The Pink City – Jaipur

They say Jaipur is the ‘Pink City’ of India, and now I believe I know why they say that. It is adorned in pink everywhere you see. I am talking specifically about ‘Old Jaipur’. The “new” Jaipur, on the contrary is just like any other city of India – vibrant, with booming markets, food joints, religious places, malls, cinemas (Multiplexes), night life; basically you name it and the place has it all.

I have been traveling quite frequently, lately – one advantage of being unemployed. Well, I, personally see it as an advantage anyway. Other people do not quite agree to this view of mine. I say let them be. I love traveling, going places and travel I will, for as long as I possibly can. This gone week I was in Jaipur, and subsequently was lucky enough to visit Chokhi Dhani as well.

I am sure everybody is familiar with the wonderful city of Jaipur. Still, I would like to mention that Jaipur is also popularly known around the world and around our country as the ‘Pink City’, and is the capital of Rajasthan. It is also the former capital of the princely state of Jaipur. Founded way back in the year 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh-II, who was the ruler of Amber or ‘Amer’, the city has grown by leaps and bounds since, and is home to more than 5 million residents as of now.

It is almost a small ‘country’ in itself, really. It is remarkable among the pre-modern Indian cities for the width and the regularity of its streets which are laid out into six sectors which are separated by some wonderfully broad roads. At the outset, it was the capital of Maharaja Sawai Mansingh-II was Amber city, which is about 11 kms. from the city of Jaipur. However, eventually Maharaja felt the need to shift his capital city because the population kept increasing manifold each year.

Jaipur also takes the pride of being perhaps the first ever planned city of India. The King himself consulted several architecture and architects and many books before laying out the plan of the city of Jaipur. It is widely believed and is also written in the history books that the construction of the ‘Pink City’ started in the year 1727, consecutively taking 4 years to complete the major palaces, roads and squares. Jaipur was built by following the principles of the Shilpa Shashtra, of the Indian Architecture.

Allright, now that we know about the history of the place, it is time I told you about my experience of visiting this wonderful city of Jaipur. When you hear Rajasthan, the first thing we think of are the huge palatial buildings, palaces, wonderful architecture and things like these. Well, it is true. Jaipur has a life of it’s own. When you walk the streets, you feel a strange feeling of walking down the streets where Rajas and Maharajas must have walked centuries ago. This is the magic of Jaipur, really. Although, the month of June in India is considered as the ‘peak’ summer season, but fortunately, for me, both Saturday and Sunday was comfortable, well comparatively speaking, but ofcourse.

My initial plan was to go and visit Kasauli or perhaps Lansdowne (once again!), but then my brother and his girlfriend wanted to visit Rajasthan – Jaipur, to be precise. We started for Jaipur on Friday, and by the afternoon had taken a couple of hotel rooms, relaxed and were ready to roam around just to enjoy the beauty of the city. The next day, we went around ‘sight-seeing’. The sight seeing experience was lovely. I generally do not quite like the idea of sight-seeing as I believe the term ‘sight-seeing’ is associated with the regular humdrum tourists. But, this time I actually enjoyed it. We visited many famous forts, palaces, temples and got to see in detail the wonderful architecture that Jaipur is known for, worldwide.

These are some of the places that we visited, while in Jaipur:

1. Birla Temple Birla Temple forms one of the major attractions of Jaipur. Birla Temple of Jaipur looks stunning, when it is brightly lit in the night. Birla Mandir, in pure white marble, dominates the skyline of southern part of Jaipur. The enormous temple was built during the year 1988, by Birla Group of Industries, one of the business tycoons of India. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu (Narayan), the preserver and his consort Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth. Due to this reason, Birla Temple is also known as Laxmi Narayan Temple.

2. City Palace Museum Occupying the centre of Jaipur, the City Palace covers one seventh of the city area and the plan of the palace is exactly similar to the plan of the city. The palace has a high wall or the sarahad that surrounds it on all sides. It is a bit confusing to find the main entrance to the palace and can only be arrived at after going through various bazaars (Sireh Deori), past the Town Hall (Vidhan Sabha), passing through the arches of Sireh Deori (boundary gate) also known as the Udai Pol, Naqqar Darwaza (drum gate), the Vijai Pol, Jai Pol, Ganpati Pol and via the Jaleb Chowk. The Town Hall (late 19th century) once housed the State Council. It faces west over Sireh Deorhi bazaar and has a large terrace and verandah. Jaleb Chowk was previously the residence of the Palace Guards.

