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Jaipur: Rajasthan’s paradise city

Soak up the rich culture of regal Jaipur. Walk around in the old pink city’s street and bazaars and discover the architectural wonders of the rajput legacy.

From the bustling bazaars and the deafening noise of rickshaw horns to the five-star royal palaces and impromptu elephant rides, the city of Jaipur is completely engulfed in this rich culture that takes over you the minute your feet hit the ground.

Founded by Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727, the oldest city of Rajasthan was laid out according to a conventional nine-grid pattern, which astrologers thought to be very lucky.

The heart of Jaipur is the City Palace with everything else built around it. And though the city has grown far beyond the original plan, the wide roads and well laid out bazaars remain proof of the vast planning that went into building the ‘Pink City’ -labelled like that purely because of the colour of the stone walls which were all touched up to commemorate a Royal visit by the Prince of Wales in 1905-6.

Nothing can quite match the breath taking view you get of the city from the rooftops of one of the regal palaces or forts, with the sunset in the background. As the city goes about with its day-to-day business, you can almost sink into the bricks and imagine the magnificent rich lifestyle the rulers would have enjoyed.

Tourists are spoilt for choice with various attractions, which include: the Hawa Mahal Palace, Jal Mahal Palace, Jaigarh Fort, Amber Fort and Nahargarh Fort. Of course the City Palace still remains the main attraction for visitors and those who are lucky enough may catch a glimpse of the current Maharajah, 13-year-old Maharaja Padmanabh Singh.

If he’s not having a walk-about through the palace, then for a fixed-rate fee, guests are able to enjoy a royal cup of chai and sweets with the wealthy teenager.

While each attraction remains to be an architectural gem, you can really only appreciate the worth by delving into the deep history of the Maharaja’s, and so having a guide can be quite handy. There are always a number of official English-speaking  guides available with a usual fixed-rate, so there is no added pressure of having to negotiate. For travellers who prefer to take their own time, digital audio guides in several languages are also available on hire from each attraction.

Travelling with a pre-hired car is the quickest and most convenient way to get around the city if you intend on trying to see as many sights as possible. And for the more daring, there is always the option of climbing up the forts on foot, but in the scorching heat, this option is definitely not for the faint hearted.

A real delight for mathematical whizzes is Jantar Mantar – home to five astronomical observatories built by the Maharaja Jai Singh and part of the UNESCO world heritage group. It consists  of 14 major geometric devices used for measuring time, predicting eclipses and tracking stars in their orbits. The accuracy of the tools even today will surely leave you feeling amazed.

Jaipur is a complete heaven for shoppers, with everything from exotic pottery, block printed textiles, and sandalwood-carving items on offer, to hand made jewellery and the world famous colourful glass and fabric bangles. As you trawl through the main markets of Johari Bazar, Bapu Bazar and Nehru Bazar, be prepared to push your way through a busy crowd of locals and haggle with the shop owners.

For those who want to indulge in romantic surroundings, a visit to the Taj-owned Rambagh Palace or the lush Amanbagh Resort may be more ideal. These lavish resorts will transport you into a world of luxurious tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Make the dream a reality

Currency – 1GBP = 85.83 INR (Rs)

Flights – Fly to Jaipur Airport from East Midlands Airport with Bmi baby, Lufthansa and Air India. GETTING AROUND

Car Hire – from Rs. 5.5 per km or from Rs. 100 to keep overnight (With a daily minimum of 250km)

Taxi – private taxis charge from Rs. 4.5 per km (With a daily minimum of 250km)

Train – The railway reservation office is open for advance reservations only. For same- day travel, buy your ticket at the train station. For enquiries call 131.

Bus – Fares range from Rs. 6 (0-4km) to Rs. 30 (more than 30km), single daily pass is Rs. 40 and the children under-12 daily pass is Rs. 25.

Accommodation – Mirza Ismail Road, popularly known as M.I. Road is the place to stay. It is close tomany tourist attractions such as the Ram Niwas Gardens, the Central Museum, and the Heaven-Piercing Minaret.

2-3 stars hotels range from: Rs. 975 to Rs. 2,600 per night.

4-5 stars hotels range from: Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 13,400 per night.

 *All prices and conversions correct at time of print.


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