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  JAIPUR  
 
     
 
     
 

Jaipur is 260 km from Delhi and 240 km from Agra and forms the golden triangle of Delhi , Agra and Jaipur. It a bustling capital city and a business centre with all the trappings of a modern metropolis but yet flavoured strongly with an age-old charm that never fails to surprise a traveller. The old Jaipur painted in Pink can grip any visitor with admiration. Stunning backdrop of ancient forts: Nahargarh, Amer, Jaigarh and Moti Doongari are apt testimonials of the bygone era and a reminder of their lingering romance and chivalry.

Jaipur is named after its founder, the warrior and astronomer sovereign, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh (ruled 1688 to 1744). The decision to move out of his hilltop capital Amer was also compelled by reasons of growing population and paucity of
water. Moreover in the early 17th century the power of the great Mughals was dwindling with its aging Monarch Aurangzeb. After several centuries of invasions the north was now quiet and the wealth of the kingdom had considerably increased. Seizing upon this opportune time, Jai Singh planned his new capital in the plains. Jaipur is a corroborative evidence of Sawai Jai Singh's strong grounding in science and astrology and of a Bengali architect Vidyadhar with a strong instinct for planning. 
 
     
 

SIGHT SEEING

 
 
CITY PALACE :
Located in the heart of the walled city, the City Palace Complex gives you an idea about the farsightedness of the founder of Jaipur Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. He left behind a legacy of some of the most imposing and magnificent architecture in the city. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh built many buildings but some of the structures were also built by later
rulers. The palace is a blend of Mughal and Rajput architecture and the ex-royal family still lives in a part of the palace.
On entering the complex and before the proper palace lies the Mubarak Mahal, the palace of welcome or reception. Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh built the palace in the nineteenth century. It was used as a reception centre for the visiting personage. The building now forms the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum and on display here are a wide array of royal costumes, some very exquisite and precious Pashmina (Kashmiri) shawls, Benaras silk saris, Sanganeri prints and folk embroidery. An unusual display is that of voluminous clothes worn by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I (ruled 1750-68). 

The Maharani's Palace, the palace of the Queen paradoxically puts on a display of the Rajput weaponry. The inestimable collections of weapons date back to even 15th century and are in a remarkable state of preservation. Remarkable amongst them is scissor-action dagger. This deadly weapon were so designed that the handles were released to spread the blades when thrust into bodies. The dagger was then withdrawn fatally tearing limb to limb of the body of the hapless victim. Other exhibits include protective chain armour's, pistols, jewelled and ivory handled swords, a belt sword, small and assorted cannons, guns, poison tipped blades and gun powder pouches. The frescoes on the ceiling are amazing and well preserved.
 
     
 
The art gallery is located in the Diwan-I-Aam, which literally means the hall of public audience. The exhibits here include some very precious and ancient handwritten original manuscripts of Hindu scriptures. Particularly intriguing are miniature copies of Bhagwat Gita made in such a manner that it could be protected from Emperor Aurangzeb's onslaught on Hindu scriptures. Some delicate miniature paintings pertaining to Rajasthani, Mughal and Persian schools on various themes including the Ramayana
are engrossing displays. Visitors must take a good look at the preserved painted ceilings. Also on display are elephant saddles called “haudha”. 
 
     
 
Between the armoury museum and the art gallery is the Diwan-E-Khas meaning hall of private or selective audience. This is a marble paved pavilion and puts on display the world's largest sterling silver objects, two gigantic silver vessels. These vessels were made for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, who filled these vessels with holy  Ganga water and took them along with him during his journey abroad. The idea was to drink exclusively the water from the river Ganga . The Guinness Book of
Records declared the silver vessels as the biggest silver objects in the world. The ceiling also has large chandeliers, which are mostly protected by dust covers and opened only for festive occasions.
 
 
Inside the palace premises, there is a multi cuisine restaurant the Palace Cafe

The Chandra Mahal Palace is still occupied by the ex-royal family but visitors can visit the ground floor where some exhibits are on display. A visit here is worthwhile for the exquisite Peacock gate in the courtyard outside.
The present day royal family that takes charge of the museum has done exceptionally well in preserving and maintaining this legacy for presentation to visitors. A visit to the palace is both interesting and enlightening.

 
     
 
JANTAR MANTAR :
Across the road from the palaces is the famous Jantar Mantar, one of the five observatories in India , built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. This is one of the largest and the best preserved. The king was passionate about astronomy and numerology – small wonder then that it led to the setting up of the observatory. The astronomer prince with the help of skilled labourers managed to create a collection of complex astronomical
instruments chiselled out of stone, most of which continue to provide accurate information to this day. The most striking instrument is the Brihat Samrat yantra Sundial , the biggest sundial in the world an imposing yellow edifice to the far right of the observatory complex which has a 27m high gnomon arm set at an angle of 27degrees.The shadow that this casts moves up to 4m in an hour and aids in the calculation of local and meridian pass time and various attributes of the heavenly bodies, including declination, the angular distance of a heavenly body from the celestial equator and altitude. This highlight of the observatory which stands as a testimony to the genius of the Maharaja has made it a centre of attraction for the tourist visiting Jaipur.
 