City Palace Museum, Jaipur

City Palace Museum, Jaipur

City Palace Museum

City Palace Museum

City Palace Museum

City Palace Museum

3. Amer Fort – Amber Fort, also known as Amer Fort is located in Amber, 11 km from Jaipur. It was the ancient citadel of the ruling Kachhawa clan of Amber, before the capital was shifted to present day Jaipur. Amber Fort is known for its unique artistic style, blending both Hindu and Muslim (Mughal) elements, and its ornate and breathtaking artistic mastery. The fort borders the Maota Lake, and is a major tourist attraction in Rajasthan.

Amer Fort
Amer Fort
Amer Fort

Amer Fort

Amer Fort

Amer Fort

Amer Fort

Amer Fort

It took us about 2 hours to explore the whole fort, but it was really worth all the hard work and effort. It is a beautiful fort which you MUST visit if you are visiting Jaipur. he structure which is known today as “Amber Fort” was initially a palace complex within the original fort of Amber that is today known as Jaigarh Fort. Connected to Amber via fortified passages, Jaigarh Fort is located on a hill above the Amber complex, and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It overlooks Maotha Lake, and was reputed to be the treasure vault of the Kacchwaha rulers.

The residential wing of the rajas that were modified in the 19th century by Sawai Ram Singh II surround the chowk on all sides. After crossing the Jaleb Chowk and proceeding through a narrow archway you will reach the Gainda ki Deorhi (rhinoceros gate) and the city palace complex.

Amer Fort, Jaipur

Amer Fort, Jaipur

Amer Fort

Amer Fort

Sheesh Mahal, Amer Fort

Sheesh Mahal, Amer Fort

The Contrast - Amer Fort, Jaipur

The Contrast - Amer Fort, Jaipur

Amer Fort

Amer Fort

Amer Fort

Amer Fort

4. Jal Mahal – The Jal Mahal Palace, Jaipur is noted for its intricate architecture. The Palace was developed as a pleasure spot. It was used for the royal duck shooting parties. On the road to Amber at a distance of 6.5 kms from Jaipur are the cenotaphs of the royal family. A causeway leads to Jal Mahal Palace situated in the middle of Man Sagar lake, opposite the cenotaphs.The first four floors of this building is under water, only the top floor remains outside.One can have a wonderful view of the lake and the palace from Nahargarh Fort.

Built in 1799, the palace is now abandoned, but reasonably well preserved. In the monsoons, it looks particularly startling with its red sandstone set against the water hyacinth filled lake.

5. Hawa Mahal – Hawa Mahal or the Palace of Winds is a palace in Jaipur. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Usta in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. It forms part of the City Palace and extends the Zenana or women’s chambers, the chambers of the harem. Its original intention was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.

It has five stories and is constructed of red and pink sandstone, highlighted with white quakeee quick lime. The side facing the street outside the palace complex has 953 small windows, and the breeze (hawa) which circulates through these windows gives the palace its name, and keeps it cool even in hot months. The entrance opens onto a courtyard with a double-storied building on three sides, and one on the eastern wing with three more stories, which is just one room wide. There are no stairs to reach the upper floors, only ramps.

Apart from the above mentioned places, we also went to certain Government owned ‘shops’ and savored the wonderful experience. Although, we did not quite buy anything in particular, but the whole experience of visiting these places were well worth the whole effort.

5. Jantar Mantar – The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (Ruler) Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modeled after the one that he had built for him at the then Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest of these. The name is derived from jantar (“instrument”), and Mantar (“formula”, or in this context “calculation”). Therefore jantar mantar means literally ‘calculation instrument’. While this observatory has religious significance, since ancient Indian astronomers were also Jyotisa masters. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides.

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

Jantar Mantar, Jaipur

Each is a fixed and ‘focused’ tool. The Samrat Jantar, the largest instrument, is 90 feet (27 m) high, its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.

Built from local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining. Bronze tablets, all extraordinarily accurate, were also employed. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.
An excursion through Jai Singh’s Jantar is a unique experience of walking through solid geometry and encountering a collective astronomical system designed to probe the heavens.

