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Travel Rajasthan Destinations

Rajasthan - Jaipur Pink City

Jaipur or the Pink City was founded in 1727 by astronomer-King Sawai Jai Singh, one of the greatest rulers of the Kachhawaha clan, and designed by architect Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya. The pink colour was in imitation of the red sandstone buildings of the Mughals. The city was considered a marvel of town planning and attracted merchants and craftsmen to areas which were earmarked for them. Many of the traditional crafts patron by the 18th century rulers continue till today. So there are streets which are famous for jewellery, tie-and-dye, enamel work or pottery, leather work and stone carvings. In the Pink city, as in many parts of India, the ancient and the modern co-exist in harmony.

Jaipur City PalaceThe traffic in Jaipur is chaotic as cars and buses vie for space on the roads with camels, bullock carts and the ever increasing tribe of cyclists. The desperate policemen try to control the deluge of traffic, often by putting across a chain when the traffic light turns red, but you may still see scooter riders and cyclists ducking below the chain and jumping the lights.

The palace is in the heart of the city (popularly called City Palace), and around it, neatly laid, are the commercial and residential areas. A fortified wall with seven gates girdles the city. It was built to protect the city from invading armies as well as the wild animals in the thick jungles on the city's outskirts. Today the city has grown beyond the fort walls and continues to grow. It is best explored on foot.

The erstwhile royal family still lives in the City Palace which houses the seven-storeyed Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, the Diwan-i-Am and the Diwan-i-Khas. The Museum is definitely worth a visit. It houses an exquisite collection of carpets, the finest porcelain and a rare collection of arms and paintings. It is here that you can see a huge pair of silver containers - the largest single pieces of silver in the world.

Jaipur Hawa MahalAcross the road from the City Palace is the Jantar Mantar, one of the five observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh. The astronomical instruments, carved out of stone, continue to give accurate information even after nearly 300 years! Hawa Mahal or the 'Palace of Winds' is one of the most unusual structures built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. It has over 900 niches or windows from which the ladies of the court conveniently watched the activities on the street without being observed.

Outside the walled city is the large Ram Niwas Garden with the Albert Hall Museum in its centre. While the museum has a rich collection of ivory and stone sculptures, paintings and carpets, Ram Niwas Bagh houses one of the oldest zoos in the country.

Around Jaipur are several excursion areas. These include Maharani ki Chattri, where the last rites of the royal ladies were conducted; Gaitor, the funeral ground of the rulers of Jaipur, nestling at the foot of the Nahargarh hills; Jai Mahal, a lovely palace set in the Man Sagar Lake, where the royal duck shoots were organised; and Sisodia Palace and Garden - well laid and housing several galleries, pavilions and beautiful murals depicting scenes from the life of Lord Krishna.

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