Jaipur, which means ‘the city of victory’, was founded in 1727. Popularly known as the ‘Pink City’, it was the dream of the Rajput ruler Jai Singh. Jaipur’s prime attraction for visitors is the sprawling palace complex, still home to the current maharaja. It includes the Hawa Mahal, a fascinating museum of the maharajas’ lavish possessions, and Sawai Jai Singh’s Jantar Mantar observatory. Jaipur is also a delight for those seeking traditional Indian crafts, including jewellery, silver and silk. Just outside Jaipur, the magnificent palace of Amber Fort is a must-visit for the way it blends Mughal and Hindu elements. The city offers a wide choice of accommodation, from traditional havelis (mansions) to ornate palaces converted into hotels, as well as the more usual modern, luxurious options.
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Top things to do in Jaipur
Bazaars, cuisine and crafts of Old Jaipur
The Sanganeri Gate leads to colourful fruit and vegetable markets and bustling alleyways featuring original havelis, many of which are still inhabited by traditional merchant families. The family owned temple of Siddhi Ganesh is dedicated to Lord Ganesh, a symbol of good luck in Hinduism. Observe intricate gold painting and enamelling work on marble by local artists and see gold and silver thread embroidery work applied to saris and traditional Indian clothes. An award-winning fifth generation Meenakari craftsman still sits in his workshop and always welcomes visitors for tea in his 200-year-old residence. His traditional haveli, resplendent with fine chandeliers, period furniture and traditional carpets is a highlight of the walk. For food lovers Ghee Walon ka Rasta, an entire street dedicated to eating, is heaven! Sample a large variety of Indian savoury snacks including samosas, kachories and pakoras. Continue to Gopal Ji Ka Rasta, the centre of Jaipur's famous jewellery shops and home to many wealthy merchants.
Evening balloon flight over Jaipur (shared excursion)
Evening balloon flight over Jaipur (shared excursion) Take a step back in time and be mesmerised by the sites of the 'Pink City' of Jaipur from the air as you watch the sun set over the horizon. Highlights you might see from the air include the spectacular Amber Fort, the vast Aravali ranges surrounding it, hidden forts and palaces of the Rajasthan countryside and the local villages where you might spot residents going about their daily life. You will be picked up from your hotel between 2.30 and 3:30pm, depending on your flight time, and taken to the launch site. Tea and coffee will be served while the crew prepare the balloons. Watching the inflation of the balloon and experiencing lift-off is spectacular. The balloon ride lasts for approximately 1 hour. On landing, you will be transferred back to your hotel. Warm clothing is recommended as it can be quite chilly.
Explore the ghost town of Bhangarh
The city of Bhangarh was founded around 1573 by the Mughal ruler Bhagwant Das as a residence for his son Madho Singh. With the decline of the empire, the city was attacked in 1720 by the army of Jai Singh II and many people fled the city. Coupled with this, a famine in 1783 struck, which eventually led to the abandonment of the city. Today, it is possible to see the original streets, featuring shops along the main road, havelis, a mosque and palace. The ruins are also believed to be the most haunted in India, with admittance to the site banned before sunrise and after sunset.
Jaipur's historic sights
Amber Fort is situated 11km north of Jaipur and was the capital of the Kachhawa Rajputs from 1037 until the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh founded Jaipur in 1727. The 15th century fort-palace houses intricate chambers and hallways and wonderful views of the Jal Mahal water palace below. A lavish lunch can be enjoyed at 1135AD, a restaurant set within the historic ramparts of the fort. Jaipur's City Palace is still inhabited by Jai Singh’s descendants and is a superb fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture. A city within a city, it includes the temple of Govindevji, the Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory and the Maharaja’s museum with his personal collection of weaponry, royal attire and jewellery. On the periphery of the palace stands the Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, an elaborate pink sandstone facade behind which the ladies of the court used to watch the daily goings on in the street below.
Learn the traditional art of block printing
Situated in the shadows of the historic 11th-century Amber Fort, the Anokhi Museum was established in 2005 as an initiative to preserve and conserve the art of traditional hand printed textiles from the celebrated towns of Sanganer and Bagru. It is probably the only museum of its kind in the world where one can observe the entire method of hand-block printing from the carving of wooden blocks to the transformation of raw fabric into a piece of art. The museum, set in a heritage building with galleries scattered around different floors, is supported by the creators of the Anokhi clothing brand, which sells hand-block print garments through dedicated retail outlets across India.
Night tales at Amer Fort
The Amber Fort by night tour offers a spectacular opportunity to admire the majestic fort-palace and marvel at architecture dramatically lit by sombre lights as they illuminate the ancient Rajput capital in various intensities. Your tour includes visits to Jaleb Chowk (the primary courtyard), Diwan-i-Am (the hall of public audience), and Sheesh Mahal (the Palace of Mirrors).
We suggest you combine your visit to Amber Fort by night with drinks and dinner at 1135AD, a restaurant that has superbly recreated the ambience of a royal dining court and offers spectacular views of the ancient fort, the glittering skyline of Jaipur and the magnificent Jaigarh Fort. 1135AD is hidden away on the ramparts overlooking the Jaleb Chowk (the primary courtyard).
Traditional Jaipur Blue Pottery Class
Striking blue pottery has been an integral part of Jaipur's culture for thousands of years, although its roots lie in Turko-Persian orgin. Clay pots are still often used in everyday life for both practical and decorative purposes. Suitable for all levels of experience, throw your own pot on a traditional potter's wheel, moulding your clay into your design before adding beautiful local patterns and inscriptions, as taught by your expert pottery master. Take home what you make as a souvenir.
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