Jaipur is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was founded on 18 November 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, after whom the city has been named. The city today has a population of 3.1 million. Jaipur is known as the Pink City of India.
The picturesque place, founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II and famously called the ‘Pink City’, is known for its opulent forts, enchanting pleases, embattled walls, temples and havelis. Jaipur is said to be the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the universe, through nine rectangular sectors Sub-di-viding it. A young Bengali engineer and scholar named Vidyadhar Bhattacharya designed this well-planned city. In 1876, Jaipur was painted pink to welcome prince Albert and earned the name, ‘the pink city’. Jaipur’s crafts and jewels especially lacquer bangles are famous all over the world.
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 broad streets 34 m (111 ft) wide. 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 quarter, 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, along with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur is an extremely popular tourist destination in Rajasthan and India. The 2012 British comedy-drama film, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was set and filmed in Jaipur.
Modern Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II of Amber who ruled from 1699–1744. Initially, his capital was Amber, which lies 11 km from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. The King consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the layout of Jaipur. Finally, under the architectural guidance of Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, (initially an accounts-clerk in the Amber treasury, later promoted to the office of Chief Architect by the King) Jaipur came into existence on the classical principles of Vastu Shastra and similar classical treatises.
After waging battles with the Marathas, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II wanted to improve the security aspects of the city. Being a lover of astronomy, mathematics and astrophysics, Jai Singh sought advice from Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal, to aid him in designing many buildings, including the Royal Palace in the center of the city.
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, 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. For the time, architecture is very 1876, during the regime of Sawai Ram Singh, the whole city was painted pink to welcome Edward, Prince of Wales. Today, avenues remain painted in pink, giving Jaipur a distinctive appearance. In the 19th century, the city grew rapidly; by 1900 it had a population of 160,000. The city's wide boulevards were paved and the city had several hospitals. Its chief industries were metals and marble, fostered by a school of art (named Madarsa Hunree) founded in 1868. The city had three colleges, including a Sanskrit college (1865) and a girls' school (1867) initiated under the reign of the enigmatic Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II. There was a wealthy and enterprising community of native bankers, the Marwaris; and the administrators Rawana rajput.
Maharaja Rishabh Bhawani Singh, a member of the erstwhile Maharaja family of Jaipur, died on 17 April 2011 at a private hospital in Gurgaon following multiple organ failure.
Jaipur has a hot semi-arid climate receiving over 650 millimetres (26 in) of rainfall annually but most rains occur in the monsoon months between June and September. Temperatures remain relatively high throughout the year, with the summer months of April to early July having average daily temperatures of around 30 °C (86 °F). During the monsoon there are frequent, heavy rains and thunderstorms, but flooding is not common. The winter months of November to February are mild and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 15–18 °C (59–64 °F) and with little or no humidity. There are however occasional cold waves that lead to temperatures near freezing.
As of 2011, Jaipur had a population of 3,073,350 The Population of the Jaipur Metropolitan area is 3,646,590. Jaipur is the 10th largest city of India according to census of 2011. The Hindu population accounts for 77%, Muslim 17%, Jains 4%, Christians 0.5%, and Sikhs 0.5%. While 47.49% people lived in rural areas, 52.51% lived in urban areas. The overall literacy rate for the district was 76.44%. 87.27% males and 64.63% females were literate. The sex ratio was 898 females per 1,000 males.
Hindi and Rajasthani are the most common language for daily communication. Punjabi is also widely spoken. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report of 2009, Jaipur ranks 3rd in the list of 35 Indian cities with a population of more than 1 million (10 lakh) for crime rates. City's main jail is Jaipur Central Jail.