     
 
ALBERT HALL :
Located just outside the walled city is the sprawling Ram Niwas garden, which has always been a place for recreational activities since the reign of Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh. This exquisitely designed garden with four sentry doors and a huge complex with small pools and fountains, flourishing lawns and beautiful flower beds all around was basically a famine relief project.
It mostly attracted the British families where they entertained their guests and families quite often with the elaborate gowns of the women and formal colourful attires of the nobles and the high society club members. This park would come alive with the setting sun. Their individual 'Baggies'( horse carriages) were parked outside in a line and the attendants were at the beck and call. The children had a gala time playing around on 'jhulas'(swing) etc. During day time it was opened for the common public and by evening it was available for the exclusive lot.
Situated in the middle of the garden as the centre of attraction is the exquisitely built structure of Albert Hall. It was designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, a British architect who designed many palaces in Rajasthan. Combining the elements of English and north Indian architecture – it was known as the pride of the New Jaipur when it opened in 1887 AD. it is a very well maintained and impressive building displaying a rich collection of artifacts like paintings, carpets, ivory, stone, metal sculptures, colourful crystal works etc. The Albert Hall museum undergoing renovation. Right opposite the Albert Hall is one of the oldest zoos in the country, harbouring different species of birds and animals. Another piece of attraction near Albert Hall is the Ravindra Rang Manch (theatre) with a modern art gallery and a performing arts theatre, both indoor and open air.
 
     
 
STATUE CIRCLE :
This is a traffic roundabout in Jaipur. The Statue Circle is not only the most famed circle but the most popular too. It is the favourite lounge of Jaipur and a place for an evening out, with 'Meals on Wheels' standing by. Strangely it acquires its name of statue circle after its figurine rather than the Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh the founder of modern day Jaipur. His statue stands with the full imperial symbols of staff and the Maharaja is
holding astrological diagrams to exemplify his proclivity for astrology. The memorial is befitting to the great sovereign, builder and futurist. The lighting and the colourful fountains cheer up the roundabout and its surroundings.
 
     
 
MOTI DUNGRI, GANESH TEMPLE :
In the middle of Jaipur is a small hill Moti Dungri meaning pearl hill, because it looks like a drop of pearl. An exotic palace is perched atop the hill which is a replica of a Scottish castle once occupied by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh. From there on, it remained a private property of the royal family. In the recent past it served as a home for Rajmata Gaytri Devi's only son, the late Jagat Singh. The mere view of this castle is exotic
enough. The highlight of this place is the famous and auspicious temple of Lord Ganesh , which is situated at the hill. It is frequented by Jaipurites on religious occasions.
 
     
 
HAWA MAHAL :
The poet king Sawai Pratap Singh built this palace of winds. This is  easily the most well-known landmarks of Jaipur and is also its icon. Located in the City Palace complex, it is best viewed from the road outside. This five-storey building overlooking the busy bazaar street is a fascinating example of Rajput architecture and artistry with its delicately honeycombed 953 pink sandstone windows known as 'jharokhas'. It was
originally built for the ladies of the royal household to watch everyday life and processions in the city from their veiled comfort.
 
Most people come here to get a view of the facade but they can also climb to the top for a wonderful view from the latticed windows. There is also a small archaeological museum there. Entry to foreigner/ Indian visitor is Rs. 30/Rs. 10.
 
     
 

GAITORE :
It is the final resting place of the Maharajas of Jaipur and is located just off the Jaipur - Amber Road . Situated in a narrow valley the cenotaphs of the former Maharajas are made in typical Rajput architectural style. The chhatri of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh is of special mention for its carvings.

 
     
 
JAIGARH FORT :
The Jaigarh fort is the most spectacular of the three-hilltop forts that overlook Jaipur. In Mughal times, the Jaipur region was a major weapon-producing centre for the Mughal and Rajput rulers, several of the weapons being on display in the fort's museum. It is one of the few military structures of medieval India preserved almost intact, containing palaces, a granary, a well-planned cannon foundry, several temples, a tall tower and giant mounted cannon-the Jai
 
Ban (Jaivan) which is the largest cannon on wheels in the world. Jaigarh Fort is also known as the fort of victory. The display includes a collection of canons, many of which are exquisitely decorated and were used in the Mughal campaigns led by the Rajput King, Raja Man Singh.

