Measuring by antiquity, Jaipur is one of India’s newer cities, dating back to the 18th century. By any other measure, however, it is one of the cities that many most closely identify with
Jaipur is more than the city of antiquity, home to some of Rajasthan’s well-known royal families that have redefined hospitality. It is a modern city that also happens to be a tourism hub for heritage and culture, food and retail; it is often held up as one of the best representations of India.
For those visiting Srinivas by Niraamaya Private Residences, Jaipur, the city’s rich legacy is at the doorstep, waiting to be deciphered at leisure. One of India’s earliest planned cities, Jaipur is a crucial leg in India’s most popular tourist circuit, the ‘Golden Triangle’, which includes neighbouring Delhi and Agra.
Srinivas by Niraamaya offers a number of guided trips to explore the historic city, allowing for opportunities to experience the social, cultural and culinary sides of this multifaceted story.
Here are a few reasons why Jaipur must feature in your list of destinations.
The Pink City: Jaipur is most famous for its older quarters, often referred to as the ‘pink city’ – in 1876, all the houses were painted pink, the local colour for hospitality, to welcome a British prince, a rule that is still in place. Over the centuries, its rulers and upper classes added a number of ambitious forts, palaces and public buildings, most of which are today major tourist attractions. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan, India’s largest state by area. It is a relatively safe city, and the tourism infrastructure here is better than in most Indian cities. Roads are wide, traffic jams outside the old city are rare, and people are helpful.
The current old or walled city – the aforementioned ‘pink city’ came later, spreads largely to the south-west of this older habitat. It is dominated by the City Palace, a vast palace complex occupying nearly a seventh of the old city, is divided into a series of courtyards, sprawling gardens and buildings and impossible to make sense of at a glance. The most popular image of the city, a vast gate dotted with windows, called Hawa Mahal, is just a small part of the exterior of this complex – built as an extension of the women’s quarter, from where they could see the city life without getting seen themselves. A part of the palace complex is still private, largely the residence of the erstwhile royal family, but the rest of it is today open to tourists. An imposing blend of traditional Rajput and Mughal architecture it was also built by Jai Singh II.
The Forts: Any visit to the city perhaps starts ironically from a trio of forts that are outside the city. Well, before Jaipur was the capital, the dynasty that got the city built ruled from Amber, about 12 kilometres to the northeast of Jaipur. The forts – Amber, Jaigarh and Nahargarh are all hilltop forts and are well preserved. The city is named after Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1744), who got the Amber and Jaigarh forts built. Visit the forts for a glimpse into how life was like for residents there. The Amber Fort sprawls over acres and acres – a bulwark of beauty and magnificent walls, an extensive complex built from pale yellow and pink sandstone, and white marble, divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. There is an evening sound and light show at Amber Fort. Another fort, Nahargarh, commands an excellent view of the lake.
The Heritage: Another of Jai Singh II’s remarkable contribution is the Jantar Mantar, which houses building size medieval time-measuring instruments, and is the largest of five astronomical observatories built by Jai Singh, and is now on the UNESCO Heritage List.
Another must-visit pavilion is Jal Mahal, located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. If open, do take a boat ride to see the restored interiors. Or walk along the short promenade in the evening to take in the view and the breeze.
The Temple Tour: Jaipur is dotted with religious shrines. For those interested in seeing prayers in Hindu temples, visit Moti Doongri, Govind Devji Temple or Lakshmi Narayan Temple. Moti Doongri, located on a hillock just south of the old city, is Jaipur’s most revered temple for most of its residents. For Vaishnavites who follow Lord Krishna, Govind Devji Temple is the most important temple in the world after Vrindavan.
The Museums: The city also has a number of museums, some quite unusual. The main city museum is at Albert Hall, just south of the old city. Yes, it inspired by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. A more modern museum and cultural centre are the Jawahar Kala Kendra. Jaipur is known for its textiles and the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, also in the walled city, is a good repository. Another craft Jaipur is known for is jewellery making, and the city has a number of a relatively new museum dedicated to traditional jewellery. Notable among them is the Gyan Museum, Amrapali Museum and the Museum of Gem and Jewellery, each with a fascinating array of collections that trace back the traditions of jewellery making in the region.
The Shopping: Jaipur isn’t all about monuments and museums though. It is also about shopping! Not just for fancy jewellery and fabrics, people from across India also come to Jaipur for distinctive clothes and block print patterns, traditional leather footwear, blue pottery, stone carving and silverware. The markets of the old city are teeming with traditional stores, whose look and feel could transport you back a century. The range in each category is usually vast. Take jewellery for instance. You could get exquisite silver jewellery, Kundan, meenakari, lakh (lac) ki chudiya.
The Cuisine: The city’s cuisine is distinctive, too, and well known. The best-known dishes include Dal Baati Churma, Missi Roti, Gatte ki Sabzi, Ker Sangri, Makke ki Ghat, Bajre ki Ghat, Bajre ki Roti and the much sought after Laal Maans. The flavours tend to get lost in translation, but few will argue about the delectability of the cuisine. The Indian tradition of sweetmeats finds unique expression here via sweets such as Ghevar, Feeni, Mawa Kachori, Gajak, Chauguni ke Laddu, and Moong Thal.
For a personalised experience of the city, Srinivas by Niraamaya Private Residences offers a number of trips that bring the city alive.
An introduction to Jaipur’s main tourist attractions https://www.lonelyplanet.com/india/rajasthan/jaipur
Get to know the city via a number of walks