Jaipur Pictures, Rajasthan, India

A silver pot outside the City Palace Museum, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

A solid silver pot outside the City Palace Museum, Jaipur Pictures, Rajasthan.

Visiting Jaipur

Jaipur is a large city, the capital of Rajasthan and one the best planned cities in India – for the time. It was carefully laid out with wide streets in a Mandala grid in 1727 by the Maharaja of Amber.
The whole city was painted pink in 1853 to welcome Britain’s Prince of Wales, and has remained that colour ever since.

Jaipur street scene, Rajasthan, India

A typical Jaipur street scene.

Jaipur’s main attractions

– the spectacular and opulent City Palace complex – that includes the Hawa Mahal and the Peacock Door (see below).

– the water-cooled Jal Mahal summer palace.

– the amazingly advanced celestial observatory of Jantar Mantar built in 1734 (see below).

– Nahargarh Fort offers panoramic views over Jaipur from the battlements tho’ needs a steep climb part of the way. There is a neat little café serving beers with the pink  sunset.

– the brilliant Amber Fort and its sparkling interior. Most tourists go there on elephant back tho a tuktuk is faster and cheaper.

– neighbouring Jaigarh Fort for gardens and views; and a handful of little temples.

The City Palace complex

City Palace view, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Jaipur’s number one sight, the City Palace complex. This sprawling collection of grand buildings includes an impressive collection of Rajasthani art and artifacts in the ‘Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum’. This is also still the residence of the ‘Maharaja of Jaipur and his family.

City Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Inside the City Palace, part of which is the current Maharaja’s home.

Peacock Door, City Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

The famous Peacock Door of the City Palace.

Amber Fort

Amber Fort, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

The Amber Fort, 11 kms outside Jaipur.

The Amber Fort that is so popular with travellers was not in fact originally a fort. The real Amber Fort is further up the hill but is now known as the Jaigarh Fort. The current Amber Fort so loved by tourists is actually the ostentatiously ornate palace section of the never-defeated Amber Fort up the hill.

Amber Fort elephants, Jaleb Chowk, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

A fleet of four-legged taxis deposit their fares in the Amber Fort’s central plaza, Jaleb Chowk, where victorious returning armies used to parade.

Amber Fort, Diwan-i-Aam, Hall of Public Audience, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

The Diwan-i-Aam, Hall of Public Audience, the Amber Fort’s most spectacular sight.

Jal Mahal, summer palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Yet another Maharaja’s palace, this one is the water-cooled Jal Mahal summer palace, visible below the Amber Fort.

Hawa Mahal

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Hawa Mahal. Photo by Marcin Biatek.

The Wind Palace, part of the City palace, was created in the shape of Krishna’s crown to keep the Maharaja’s harem cool. The 953 windows allow in the breeze while permitting the ladies to discreetly observe life on the street. Hawa Mahal was built in red/pink sandstone in 1799.

Jantar Mantar observatory

Jantar Mahar observatory, Jaipur, India

This hugely impressive and avant-garde astronomical observatory built in 1734 by order of Maharaja Sawai Singh II, near the City Palace. Ten years earlier the same Maharaja had a Juntar Mantar built in Delhi, so this was an improved version, OS 1. 2.

Getting to Jaipur

Flights: Jaipur is served by the airport in the neighbouring town of Sanganer. Some international charter flights arrive there and also domestic flights from other major Indian cities.

Rail: Jaipur Junction is the city’s main station and trains run frequently from all over the country; the most popular route, however, is the morning Shatabdi Express from New Delhi that leaves at 6. 0 am and arrives about five hours later.

Bus: Jaipur is well served by various grades of Indian buses, especially from Delhi, which take about six hours.

Road: the route from Delhi to Jaipur is fine and will take about 4 hours by car.