Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan and one of the most splendid cities in all of India. Known as the Pink City, Jaipur is on the ‘Golden Triangle’, the popular tourist route that takes in Jaipur, Delhi and Agra.
The city gets its name from its founder, the Maharaja Jai Singh, who ruled from 1688 to 1744. He was from the Rajput clan that traced its lineage back to the 12th century and who built the magnificent Amber Fort, 11km outside of Jaipur. Jai Singh created the city in 1727 to accommodate a growing population and due to a lack of water at Amber.
Jaipur was designed with precision according to ancient Hindu principles and was India’s first planned city. In 1876 Jai Singh’s successor, Maharaha Ram Singh, painted the city pink to welcome the Prince of Wales, and Jaipur became known as the Pink City.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, Jaipur outgrew its city walls and its organic sprawl paid little attention to the planned precision of the Old City. Today it is a chaotic and crowded city, but a largely prosperous one, attracting investment as a commercial, business and tourist centre.
In 2008 Jaipur was ranked 31 in the Top 50 Emerging Global Outsourcing Cities. Several large multinational corporations have their BPOs there and the World Trade Park is a hub for modern business.
When to go:
The weather is best for visitors to Jaipur between November and February, although there are some wonderful festivals in March and April.
- Take a walking tour of the splendid Old City, with its wide boulevards, bazaars and pink buildings.
- Visit Amber Fort, a magnificent Rajput citadel and palace that served as the Royal Palace from 1600-1727.
- Say hi to the old royal family who still reside at the City Palace. Taking up one-seventh of Jaipur’s Old City, the sprawling complex is a magnificent combination of Rajput and Mughal architecture.
- Gaze into the stars at the World Heritage listed Jantar Mantar, or Royal Observatory.
- Watch the passers-by through the honeycomb windows of Hawar Mahal, the Palace of the Winds, which was built for the women of the court to observe outside life.
- Bargain hard in the specialist bazaars of the Old City. An evening visit is especially captivating.
- Check out the collections at the Central Museum in Albert Hall, which is a splendid combination of English and North Indian architecture.
- Take the 1km walk uphill from the Amber Fort to visit Jaigarh Fort. The spectacular gardens and vista over Amber and the surrounding hills makes the walk worthwhile.
- Pay your respects to Lord Krishna at the Govind Devji Temple, near the City Palace.
- Stop by the opulent Jal Mahal on the way to Amber Fort. The Rajput palace sits in the centre of Man Sagar lake (when it has water in it).
- Try to time your visit for the colourful Gangaur festival in March-April, which celebrates the love between Gauri and Lord Shiva.