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JAIPUR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jaipur, the ‘Pink City’, has been the capital of erstwhile Jaipur state since its inception in 1727 AD, It was founded by Sawai Jai Singh II, a great ruler as well as renowned mathematician and astrologer. Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, designed Jaipur as per the Hindu treatise, Shilp Shastra. In 1876 Jaipur dressed itself in pink to welcome Prince Albert, consort of queen Victoria, and earned the epitaph ‘Pink City'. The excellent handicrafts of Jaipur are exquisite gold jewellery enameled or inlaid with precious stones, blue pottery, carving on wood, stone & ivory, block print & tie & dye textiles, handmade paper etc.

PLACES OF INTEREST ARE:
Amber: The Kachhawahas ruled form Amber, 11 km from Jaipur, for seven centuries. With a history so old, it is not unexpected that there is a lot of the past that can be traced in its archaeological history. While many of the very early structures have either disappeared or been ruined, those dating from the 16th century on are in a remarkable state of preservation. Amber as it exists now is the handiwork of three of the kingdom's rulers that include Man Singh and Jai Singh I and II. Approached from a steep ramp, visitors ride up on elephant back, entering through the grand Singh Pol gateway and continuing to Jaleb Chowk, the courtyard where they disembark from the pachyderm. From here, they are faced with two flight of steps, one leading to the Shila Mata complex with its enshrined image of the goddess, and the other to the main palace complex. Within the complex, Ganesh Pol, an imposing gateway painted with images of the elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha, takes pride of place. Also a part of the complex is the Diwan-I-Am or hall of public audience with its spectacular display of pillars. The typical merging of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles is captured in the Sukh Niwas and Jas Mandir Apartments, and the Charbagh garden with its perfectly proportioned landscaping. A highlight is the pierced screen windows which offer views from points of vantage, as well as the shimmering mirrors encrusting the wall of the Sheesh Mahal. Several other gardens and pavilions within the sprawling spread of the ramparts offer enough scope for investigating medieval lifestyles at leisure. Beyond the ramparts, the old city, once the abode of the aristocracy, has a wonderfully medieval flavour, though it has few buildings of majestic proportion that are still extinct. However, a walk though the rambling lanes will reap rich reward for the curious. Besides a large number of temples, there are also stepwells, memorials and townhouses.

Gaitore: Located off the Jaipur-Amber road, Gaitors is the final resting place for the maharajas of Jaipur. Set in a narrow valley, the cenotaphs of the former rulers consist of the somewhat typical chhatri or umbrella-shaped memorials. Of special mention is Jai Singh 2nd chhatri because of the carvings that have been used to embellish it.

Jaigarh: One of the few military structures of medieval India, retaining its ancient splendour in palaces, garden, reservoirs, a granary, an armoury, a well planned cannon foundry, several temples, a tall tower and a giant mounted cannon the Jai Ban, one of the largest in the country are preserved here. The extensive parkotas (walls), watch tower and gateways of Jaigarh dominate the western skyline.

Nahargarh: The third of the hilltop forts that guard Jaipur, and in a state of majestic ruin, it has some lovely gardens and pavilions added after the capital had shifted to Jaipur. The members of the royal family often used it for summer excursions and picnics.

Jal Mahal: Jal Mahal was built by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 AD in the midst of the Man Sagar Lake as a pleasure spot. The was formed by constructing dam between the two hills by Sawai Man Singh I. During winter months once can see a large number of migratory as well as residents birds at the lake.

Hawa Mahal: Located to one side, but a part of the City Palace complex, Hawa Mahal is best viewed from the street outside. If is were not for the bustling bazaar all around, it would have been easy to mistake it for a film set, so exquisitely is it proportioned, and so incongruous is its delicacy.

Hawa Mahal consists of five tiers of corridors on the inside, with pierced screen windows that overlook the street below. It is believed the women of the royal zenana would sit concealed behind these screens to see life in the city beyond the walls of the palace.

City Palace: As may be expected, the City Palace complex lies at the heart of the city. Getting in is simpler than it once was. Though the erstwhile maharaja and his family and close friends use the triple-arched Tripolia Gate to enter their section of the palace, most visitors are ushered in through Atish Pol which is located close to the royal stables, cross from here to Chandni Chowk or Moonlit Square and then on to Gainda ki Deorhi. At the heart of the complex is seven-tiered Chandra Mahal where the erstwhile royal family is still in residence, though only a small part of the apartments are occupied.

However, it is only the buildings around Chandra Mahal that are open to the public, and these also form part of a museum which includes everything from Grand outfits (including one with 18 kilos of golden thread woven into it) to swords and two silver urns that are believed to be the largest silver objects in the world. These are housed in the Mubarak Mahal, and the Diwan-i-am respectively. Through Singh Pol, visitors can approach the Diwan-i-am, where the maharaja's private and public courts would be held. The architecture seems to consist of a number of arched, pillared halls, while courtyards with painted doorways are prominent feature.

