Jaipur - The Pink City
The Pink City
Jaipur, popularly known as the Pink City, was founded in 1727 AD by one of the greatest rulers of the Kachhawaha clan, the astronomer king Sawai Jai Singh. It was designed by the brilliant architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya.
Sawai Jai Singh came to the throne of Amer in 1699, at the tender age of 11 years and showed signs of his brilliance even at that early age. He faced many difficulties but overcame each, and thus proved a strong and able ruler who could establish peace and stability. By 1725, he decided to build a bigger city Jaipur - and moved his capital from Amer to Jaipur.
The remarkable city was considered a marvel of town planning and drew the peace-loving merchants and craftsman to its wide streets and mohallas, which were earmarked for them. Traditional crafts like jewellery , metalwork's ,enamellings, tie and dye, stone carving, pottery, leather work and miniature painting patronized by the rulers in the 18th century still continue to thrive to this day.
The Pink City and Rajasthan's colorful capital is full of things to see and do. There are impressive monuments, an excellent range of handicrafts, a wide variety of cuisine, and entertainment that can keep you enthralled for days. One can see the artisan at work as they give shape to some of the most exquisite handicraft items in the streets of the city.
Designed in accordance with ancient Hindu treatises on architecture, the Shilpa Shastra, Jaipur follows a grid system and is encircled by a fortified wall. The palace lies in the heart of the city and occupies the space of the central grid. The rest of the grids were cut across neatly by wide lanes which divided the area into tidy, well laid out rectangles for commercial and residential use. The fortified wall has seven gates and was built for protection from invading armies and wild animals who lurked just outside in the thick jungles which surrounded the city.
It is a city with timeless quality to it, a city where the ancient and the modern coexist in complete harmony. While the broad roads have had to accommodate the increasing numbers of vehicles, there is also a place for camel and bullock carts as also increasing tribe of cyclists. The pedestrian appears to fight for his space on the road and this coexistence is perhaps one of the strongest links with the past.
The colorfully attired women in their ghagra-odhani and men in spotless dhotis and equally colorful turbans this is how all the men and women of the early 18th and 19th centuries must have looked.
There are hundreds of beautiful temples with some fine carvings and painted walls. The meticulous planning and the amazing sights that have given Jaipur its unique charm are part of the city's rich heritage that is taken for granted by the local people, but for visitors these are a visual treat.
Today, the city has spread beyond these walls and reached neighboring towns and continues to grow. Like all other modern cities in the world, Jaipur too has been changing over the years. While the old Jaipur fascinates, the new Jaipur seems to cling to its past while making way for the future.
The first major monument that greets is the spectacular Hawa Mahal, or the the Palace of Winds that provides some excellent views of the streets from its fifth storey. Located just behind it are Jantar Mantar, the Unique observatory built by the founder of the city and City Palace with its fabulous museum that displays some of the most amazing treasures held by the Jaipur royal family. A little further away is the important temple of Galta and the gardens of Sisodia Rani and Vidyadhar.