Jaipur city was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Amber who ruled from 1699–1744. The construction of the city started in 1727. It took around four years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the science of Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks based on the anatomy of the human body, two of which contain the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. Huge fortification walls were built along with seven strong gates. During the regime of Sawai Ram Singh, the whole city was painted pink to welcome Prince Edward of Wales (who later became King Edward VII). Today, avenues remain painted in pink, giving this famed city its distinctive appearance – a pink hue that is resplendent of their hospitality.
The city is remarkable among pre-modern Indian cities for the width and regularity of its streets which are laid out into six sectors separated by an elaborate road structure. The urban quarters are further divided by networks of gridded streets. Five quarters wrap around the east, south, and west sides of a central palace, with a sixth quarter immediately to the east. The Palace quarter encloses the sprawling Hawa Mahal palace complex, formal gardens, and a small lake. Nahargarh Fort, which was the residence of the King Sawai Jai Singh II, crowns the hill in the northwest corner of the old city. The observatory, Jantar Mantar, is one of the World Heritage Sites. Included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit of the North, along with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur is an extremely popular tourist destination in Rajasthan and India.
Sightseeing, Shopping and Eating in Jaipur — Suggestions and Options
Go sightseeing in Jaipur. Start with the old part of the city which tells the tales of great wars, the stories of royal romances and the intricately etched yester years in its every corner. From Panch Batti circle and the old world Raj Mandir cinema, head along M.I. Road, the main thoroughfare. Continue along M.I. Road, and you’ll come across the pink walls of the Jaipur Old City on your left. There are three gates, spaced around 500 meters apart, which provide entry into the Old City. The first one is Ajmeri Gate, followed by New Gate, and lastly Sanganeri Gate.
The Old City is surprisingly well laid out, with its wide, straight streets running in a grid which forms a series of bazaars. Make a photo-stop at Hawa Mahal, which was constructed for ventilation for the women who used to watch the royal march through the screens of this building. This was built by the poet-king Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799.
Visit the Amber Fort, which is known as one of the most fascinating of the Indian forts which includes an amazing set of palaces, temples, gardens and halls. The Shila Mata temple has a great religious importance. If you want to tread up the fort on elephant back, rather suggest you start here early in the morning. Other attractions include Diwan-e-Aam, Sukh Niwas, Jas Mandir and Sheesh Mahal, all of which gives a glimpse into the majesty of days gone by. Do stop at Artchill – showcasing Indian art.
Enjoy a photo-stop at Jal Mahal, the monsoon palace of the Jaipur Maharajas, located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. Proceed to City Palace, where several courtyards and gardens provide wonderful contrast to its many palatial structures including Mubarak Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Badal Mahal and the Sri Govind Dev temple. Also visit Jantar Mantar- the Observatory, a world heritage site. This wonderful astronomical observatory is famous throughout the world and bears the hallmark of exceptional astronomical development of the medieval period.
Other sights worth seeing in Jaipur include:
- Albert Museum
- BM Birla Planetarium
- Laxmi Narayan Temple
- Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh
- Nahargarh Fort (spectacular sunset)
- Jaigarh Fort
Shopping experience in Jaipur can give you an insight in the contrast of old bazaars and modern high end shops of the city. The local ‘Kundan jewelry’ is famous for the intricate work as much as the ‘Navratan jewelry’ (9 stones) that is believed to bring good luck to the users. The exotic blue pottery, the batik work and block printed textiles of Sanganer and Bagru, tie & dye fabrics, Mojaris (the local shoes), sandal wood carving items, beautiful stone carvings etc. An entire street and several city sectors were earmarked for artisans and traders in the past, and they continue to display their rich heritage to this day.
Near the Hawa Mahal are many shops dealing in pseudo-antiques and souvenirs. Some shops opposite Hawa Mahal stock the famous Jaipuri quilts, weighing from a few hundred grams to some kilograms. Nehru Bazaar, situated on the road between Ajmeri Gate and New Gate, is a favorite with the women of Jaipur. Many shops here are selling bright colored fabrics, shoes, trinkets and local perfumes. Bapu Bazaar lies on the road between New Gate and Sanganeri Gate, many shops here sell ethnic and modern clothes, copper utensils and patch-work bags that are famous with locals and tourists alike. Keep an eye out for the marvelously huge banyan tree on the right of this bazaar with its massive intertwined branches.
Stroll along and browse through the shops at Johari Bazaar. If the jewels at the high-end stores were a little out of your taste, you might find other options here that are more pocket-suitable. Johari Bazaar and the lanes that run off it are known for gold and silver jewelery, as well as inexpensive costume jewelry and bangles.
For an unforgettable shopping experience:
- Ramganj Bazar for shoes or jootis (local styled shoes)
- Kishanpol Bazar for tie and dye textiles
- Maniharon Ka Rasta (Tripolia Bazar) for bangles and other items
- Emporiums for hand-made rugs and carpets
- Khajano Ka Rasta for marble carving
- Sanganer village for block printing and hand-made paper
- Blue pottery manufacturing units
Eating out in Jaipur can leave your heart & stomach filled with the unforgettable aroma of the delicacies of the Rajasthani cuisine and the local flavoring spices. The capital of Rajput kings had an impressive array of mouth-watering delights, kept closely guarded by the royal chefs. Legends tell tales of cooks trying to impress their guests by presenting at least one unforgettable item on the menu. The royal guests were served savory dishes made from stuffed camels, goats, pigs and peacocks. The food was served in gold and silver utensils, with a display of heartwarming hospitality that surpasses every imagination. Jaipur is famous for its Dal-Batti Churma, Mawa Kachori, Mirchi Bada, Rajasthani Subjis, Ghewar, Feeni, Gajak, Chauguni ke laddu and different kinds of Rajasthani breads.
You can visit Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar, a very popular food joint as it is easily affordable and serves famous local snacks and sweet dishes – such as mouth watering Raj Kachori and Rasmalai. It is situated in the busy market of Johari Bazaar and serves other authentic Rajasthani specialties too.
Chokhi Dhani is one of the most popular places to sample traditional food, and of course, a slice of true Rajasthani culture. Enjoy camel rides and traditional performances or splurge in the in-house flea-market. This village-style restaurant serves authentic Rajasthani cuisine in an authentic ambiance with is several course fixed menu.
Pamper your taste buds at Handi Restaurant, on M.I. Road, which specializes in Non-vegetarian biryanis, curries and tandoori items. The atmosphere is great aligned by traditional interiors and a matching decor. Nearby Copper Chimney restaurant is a chic, elegant place with a friendly waiters’ army and a rollicking horse mural to compliment the decor. It offers vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indian food as well as a small selection of Continental and Chinese food. Indian wines are available to accompany the exquisite food, flattering the taste and the aromas.
Spice Court is a relaxed clubhouse restaurant, with a blue-tiled roof and a splendid evening courtyard, the food is fresh, the kitchen spotless, and the kebab platters are a serious business. Folk dancers play perfect companions to the tasteful display of dishes that leave gastronomes asking for more. Choose to order as per your preferences rather than opting for the buffet.
Last but not the least, there are several houses and havelis offering you a flavour of royalty, by giving you an opportunity to dine with a royal family, witnessing the authentic royal hospitality, listen to their tales and savor culinary specialties that have traveled several generations. Not a difficult possibility is to a cooking demo.