Of Jaipur's three forts, Jaigarh is perhaps the most imposing. It does not have those delicate structures or palaces like that of Amber but if you want a quick look at a hard-core fortress, this is it. Jaigarh means `Victory Fort' and was built between the 15th and the 18th century AD, and stands 15 km from Jaipur, amidst rock-strewn, thorn-scrub covered hills, its forbidding stone ramparts being visible from the Jaipur town. A steep road goes up to the main gate, the Dungar Darwaza, from where the view is are inspiring.
 
 
It was the royal treasury for several years. It was one of the few medieval Indian military structures to have remained intact through centuries. There are passageways among the palaces and you can see a collection of coins and puppets. This fort has been opened to public for a few years only. It was sealed for seven years due to a rumour that an
enormous treasure in gold was buried in the fort area. Jaigarh was once responsible for the security of both Jaipur and Amber; has a huge moated fort and contains all the accoutrements of a full-fledged citadel. 1 ½ or 2 hours are usually enough to explore it. The sections like the armoury and the museum have adequate signs.
Entrance fee to Jaigarh is Rs. 20 for foreign tourists and Rs. 10 for Indian tourists.
 
     
 

NAHARGARH FORT :
Nahargarh Fort is located on the rugged ridge of Aravali Hills and it forms an impressive northern backdrop of Jaipur. It looks most classy when floodlit at night. The fort overlooks the city and presents a glittering view of the city lights. It was built in 1734 and extended in 1868. Nahargarh meaning abode of the tigers was built by Jai Singh to bolster the defence of Amber. The legend has it that it was named Nahargarh after Nahar
Singh, a prince whose spirit would destroy the construction and stall its progress. So after a tantrik invoked the spirit, it agreed to withdraw on condition that the fort would be named after him. The Madhavendra Bhawan, built by Sawai Madho Singh has a unique cluster of 12 identical suites for queens and at the head is a suite for the king himself. The rooms are linked by corridors and retain some delicate frescoes as well as toilets and kitchen hearths. It was used by members of the royal family for excursion in summers and is even now  a favoured picnic spot. Durg Cafeteria just above the entrance sells meals and refreshments, while Padao Restaurant on the west sells drinks around sunset.
 
     
 
AMBER PALACE :
Amber (pronounced Amer) is situated about 11 kilometers from Jaipur and was the ancient citadel of the ruling Kachwahas of Amber, before the capital was shifted to the plains, the present day Jaipur.
The Amber Fort set in picturesque and rugged hills is a fascinating blend
of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Constructed by Raja Man Singh I in
1592 and completed by Mirja Raja Jai Singh the fort was made in red sand stone and white marble. The rugged forbidding exterior belies an inner paradise with a beautiful fusion of art and architecture. Amber is the classic and romantic fort-palace with a magnificent aura. The interior wall of the palace depicts expressive painting scenes with carvings, precious stones and mirror settings. In the foreground is the Maota Lake providing a breathtaking vista. Built mainly for the warring enemies as a safe place, the heavily structured walls could defend the residents within the ramparts of the fort. 

All means of survival and luxuries for the royal families and the people who were concerned with the functioning of this small kingdom of the Kachhawas were well provided. The Rajputs who had apparently won a small structure passed on by Meena tribes, later on renovated it into the grand Amber Fort. Holding a history as old as seven centuries, this place vibrates with its legendary past. Although many of the early structures have been literally ruined but at the same time, those dating from 16th century onwards are remarkably well preserved by sincere efforts.  
 
     
 
The fort has four sections; each within the premises, and one has to climb up the imposing stairway or else the broad aisle, where one can ride the elephant for a royal feel. The main gate Surajpol leads to Jaleb chowk , which is the main courtyard from where one can walk up the stairway that leads to the palace. Jaleb Chowk was also the area where returning armies were welcomed and they would display their war prize to the population at large.
Before you enter the palace just towards the right is a steep aisle and a narrow staircase reaching up to Kali Temple also called Shila Devi Temple , famous for its mysterious history and the huge silver lions. It is a gorgeous temple featuring silver doors with raised relief. According to a legend, Raja Man Singh I had worshiped the Goddess for a victory over the rulers of Bengal . The Goddess appeared in the Raja's dream and ordered him to recover her statue lying under sea near Jessore (now in Bangladesh ) and install it in a befitting temple. True enough, after subjugating the enemies the Raja recovered the statute from the bed of the sea. The temple is called after Shila Devi, "shila" meaning stone slab. Like all temples this too has an image of Ganesha on the doorway, carved from a single piece of coral.
 
     
 
Getting back from the temple the main stairways lead to the second courtyard of the fort. Here situated is the imposing Diwan-I-Aam , the hall of public audiences where the Maharaja received the populace and their petitions. This is a pavilion of double row of columns each capped by an elephant shape. There is a lattice gallery also.

