Jaipur, the capital of India's desert state Rajasthan is known as the Pink City due to the warm terracotta colour of the buildings within the Old City walls. When you first enter the old town through one of the entrance gates its like you are being transported back in time. The gates themselves are very grand and the wide streets behind are lined by shops selling everything you could possibly imagine from souvenirs and spices to home-wares, padlocks and steel pans.
|Old City Entrance Gate|
The Hawa mahal is one of the most iconic sights of Jaipur with its 953 lattice screened windows looking out on the city life below. It's hard to believe that a building with such impressive architecture is only a facade with no building behind it. However it did have an important job being built to allow the ladies of the royal court to keep watch over the city whilst remaining hidden from public view.
Jantar Mantar is one of the best observatories in India and is well worth a visit even for those who are not very scientifically minded. The many different instruments are fascinating and although it may be difficult to understand how they all work you can still admire the skill and craftsmanship used to make the instruments from marble and brass. The largest sundial in the observatory has made it into the Guinness book of records and tells the time today with remarkable accuracy.
No trip to Jaipur would be complete without a visit to the city palace with its magnificent architecture and detailed decoration. The palace gives a glimpse into how the Jaipur royal family once lived with the opulent interiors and grand halls. The family of the current maharaja still live in parts of the palace and it really grips the imagination.
Amer fort is another must see sight situated just outside Jaipur in the mountains. The fort is a glorious yellow colour and the winding pathway up to the entrance gate reminds you of a fairy tale castle. From the fort you get a beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and countryside and also of the perfectly maintained palace gardens which look like they are floating in the lake below. One of the best parts of the fort is the ladies quarters where although empty now you can easily imagine a time when it was full of life with the sounds of people talking, music playing and fabrics blowing gently in the breeze.