The capital city of Rajasthan, Jaipur, gets its name from its former ruler Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who came to power at the age of 11 after the demise of his father and built the city in 1727 AD. Kachwaha Rajputs who later came into power are said to be Jai Singh’s ancestors. They formed an alliance with Mughals and ruled the kingdom of Mewar (Udaipur) and Marwar (Jodhpur). Initially the kingdom’s capital was Amber, a neighbouring town of Jaipur. However during Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II’s tenure the region around Amber and the present day Jaipur, often acclaimed as India’s first planned city, started developing rapidly and the administrative offices were moved from Amber to the beautiful Pink city.
If you are a first time visitor to this world famous heritage city and have absolutely no clue about what all places you must cover, well look no further! Jaipur offers a unique combination of history, heritage, culture, science as well as adventure. Below we list down what we feel are the 7 wonders of our very own Pink City of Jaipur.
1) Jantar Mantar
Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, it is considered to be one of the largest astronomical observatories in the world. It is a collection of fourteen major geometric devices which are used for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes. Even today it is used by astrologers to calculate for instance auspicious dates for various occasions.
2) Hawa Mahal
The famous “Palace of the Wind” is one of the notable tourist attractions in Jaipur. Located in the heart of the city of Jaipur, Hawa Mahal is a resplendent architecture constructed by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799. Maharaja who belonged to Kachhwaha Rajput dynasty had appointed Lal Chand Ustad to construct Hawa Mahal in the form of the crown of Lord Krishna usind red and pink sandstone which is typical of Rajputana architecture. This monument is a 5-storied building, built in the shape of the pyramid and consists of 953 windows or ‘Jharokas’ which enabled the royal women with a view of everyday life as they otherwise never appeared in public.
3) City palace
The palace includes Mubarak Mahal and Chandra Mahal palaces. The Jaipur palace incorporates gardens, buildings and an impressive and diverse array of courtyards. Chandra Mahal has now been converted into a museum but a major part of it is still a royal residence.
4) Amer Fort
Located just 11 kms from Jaipur, Amer used to be the capital of the state before Jaipur. Amer fort was built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh. The fort was built using red stones and marbles which further adds charm to it. Though the fort is quite old, it comprises beautiful buildings like ‘Diwan-i-Aam’ , Sukh Mahal and the Sheesh Mahal. Sheesh Mahal is a delightful hall with numerous mirrors and is famous throughout the world as one of the major tourist attractions. The design of the hall is done in such a way that even a single ray of light can illuminate the entire Mahal.
5) Jaigarh Fort
Jaigarh fort was built to act as a shield to secure the city of Jaipur and the Amer fort (and hence the palace within its premises). This fort is surrounded by huge battlements and is connected to the Amer fort via subterranean passages. This fort is very similar in design to the Amer fort and provides a wondrous and panoramic view of the Jaipur city. The main features of this fort is the world’s largest cannon on wheels, a beautiful palace and ‘Shubhat Niwas’ (or the hall of the warriors). It also includes a museum and an armoury. The fort was also known for its huge treasure which was seized by the government of Rajasthan upon its discovery in the 1970s.
6) Jal Mahal – Lake Palace
Jal Mahal was modified and revamped by the Maharaja of Amber, Jai Singh II, and had once acted as a shooting lodge. The light sand colour of the palace is in stark contrast to the deep blue colour of the Sagar lake. On the top of Jal Mahal lies the fragrant Chameli Bagh. Across the lake lies the Aravalli hills, spattered with temples and ancient forts and on the other side lies the bustling city of Jaipur. These views enable one to take the best of both the worlds from the serenity of Jal Mahal.
7) Central Museum
The museum was built in 1876 only to ensure Prince Albert of England would visit Jaipur during his tour of the country, it is the oldest museum in the state and one of the appealing tourist places in Jaipur. The main attraction of the museum is the building itself which incorporates Indo – Saracenic inspired domes and carved arches constructed from inlaid sand stone.
Well we sure hope this post was of some help to all first time travellers to Jaipur! Do give us a chance to host you at Le Pension backpacker’s hostel, we would love to meet you!