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Nahargarh roughly means “Home of Lions”, and this fort is a part of the trio along with Amer Fort and Jaigarh Fort. Like the others, this one too has its share of myths and theories, for example, it is believed that the fort got its name from the fact that during its construction, a prince named Nahar Singh haunted the construction site. But other than that, Nahargarh has a history that ranges from the Rajput to the British era. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II had ordered for the construction of the fort somewhere in 1734 A.D. and subsequently got it extended to accommodate rooms for each of the king’s several wives. The main palace; the Madhavendra Bhawan, flaunts some delicately designed frescoes and paintings on the walls for which vegetable dye was put to use. Today most of the fort is undergoing restoration work, but one can still come up here for a glimpse of the breathtaking views of the “Pink City” below.Â
Situated in close proximity to the Man Sagar Lake, Gaitor is a the resting place of the royalty that once ruled Jaipur, but have now moved on to the afterlife. The Egyptian pharaohs built mammoth pyramids to preserve their mortal remains, which now stand as an eternal reminder of the powerful rulers that reigned there. Similarly, the Gaitor stands as cremation ground for all of Jaipur's royalty, barring Maharaja Sawai Ishwari Singh the Second. It holds numerous intricately carved marble cenotaphs, each unique in design, which narrates the story of the life of the king it belongs to.
Swargasuli or Isar Lat was built in the mid 18th century to commemorate Ishwari Singh's victory over Mewar and the formidable Maratha armies. This monumental seven story minaret is situated right in the middle of Tripolia Bazaar, and happens to be one of the tallest structures in Jaipur. A perfect example of Rajasthani design, it is said that Swargasuli was inspired by the Qutub minar built in New Delhi. One can enjoy an unobstructed bird's eye view of Jaipur City from this tower, which is finely decorated in exquisite lattice work. Swargasuli literally means a 'minaret reaching for the heavens'; one look at this towering structure, and you'd know why the name is indeed so apt!
City Palace came into existence pretty much around the same time as the city itself. The original palace was built by Sawai Jai Singh II, and over the years his successors brought about numerous additions to it. Even today, the marble and vegetable paint work is more or less intact, and every year attracts hundreds of tourists to marvel at this royal abode. City Palace is more of a complex consisting of Mubarak Mahal, Diwan-i-aam or hall of the audience, Sihel Khana, Chandra Mahal and Govind Dev Ji Temple. Even today a part of this complex is inhabited by descendants of the royal family, and of course that part is heavily guarded and restricted for public entry. The rest has been converted into museums, galleries or shops. As you enter the complex, you'd come across the Mubarak Mahal or the textile museum, where clothes belonging to the Royal family are displayed. To the right of it is the Maharaja Gallery, which back then was called Diwan-i-aam. Today, this gallery displays paintings, pottery and various such art forms that can even be bought. Diwan-i-Khas still has on display, the humongous silver vessel that has found its way to the Guinness Records. The Buggi Khana, Shiel Khana or the house of weapons and Sabha Niwas still have traces of the glorious bygone Rajput era. To completely understand the history of this magnificent place, it is advisable to get a guide to take you around.
Situated near the City Palace, Tripolia Bazaar is mainly a cluster of shops selling ironware, brass ware and carpets. The small stores offer high-quality and durable utensils as well as exquisite furniture to pretty up your home. The colorful range of carpets is something you cannot miss, as each one reflects Indo-Heratic art embellished with motifs and delicate designs. If accessories is your thing, walk upto the Maniharon Ka Rasta stores selling stunning lac bangles. Open seven days of the week, Tripolia Bazaar is a popular destination with shoppers and rightly so!Â
Jantar Mantar is a fantastic collation of astronomical instruments planned by the visionary ruler of Jaipur, Maharaja Jai Singh II. After a successful construction of Jantar Mantar in Delhi, the Maharaja built the same in Jaipur, which also happens to be the largest observatory in India. In 1901, the devices were restored with white marble and red sandstone for better clarity in denoting time. Jantar and Mantar mean instrument and calculation respectively. The Jaipur location comprises of 16 geometric instruments that measure time across various dimensions including latitude, longitude, position of the sun, planet inclination and declination. Starting from the small sundials, compass, Jai Prakash Yantra (instrument), Nadivalaya (Northern and Southern hemispheres), Yantra Raj, Rashivalaya Yantra (Sun Signs instrument) and moving on to the Rama Yantra, Digmasa Yantra, Chakra Yantra, all of which record accurate time. This biggest sun dial in the world standing 44 meters tall is the highlight of this center. Here, it is best suggested to book a guide who will provide a detailed insight into the center. A great place of interest for historians, scientists, artists and mathematicians, Jantar Mantar is highly educating and awe-inspiring for people from all walks of life.
Hawa Mahal or “Palace of Winds” as it is also called, has been synonymous with Jaipur for many centuries now, and very understandably so. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh’s brainchild, Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 to allow the protected womenfolk of the royal families to catch a glimpse of the bustling city life without having to defy the then-prevalent pardah system. The total of 953 “Jharokas” or screened windows made of sandstone, make for a unique honey comb like facade for the Mahal. The unique pyramid like structure was a later edition to the original City Palace Complex. Standing 5 stories tall, Hawa Mahal, like any other palace is complete with a courtyard or Jaleb Chowk, as it was called back then. Since many years, Hawa Mahal has been in every Jaipur tourist itinerary, but now it has sadly been reduced to a faint remnant of its former glory. With shops opened all around it and the Mahal itself ironically closed to the public, one can only hope for the restoration work to come about soon so that, this symbolic palace regains all of the awe it deserves. Â Â
A city of strange blends when it comes to shopping, Jaipur is where you will find malls selling branded stuff and also glorious old fashioned bazaars which refuse to go out of style. On such example is that of Bapu Bazaar, where best bargains on Mojris, perfumes and traditional tie-and-dye textiles are available. Embroidered shoes made of camel skin is yet another specialty here. This bazaar is one among the six important bazaars of Jaipur and is very popular with the tourists. And if at all you want to take a break from the riot of sights, sounds and colors, indulge in some local snacks sold by roadside vendors. Trust this place to take up a lot of your time as it has so much to offer.