Behind the exquisite and fabulous Ganesh Pol , "pol" meaning gate,  residential apartments of the Maharaja are located. The Jai Mandir, the Hall of Victory is famous for its inlaid panel and dazzling mirror ceiling. Much of it had deteriorated with time and is under restoration. 

On the other side is Sukh Niwas, the residence of pleasure. The palace has an ivory inlaid sandalwood door. A channel laid for flow of water is an inventive system of cooling. The water flowing from the channel wasn't wasted but allowed to flow into the garden. From there you can also enjoy viewing the fort rampart and its reflection in the Moata Lake .

The Zenana or the palace of the women is on the fourth courtyard. The rooms are connected through a common corridor, but are ingeniously designed to ensure privacy to each room.
 
 
 

NEAR JAIPUR

 
     
 

SANGANER :
Sanganer is located 16 Kms from Jaipur. It is also known for exquisite Jain temples. Moreover, it is an important centre for crafts and hand-printed textiles that are internationally famous.

The most beautiful temple in Sanganer is the ancient Shri Digamber Jain temple . The temple has fine carvings similar those of the magnificent Dilwara temples of Mount Abu . Built in various phases with sky-high shikharas (spires), the temple represents an old style of architecture. The last phase was probably built in the 10th century AD. The beautiful nij-mandir (inner temple) is a stone shrine with three pinnacles. At the centre lies the idol of Parshwanath with seven serpent hoods . All around it are carvings of lotuses and creepers, and elephants pouring water from pitchers held in their trunks. But the main idol is that of Adinath, installed in the shrine behind this.
 
     
 
The town is most famous for its hand made paper and mostly screen-printed fabric. The fabric is popular for small floral designs. A wide variety of material for apparels, furnishing and curtaining is available. Some of the traditional designs were produced under the patronage of the royal family. It is a beautiful sight to see brightly coloured fabric drying out in the sun, near the river.
Sawai Jai Singh II set up a paper business in Sanganer. It is said that in the 16th century, the ruler of Amber, Raja Man Singh, brought Kagzis (paper makers) to Sanganer situated on the bank of Saraswati River , where abundant clear water was available. The town emerged as one of the biggest paper making centres in northern India . In between the industry suffered a setback but after independence, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) included the handmade paper in its agenda and promoted the industry.
 
     
 
It is famous for kagazi mohulla (paper maker's quarters) and is the world's largest centre for hand-made paper. Sanganer is blessed with adequate water and open spaces, essential for papermaking. From here the Kagzis enjoyed patronage of the royal court of Raja
Man Singh and his successors. Today there are about 10 hand-made paper industries in Sanganer, all owned by Kagzis. The Sanganer paper makers are the largest producers of hand-made paper in the world. The airport of Jaipur is also located in Sanganer.
 
     
 
TONK AND PERSIAN ARTS :
Tonk is located 96 kms away from Jaipur. This is a quiet town which was ruled by 'Pathans' from Afghanistan . The focal point of Tonk is the Suneri Kothi, the Golden Bungalow. A fairly ordinary looking monument from outside, it has
stunningly rich ornamental interiors. There are some interesting buildings that accommodated the British office.
Tonk is also famous for its leather and felt industry and one can pick up a good bargain from the markets. The Nawab of Tonk was an avid book lover and built a sizable library of Arabic and Persian manuscripts. The Arabic and Persian Research Institute is also located here. 
 
     
 
BAGRU :
Bagru is located 35 kms away from Jaipur on the Ajmer road leading to Ajmer  and is well known for hand block printing on cloth known as Bagru prints. This technique employs a wooden block on which the required design is first carved, and then the carved block is used for transferring the motif in the desired colour onto the fabric. This process is most effective for ethnic floral patterns and for printing in vegetable dyes in traditional Bagru Prints. 
 
     
 
SAMOD :
The palace which is an old fortified residence of the Nathawat family (hailing from Chomu) that served as the prime ministers of the Jaipur Royal Court is located some 40 km from Jaipur and 264 km from Delhi in the Aravali range. This magnificent palace is charming and romantic in itself, and exhibits grandeur, good taste, class and elegance. The way to the main entrance is through the inside of the village, which can be
reached from the highway by a camel safari, with the locals welcoming the guests with smiles and excitement. The inside of the fort reflects expressions of the medieval architecture that is renovated a bit for converting it into a Heritage Hotel. The open courtyards in the centre have separate wings on the sides that extend to 43 spacious rooms and suites having private balconies and views. The walls are in warm colours to highlight the intricate marble work, the antiques and the colourful art with traditional artifacts. The Durbar hall of Samod Palace is one of the most beautifully painted chambers with glass and minakari work and the same goes for the private restricted spaces, meant for the women of the family.
 
     
 
     
 
     
     
   
     
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