Jantar Mantar: A stone observatory, part of the city palace complex, Jantar Mantar is one of several other astronomical observatories created by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh 2nd (other are in Delhi, Banaras, Ujjain). These concrete masonry instruments were used to measure everything from altitude to time, and map the movement of the planets and the stars. Jai Singh 2nd had a passion for astronomy and used astronomical inventions from different of these observatories, the largest of which in is Jaipur.

Govind Dev Ji Temple: The most popular spireless temple of Jaipur dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is located in the central pavilion of the Jai Niwas Garden to the north of Chandra Mahal. The image of the patron deity Govind Devji, originally installed in a temple of Vrindavan, was reinstalled here by Sawai Jai Singh 2nd as his family deity.

Sargasuli: Also known as Isar Lat, this tower was erected in the mid-18th century by Maharaja Ishwari Singh to commemorate a battle victory. Ironically, Ishwari Singh was ostracized for his lover of a common girl, and he is the only Kachhawaha Maharaja who has not been commemorated at Gaitor.

Galtaji: An ancient pilgrimage centre, lying beyond the gardens amidst low hills. Temples, pavilions and holy kunds (natural spring and reservoirs) along with lush landscape make it a delightful spot. The small temple of the sun god, built by Diwan Kriparam on the top of the highest peak is visible from all parts of the city.

Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh: In the 18th and 19th centuries, the royals and the nobles laid out summer gardens at Ghati ki guni, a valley at beginning of the Jaipur-Agra road which traps the breezes and wafts it through pleasantly. Sisodia Rani ka Bagh was laid for one of the queens from the lake city of Udaipur, to cure her of her homesickness. It consists of pavilions with water channels that run down in tiered gardens.

Vidyadharji ka Bagh: The exquisite, tiered garden laid for the private pleasure of the architect of the city, it has delicate pavilions bordered by water channels, and a larger pavilion overlooking the whole complex. Located at Ghat ki Guni, it is now let out for private picnics.

Jain Temple: one of few example of Jain architecture in Jaipur, located on the Agra Road, it has 19th century frescos that are exquisite.

Ram Niwas Bagh: A lush spacious garden with a zoo, an aviary, a greenhouse, a herbarium, a museum and popular sports ground. It was built by Sawai Ram Singh 2nd in 1868 A.D. as a famine relief project. The Albert hall, fine example of Indo Sarcenic style of architecture designed by Sir Swinton Jecob, was opened later with an exquisite collection of sculptures, paintings, decorative wares, natural history specimen, an Egyptian mummy & celebrated Persian carpet. Recently, the Rabindra Manch with an auditorium, a modern art gallery and an open air theatre, has been added to promote cultural events.

Laxmi Narayan Temple: A new temple, built entirely of marble, this is a showcase of the continuing skill of the mason and the sculptor.

Moti Doongari: A small palace, this is a replica of a Scottish castle, and perched on a hilltop. Once occupied by Maharaja Madho Singh's son who was confined here, it was also for a while home to Maharani Gayatri Devi.

Statue Circle: A busy crossing, this has a life-size statue in marble of Maharaja Jai Singh 2nd. It is a recent addition to the city's attractions.

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MUSEUMS & ART GALLERIES:
Dolls Museum: Pretty dolls from various countries are on display in the compound of the school for deaf and dumb children, near the Police Memorial.

BM Birla Planetarium: The planetarium offers unique audio-visual education and entertainment with its modern computerized projection system. For school groups concessions are available. Closed on last Wednesday of every month.

Government Central Museum: Located in the center of the sprawling Ram Niwas Bagh, this is the oldest museum in the state. The building was designed by colonel Sir Swinton Jacob. It was built in 1876 when king Edward VII visited India as the Prince of Wales. It was opened to public in 1886 there is also an Egyptian mummy belonging to the Ptolemaic Epoch. There are miniature paintings of various sub-schools of Rajasthan. A glimpse of the land the people of Rajasthan is presented through well planned dioramas. From 1959 onwards the various galleries along the ground floor of the museum were completely reorganized and renovated. People of Rajasthan, (both males and females) from the higher strata of society, such as Rajputs and seths as well as the common tribal people like Mennas, Bhopas, Bhils, Gadoliya Lohar etc. find depiction here in their typical dresses and ornaments. Typical designs and motifs in Mehndi Mandana, so characteristic of Rajasthani ladies, are also highlighted in the gallery. In the antechamber of wing is exhibited puppetry from Rajasthan & the painted scroll delineating the scenes from pabuji Rathore's life, a great folk hero from Marwar. The central gallery is devoted to Rajasthani music and dance. Original musical instrument, both classical and folk, are displayed in their functional positions. Specimens include typical folk instruments like Masak, Kama, Yacha, Dadh, Madal, Khanjari, Satari, Bankia, Pungi, Alogoja, Iktara etc. the dances illustrated in the gallery include classical ones like kathak for which Jaipur Gharana is famous, as well as popular folk dances such as Dandia, Ghoomar Holi etc. festivals & ceremonies (like marriage) are also dioramized in a lively manner. The museum functions as the State Museum of Rajasthan.

