Colors of Jaipur
From bright and multicolored Tie and Dye Turbans of the men folk, to the vibrant and rich colors of the attire of the women folk, to the richly adorned elephants and camels found in and around the city, Jaipur is definitely not a city of subtle shades and hues! The dazzle of the bright sun on the sands of the Thar Desert is certainly overshadowed by the eye catching and intense color palette of this city.
Facts about Jaipur
- Founded by Sawai Jaisingh II on 18th November 1727, Jaipur is the first planned layout city in India.
- The Planning and Layout of the city was entrusted to the Bengali architect, Vidhyadhar Bhatacharya, who incorporated the principles of Vaastu Shastra in the plan.
- Jaipur maintained its loyalty to the British rulers and during the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1876, painted all the important buildings in the city, pink, which symbolizes love and hospitality. This tradition is followed even today.
- The Jantar Mantar situated in Jaipur is one of five astronomical observatories constructed by Jaisingh II between 1727 and 1734, and is a fine example of amazing combination of geometric forms.
- About 15 Kilometres from Jaipur, on the Jaipur Amber road is Gaitore, which is the royal cremation site of the rulers of Jaipur.
- The largest saline lake in India is situated at Sambhar, about 60 Kms from Jaipur.
- After the Indian Independence, Jaipur was merged with Jaisalmer and Jodhpur to form the state of Rajasthan and became the state capital of Rajasthan in 1956.
As a part of its planning, Jaipur’s roads never make the traveler lose his way. This means that even if he takes a wrong left turn or right turn, he will either end up at the place where he lost or will reach some place close to his destination. This quality of roads makes the ancient inner city of Jaipur an interesting roaming destination for travelers all over and has been followed in various expansion plans of the city.
Buildings of the older Jaipur region are known for the amazing air ventilation architecture. Even though the roads of ancient city are narrow, the houses have been constructed in such a manner that residents get fresh air all the time. Even in the royal forts, this wind friendly architecture has been followed.
Since the times of the rulers, Govind Dev Ji, a reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, has been regarded as regional God of Jaipur region. Sawai Jai Singh got his idol from Mathura which is kept in the Govind Dev Ji temple. The location of the temple is almost at the center of ancient city. “Chandramahal”, fort from which the rulers used to pray holds its primary balcony right in front of idol of God. Currently, Govind Dev Ji temple holds the world record for having a large hall which has no pillar structure holding its roof. Along with all these amazing views and buildings, the temple campus also has a lush green park and large kitchen. Lots of festivals such as Holi, Janmashtmi are stupendously celebrated at the temple and attract large number of tourists and pilgrims. The very happening and respected state of the temple is a fine example that Jaipur had been blessed by some great rulers who are still regarded by the people of the city.
Keeping pace with its royal culture and respect to the rulers, Jaipur has also been technologically active in its modern development. The newly developed World Trade Park would be hosting more than a 100 national and international companies in the very same building. Automobile giant, Mahindra has invested hundreds of crore in developing a one of its kind Special Employment Zone in Jaipur. Jaipur has also been one of the first Indian cities to have all kinds of rail, road and air travel developed in a full-fledged manner. From air conditioned buses to having a metro line, Jaipur has connected to every area where it has expanded. The airport holds flights to almost all local and some international destinations.
How to Reach Jaipur
Jaipur is connected to the rest of the places in Rajasthan via road or rail routes. Rail and highway road routes are also well flourished for locations outside the state. Airlines connect the Pink City to major national and international places. From the Indian capital New Delhi, Jaipur can be reached just within 4 hours through train and 6 hours via road. From the financial capital, Mumbai, Jaipur is a 16 hour rail journey or 90 minute non-stop flight. For Deccan and Eastern regions, a 24-48 hours rail journey or 3-4 hour flights can make the traveler reach the city.
World class bus and road travel services are there with Volvo, Mercedes and Isuzu buses serving at speed highways so that one never gets tired during the journey. Also, tour operators have their own luxury cars and buses for the tourists. Keeping in pace with comfort and fast speed are the railways which have double decker and air conditioned trains that ease out the journey.
Road Distances of Jaipur from other prominent Indian Locations are:
History and Culture
Steeped in history and boasting of a rich heritage and culture, Jaipur is on the must see list of most tourists visiting India. The history of Jaipur can be traced back to the ancestors of Sawai Jaisingh II, the Kachwaha Rajputs, who, with the help of the Mughals, defeated their rival, the Sisodia Rajputs, who were rulers of Mewar, and ultimately gained control of the kingdoms of Mewar and Marwar (present day Udaipur and Jodhpur respectively). The Amber fort (or Amer Fort) was their seat of power from where they ruled over their empire. The construction of this massive defense rampart began with Raja Bhar Mal, who became the first Rajput in the court of Akbar. He cemented his relationship with Akbar by giving his daughter in marriage to the emperor, who later gave birth to their son, Jehangir. Mansingh, a trusted general, along with Jai Singh I, a military genius in the army, were also effective in bringing the construction of the fort into fruition. Jai Sing I soon became the ruler after Mansingh, and three generations later, Sawai Jaisingh II took over the throne. Being an ardent lover of the Arts and Sciences, Jaisingh II, was the key figure in dreaming and designing a new, well planned city, Jaipur, which was built in consultation with prominent astronomers and Mathematicians on the principles of Shilpa Sastra. Vidhyadhar Bhatacharya, a Bengali architect, designed the city in a grid block system having wide roads, streets and uniformly lined buildings in nine rectangular city sectors or Chokris. Raja Jaisingh II, also built many monuments and buildings inspired by European architecture, which, even today, stand as a testimony to his grandiose intentions.
