (red sandstone palace that forms part of the City Palace)
Jantar Mantar observatory