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Published on : Thursday, August 11, 2016
At the top of every tourist’s list, India’s Pink City is a delightful fusion of tradition and modernity, blended impeccably. With its rich, ancient heritage, colourful culture and the extremely warm and friendly local people, you will fall in love with the city instantly.
Constructed in 1727, under the leadership of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, Jaipur was transformed from a simple settlement to a flourishing centre of art and science and, as the first planned city in India, Jaipur’s construction was based on an astrological grid, for good luck. In 1876, the city got the moniker of the Pink City, when the sandstone, that the buildings were made of, was painted pink as that was the signature colour of Rajput hospitality and the city wanted to celebrate the visit of the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria.
So, let’s start with a typical two-day tour to Jaipur, with the Hawa Mahal as an ideal starting point. This romantic sandstone fortress, cascading over the streets of Jaipur, was originally built in 1799 as a vantage point for the ladies of the royal household. From behind the shadowed windows of Hawa Mahal, high above the streets, the women could observe the city below without being observed themselves. The landmark “honeycomb” facade of the structure reaches five stories high and is made up of 152 windows nestled into rounded latticed balconies, exemplifying the strong yet delicate Rajput architecture in all its splendour.
The next stop will be the famous City Palace, located just behind the Hawa Mahal. The heart of founder Jai Singh II’s reign, the City Palace includes Chandra Mahal and Mubarak Mahal as well as a number of other structures. Built with highly trained architectural care, it combines Rajput, Mughal and European styles and is another stunning example of Jaipur’s royal influences. Today, part of the City Palace is home to the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, which showcases historical relics and art from the city and the region.
Next in line will be the famous Jantar Mantar, one of the five well-known astronomical observatories developed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. A wonder to mathematicians, scientists and architects alike, the observatory is a collection of 19 well-built and highly accurate instruments, including the world’s largest stone sundial.
The last stop of the day can be the Albert Hall Museum, home to an industrial arts exhibit with artifacts and information on the history of traditional arts and crafts around Jaipur and Rajasthan.
Day two of the Jaipur tour can be spent in exploring the Brahma Temple in Pushkar and the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, two opposing places of worship, which are quite unique experiences by themselves. Located close to the sacred Pushkar lake, the Brahma temple, one of the very few in existence, dates to the 14th century, and is believed to be 2000 years old. As a result, devotees from across the world flock to this spot. Similarly, the Ajmer Sharif Dargah, dedicated to the Sufi saint, Moinuddin Chishty, is an equally sacred spot, as it’s believed that anyone who goes there and prays faithfully, will have his/her prayers answered.
“Jaipur is an extremely royal and grand holiday destination and I highly recommend it,” says Nidhi Batra, Nirvana’s co-founder. “It’s been quite a while since I last visited Jaipur, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was a mere 3-day trip, but what fun! More than anything else though, it’s the delicious food, the colourful city and the warm people that make it a vacation to remember!”
“ But mostly, as we at Nirvana Excursions, sincerely believe in creating long-lasting memories for every traveller, this strong conviction is reflected in all our journeys. Every single detail, right from the food served, to the vehicles, to the service provided by the hotels to the standard of the hotel properties, has the Nirvana approval mark on it, and therefore, every trip will always be a journey to remember.”