Jaipur – the capital city of Rajasthan and also known as the “Pink City”. It still looks that young royal one even after centuries. Maybe, in the same way, it might have been associated with this then land and its Kingdom. The vibrant and colorful city keeps a surprise to any traveler. Forts, Gardens, and the entire cityscape are part of that surprise to all. Some of the Forts may take hours to identify and understands its features and one of them is inside a lake. Through fabulous gardens and one of those a floating one.
Jaipur also boasts of having one of the gigantic astronomical observatories. This has been built centuries ago and one of the rare still in working condition. This observatory consists of the world’s largest sundial. (A separate blog post is coming soon for this observatory only). Hence a visit to Jaipur can be taken for granted for its excitement and entertainment always.
WHERE IS JAIPUR
Out of many places or states that lie around the capital of India Delhi, Jaipur seems to be nearest and easily approachable. Frequent buses available make it a first-choice destination for many travelers both Indian and foreign alike. Approximately 240 km from Delhi and soon after crossing Gurgaon, the plush city bordering with Delhi NCR region, a straight drive will get you in Jaipur known as Pink City, maybe it can also be called as Gateway to Rajasthan.
And due to heavy traffic and bottlenecks, an overnight journey from Delhi to Jaipur means that better to leave soon after lunch so to get a sound sleep in the night to explore the city the next day.
IT WAS NOT ALL GOOD TO START WITH
The best way to utilize the limited time on such a city-oriented trip is with the help of a guide. The hotel staff was very helpful to arrange for a person to act as a driver cum guide for us. Despite it was early morning, the temperature reached an unpleasant level even before we were about to leave the room.
But we couldn’t make it to bother too as the purpose of the visit was to enjoy the city rather than cursing something which was beyond our control. After a hurried breakfast, we were out in town in the taxi.
WHY JAIPUR IS KNOWN AS PINK CITY
Knowledge about this city was limited except the fact that the rulers were rich and so fond of this city. The exclusive big forts, gardens, Havelis, and temples still exist as proof. Jaipur is also known as “Pink City”’. Even if the people who came to this city didn’t realize the word, anyone who saw this city for a while soon would tell themselves that it was a pink city. Every building barring few new ones was built with pink stones. And this style is from ancient times with history dating back to the 19th century. And now it is regulated by law to use only Pink stones for any structures.
FIRST DESTINATION – AMER FORT
Our first stop was a UNESCO recognized World Heritage in Fort category known as Amer or Amber fort. This is one of the most important attractions in Jaipur surviving every type of destruction came on its way. The 400 years old huge structure is constructed with red sandstone and white marbles. A lake close to it enhances its beauty This palace is situated within five kilometers from Jaipur city.
As the fort itself is so huge, different areas were constructed in different shapes and styles. This was done so keeping in mind the use it was made for. The separation is through gigantic gates with different identification namely Sun gate, Ganesh gate, etc. Courtyard like the huge area is common to each part.
THE JALEBI CHOWK
The prominent part of this fort or the first section or the area is known as Jalebi chowk. Do not confuse with the word as it is an Arabic word related Army. This place is used for the King to meet armies especially to collect the details related to the rule and their daily updates. Screened windows were also seen here through which royal women would be able to witness what is going on there.
A few steps on the side of this courtyard lead to the second one with a temple on the way up. The silver window is the main attraction of this temple. The name of the temple is Shiladevi temple. This place is known as the Hall of Public Audience with so many pillars for its construction.
THE PALACE OF MIRRORS
The third portion is exclusive for the King where another entrance namely Ganesh gate is installed. This particular area is very much different from other parts showing the royalty in its making. It is through decorated arches, special mirror walls, and ceilings. Since mirrors of different sizes are widely used throughout the building, this area is also called Sheesh Mahal or Palace of Mirrors. Most parts of the structure like wall, pillars, ceiling, etc have mirrors.
No one will forget a work of art with seven different designs made on marble pillars, which reflects the workmanship at the time. The designs are lotus, lion’s tail, scorpion, hooded cobra, fishtail, cob or corn, and an elephant trunk. it is worked out in such a way that one needs to cover a few designs with the hand to see other ones. Apart from this a huge area including the lake, the garden, and the surroundings can be viewed from this place.
Opposite to the above, the Sukh Nivas is situated. Ivory and sandalwood were mainly used for its construction. The most important aspect of this area is such that it always had a naturally air-conditioned environment. It is done with the help of special arrangements through pipes for the circulation of water along with the wind that blows across another water area.
THE LADIES ONLY SECTION
The interesting find for any visitor was the fourth one which is ladies’ only section or the women’s quarters. The rooms were designed in such a way that when one wife goes to meet with Maharaja, the others would not be able to see her even though there is a public corridor.
Finally, without a garden any structure belongs to A Maharaja is incomplete and here too the garden was a part of the excellent landscape that included in the construction of the fort. A beautifully designed garden looks like floating with different colors was a perfect combination for the huge fort.
This only a small part of my Jaipur visit and will continue through.
Some reference links. 1) Wikipedia 2) Government of Rajasthan Page
The city sounds and looks fantastic. Is Rajasthan a state in India or a sperate country?
A super interesting read! I love the pictures here.
Amber – The Unpredicted Page