There are many historical places to visit in Jaipur, a vibrant and colourful city of Rajasthan. More commonly known as the Pink City, Jaipur has the reputation of being the first planned city of India. Known for its stories of bravery, chivalry and valor, Jaipur is a city of exquisite charm, natural splendor and unique architectural grandeur. Majestic forts and havelis, captivating palaces, tranquil gardens, pious temples, serene lakes, charm of camel safaris, narrow streets of bustling bazaars, rich cultural heritage, enchanting folk music and rustic village life lures tourists to this capital city of Rajasthan.
This hilltop fort complex lies on the dusty Aravalli hill range, 11 km outside Jaipur. It was the capital of the Rajputs for 700 years and the original residence of the royal family, before Jaipur was constructed. Built in a combination of Hindu and Islamic architectural elements, it encloses pretty palaces, imposing gates and several official buildings. These are decorated with wall murals, carvings, and mirror and glass work. Take a moment to admire the magnificent inlay work in the Sheesh Mahal or Hall of Mirrors. The fort truly comes alive in the evenings with a light and sound show, which narrates its history itself.
The city’s most striking landmark is famous for its pink latticed windows and balconies which offer panoramic views of the city below. This ‘Palace of Winds’ as it is often called, was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, and used by the women in the royal family to observe the city’s processions without being seen. Built with red and pink sandstone, the five-storey monument was designed by Lal Chand Ustad who drew upon several Mughal architectural elements. An important note for visitors: entry to the Hawa Mahal isn’t from the façade but through a side road at the rear end of the monument.
Eating at any ITC hotel across the country can be a delightful experience. You get used to a certain standard and that, thankfully, is maintained throughout. The Jal Mahal restaurant in ITC Rajputana is no different. It is also the hotel’s acknowledgement and tribute to the royal cuisine of Rajasthan. The place is open for buffets and the choice of dishes is vast and varied. You get to taste not only different cuisines from across the world but also traditional Rajasthani cuisine from different parts of the colourful state.
The creative chef is a Rajasthani and knows his Ker Sangri and Kachri and can give you authentic Rajasthani soolas and soyeta. You can start your meal with veg starters like Paneer ka Soola or Sangri ke Shammi, while non-vegetarians can try the Macchi Mewari, Tarkha Murgh or Maas ke Soola. All popular Rajasthani dishes like Laal Maas, Safed Maas, Chakki ka Saag and Gatta Curry as well as Bajre ka Soyeta are available here. Rajasthani Thalis, in veg and non-veg offerings, are also available: Shakahari Thali and Manasahari Thali. The desserts are true-blue Rajasthani preparations; take your pick from Malpua Rabadi, Mishri Mawa, Rajbhog and Malai Ghewar. The food is excellent, service is good and it’s certainly worth a visit.
It is Located in the old part of the city, the City Palace encloses several palaces, courtyards and gardens. These have been built over the last two centuries, and are a blend of the Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. The royal family continues to live in a part of the palace, and this impressive complex still exudes a regal aura.
Your first major stop inside will be the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum, which has a good collection of royal costumes, weapons, miniature paintings, manuscripts and sculptures. Other highlights include the Diwan-i-Am or the Hall of Public Audience, where durbars (royal courts) were held, and which still has painted walls and ceiling, marble pillars and glass chandeliers. Another hall, the Diwan-i-Khas, was used during ceremonies, and exhibits the largest silver water containers in the world.