JAIPUR : The Pink CityBack

The city owes its name, founding and planning to the great warrior-astronomer Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693 to 1743). In 1727, with Mughal power on the wane, Jai Singh decided the time was right to move from his cramped hillside fort at nearby Amber. He laid out the city, with its surrounding walls and rectangular blocks, according to principles set down in the Shilpa Shastra, an ancient Hindu architectural treatise. In 1728 he built Jantar Mantar, Jaipur's remarkable observatory.

In 1876, Maharaja Ram Singh had the entire old city painted pink, a colour associated with hospitality, to welcome the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), and the tradition has been maintained, the current maharaja is a great polo chum of Britain's Prince Charles.

Jaipur, the City of Victory, is chaotic and congested, though it still has a habit of tickling travellers pink. Stunning hilltop forts and glorious palaces fit like footprints from a rich royal past, candyfloss bright turbans blaze a trail through brilliant bargain filled bazaars, and fluttering saris catch the eye like butterflies.

One of the must visit markets of Jaipur is Bapu Bazaar that's right inside the old walled city and has a prime location so to say. For anyone looking for everything Jaipuri and traditional with a touch of modernity, this market is a one stop destination. Textile goods and joothis are a speciality of this bazaar that stands out for moderate prices and bargains too. So you can enjoy street shopping in Jaipur.

As the gateway to the desert state of Rajasthan, however, it's also a city permanently under siege. Package tourists are captivated by (and offloaded on) the bustling bazaars, world class hotels and clammy sophistication, while camel carts and cows waddle through diesel soaked streets, rampaging rickshaw drivers hustle and burn past businessmen and tourists, and scores of street children beg outside huge jewellery shops and palatial hotels.

Another most striking thing about Jaipur is its food. You can't miss to eat the traditional cuisine offerings here like Dal Bati Churma where Bati is a heated ball produced using flour which is then dipped in ghee and consumed with the dal. Churma is a flaky sweet dish created using flour that runs with the dish. It might sound heavy but it is super yummy. Other traditional foods include laal maas, kachoris, ghevar (a sweet dish which is disc shaped and is made from oil, flour and sugar syrup), gajak (a dry sweet made of seasme seeds or 'til' and cooked in sugar syrup), ker sangri (a special vegetable filled with spices grown only in hot weather conditions) and gatte ki sabzi (made of besan/gram flour, which is first boiled and later cooked in yogurt gravy).

Jaipur beams boldest at dusk when it's well worth walking to Amber and, much like its founder, Jai Singh II, the Pink City is both proud and resilient.

There's the Elephant Festival in March, Gangaur is celebrated in March or April and Teej celebrations occur in August. But before you leave the page, what you really can't miss about Jaipur and its palace hotels. Even if you don't wish to spend much on staying, a visit and a coffee at these 3 palace hotels is a must. The three main palace hotels that give you the real essence of royalty, luxury and opulence in Jaipur are Rambagh Palace, Samode Haveli and Rajputana Shereton.

At Rambagh Palace the finest of Rajput traditions and heritage pour out of every brick and cornice of the famed Rambagh Palace. Built in 1835, its elegant rooms, marbled corridors and majestic gardens echo with history. The palace remained the home of Jaipur's royalty until 1957 and was later converted into this royal hotel. Speaking of Samode Haveli, it is a traditional Indian mansion set in a verdant garden with apartments arranged around a series of intimate courtyards. Built 175 years ago as a residence of the rulers of Samode, it is still occupied by their descendants, who live in one part of the haveli, while the rest is being used as a hotel.

Lastly, the Rajputana Shereton is a hotel where you can enhance your stay in Jaipur by choosing from a range of the most royal and luxurious accommodation options at ITC Rajputana. Its range of opulent rooms and suites set a premium on luxury hospitality and offers you the true taste of Rajasthan. Grand, high on royalty and architectural marvels, these palace hotels are best heritage hotels in the world.


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