Modern Art Gallery: A small gallery in the first floor of Ravindra Manch Auditorium shows a selection of works by the well known modern artists and sculptors of Rajasthan.

Museum of Indology: Created and established by Acharya Ram Charan Sharma "vyakul" in 1960, the museum has a collection of folk and Tantra art. The eighteen sections of this three storied private museum include old manuscripts and archives, thematic folk art of India, Indian textile designs, Tantrik paintings and yantras, glass and pottery items, minerals, gems and fossils etc. making it one of the finest museum of Rajasthan.

Hawa Mahal Museum: Just behind the beautiful Hawa Mahal (Palace of winds) in the adjoining Partap Mandir, a Museum was set up in the year 1983. Preserved here is the sculptural heritage collected from Ganeshwar. Virat Nagar, Raid, Sambhar and Nagar.

Exhibits include items of terracotta. Antiquities, fish hooks, arrow heads, swords, helmets and belongings of the maharajas of Jaipur. A big storage vessel of 2nd century AD obtained during excavation at Naliasar (Sambhar) draws the attention of visitors.

Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum: Located within the city palace complex and nestled amidst old buildings, temples and the palace quarters, this museum was founded in 1959 by Maharaja Swai Man Singh II.

The exhibits consist of the ancestral collections built up by the successive rulers of Amer & Jaipur, and presently run by a public charitable trust. A small selection of paintings, manuscripts, weapons and armours was displayed in the Pothikhana (library) and the Silehkhana or armoury (both of these in their present form were established in 1952) of the palace. However, the collection remained exclusive and was shown only to selective visitors and dignitaries with the special permission of the Maharaja. In 1959, this private museum consisting of the Pothikhana and the Silehkhana was thrown open to public and a new Textile and costume gallery was added to it.

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FAIRS & FESTIVALS:
Elephant Festival, Jaipur: The elephant festival gets underway in the month of Phalgun (March) on the eve of Holi, the festival of colours. The festival begins with a procession of elephants, camels, horses and folk dancers. The sight of mighty jumbos striding majestically is a treat to watch. The mahavats or owners proudly decorate their elephants with bright colours, jhools (saddle cloth) and heavy jewellery. Female elephants are made to wear payals or anklets which tinkle as they walk. Prizes are given for the most beautifully decorated elephant. Even more exciting is the Polo match, the Elephant race, the tug-of-war between elephant and 19 men and women. The most colourful being the playing of Holi on Elephant back.

Sheetla Mata Fair, Chaksu: The Sheetla Mata Fair is held in March-April, the month of Chaitra, in village Seel-Ki-Doongir. Doongri is a hillock on top of which the shrine of Sheetla Mata stands. The Fair is held in her honour every year. The fair attracts hordes of visitors from far and wide. People believe that epidemics spread because of the wrath of Sheetla Mata and hence they worship her and make offerings so that she may be pacified. The deity is represented by a red stone. It is veritable picnic for the pilgrims attending the fair. It is customary to cook one's own food at the site, and eat it only after it has been offered at the shrine. A temporary market comes up at the fair and the rural folk can been trading in wares such as shoes, clothes, food stuff, utensils and agriculture implements. A cattle fair is also organized during the fair. It is a small affair and lasts for about a week. Bullocks, camels and horses are sold at the fair and prizes are awarded to the best breeders.

Gangaur Festival: The Gangaur festival is the most important local festival of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the state with great fervour and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri, the consort of lord Shiva. Gan is a synonym for Shiva and Gauri which stands for Gauri or Parvati who symbolizes saubhagya (Marital Bliss). Gauri is the embodiment of perfection and conjugal love which is why the unmarried women worship her for being blessed with good husbands, while married women do so for welfare, health and long life of their spouses and a happy married life.

The festival commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and continues for 18 days. For a newly-wedded girl, it is binding to observe the full course of 18 days of the festival that succeeds her marriage. Even unmarried girls fast for the fully period of 18days and eat only one meal a day.

Images of Isar & Gauri are made of clay for the festival. In some families, permanent wooden images are painted afresh every year by reputed painters called Matherans on the eve of the festival. A distinct difference between the idols of Teej and Gangaur is that the idol will have a canopy during the Teej festival while the Gangaur idol would not a canopy.

