With almost 2.63 inhabitants Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan. It is also the most visited city in India after Delhi and Agra. Jaipur is a busy city and especially in the Old Town the streets are full of people, rickshaws, tuk tuks, cows and cars. Because of its pink houses Jaipur is also known as the “Pink City”. The impressive architecture, palaces, festivals, forts, green gardens and great views make Jaipur a fascinating city. I spent three days in Jaipur and had enough time to visit the most important sights. The best way to explore the city is by hiring a tuk tuk. The Old Town can be easily visited on foot. Here are the ten top things you have to see in the city.
Albert Hall Museum
The Albert Hall was built in 1867 and is a mix of Venetian and Mogul style. Today it houses the Central Museum. Most of the collections deal with regional and Indian topics. There are beautiful potteries from Jaipur, Hindu statues, miniature paintings and artifacts from around the world.
The most significant attraction of Jaipur is the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), which was built in 1799. The pink sandstone windows have the shape of a half octagon and are beautifully perforated in a honeycomb style. Originally this building was used to let the ladies of the court participate in the daily life of the city. You can climb to the top of the Hawa Mahal and enjoy magnificent views of the city.
In the heart of the city lies the city palace with its numerous courtyards, gardens and buildings. The magnificent city palace is partially accessible to the public today. Some parts of the palace are still inhabited by the descendants of the Rajas. Center of the palace is the impressive seven-storey Chandra Mahal. Other highlights of the city palace are the Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), the Diwan-i-aam (Hall of Public Audience) and the Arms and Armour Museum.
Opposite the city palace is the observatory (Jantar Mantar), whose construction began in 1748. The interest of ruler Jai Singh in astronomy was far greater than his ability as a warrior. Of its five structures, the Jaipur Observatory is the largest and the best preserved. You can find various sundials and various other measuring instruments for determining the sun and the planets. The highlight of the observatory are the measuring instruments for the signs of the Zodiac “Rashi Valaya Yantra”.
Iswari Minar Swarga Sal
This 35-meter high minaret is also known as Isarlaat and offers panoramic views of the pink city. It is the tallest building in the Old City and was built by Maharaja Ishwari Singh, the successor of Jai Singh II, within the enclosure of the Royal Palace.
In 1734, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur, built the fortress as a retreat on top of the ridge above the city. The most interesting part of the complex, the Madhavendra Bhawan Palace, was created in the 19th century for the wives of Ram Singh II. A labyrinth of corridors, patios and rooms, some with windows, surrounds the courtyard. The upper terrace offers beautiful views of the pink city.
Just northeast of the city walls of Jaipur you can find the beautiful tombs of Gaitor. They look like small marble artworks in the beautiful garden landscape. Particularly impressive is the cenotaph of Jai Singh II, decorated with mythological scenes, whose white marble dome rests on 20 sculpted columns.
The Jal Mahal Water Palace is located just outside of Jaipur on the road to Amber Fort. The palace stands in the middle of a lake and is a popular stop for both European tourists and Indian visitors.
Amber Fort is located about eleven kilometers north of Jaipur. Already the way to the fort is spectacular. The complex sits enthroned on a steep mountain slope and is reflected in the small lake at its feet. A curvy cobblestone path leads past the artistically designed Mughal garden to the main gate of the complex, Suraj Pol. Behind the gate you can find several courtyards, the private chambers of the former rulers and a beautiful garden. The wealth of the Rajputs can be felt in every corner of the palace complex. You need at least two hours to visit Amber Fort.
Jaigarh Fort was built in the 17th century and sits on the hills high above Amber Fort. Its massive walls seem to stretch over the slopes for kilometers. Inside the fort you can explore a complex of royal apartments. Laksmi Vilas has beautiful blue frescoes, the remains of a charming ancient Mogul Garden and a small theater. From the top you can enjoy nice views of Amber Fort.