A destination right out of a fairytale! One that is home to many an exquisite palace and majestic fort that takes you back in time to the days when Maharajas ruled the land! So beautiful is this city known for its magnificent monuments, beautiful landscaped gardens, clear blue lakes and rich cultural heritage that it’s often been nicknamed the ‘Capital of Royalty inIndia!’ Often referred to as India’s ‘Pink City’ Jaipur is a city that beckons tourists from across the globe.

Home to some of the best architectural structures in India, some of the well known structures attracting tourists from far and wide include the City Palace that lies in the heart of the old city. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during his reign, it is a beautiful blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture and is known to house many a magnificent Mahal, and garden within its courtyard.

Definitely the trademark of the city, the Hawa Mahal is one of the most outstanding monuments here built to resemble a giant honeycomb! Overlooking the main street of the buzzing old city, this five- storey palace, is a pyramid-shaped facade having 953 small windows decorated with tiny lattice work; commonly known as “Jharokhas”. Built for the women of the Royal Families, since they had to observe strict “purdah” (cover) it was constructed in such a manner, that the women could enjoy a sense of freedom and watch the everyday life and processions that the city offered without showing themselves.

Also the home of the late Maharani Gayatri Devi, the Moti Dungri, perched on a hilltop, is another palace here, where  Maharaja Madho Singh’s son was confined. A spectacular palace it boasts of a Scottish design. Found here are large, modern marble edifice and stained glass windows depicting scenes from Hindu scriptures.

Of the many magnificent forts found here, some that Jaipur is famous for include the beautiful Amber Fort, a spectacular monument standing perched atop a cliff beside the Jaipur Delhi Highway. Known for its magnificent structure, the Amber Fort is a fine blend of Mughal and Rajput schools of architecture. Built using white marble and red sandstone it is known for its sprawling gardens, large rooms, grand chambers, Kali Temple and the Sukh Niwas Palace.

At a distance of 15kms from Jaipur, the Jaigarh Fort also known as ‘Victory Fort’ is considered as one of the most spectacular forts in India. Overlooking the Amber palaces,  this fort is known for its brilliant architecture and wide water channels,that were part of the rainwater harvesting system here. Home to three such underground tanks, the largest tank here is said to store 60, 00,000 gallons of water! This fort is also famous for its spectacular museum; one of the main highlights of the museum, being the massive cannon here believed to be the world’s largest cannon with a twenty foot long barrel!

Another fort here that is known for its interesting legend is the Nahargarh Fort also referred to “the Abode of Tigers”. It was one of the first three forts built by Maharaja Jai Sawai Singh. While its construction started in 1734, additions were made to it later by the succeeding rulers. It is said that when the fort was being constructed the site was haunted by the spirit of a prince, who promised to leave only if the fort was named after him. A beautiful fort, one can also get some amazing views of the Man Sagar Lake from here.

The Statue Circle, which comprises the statue of King Sawai Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur, is another major attraction here. Not only was Raja Sawai Jai Singh a great ruler, but also warrior, mathematician, architect, and astronomer, the statue of Raja Jai Singh here holding an astrological diagram, shows his love for astrology.

The Jantar Mantar here is one of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. From Yantra Mantra, its initial name (meaning instruments and formulae) the name was soon changed to Jantar Mantar. Home to some interesting collection of architectural astronomical instruments; visit it if you are interested in astronomy! Home to fourteen statistical instruments, they can tell us the way our ancestors measured time, predicted eclipses and ascertained other astronomical events.

Other must visits while touring this city is the royal cremation site of the majestic rulers of Jaipur, Gaitore, Here one can find a cenotaph built in honor of each Maharaja here. Commonly known as ‘Chhatris’, they are engraved with typical Rajasthani carvings.

Locally popular as Swargasuli, the Isar Lat is a seven-storied imposing minaret; from here one can get a bird’s eye view of the city   through its latticed jallis or openings.

Besides its majestic spectacular monuments, one can also find many spectacular gardens here, some famous ones noted for their beauty include the Sisodia Rani Garden, a garden built for Maharaja Jai Singh’s second wife, the Sisodia princess, This beautiful garden is known for its outer walls decorated with murals depicting hunting scenes and the Krishna Legend. The Kanak Vrindava is another exquisitely landscaped garden and is home to a beautifully carved temple in beige stone.

Known to house a herbarium, museum, zoo, aviary, and sports complex, the Ram Niwas Bagh is another huge park, with the Albert Hall here being a major attraction for its exquisite collection of objects d’art, sculptures, paintings, natural history specimens including an Egyptian mummy!

A land of many an exquisite temple, some interesting temples found here include the Birla Temple, built in 1988, by the Birla Group of Industries. It is one of the most stunning temples here and is made of pure white marble, dominating Jaipur’s skyline, and is known to look breathtakingly beautiful during the night.

Situated in the City Palace complex, the Govind Dev Ji Temple dedicated to Govind Dev Ji (Other name of Lord Krishna)is another major tourist attraction here. Legend has it that this idol of the lord used to reside in the temple of Vrindavan (Uttar Pradesh) when Govind Dev Ji appeared in the dream of Raja Sawai Jai Singh and asked him to bring his idol fromVrindavan to Jaipur.

No trip here is complete without a trip to Moti Dungri or ‘Hill of Pearls’, a small hillock located within the city known for its ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ganeshaand Galta, a pilgrim centre known for its temples, pavilions, holy kunds (lakes) and natural springs that are said to possess curative properties. Galta is said to be the place where the sage Galava performed penance 15 centuries ago.

While the city is one that is breathtaking in every way, it is also a shoppers paradise, with souvenirs ranging from jewellery to handicrafts, traditional tie and dye fabrics or enamel or minakari work, and handicrafts, leather items, local perfumes and more!

A delightful destination, a visit to this majestic city is one that will leave you with memories of  a life time!

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