The city was planned according to Indian Vastu Shastra (Vedic Planning for the comfort and prosperity of the citizens). The directions of each street and market are East to West and North to South. The Eastern gate is called Suraj (Sun) Pol, while the Western gate is called Chand (Moon) Pol. There are three gates facing East, West, and North and a Northern gate (known as Zorawar Singh gate) which faces toward the ancestral capital of Amber, while many gates face South. For Jai Singh II and his advisor Vidyadhar, the founding of Jaipur was a ritual and opportunity to plan a whole town according to the principles of Hindu architectural theory.
The city was originally built within walls, though it has expanded outside of the original walls over time. The gates used to be closed at sunset and opened at sunrise. The town of Jaipur is built in the form of an eight-part Mandala known as the 'Pithapada'.
In and around Jaipur
Built in the middle of the Ram Niwas Gardens in Jaipur, the building is made of sandstone and marble in Indo-saracenic style. It caontains a fine collection of sculptures, paintings, decorative art objects, natural history specimens, an Egyptian mummy and a celebrated Persian Garden carpet.
Birla Mandir (Lakshmi – Narayan Temple)
Situated just below the Moti Dungari, this modern temple built of white marble is located on top of a hill, dominating the skyline of south Jaipur.
The Birlas (famous industrialist) built this temple and hence the name. The temple has tree domes, each portraying the different approaches to religion. The presiding deities here are Vishnu (called Narayan) and his consort lakshmi, goddess of wealth and good fortune. The images of the deities are placed in the sanctum sanctorum. Built on raised ground, the temple is surrounded by large lush green gardens.
Located in the heart of the walled city, The City Palace Complex gives you an idea about the farsightedness of the founder of Jaipur Sawai Jai Singh. The palace is an interesting blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture and the royal family still lives in a part of the palace.
Situated in the compound of the school for deaf and dumb children on Jawahalal Nehru Marg, near Police Memorial, this museum has a fascinating collection of beautiful dolls from all over the world.
An ancient pilgrimage center lying beyond the gardens amidst low hils, the small temple of the sun god built by Diwan Kriparam on the top of the highest peak is visible from all parts of the city. Many temples, pavilions and holy kunds (natural springs & water tanks) can be found here.
Govinddevji Ka Mandir
This temple is located between the Chandra Mahal and the Badal Mahal in the city palace complex. The temple attracts a large number of devotees especially on Janmashtami, Lord Krishna’s birthday.
The “Palace of Wind”, is one of the major landmarks of Jaipur city. This five stoery building designed by Lal Chand Usta, is a stunning example of Rajput artistry. Made of red and pink sand stone, the Hawa Mahal is beautifully outlined with white borders and motifs painted with quick lime.
Iswari Minar Swarga Sal
Known as the “Heaven Piercing Minaret”, this important landmark is situated near the Tripola Gate in Jaipur overlooking the city. One can have a great view of the surroundings from the top of the tower.
This picturesque palace amidst the Mansagar Lake was built by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 AD for royal duck shooting parties. A large number of migratory birds arrive at the lake during winter.
Jantar Mantar Observatory
An ancient observatory built between 1728 and 1734 by Jai Singh, Jantar Mantar has a fine collection of astronomical instruments that were once used for calculating the time of day, the altitudesof heavenly bodies’ ad positions of constellations.
Situated north of Jaipur on a cliff and surrounded by huge battlements with walkways insie, this fort has a museum which displays a collection of weapons and canons used by Rajput rulers.
Literally meaning “pearl hill” this small hill in the middle of Jaipur is called so because it looks like a drop of pearl. The exotic palace here is a replica of a Scottish castle and was once occupied by Maharaja Madho Singh’s son. The highlight of this place is the famous and auspicious temple of Lord Ganesh, which is frequented by locals and tourists.
Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum
Situated in the City Palace complex in Jaipur and founded in 1959 by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II, this museum exhibits the ancestral collection built up by successive rulers of Ajmer and Jaipur.
Also known as tiger fort, it provides a breathtaking view of Manasagar Lake and Jaipur city.
Ram Niwas Garden
Located on the center of modern Jaipur over 33 acres of land, the garden has the Albert Hall Museum, the state Zoo, Ravindra Manch Theatre and several cafes and picnic spot in its premises.
