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Jaipur: one of India’s tourism hotspots
One of India’s prime tourist destinations, the city of Jaipur is the largest in the state of Rajasthan and is full of cultural wonders and architectural delights. Domestic and international travellers alike come to visit the array of temples, forts and palaces that make this city a part of India’s tourism Golden Triangle. Known for its colourful buildings and hectic streets, Jaipur summarises India in a nutshell; a myriad of old glory amongst a modernising multicultural metropolis. It is also the gateway to Rajasthan, linking travellers to the surrounding nature and smaller cities of the state.
The Pink City
Jaipur is a relatively young city, founded in 1726 as a planned capital of Jai Singh II’s Kingdom. The core of the city is now referred to as the Old City or Pink City after all the buildings were painted pink in 1876 as part of a welcoming of the Prince of Wales. The Pink City is the main focus for tourists and contains many of the important structures and architectural highlights, including the City Palace. The Pink City is formed on a planned grid system around the palace and tourists wander up and down the streets enjoying the lively atmosphere and points of interest that lie around every corner. Dozens of temples and mosques can be found across this district, including the Govind Dev Ji Temple, one of the most revered temples in the Vaishnavism branch of Hinduism. Although most of the larger and more modern hotels in Jaipur are located in newer parts of the city, there is a variety of smaller properties and homestays offering guests the chance to be in the heart of the Pink City.
Colonial architecture providing further sights
Immediately south of the Pink City, lies the area containing much of Jaipur’s colonial influence which was developed through the nineteenth century. The vast Central Park is one of the main focuses of this district; a large open green space that is a popular location to escape the hustle and bustle of the city’s streets. The park also acts as a useful orientation landmark and is surrounded by several points of interest, for instance the restored Taj Rambagh Palace, the Albert Hall Museum, plus a number of churches and administrative buildings. A range of Jaipur hotels can be found in close proximity to these attractions, whilst there is also a particular concentration of accommodation options to the north east of the park. This region lies between the Pink City and Jaipur Central Train Station, thus providing an ideal location with quick access to transportation infrastructure as well as many of the city’s most popular attractions. Visitors looking for a hotel in Jaipur can also find some of the most affordable properties on offer in the city in this district.
Three historical forts overlooking the city
Around ten kilometres north of the city centre, the landscape rises sharply to provide a natural vantage point to look out across Jaipur, and provides home to three historical forts built by various rulers to defend the city. These days the forts are purely tourist attractions, favoured by history-lovers but also given a wider appeal by the stunning panoramic views on offer. The UNESCO World Heritage Amber Fort is the largest of the three forts; a vast complex featuring an array of fabulous architecture from a mix of Islamic and Hindu influences. The fort has beautiful views of the surrounding nature, including the picturesque Maota Lake, thus it easy to see why it is one of Jaipur’s most visited attractions. On the same hillside as Amber Fort is the Jaigarh Fort, a much smaller fortification that was built to protect the former structure and therefore has great photo opportunities overlooking the larger fort. Finally, lying to the east of the two is the Nahargarh Fort, accessed via a separate road and positioned in a more central location overlooking Jaipur. Visiting one or more of the forts is a must do on a visit to the city and is easily possible as a day trip from any Jaipur hotel.
Delightful cuisine and exotic shopping opportunities
Aside from the architectural wonders and strong religious focus, Jaipur’s culture is well reflected in the city’s culinary and shopping opportunities. Traditional food is of the North Indian style and there are endless dining options to suit all budgets and desires throughout the city. Smaller family-run restaurants and an array of street food can offer some of the finest and unexpected delights, whilst Jaipur is also home to many international chains offering travellers a taste of home if they desire. As to be expected with such a prominent tourist destination there are dozens and dozens of shops and stalls selling souvenirs of all kinds. Expect to find plenty of local fabrics in various forms, craftworks and sculptures, plus a wide range of spices on offer. Several bazaars are located throughout Jaipur including close by the Pink City, whilst the government-run Rajasthali Emporium houses a variety of higher quality goods. Outside the major tourist attractions there is a constant assortment of local sellers peddling all manner of products, however the quality and reliability of these are often more questionable.