Jaipur: Sights, Sounds & Flavours
Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, who ruled from 1699-1744. Initially his capital was Amber City, which is at a distance of 11km from Jaipur. Jai Singh II felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. Jaipur is the first planned city of India and in a recent international survey it was ranked the 7th best place to visit in Asia. It’s also home to some of the best heritage properties in the world and arguably one of the best shopping destinations in India.
The days are bright and sunny during winter and a light sweater will suffice. However, you need to be well clad in the evenings as temperatures dip considerably during the night. Closed shoes are recommended because of the dew factor.
Where to visit
Amber Fort – The majestic Amber Fort forms the perfect entrance to the city of Jaipur. It was the citadel of the ruling Kacchwaha clan of Amber, before the capital was shifted to present day Jaipur. Amber Fort is unique in that its façade, an imposing and rugged defensive structure, is in stark contrast to its inside, an ornate and lavish interior influenced by both Hindu and Muslim styles of ornamentation. The elephant rides from the base of the fort to the top is a major tousrist attraction. One can see the skyline of Jaipur and the original city walls.
Hawa Mahal – Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds is probably the most recognizable structure in Jaipur. It was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in the form of the crown of Lord Krishna. It forms part of the City Palace and its original intention was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.
Jaigarh Fort – The Jaigarh Fort is located around 15 kms away from Jaipur and is one of the most spectacular forts in India with almost all of its original facilties intact. The fort was a centre of artillery production for the Rajputs and is home to the world’s largest canon on wheels, the Jaivana. Jaigarh overlooks Amber Fort and many consider it as one complex with both the forts connected through well guarded passeges.
Nahargarh Fort – Nahargarh stands on the edge of the Aravalli hills and offers a breathtaking view of Jaipur city. Along with Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort it formed a strong defence ring for the city in olden times. The word Nahargarh means the abode of tigers. Legend has it that it was named after Prince Nahar whose spirit haunted the place and obstructed construction of the fort. Built mainly in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, it is partially in ruins and was also used as a Hunting residence by the Maharajas.
Jantar Mantar – Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments built by Sawai Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modelled after the one that he built at the then Mughal capital of Delhi. He had contructed a total of five such labs at different locations, including the ones at Jaipur and Delhi. The Jaipur observatory is the largest of these and is still used by local astronomers to predict the weather for farmers.
The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing (AMHP) - Set in a beautifully restored 17th century Chanwar Palkiwalon ki Haveli (Anokhi Haveli), Kheri Gate, Amber , AMHP is a museum dedicated to the collection, preservation and interpretation of printed textiles. It is a venue for the lay person or scholar to study different facets of block printing and develop a greater appreciation of the craft. By preserving the stories told by the artisans, the museum seeks to authenticate the roots of these powerful textiles while celebrating the art of the handmade. AMHP also demonstrates the versatile nature of block printing in the face of modern technology and ‘progress’.
For more places to visit, log onto www.jaipur.nic.in
Where to shop
Mirza Ismail Road
Amrapali - Silver jewelley
Jem Palace, Tholia jewelers and Jewels Emporium – Precious jewellery
Textorium – Wide variety of traditional clothes including embroidered salwar kamizes, saris and quilted jackets
Nayika – Great for quilted jackets
Bunkar and Rajasthali – The two government emporiums have a wide variety of things ranging from handicrafts, clothes, bric a brac and gifts you can take back with you for your friends
Jauhari Bazaar - is one of the most colorful areas of Jaipur in the heart of the old city. The streets are full of interesting things from clothes and handicrafts to leather goods. You’ll find jewelry, of course, as the name suggests. But apart from that its an ideal place to shop for cheap quilts, skirts, bags, juttis and jackets to name a few. Also, the bangle shops at the Badi Chaupar are highly recommended.
Shops at Jauhari Bazar
Rana – Traditional bandhni and lehariya saris and salwar kamizes
Gulabchand Omprakash – Printed cotton fabric and salwar kamizes
Other Shops around the City
Anokhi Shop, Prithviraj Road – clothes, jewellery, paintings and home furnishings
Rattan Textiles, Ajmer Road – clothes and home furnishings
Kilol, Sardar Patel Marg – clothes and home furnishings
Soma, Civil Lines – clothes and home furnishings
Suvasa, Civil Lines – clothes
Rukmani, Achrol House, Civil Lines – traditional rajasthani poshaks, chiffon and georgette saris and salwar kamizes
Cottons, Achrol House, Civil Lines – clothes
Mojari, near Chomu House – Highly recommended for juttis that don’t bite!!
Where to eat
Niros, MI Road – Multicuisine restaurant. A popular tourist destination, serves great Sizzlers
Dragon House, Country Inn Hotel – Chinese food with a great sit out area, especially nice in winters
Kasbah, Country Inn Hotel – Serves Moroccan food
Café Kooba – Rooftop restaurant, serves excellent pizzas and desserts
Peshawari, Rajputana Sheraton – Indian, Mughlai Food. The best kebabs in town
Anokhi Café, Prithviraj Road –Is an all vegetarian restaurant. Serves great snacks, salads and confectionary
Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar (LMB), Jauhari Bazar – Arguably the best Chaat shop in town, famous for its Raj kachoris. Also sells traditional mithais
Bake Hut, MI Road – One of the oldest confectionary shops in Jaipur
Tablu, Clarks Amer Hotel – Rooftop Lounge bar with great ambience
Chokhidani, Tonk Road – Traditional Rajasthani food in a village setting
Where to stay
Being a tourist destination, Jaipur has numerous accommodation options to suit all kinds of budgets. The festival also provides accommodation at special rates. (This is available only to people who register as delegates). For more info view Registration page.