The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja (Ruler) Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modeled after the one that he had built for him at the then Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest of these. The name is derived from jantar (“instrument”), and Mantar (“formula”, or in this context “calculation”). Therefore jantar mantar means literally ‘calculation instrument’. While this observatory has religious significance, since ancient Indian astronomers were also Jyotisa masters. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides. Each is a fixed and ‘focused’ tool. The Samrat Jantar, the largest instrument, is 90 feet (27 m) high, its shadow carefully plotted to tell the time of day. Its face is angled at 27 degrees, the latitude of Jaipur. The Hindu chhatri (small cupola) on top is used as a platform for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.

Built from local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining. Bronze tablets, all extraordinarily accurate, were also employed. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.

An excursion through Jai Singh’s Jantar is a unique experience of walking through solid geometry and encountering a collective astronomical system designed to probe the heavens.

6. Chokhi Dhani – Capturing the spirit of Rajasthan and ensuring the perfect Rajasthani experience is Chokhi Dhani, a unique Village Resort. Chokhi Dhani literally means a “fine hamlet” i.e. a quintessential village that offers an ideal pastoral experience. Away from the urban life the quaint mud and thatch dwellings in the resort give the right blend of traditions – modern amenities in typical ethnic environment. This place is worth the whole visit of Jaipur city in itself. Chokhi Dhani Village has been the mirror of Rajasthani culture since 1989.

Started as part of ambiance for a restaurant, over the years it has evolved as a tasteful and authentic symbol of ethnic village life of this most colorful state in the country. Today, the name of Chokhi Dhani is synonymous with Rajasthani culture throughout the country. Spread over 10 acres of beautifully landscaped area for a rustic look, it is dotted with machaans & platforms where different folk artists perform concurrently. A village fair is created every evening as an ongoing celebration of the rich & vibrant cultural heritage of Rajasthan. The display of traditional huts and workmanship will take you back to the times when splendor was unpretentious. Experience the rich warmth and rustic charm of a typical Rajasthani Village at Chokhi Dhani- the festivities never end here !!!

Live dance and music performance all through the evenings is one of the major attractions at Chokhi Dhani Village. The exposure that the local folk artistes have received has revived many of the arts and crafts that were getting all but forgotten in these modern times. Few visitors can resist the temptation to join the artistes and dance with the music.

Satisfied, and really happy to have visited Jaipur, we returned to our daily chores (of life) on Sunday. But, with a promise in our hearts – to visit this wonderful city yet again. To see what we must have perhaps missed this time, to enjoy and to see the wonderful city yet again.

Presenting below, a few more pictures of Jaipur and ofcourse Chokhi Dhani. 🙂

Play of Colors - Jaipur

Play of Colors - Jaipur

Jal Mahal, Jaipur

Jal Mahal, Jaipur

Through the frame - Jal Mahal

Through the frame - Jal Mahal

Out of Focus - Jal Mahal

Out of Focus - Jal Mahal

Hawa Mahal - Jaipur

Hawa Mahal - Jaipur

Chokhi Dhani

Chokhi Dhani

Paintings - Chokhi Dhani

Paintings - Chokhi Dhani

At Night - Chokhi Dhani

At Night - Chokhi Dhani

Comments

  • BANDAHV  On June 16, 2009 at 4:30 PM

    Nice pics aryan.

    Like

  • Prashant  On August 24, 2009 at 2:28 PM

    Great write up….

    Nice shots….

    Like

  • Prashant  On August 24, 2009 at 2:29 PM

    You seem to have a done quite a lot of research..

    Quite useful if ur travelling to the city for the first time..

    Cheers
    saaki

    Like

  • Deependra Solanky  On November 21, 2009 at 9:27 PM

    You have skipped the best two places in Jaipur – Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort. Do visit them next time.

    Like

  • dcs  On February 2, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Nice nice!

    Like

  • Ayush  On September 16, 2015 at 3:27 PM

    I hv been to the pink city jaipur.I really love the shops near chopad (hawa mahal) .and nahargarh fort. Its a colorful city for tourists.

    Like

  • Restaurant In Jaipur  On February 18, 2017 at 11:11 AM

    Hello, Thanks for sharing such a fantastic blog.I really appreciate your blog to share information about Jaipur …Visiting in Jaipur is amazing experience. Jaipur is a place with a glorious past and a very rich historic background. People come from far off places just to get the taste of its beautiful monuments and their architecture.

    Like

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