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Rajasthan The Heritage State- Jaipur

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JAIPUR - The Pink City of India

The picturesque capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is color washed pink-the color associated with hospitality in Rajput culture. Built in 1727 A.D. by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, Jaipur displays a remarkable harmony and architectural splendor. The ancient heart of the Pink City still beats in its fairy-tale palaces, rugged fortresses perched on barren hills and broad avenues that dot the entire city. The only planned city of its time, Jaipur is encircled by a formidable wall.

A young Bengali architect, Vidyadhar Bhattacharya formalised the city's plans in a grid system. The wide straight avenues. Roads, streets, lanes and uniform rows of shops on either side of main bazaars were arranged in nine rectangular city sectors (Chokris), in accordance with the principles of town planning set down in the Shilpa Shastra - and epochal treatise on the Hindu architecture. There is a timeless appeal to Jaipur is colorful bazaars where one can shop for Rajasthani handlooms and trinkets. Beautifully laid out gardens and parks, attractive monuments and marvelous heritage hotels, once the residence of Maharaja's are worth admiration. Not to mention the ambling camels and cheerful people in multi-hued costumes that make your trip to the pink city a memorable one.
Historical Sites
The City Palace: In the heart of the old city is former royal residence built in a blend of the Rajasthani and Mughal styles. The carved arches are supported by grey-white marble columns ornate with floral motifs in gold and colored stones. Two carved elephants in marble guard the entrance. The retainers whose families have served generations of rulers serve as guides.

The palace houses a museum with a superb collection of Rajasthani costumes and armory of Mughals and Rajputs including swords of different shapes and sizes with chased handles, some of them inlaid with enamel and embellished with jewels and encased in magnificent scabbards.

The palace also has an art gallery with an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal paraphernalia and rare astronomical works in Arabic,Persian,Latin and Sanskrit, acquired by Sawai Jai Singh II to study astronomy in detail.

Jantar Mantar: A stone observatory. Largest of Jai Singh's five remarkable observatories. Its complex instruments,whose setting and shapes are scientifically designed, represent the high points of medieval Indian astronomy.The most striking of these are the Ram Yantras used for gauging altitudes.

Hawa Mahal: Built in 1799 A.D. the Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds is a major Rajput landmark. This five storey building along the main street of the old city is in pink splendor with semioctagonal and delicately honey combed sandstone windows.

The monument was originally conceived with the aim of enabling ladies of the royal household to watch the everyday life and royal processions of the city.

Govind Devji Temple: The most popular spireless temple of Jaipur dedicated to Lord Krishna. It is located in the central pavilion of the Jai Niwas Garden to the north of Chandra Mahal. The image of the patron deity-Govind Devji,originally installed in a temple of Vrindavan, was reinstalled here by Sawai Jai Singh II as his family deity.

Ram Niwas Bagh: A lush spacious garden with a zoo, an aviary, a greenhouse, a herbarlum , a museum and popular sport ground. It was built by Sawai Ram Singh II in the 1868 A.D. as a famine relief project. The Albert Hall-fine example of Indo Sarcenic style of architecture designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, was opened later with an exquisite collection of sculptures, paintings, decorative wares, natural history specimen, and Egyptian mummy and the celebrated Persian carpet.

Galtaji: An ancient pilgrimage centre, lying beyond the gardens amidst low hills.Temples ,pavilions and holy kunds (natural spring and reservoirs) along with lush landscape make it a delightful spot. The small temple of the Sun god, built by Diwan Kriparam on the top of the highest peak is visible from all parts of the city.

Moti Doongari and Lakshmi Narayan Temple: Moti Doongari is a privately owned hilltop fort built like a scottish castle. The Ganesh Temple at the foot of the hill and the marvellous Lakshmi Narayan Temple built in marbles a few years back,are also noteworthy.

The Kanak Vrindavan Complex of fine temples and gardens has been recently renovated to their pristine perfection. To the west of this road is the royal crematorium at Gaitore in a narrow valley with some spectacular cenotaphs of all the Jaipur rulers except Swai Ishwari Singh who was cremated outside the Jai Niwas Garden. Most imposing is the chattri of Sawai Jai Singh II with the intricate carvings and a graceful shape.

Amer: Former capital of the Kachhwaha rulers of the old state of Dhundhar for seven centuries. Very little of the early structures survive now.

Amer Palace and Shila Mata Temple: A beautiful complex of palaces, halls,pavilions,gardens and temples built by Raja Man Singh,Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh over a period of about two centuries still stand in magnificent state. The palace complex emerges dramatically from the placid waters of the Maotha Lake and is approachable only through a steep path. Tourists often ride on the elephant bak to the Singh pol and th Jaleb Chowk. Two flights of stairs rise from on end of the chowk, one leading to the Shila Mata Temple and other to the palace complex. The image of the patron of goddess,worshipped by thousands of deovtees, was brought from Jessore in East Bengal (now in Bangladesh) by Raja Man Singh, to be installed here. The well proportioned Mohan Bari or Kesar Kyari in the centre of the Maotha Lake and the Dilaram Bagh at its north end provides a spectacular view of the palaces above.

Old City: Once a settlement of nobles,craftsmen and common folks, the city of Amer is now in ruins. The remanants of its rich past are the beautifully carved and planned Jagat Shiromani Temple, a Krishna temple associated with Meerabai, an ancient temple of Narsinghji and a magnificent step-well,Panna Mian-ka-kund.

Jaigarh: One of the few military structures of medieval India, retaining its ancient splendour in palaces,gardens , reservoirs, a granary, an armoury, a well planned cannon foundary, several temples, a tall tower and a giant mounted cannon-the Jai Ban,one of the largest in the country are preserved here. The extensive parkotas (wallls), watch tower and gateways of Jaigarh dominate the western skyline.

Nahargarh: A sentinerl to the Pink City is Nahargarh Fort, situtated beyond the hills of Jaigarh. Although much of it is in ruins, the lvoerly building added by Sawai Ram Singh II and Sawai Madho Singh II provides interest to the fort.

EXCURSIONS
Sanganer (12 km): Located on the Tonk road,. In addition to its ruined palaces, Sanganer has exquisitely carved Jain temples. The town is entered through the ruins of two tripolias (Triple gateways) The town is an important centre for crafts industry and produces some of the finest hand printed textiles from units of block and screen printers. This textile is popular all over the country and abroad.

Samod (40 km, north west): The beautiful Samode Palace, has been rebuilt and renovated and provides a fine example of the Rajput haveli architecture and is an ideal spot for outings.

GETTING TO JAIPUR
- Jaipur is 262 kms from Delhi and is well connected by road, rail and air. A big fleet of deluxe and air conditioned buses is operated by the Rajasthan Roadways between Delhi and Jaipur. A special luxury train, the Palace on Wheels starts from Delhi on a round trip of Rajasthan.

GENERAL INFORMATION
Area :Jaipur City (Municipal limits 64.75 sq. km. ,Pink City 9.8 sq. km.)
Altitude : 431 metres
Climate : Mean Max. Mean Min.
Summer : 45.0 degree C 25.8 degree C
Winter : 22.0 degree C 8.3 degree C
Best Season : Spetember- March
Clothing : Summer light tropical
Winter: light woollen
Languages : English, Hindi, Rajasthani.