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The City Palace Museum located in the heart of the Pink City, symbolizes the the city's rich cultural past. The museum boasts of having ancient and prized possessions. It houses handwritten scriptures as well as old mythological paintings. You will also be amazed to see the large silver vessels, painted ceilings and huge chandeliers. Objects belonging to the Mughals and the Persians is also housed here. The museum made its mark in The Guinness Book of World Records for having the biggest silver objects in the world. It is truly majesty and grandeur typified.
The City Palace came into existence pretty much around the same time as the city of Jaipur itself. The original palace was built by Sawai Jai Singh II, and over the years his successors brought about numerous additions to it. Clad in pink sandstone, the royal abode is one the city's most visited attractions; it's a treat for the travelers and a pride of the locals. City Palace is more of a complex consisting of the 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, however entry to those section is restricted. The rest has been converted into museums, galleries, or shops. Today, the 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.
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.
Situated near the City Palace, Tripolia Bazaar is mainly a cluster of shops selling ironware, brassware, 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 are your thing, walk up to 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!
Hawa Mahal or “Palace of Winds” as it is also called, has been a cornerstone of Jaipur's architecture for centuries. 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 honeycomb-like facade of the Mahal. The unique pyramid-like structure was a later addition to the original City Palace Complex. Standing five stories tall, Hawa Mahal, like any other palace is complete with a courtyard or Jaleb Chowk, as it was called back then. An ornate remnant of the Rajput Architecture, Hawa Mahal narrates fascinating tales of the city's aristocratic past.
Jaipur is known as 'Gem City of India', and Johari Bazaar is a magnificent testament to this fact. The finest ethnic jewelry including gold, silver, precious and semi-precious stones are displayed at all the stores in this market. The endearing collection features pendants, earrings, necklaces, bangles and other accessories that are intricately designed by skilled artisans. For those who are ready to shell out a bit more, the Kundan and Minakari art are some of the luxuriant and exquisite choices in jewelry. Also, it is best to be well informed about gemstones before you enter here.
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.
If at all there was a ‘Jewel in the crown’ contest, as far as Jaipur is concerned, the Albert Hall would run away with all the honors. This hall still manifests British influences in terms of architecture, which incidentally, is a rare occurrence in a city replete with Rajputana designs. Built in the late nineteenth century to welcome the erstwhile Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, it was actually envisaged as a town hall, but was converted into a museum by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II. Today, however, one can be audience to a mix bag of exhibits that range from pottery, sculptures, musical instruments, weapons and scriptures. Look out for the Egyptian mummy that is on display on the ground floor. Not only the exhibitions, but even the paintings adorning the walls of the entrance, the miniature fountain in the main veranda and the delicate marble work, speak of class and elegance that by far remains unmatched for its old world elegance. With so much of history behind each carefully picked exhibit, it is best advised to get a guide to take you around, or perhaps opt for an audio guide that is available at the ticket counter in more than five different languages.
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.
Far away from the city center, lies the historic Galtaji Temple which was a drought-stricken place in the past. Centuries ago an ascetic named Galav meditated for more than a hundred years to appease the Gods and Goddesses, who then blessed him and the fervent locals with a perennial natural spring in this region. In the 18th Century, this temple was built in honor of the selfless effort of the saint. Galtaji has many temples within its premises. The pink sandstone exteriors and spellbinding architecture of these temples might easily be mistaken for palaces. Situated atop the hill, this temple dedicated to the Sun God, is considered the most sacred of all the shrines here. On auspicious occasions, devotees cleanse themselves in the holy natural springs and offer their prayers to God. Positive vibrations of devotional hymns and expansive views of the city, contribute to the tranquility of this sacred space.
Certain sports are usually associated with Royalty, and hunting is one of them. Jal Mahal is one of the remnants of the bygone era, where animal and bird hunting was a royal sport. This five-story palace which was an architectural marvel of its time served as a hunting palace since the time it was built by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 AD. It got its name because of its location in the middle of the Mansagar Lake; Jal means water. Four of its floors are now submerged into the lake, with only the top-most story and the terrace visible to anyone standing on the edge of Mansagar. For decades, the Mansagar Lake has attracted various species of fauna and birds, thus making it a fitting spot to hunt that perfect game. Unfortunately today, Jal Mahal is closed for public visits, though one can still enjoy its beauty from afar, which is not a bad deal at all as the Mansagar Dam and Aravali Mountains in the backdrop make for some stunning views.
The Man Sagar lake is named after the king who commanded the lake to built, Raja Man Sigh I. This lake dates back to as early as the 17th Century and houses the Jal Mahal, a one-of-a-kind palace in the middle on the lake. Strategically designed, the lake was built as a water reservoir in the drought-trodden land of Rajasthan.