The ladies decorate their hands and feet by drawing design with Mehendi (myrtle Paste). The figures drawn range from the sun, Moon and the stars to simple flowers or geometrical designs.

Teej: Teej is the festival of swings. It marks the advent of the monsoon month of Sharvan (August). The monsoon rains fall on the parched land and the pleasing scent of the wet soil rises into the air. Swings are hung from trees and decorated with flowers. Young girls and women dressed in green clothes sing songs in celebration of the advent of the monsoon. This festival is dedicated to the Goddess Parvati, commemorating her union with Lord Shiva. Goddess Parvati is worshipped by seekers of conjugal bliss and happiness. An elaborate procession is taken out in Jaipur for two consecutive days on the festive occasion which is watched by people in large numbers. The Teej idol is covered with a canopy whereas the Gangaur idol is open.

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EXCURSIONS:
Sanganer (12 km): located on the Tonk road, In addition to its ruined palaces, Sanganer has exquisitely carved Jain temples. The town is entered through the ruins of two Tripolias (Triple Gateways) The town is an important centre for crafts industry and produces some of the finest hand printed textiles from units of block and screen printers. This textile is popular all over country and abroad.

Bagru (35 Km): On the Ajmer Road, the ground level fort is still in good shape. It is noted for its hand printed handloom are less complicated and are in earthly hues.

Samode (45 km): The Nathawats of Samode played an important role in the durbar of Jaipur where they served as prime ministers. Their Thikana, which located in a charming village, is surrounded by fertile fields, while a ring of sharp hills was the seat for their fortifications. Awarded by one of the Kachhawa rulers of Amber to one of his twelve sons four-and-a-half century ago, the palace became known for the high quality of its frescos, and particularly in the use of indigo colours, and the richly painted Durbar Hall. The palace has been converted into a heritage hotel and is ideal for an outing.

Ramgarh Lake (32 km): A huge artificial lake created by constructing a high bund amidst tree covered hills. While the temple of Jamwa Mata and the ruins of the old fort are some of its antiquities, its beautiful landscape, especially during monsoons, makes it an idyllic picnic spot.

Bairath (86 Km): An important historical place with the excavated remains of a circular Buddhist temple-unique in Rajasthan and the earliest known temple in India. Bairath also has relics of the Mauryan, Mughal and Rajput periods. A mint constructed by Akbar, a beautiful Mughal garden and a remarkable monument with painted Chhatris and walls built by Jahangir are other attractions.

Jaisinghpura Khor (12 km): one of the settlement of the Meena tribe, it has a formidable fort, a Jain temple and a step-well amid lush surroundings.

Madhogarh - Tunga (40 km): Tunga was witness to a historic battle fought between the Jaipur forces and Marathas. The fort is nestled amidst beautiful mango orchards.

The Present owner, Thakur Bhawani Singh, the fourth generation directed descendent of Thakur Pratap Singhji, has now renovated the Madhogarh Fort and converted into a family run heritage hotel. Guests can now experience the famous Rajput hospitality and relive the glory of a bygone age.

Pachewar: Pachewar 90 kms away from Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan, is a mute yet vibrant, silent but lively village, once ruled by Khangarot Rajputs, a sub-clan of Kachhawas – the rulers odd erstwhile Jaipur State. Thakur Anoop Singh Khangarot, then Qiledar of Khandar, Captured the fort of Ranthambhor from the Marathas and annexed it into Jaipur State. To reward his exemplary courage and loyalty to Maharaja Sawai Madhosingh-1st of Jaipur, granted him the fief of Pachewar in 1758 A.D.

Fort of Pachewar, 300 years old fort of picturesque Pachewar has now been converted in a luxurious heritage hotel with all modern amenities, where one can witness great traditions of royal hospitality. A well preserved tranquil fort with its massive ramparts imposing gates, intricate balconies and spacious apartments, adorned with antique frescos of exquisite beauty.

SHOPPING:
Jaipur offers one-of-a-kind shopping experience with its rich treasure of bewitching jewellery, beautiful gems, semi precious stones, Kundan and Minakari work enamel work on gold). Beautiful cotton fabrics including Sanganeri prints, tie-and-die and fine kaoa 'Doria' saris are the best buys for women. The exotic blue pottery, enamel ware and brass ware, make excellent souvenirs and gift items. The city is also famous for woollen carpets and cotton rugs.

Equally popular are the leather footwear, especially the embroidered 'Jutis'. The famous shopping spots are Rajasthali (Government Handicrafts Shop), Johari Bazaar, MI Road, Nehru Bazaar, Bapu Bazaar, Chaupar Stalls. The Markets generally remains closed on Sundays.

 

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