It is breath taking, swashbuckling, nerve wracking, spine tingling and what not? The pink walled desert capital has got it all! It won’t be too many words, if I say that the pink city of India richly illustrates the Indian heritage of a bygone era.
The Rajputs, the mahals, the vibe and the tranquillity beats the heat of the city hands down.
- Amber Fort and Palace
Set on the banks of Maota lake, the fort was an abode to the Rajput royalty, stationing myriad halls, gardens and temples. It covers four square kilometres and is eleven kilometres away from the city centre. Sans the staircase, the elevated entrance of the fort is the reason behind lurching elephants, incessant jeep rides and pedestrian walks through the gateway.
Anokhi Museum and the evening sound and light show, comprise the inevitable to-do list. “Amber by Night” offers the delightful experience of plunging into the historic era momentarily, under the guiding lights of the city in the evening. Sheesh mahal, Mansingh mahal, Diwan –i-aam all seem to be picturesque after the dusk. A must visit for people interested in the artistic block printing.
- Hawa mahal
The palace of the winds, is humongous and perhaps, the most popular. The five storey palace, situated on the main street of the exuberant Jaipur’s old city offers a vivid view from the top floor.
The story runs that in the prehistoric times, the women of the palace could glance at several ongoing proceedings on the street through these innumerable windows which even provided a breezy ambience during the festivities.
Much to the disappointment of contemporary travellers, most of the windows are now shut but the architecture is still mesmerising.
- Jantar Mantar
“Jantar mantar” is the Hindi parallel to calculation instrument. Constructed by King Jai Singh II, the 90 feet tall observatory is home to the famous Samrat Yantra sundial.
It is a rich collection of 19 astronomical instruments that deploys all three ancient coordinate systems of the 5 heavenly bodies. Built in 1734, it is the largest stone observatory of the world. With a meagre price of 20 INR, it is a must visit for all the astronomy buffs.
- Nahargarh Fort
On the rough terrains of the gigantic Aravallis, the Tiger fort (Nahargarh Fort) offers a panoramic view of the pink city. It was built in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh II.
The fort has now turned into a picnic spot, with a café in the vicinity. It calls for especially all the night people in pajamas, basking in the glory of sinking sun and galloping beer till 10 pm. Set magnificently under the night lights, the place is bewitching yet placid. With tourists from USA travelling all the way to Nahargarh in large flocks, say it all that why Indians shouldn’t be far behind.
It has got classy hotels and resorts mobbed nearby, for luxurious accommodation and comfortable travelling. With films like Rang De Basanti being shot over here, the fort is growing in name and fame, quite aptly.
- Monkey Temple
The Galta temple, renamed as the monkey temple due to the omnipresent monkeys in the campus is adjusted between two granite cliffs in the pink city. It is built within the Aravali hills. From the three sacred water pools, one is completely taken over by the ‘monkey’ empire that swims and bathes in it.
The poor maintenance of the temple, and the filthy premises can turn the mood sour of the travellers but around the sunset gangs of monkeys, perched on temple walls are a sight to watch at the divine place.
Beware of monkey thieves in the arena!
If the seemingly endless tiring walks took you over, then Chokhi Dhani isn’t a bad bet to savour the delicacies and relax.