A busy traffic roundabout in Jaipur, Statue Circle is an important landmark in Jaipur city. A carved statue of Sawai Jai Singh, the founder of jaipur, made of white marble can be found in the center. The lighting and the colourful fountains enliven the roundabout and its surroundings.
Literally meaning the ‘heaven-piecing minerat’, this tower was constructed in 1747 to celebrate a grand victory by Maharaja Ishwari Singh. Designed in archetypal Rajasthani lattice work this sevel-storey minaret is located at the junction of Tripolia Bazaar and the Gangori Bazaar.
Amber is 11km North. Once the capital of the Kutchwaha Rajputs from 1037 till 1728, the place is fortified with natural hills, high rampart and a succession of gates. The Amber Fort set in the midst of picturesque and rugged hills, is a fascinating blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture in red sandstone and white marble. Constructed by Raja Man Singh I in 1592 and completed by Sawai Jai Singh I, the fort’s rugged forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise with a beautiful fusion of art and architecture. Amber is the classic and romantic fort-palace with a magnificent aura. The interior wall of the palace depicts expressive paintings with carvings, precious stones and mirror settings. In the foreground is the Maota Lake providing a breath taking reflection of the fort.
The prime attraction in the fort is the Sheesh Mahal literally meaning the “Palace of Mirrors”. This palace is so artistically constructed that even a minute ray of light gets replicated in the mirrors and illuminates the hall flamboyantly. Dil-e-Aaram, Shila Mata temples, Sukh Niwas and Ganesh Pole are other places of interest in Amber Fort.
Gaitore (15 km)
Located just off the Jaipur – Amber road, this was the cremation site of the Maharajas of Jaipur. One of the most famous cenotaphs in Gaitore is the Chhatri of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, which is known for its white marble decorated with the image of peacocks, delicate carvings and beautiful shapes. The cremation site of the Maharanis of Jaipur is located in the Maharani Ki Chhatri complex.
Exquisitely landscaped gardens with beautifully carved temple in beige stone, this vast complex with terraced sites all around and intricately carved marble columns and lattices is at its greenest during the post-monsoon season. Located in the foothills of Nahargarh hills on the way towards Amer, this complex with Jal Mahal in the background is a popular spot for picnics and film shoots.
Located on the eastern side of Jal Mahal between Amber and Jaipur, the dam offers a good vantage point for viewing the lake and the valley. The outflow of the water from thedam is used for irrigation purposes for over a thousand acres of land. Surrounded by hills, the damsite is home to a variety of migratory and resident birds.
An archeological site on the Sambhar Naraina road, excavations here reveal evidences of well-planned settlements during Kushan and Gupta period. Several sculptures and terracotta figurines have been excavated from here. A big vessel belonging to the 2ndcentury was excavated from this site and now be found at the Hawa Mahal museum.
Rani Sisodia’s Garden and Palace (8km)
The garden is laid in Mughal style and it depicts the legends of Radha and Krishna. It consists of tiered multilevel gardens with fountains, watercourses and painted pavilions. Sawai Jai Singh built for his Sisodia Queen from Udaipur. The palace house has several galleries, pavilions and beautiful murals depicting scenes from the life of Lord Krishna.
Founded by the powerful Poddar merchant family in AD 1791, Ramgarh is famous for its handicrafts and rustic wooden furniture. Marvellous cenotaphs of the Poddars, adorned with exquisite painted ceilings, still exist in the town. Some old temples and beautiful havelis add to its charm.
Vidhyadar Garden (8km)
Located near the Sisodia Gardens, this beautiful vineyard is named after Vidyadhar Bhatacharjee the architect of Jaipur.
How to get there
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and is connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Aurangabad, Kolkata and Varanasi by domestic flights. Jaipur is also well connected by rail and road with all the major cities in the country.