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Jaipur


Jaipur popularly known as the Pink City, is the capital of Rajasthan state, India. Historically rendered as Jeypore, founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, the ruler of Amber.

The city is remarkable among pre-modern Indian cities for the width and regularity of its streets which are laid out into six sectors separated by broad streets 111 ft (34 m) wide. The urban quarters are further divided by networks of gridded streets. Five quarters wrap around the east, south, and west sides of a central palace quarter, with a sixth quarter immediately to the east. The Palace quarter encloses a sprawling palace complex (the Hawa Mahal, or palace of winds), formal gardens, and a small lake. Nahargarh Fort crowns the hill in the northwest corner of the old city. Another noteworthy building is Sawai Jai Singh's observatory, Jantar Mantar.

HISTORY
Jaipur, the pink city was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, a Kachwaha Rajput, who ruled from 1699-1744. Initially his capital was Amber (city), which was shifteddue to the increase in population and growing scarcity of water.

After several battles with Marathas, Jai Singh was keen on the security aspect of the city, he focused on his scientific and cultural interests to make a brilliant city. Being, a lover of mathematics and science, Jai Singh sought advice from Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal, to aid him design the city architecture.

With a strategic plan, the construction of the city started in 1727. It took around 4 years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks, out of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, whereas the remaining seven blocks were allotted to the public. In order to ensure the security, huge fortification walls were made along with seven strong gates.

According to that time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent. In 1853, when Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted in Pink color to welcome him. Still, the neat and broadly laid-out avenues, painted in pink provide a magical charm to the city.

GEOGRAPHY
Jaipur is located at 26°55′N 75°49′E 26.92,75.82. It has an average elevation of 432 metres (1417ft). The district is situated in the eastern part of Rajasthan, bounded in the north by Sikar and Alwar, in South by Tonk, Ajmer and Sawai Madhopur. Nagaur, Sikar and Ajmer in the west and in east by Bharatpur and Dausa districts.

The major rivers passing through the Jaipur district are Banas and Banganga. Ground water resources to the extent of about 28.65 million cubic meter are available in the district.

Jaipur has a semi-arid climate. Although it receives over 50 cm (20 inch) of rainfall annually the rainfall is concentrated in the monsoon months between June and September. Temperatures remain relatively high throughout the year, with the summer months of April to early July having average daily temperatures of around 30oC. During the monsoon months there are frequent, heavy rains and thunderstorms, but flooding is not common. The winter months of November to February are mild and pleasant, with average temperatures in the 15-18°C range and little or no humidity. There are however occasional cold waves that lead to temperatures near freezing.

CULTURE
Jaipur has a rich culture for which it has been well known.Jaipur Tamasha, a unique musical folk play, is a 19th century. The contemporary emperor of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh brought a few artists to Jaipur from Aurangzeb’s Darbar and settled them in Brahmpuri. The foremost among them was the Bhatt Family of Jaipur. Here in under the proximity of the chief of the Bhatt family, Shri Banshidhar Bhatt, Tamasha style developed a specific form and is being performed from the last 250 years in the open theatre called ‘Akhara’.

In this way Tamasha is being improvised new Tamashas are being written upon the present circumstances and upon the contemporary problems. After Shri Banshidhar Bhatt, Mr Vsasudev Bhatt a man of his fourth generation wrote a couple of tamashas on many contemporary issues give a living heath to this skill.


PLACES OF TOURIST INTEREST



AMBER FORT
Amber Fort also known as Amer Fort is located in Amber, 11 km from Jaipur, Rajasthan state, India. It was the ancient citadel of the ruling Kachhawa clan of Amber, before the capital was shifted to present day Jaipur. Amber Fort is known for its unique artistic style, blending both Hindu and Muslim (Mughal) elements, and its ornate and breathtaking artistic mastery. The fort borders the Maota Lake, and is a major tourist attraction in Rajasthan.

Amber was originally built by the Meenas in the town they consecrated to Amba, the Mother Goddess, whom they knew as `Gatta Rani' or `Queen of the Pass' . The initial structure of the fort was entirely completed by Jai Singh I. Amber was modified by successive rulers over the next 150 years, until the Kachwahas shifted their capital to Jaipur during the time of Sawai Jai Singh II.

The structure which is known today as "Amber Fort" was initially a palace complex within the original fort of Amber that is today known as Jaigarh Fort. Connected to Amber via fortified passages, Jaigarh Fort is located on a hill above the Amber complex, and is constructed of red sandstone and white marble. It overlooks Maotha Lake, and was reputed to be the treasure vault of the Kacchwaha rulers.

Like the entire fort complex, Amber Fort is also constructed of white and red sandstone. The Fort is unique in that its outside, an imposing and rugged defensive structure, is markedly different from its inside, an ornate, lavish interior influenced by both Hindu and Muslim (Mughal) styles of ornamentation. The walls of the interior of the fort are covered with murals, frescoes, and paintings depicting various scenes from daily life. Other walls are covered with intricate carvings, mosaic, and minute mirror work.
Amber Fort is divided into four sections. Each is accessible via large staircases from a central location, or from a broad pathway leading to each of the sections. The pathways are currently used to transport tourists via an elephant ride. The main entrance of Amber Fort, Surajpol, leads to the Jaleb chowk, the main courtyard of the Fort where the staircase to the palace is located. In ancient times, Jaleb Chowk was the area where returning armies were paraded back home.

