The gateway to Rajasthan and part of India’s famed Golden Triangle, Jaipur is a fascinating mix of ancient forts, royal palaces and vibrant bazaars with modern, shiny shopping malls and busy commercial centres.
Surrounded on three sides by the jagged Aravalli Hills, Jaipur remarkable city was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jal Singh and was carefully laid out along ancient architectural ideals. At the heart of Jaipur is the historical old city, surrounded by huge fortification walls and entered through eight towering gates. Wide avenues packed with camel carts, cycle-rickshaws and wandering cows divide the old city into neat rectangles, each one specialising in a different type of Rajasthan’s renowned handicrafts. Timeless bazaars are crammed with colourful textiles, beautiful pottery and the region’s famed jewellery.
Flamboyant and eye-catching, the old city is home to the City Palace, the residence of the maharajas, with its ornately decorated courtyards and pavilions. A thriving capital, Jaipur has long overflowed its old defensive walls and a breathtaking sequence of forts, palaces, cenotaphs and other relics of the maharajas can be found on the outskirts of the city, shoulder to shoulder with its modern additions. One of Rajasthan’s most dramatic buildings, the majestic Amber Fort watches over the city from its perch on a rugged hilltop overlooking the outskirts of Jaipur.
The focal point of Jaipur is the Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, a five story Baroque-like structure built to enable the veiled ladies of the harem to observe the street scenes below and remain unnoticed.
The City Palace is a wonderful combination of Mughal and Rajput forms of architecture. Part of it is now a museum housing miniature paintings, manuscripts, Mughal carpets, musical instruments, royal costumes and weapons, giving invaluable insight into Jaipur’s royal past. Some of the instruments at the astronomical observatory are still used today to forecast the weather and the turns of nature.
Summer (May – September)
Min 25°C/77°F Max 45°C/113°F
Winter (October – April)
Min 5°C/41°F Max 25°C/77°F