The name that resonates with Royalty, Vibrance, Colours, Music, Festivities, Forts and Palaces, Leheriya and Bandni, Kachoris and Dal Bati Churma, and the colour Pink is JAIPUR. A must visit destination on every traveller’s bucket list, Jaipur has so much to offer to everyone that a day is too short a duration to experience this lovely carnival of a city. This is a short guide to quickly cover sightseeing of this beautiful city in just a day. For shopping you need another day and a comprehensive guide is available here.
Begin the day with the tour-des-Forts. Jaipur proudly boasts of presence of three majestic hill Forts - Jaigarh, Nahargarh and Amer. Each Fort is definitely worth a visit and no two forts are alike, while Nahargarh offers panoramic views of the Pink City and has a modern art gallery inside its courtyards, Jaigarh houses the largest cannon in the world The Jai Vaan and also a thoughtfully curated weaponry museum but the most visited Fort remains the Amer Fort or Amber Fort reasons being, easy accessibility as compared to the other two Forts, original grandeur restored and preserved well, is surrounded by many manicured gardens, is a chosen location for many a film shoots and Elephant rides add another huge attraction. Amer also is home to Mata Shila Devi, a revered Goddess among the Rajputs and many other communities from Rajasthan and neighbouring states. Since this article is about covering the city in a day, we recommend you take a jeep ride up to the Fort to save time. We highly recommend you to take the assistance of an audio / personal guide as the visit remains incomplete unless you understand the details of every aspect of not just the architecture but also the history of the magnanimous Fort and Palace.
Picture Courtesy : Mr.Hemant Sharma
Jaipur is a photographers’ paradise. Groups of photographers climb up the many forts each morning to get their magical shots of sunrises and cityscapes in the surreal hues. One such popular photo-opp stop is on the road in front of the Amer Fort which gives spectacular panoramic shots of the Fort. Take a quick stop here and feed the Canons and Nikons or your Phone cameras with the delights of the sights around. And before you head back to the city, remember to pick the famous namkeen and mithai (locally known as Ganthia and Gundi) from Amer, available at most of the shops around the main road of Old Amer Town.
Picture Courtesy : Mr.Hemant Sharma
Next photo-opp stop is the Jalmahal. Built for the kings as a leisure palace in the middle of a water reservoir, The Jalmahal again is one of the most photographed locations of the city, vying for the top slot in close competition with The Amer Fort and The Hawa Mahal.
Next is The Hawa Mahal which is more like a wall with windows and not really a Palace as the name suggests. The structure was built for the women of the noble families to sit in the many windows, unnoticed by the general public below and watch the processions during festivals like Teej and Gangaur. Read more about Gangaur here. The market around Hawa Mahal stocks Jaipuri Razais, Jaipuri Jutis, Bangles, Silverware, Fabrics and Handcrafted Artefacts. A gentle reminder : we are covering Jaipur in a day, shopping must wait for another day!
Your next stop : The City Palace where the erstwhile Royal Family still resides in a private section. A large part of the Palace however has been converted into a museum that showcases the Royal Era of Jaipur and Rajputana. The various sections of the museum house textiles, garments, weapons and armoury, artefacts and things of daily use used by the Maharajas, ancient manuscripts and carpets, a transport gallery and beautifully hand-painted but realistic portraits and paintings. The museum is not just famous for the collection but also for its architecture. The doors of various sections here symbolise different seasons. There is a Leheriya Gate, a Peacock Gate, Lotus Gate and a Shiv-Parvati gate. The City Palace also serves up some sumptuous snacks and beverages for the tired tourists in the Palace Cafe.
City Palace Pictures : From the Internet
Right in front of the City Palace is the UNESCO World Heritage site of Jantar Mantar, the observatory that houses The World’s largest Stone Sun Dial and other astronomical instruments. His highness Sawai Jai Singh Ji II, the founder of Jaipur was a scholar and a learned man with his interests in such varied subjects as astrology, astronomy and architecture and built this one of its kind marvel. Do check the time at the Sun Dial and come back amazed. After all, Jaipur must stay with you long after your visit is over!
Take a lunch break here to refuel yourself and move onto the second part of your Jaipur in a Day Tour which must be spent soaking in the beauteous and impressive architecture of The World Heritage City.
Take a tour of the Ramniwas Bagh complex at the centre of which is The Albert Hall Museum which houses collections of fine bone china, silverware, swords and hold your breath (!) An Egyptian Mummy! Another photo-opp locale Albert Hall is a favoured spot among locals for feeding pigeons. The flocks of pigeons add an interesting element to the picture compositions. The complex also has the famous Masala Chowk - a street food bonanza that comes alive every evening.
From Albert Hall, take the route through MI road, Panch Batti Circle, Rajmandir cinema hall and reach the Statue Circle. The most beautiful road in all of Jaipur is this very road that connects Panch Batti to New Vidhansabha. Statue Circle is a mini carnival in itself every evening with ice cream and street food vendors and balloons and toy sellers all around. The New Vidhansabha building is yet another awe-inspiring architectural wonder. Aesthetically designed keeping in mind the existing architecture of Jaipur, it blends in very beautifully with the rest of the city.
If time permits, do visit the Moti Dungri Ganesh Temple and Birla Mandir before heading to Chokhi Dhani for an authentic Rajasthani dinner. The village themed restaurant is not a regular “get in - eat - leave” kind of a place but a centre that exhibits local art, culture and flavours in the truest forms. Right from the traditional welcome to the village-fair experience and the customary “manuhar” at dinner to the “Pachha Padharjo Sa” or please visit again adieu, it is an experience to be thoroughly enjoyed.
The other attractions of Jaipur include : A heritage Water Walk at Nahargarh Fort, Biological Park at Nahargarh, Kanak Vrindawan Gardens, Hathi Gaon, Sisodiya Gardens, Galta Ji, Leopard Safari at Jhalana, Heritage and Food Walks through old Pink City, Heritage Walk through Sanganer, exploring Bagru, night tour of Jaipur and many more such wonders.
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