Just prior to the palace entrance is a narrow staircase leading to the Kali Temple, also known as the Shila Devi Temple, made popular for its enormous silver lions. The Kali Temple is known for its silver doors with raised reliefs. According to legends, Maharaja Man Singh I had worshiped Kali for a victory over the rulers of Bengal. The legend says that Kali appeared in the Maharaja's dream and ordered him to recover her statue from the Jessore seabed (now in Bangladesh) and place it in an appropriate temple. However, it is said that the Maharaja recovered the statue from the bed of the sea and created the temple. A tourist curiosity is an image of Ganesha at the temple entrance, carved entirely from a single piece of coral.

Today, tourists can ride up to the fort from the base of the hill on elephants. On the ride, one can see the skyline of Jaipur, Maotha lake, and the original city walls. The fort can be toured with a guide or on one's own. You also have audio guides available in various languages. The sound and light show in the evening is worth a view.

One of the most striking parts of the fort is the Hall of Mirrors ‘Sheesh Mahal’. When the palace was occupied by royalty, the hall could be lit at night by a single candle because of all the tiny, intricate mirrors.

HAWA MAHAL

Hawa Mahal, Palace of Winds, built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and designed by Lal Chand Usta in the form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. It forms part of the City Palace and extends the Zenana or women's chambers, the chambers of the harem. Its original intention was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen.
It has five stories and is constructed of red and pink sandstone, highlighted with white quakeee quick lime. The side facing the street outside the palace complex has 953 small windows, and the breeze (hawa) which circulates through these windows gives the palace its name, and keeps it cool even in hot months.

The entrance opens onto a courtyard with a double-storied building on three sides, and one on the eastern wing with three more stories, which is just one room wide. There are no stairs to reach the upper floors, only ramps.

JAIGARH FORT

Jaigarh Fort, located around 15 km from Jaipur, is one of the most spectacular forts in India, with almost all its original facilities intact. While Jaigarh Fort is on top of the hill, Amber Fort is at the bottom. The forts are connected through well-guarded passages. Many consider the two together as one complex.

Jaigarh Fort was a center of artillery production for the Rajputs and it is home to the world's largest cannon on wheels, the Jaivana. The foundries provide fascinating information for the visitors. The manner in which they drew in blasts of air from the desert is most intriguing. A 5km long canal can be seen entering the fort complex to bring in water from the high hills and store in the fort for the armymen. A huge water tank is centrally located connecting the canal. It is assumed that the Kings of Amber/Jaipur used the compartments below the water tank to store the gold and jewellery of the royal family. It is said that this tank was opened during the Emergency declared by the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi during 1975-1977.

NAHARGARH FORT
Nahagarh Fort stands on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, overlooking the pink city of Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The view of the city from the fort is breath taking. Along with Amber Fort and Jaigarh Fort it formed a strong defence ring for the city. During the Sepoy revolt of 1857, Nahagarh served as a refuge for Europeans fleeing from the havoc created by mutineers in neighboring states. The word Nahargarh means the abode of tigers.

Built mainly in 1734 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, it is partially in ruins. It was extended in 1868. The rooms are linked by corridors and still have some delicate frescos. There are nine apartments for the nine queens the Maharaja had and all are well planned and decorated. Nahargarh is also called as the Hunting residence of Maharajas.

JANTAR MANTAR
The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Maharaja - meaning King - Jai Singh II at his then new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is modelled after the one that he had built for him at the then Mughal capital of Delhi. He had constructed a total of five such labs at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest of these.

The name is derived from yantra, instrument, and mantra, for formula or in this context calculation. Therefore jantar mantar means literally 'calculation instrument'.
The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes and related ephemerides. Each is a fixed and 'focused' tool, used for announcing eclipses and the arrival of monsoons.

Built of local stone and marble, each instrument carries an astronomical scale, generally marked on the marble inner lining; bronze tablets, all extraordinarily accurate, were also employed. Thoroughly restored in 1901, the Jantar Mantar was declared a national monument in 1948.

CITY PALACE

Located in the heart of the walled city, The City Palace Complex gives you an idea about the far sightedness of the founder of Jaipur Sawai Jai Singh. Jai Singh built the outer walls but its many buildings were built later and some of them date in the twentieth century too.

The palace is blend of Mughal and Rajasthani architecture and the royal family still lives in a part of the palace. On entering the complex and before the palace proper lies the Mubarak Mahal, the palace of welcome or reception. Sawai Madho Singh built the palace in the nineteenth century.

The building now forms the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum and on display here are a wide array of royal costumes, some very exquisite and precious Pashmina (Kashmiri) Shawls, Benaras silk saris, Sanganeri prints and folk embroidery. An unusual display is that of voluminous clothes worn by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I (ruled 1750-68).

The Maharani's Palace, the palace of the Queen paradoxically puts a display of the Rajput weaponry. The inestimable collections of weapons date back to even 15th century and are in a remarkable state of preservation. Other exhibits include protective chain armours, pistols, jewelled and ivory handled swords, a belt sword, small and assorted cannons, guns, poison tipped blades and gun powder pouches. The frescos on the ceiling are amazing and well preserved.

This is a marble paved pavilion and puts on display the world largest sterling silver object two gigantic silver vessels. These vessels were made for Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II, who took in along with him filled with water from River Ganga for drinking. As a devout Hindu the Maharaja did not wish to risk polluted English waters. The ceiling also has large chandeliers,the Guinness Book of Records accounts it has the biggest silver objects in the world.

The art gallery is located in the Diwan-I-Aam. The Chandra Palace is still occupied by the royal family but visitors can visit the ground floor where some exhibits are on display. However the visit here is worthwhile for the exquisite Peacock in the courtyard outside.

JAL MAHAL
Jal Mahal, the Rajput style "Water Palace" sits in the center of the Mansagar lake. The lake is often dry in the summer but winter monsoons frequently turn it into a beautiful lake filled with water hyacinths. It is on the way to Sisodia garden.