If historical forts and monuments attract you, if you are a lover of mouth watering ‘kachoris’, and if you’re looking for a city rich in tradition with a blend of modernity then Jaipur is the right place to be in. Jaipur presents a contrasting image to the one that comes in mind when a person thinks of Rajasthan. The image that Rajasthan portrays is one of a dry, arid region which is devoid of any colour or life. Jaipur, popularly known as the pink city, adds colour to it. It is a unique and colourful city, which left me spellbound and I am not likely to forget it soon.
Jaipur is a city steeped in historical importance. It is the first planned city of India and was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks, out of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, whereas the remaining seven blocks were allotted to the public. It is known as the ‘pink city’ because of its hospitable colour. I always thought that being the Pink City, most of the buildings in Jaipur would have been pink in colour. But interestingly only the walled-city has been painted pink! The story goes like this: in 1876 Maharaja Ram Singh had the entire city painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VII).
Among the places I visited, the one that left me truly awestruck was the Nahargarh Fort, located on a hill about 15 kilometers outside of Jaipur. The sights from the top are simply amazing. Ideal time to visit the Fort is either early morning or late night. You get a breathtaking view of the entire city from there. The fort owes much of its popularity to the Oscar nominated movie, Rang de Basanti. Remember the song “Apni toh Pathshala” and the bike race between Aamir and Madhavan? The scene was shot here.
The other places worth visiting are the Amber Fort, the Hawa Mahal, the Jal Mahal and the Jantar Mantar. The Amber Fort is a stunning golden structure which imposes itself on a mountain. During night there’s this “Light and Sound” show which is just awesome! The Amber Palace Museum is worth visiting and so is the Diwan-e –Am. Within the palace, the Sheesh Mahal is not to be missed. The Jal Mahal is an architectural masterpiece which is built in the middle of a lake and is best viewed from the roadside. The Hawa Mahal boasts of receiving the coolest breezes and hence the name which literally means ‘Palace of Winds’. It was built for the queen and her companions and houses some of the oldest artifacts in Rajasthan. As with all other Jantar Mantars around the country built by Jai Singh, the one in Jaipur is a reflection of his belief in the importance of astronomy and modern architecture. This place is worth a visit for its pure architectural genius, where curves, corners, colours and the cosmos all come together in this one complex.