Three centuries later, Jaipur has retained the charm, grandeur and its cultural heritage. The warmth of the people is reflected in their brightly colored attire, their unique jewelry, their cuisine, and their handicrafts. A haven for skilled artists and craftsmen, Jaipur is famous for its intricate Kundan, meenakari, zardosi and silver jewelery. Miniature paintings, stone carving and block printing are also famous here. In the performing arts, Kathak is very popular and an example of its rich and varied culture. However, to witness the best of Rajasthani folk culture it would be a good idea to attend the numerous fairs and festivals which are an important part of the life of the people here, who are basically very friendly and warm.
Places of Interest in Jaipur
Monuments, Palaces, Observatories, Museums stand in perfect unison with the other buildings housing shopping malls and public offices, unique and still retaining that old world charm, making it a tourist’s paradise. Travel and Tourism is a thriving industry here, and there are a number of hotels and resorts of varying budgets to suit every pocket. Many of the locals here earn their livelihood as guides, giving the tourist glimpses of the rich culture and history of this city.
Amber Fort: Built by Raja ManSingh in the year 1592, this fort is located about 11 kilometers away from Jaipur, built of red sandstone and marble. Inspired by both Hindu and Muslim architecture, this fort was the original capital of the state of Jaipur. It has a number of pavilions and halls apart from beautiful gardens, famous among which are the Diwan-i-AAm, (the Public Audience Hall), the Sheesh Mahal and the Sukh Mahal. An elephant ride all the way uphill is a unique and exciting experience.
Jaigarh Fort: Built by Sawai Jaisingh II in 1726 to protect the Amer fort and the Palace, this fort offers a panoramic view of the city of Jaipur. Similar in architecture to the Amer Fort, this fort is surrounded by huge battlements and houses the world’s largest cannon on wheels, a magnificent palace and the Shubhat Niwas, which was a meeting hall for the warriors.
City Palace: Designed by the main architect of Jaipur, Vidhayadhar, and in accordance to the principles of Vaastu Sastra, the City Palace was the hot seat of the Maharaja. Inspired by the Rajput, Mughal and European style of architecture, this palace includes Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal and other buildings within the palace complex. The Chandra Mahal has now been turned into a museum, where the uniforms, artifacts and handcrafted items used by the royalty are displayed.
Hawa Mahal: Constructed entirely of red and pink sandstone and better known as the Palace of winds, the Hawa Mahal is one of the most prominent attractions in Jaipur. This five storied palace, in the shape of the crown of Krishna was built in 1799 by Maharja Sawai Pratap Singh. It has a pyramid shape with 953 windows known as Jharokhas which served as a viewing gallery for the royal women folk. The interior of this Mahal contains courtyards with passages and pillars going right up to the fifth floor. The viewing galleries and halls make up the last three floors, offering an excellent view of the entire city.
Jantar Mantar: One of the largest observatories in the world, the Jantar Mantar is a fine example of the precise and scientific methodology of construction of that time. To study the marvels of various astronomical phenomena, this observatory consists of fourteen main devices which help in tracking time and also to track the paths of constellations. This observatory has been listed in the UNESCO as a world Heritage site.
Other places worth visiting are the Jal Mahal, the Lakshmi Narayan Temple,the Vidhyadhar Garden, Gaitore, Albert Hall and the Statue Circle.
Fairs and Festivals
Jaipur is also known for its fairs and festivals which are colorful and elaborate expressions of the culture and heritage of Rajasthan. These fairs and festivals are moments of gets to see the traditional and colorful attire and ornaments of the folk in all its finery and grandeur. Celebrated with great fervor are the Elephant festival, the Gangaur Festival, Teej, and Makar Sankranti festival among others. These festivals are auspicious occasions and are earmarked by traditional prayers. A window to the tradition and culture, these occasions form a part of the great memories for tourists, to be cherished and remembered.
A Shopper’s Paradise
A haven for shopaholics, Jaipur has a variety of shopping experience on offer, from handicrafts to jewelry, from colorful Tie and Dye material to lac bangles and from ornate Jutis to intricate marble and stone carvings. Famous the world over for its Kundan Style jewelry, Jaipur is one the most famous jewelry shopping centre in India.
This magnificent city of Colors, with its many Festivals and Fairs is a visual treat for tourists and is a great combination of the opulence of the Palaces and forts to the rich and colorful celebrations of love of the village folk. From sightseeing to shopping and to enjoying the rich and delicious cuisine, Jaipur has it all.