Jaipur – Gateway to the land of kings
omen clad in festive red parade beneath the terracotta pink Hawa Mahal, meaning Palace of Winds. They follow the same route as the royal procession would, from the Old Parliament to the main square via street bazaars hawking printmaking sets and dust-coated handicrafts.
aipur’s royal bloodline was not always confined to the city. On the outskirts is Amber, the old historical capital of Jaipur State.
The Raja of Amber, Raja Man Singh I, was the trusted General of the Moghul Emperor Akbar the Great, whose kingdom once spanned from Kabul in Afghanistan, to Jessore in Bangladesh.
he Amber Fort was built by Raja Man Singh in 1592 and has since been extended by generations of rulers. Moghul geometric patterns feature alongside traditional Rajasthani workings of living creatures.
The Ganesh Pol gateway is a majestic entrance to the Maharaja’s palace. Queens would overlook the proceedings of the palace courtyard through windows with latticed screens.
Behind a well-kempt rose garden is the dazzling Hall of Mirrors. The walls shimmer with polished silver convex mirrors and exhibit the very same technique of inlay mosaic found at the Taj Mahal.
ass romantic, ramshackle aristocratic Amber mansions and visit the ancient stepwell complex. A mesmeric crisscross of steps lowers to a large pool, where travelers by bullock cart would bathe and launder.
Deep in the valley of the Aravalli Hills is an ancient pilgrimage centre at Galtaji. Discover the Ramgopalji Temple, an ashram built around natural springs. Troops of Macaque monkeys take a holy dip and patrol the grounds, acting on the playful side of boisterous.
aipur was founded by Maharaj Jai Singh II in 1727. A famous mathematician and astronomer, the blueprint of his rule left indelible marks celebrated across the city today.
Janta Mantha is Jaipur’s famous observatory built in 1728, and stands as one of the oldest in the world. It features the world’s largest stone sundial and is an outstanding monument to architectural innovation in 18th-century India.
ai Singh’s obsession with the cosmos also influenced the planning of the city. He championed vastu shastra, coined as India’s answer to Chinese feng shui, where town planners would consult astrologers and interior design was dictated by orientation.
otus Gate features beautiful, hand-painted adornments of elegant repetitive flower patterns to signify the summer. The finest local miniature painters are invited to display at City Palace. Sanskit-scrawled artworks tell histories of royal hunting excursions and tales of a princess’ love won over by a polo match.
Palace artist Hanuman Sahar Saini explains how paints colored by Himalayan stones and bush hairs made from squirrel tails paint symbolic subjects.
efresh yourself with fine dining in the palace confines, where a Jaipur-chic bar restaurant serves both Rajisthani and international cuisine.
Start with quinoa, feta and marinated beetroot before moving onto the signature Laal Maas main, namely a lamb curry cooked according to the palace’s secret recipe. Share a side of tandoor-roasted chicken kebab. Then select a wicked dessert from a menu of mong dhal halwa, red velvet cake and marble cheesecake.
ake afternoon tea in the ‘51 Shades of Pink’ dining room and skim coffee table books on the tiger realms of Ranthambore and polo in India.
The art deco flair of Adil Ahmad is responsible for the fabulous wallpapers and fabrics. Carpets gifted by the Shah of Iran hang from the wall and outside, a white 1959 Ford Thunderbird is parked in the driveway.
Beneath the surface of this great state citadel, Jaipur harbors a cosmic artistry that embodies the majesty of Rajasthan.