Jaipur is the first planned city of India built by Sawai Jai Singh in 1727. It is the capital of Rajasthan and is colored in Pink. The city was planned according to Indian Vastu Shastra (Vedic Planning for the comfort and prosperity of the citizens) by a Bengali Brahmin architect named Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. 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 which faces toward the ancestral capital of Amber, while many gates face South.
Jaipur is known for its rich culture and tradition, magnificent art, artifacts and wonderful history. The city is surrounded by spectacular hilltops and stunning fortresses. It is a major tourist attraction for both national and international tourists. The serene temples, the long standing forts and palaces, and beautiful havelis with royal ethnicity add to the glamour. The beautiful landscapes, marvelous flora and fauna and picturesque views create a mesmerizing view of the capital city. The intricate handicraft items and exquisite precious and semi-precious jewelry also attract a lot of tourists.
Must see places to experience the culture and heritage of Jaipur:
CITY PALACE AND S.M.S. II MUSEUM -Situated in the heart of the old City, the palace is a blend of Rajput and Mughal architecture. It houses a seven storied Chandra Mahal in the centre, which offers a fine view of the gardens and the city.
Diwan-e-Am (Hall of public audience) - has intricate decorations and collection of manuscripts. Diwan-e-Khas (Hall of private audience) has a marble pawed gallery. Mubarak Mahal has a rich collection of costumes and textiles. Sileh Khana has a collection of armory and weapons.
JANTAR MANTAR (Observatory) - Built in the 18th century by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the huge masonry instruments were used to study the movement of constellations and stars in the sky.
HAWA MAHAL - Built in 1799, by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, it is the most recognizable monument of Jaipur. The 5 storied stunning, semi-octagonal monument, having 152 windows with over hanging latticed balconies, is a fine piece of Rajput architecture. Originally designed for the royal ladies to watch and enjoy the processions and other activities, on the street below, it now houses a well laid-out museum.
JAL MAHAL - On the way to Amber, this small palace is set in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. A paved causeway leads upto the beautiful water palace.
JAIGARH FORT - It stands on a hilltop overlooking the palaces and city of Amber. Built during reign of Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh, the world's biggest cannon on wheels - the Jaivana is positioned here. It has a twenty feet long barrel and was used for a single shot.
AMBER FORT - The old capital of the Kachhwahas stands atop a range of craggy hills. The fort is notable as much for the majestic grandeur of its surroundings as for its sturdy battlements and beautiful palaces. It is a fine blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture. The solemn dignity of it red sandstone and white marble pavilions, when reflected in the lake at the foot hill, is a sight to behold.
The palace complex is lavishly ornamented and displays the riches of Amber. Sheesh Mahal is a chamber of mirrors. Diwan-e-Am (Hall of Public Audience) is a beautifully proportioned hall open on three sides and stands on two rows of ornamented pillars. Diwan e-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) has delicate mosaic work in glass. Sukh Mandir is guarded by sandalwood doors inlaid with ivory. Throughout the massive fort finely carved lattice windows, exquisitely painted doorways, halls and finely sculptured pillars crave for attention.
NAHARGARH FORT - Situated on a hill about 600 ft. above the city, the fort was built in 1734. The walls of the fort run along the ridge and within it are architectural beauties like Hawa Mandir and Madhvendra Bhawan.
CENTRAL MUSEUM (ALBERT HALL) - Situated in the Ram Niwas Garden, this graceful building was founded in 1876 by Prince Albert. It has a rare collection of archaeological and handicraft pieces.
BIRLA PLANETARIUM - Offers education combined with entertainment, in a unique blend of audio and visuals, about stars with its modern computerised projection system.
LAXMI NARAYAN TEMPLE (BIRLA TEMPLE) - It is situated just below the Moti doongri. It is known for the intricate marble carvings on white marble.
KANAK VRINDAVAN - This newly restored temple and garden, near Jal Mahal, has beautiful gardens and is a popular picnic place. It is also a beautiful and know location for film shooting.