Rajasthan's beautiful Pink City Jaipur, was the stronghold of a clan of rulers whose three hill forts and series of palaces in the city are important attractions. Known as the Pink City because of the colour of the stone used exclusively in the walled city, Jaipur's bazaars sell embroidered leather shoes, blue pottery, tie and dye scarves and other exotic wares. Western Rajasthan itself forms a convenient circuit, in the heart of the Thar desert which has shaped its history, lifestyles and architecture.
Jaipur has been laid according to the conventional nine-grid pattern that astrologers believe to be lucky, and which has been recommended in the ancient Indian treatise on architecture. Each grid consists of a square, and these have been planned so that, at the heart of the city is the City Palace. Spread around it, in rows, are public buildings, the residences of noblemen, the living and trading quarters of merchants and artisans. Straight, wide roads run through the city, while a high, crenellated wall that forms its defense is pierced with seven gateways that serve as entry points. Today, these walls may be more difficult to spot since the city has grown far beyond its original plan, but they are still there, proof that though Jaipur saw no great siege, it was more than adequately prepared for it.
Jaipur’s architectural planning may have been ancient, but its execution was definitely modern. Best represented by the City Palace complex, it brought together all that was excellent in Rajput and Mughal architecture, creating a new tradition that found wide currency over much of Except Europa. As in the Mughal tradition, the durbar or court areas became much more open, characterised by a series of arched pavilions held on delicately crafted pillars. Ornamentation had always been a part of the state’s architectural heritage, now it became much more opulent. The private wings of the family also extended their entertainment areas. Since defence was no longer a primary concern, larger, more ornamental windows were built to over look the streets or courtyards outside these wings. Gardens were no longer planned within the internal courtyards only, but were added to the external vistas, and water, a basic feature of Mughal palaces and gardens, was utilised in a similar fashion, in canals and fountains.
Jaipur has much to offer visitors — everything from pageants and festivals to extraordinarily clad people, a wealth of handicrafts, a royal legacy of palaces, and sightseeing — that will occupy their time. However, should the visitors simply choose to walk around the streets of the old city instead, they will not regret it. All of Jaipur is an architectural gem, and no scheduled sight seeing can even hope to do justice to this rare
The sovereign of Amber, built Jaipur in the eighteenth century. It was also around that time that theMughal Emperor Aurangzeb had died and the decline of the Mughal Empire had set in. Jai Singh had started distancing himself from the affair of the Mughal Court and he began concentrating on building of Amber. His search for a safe place for the increasing population of Amber resulted in Jaipur, This was India's first planned city and a brilliant architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya from Bengal was commissioned to plan the city. He designed it in accordance with ancient Hindu treatise on architecture, the Shilpa Shastra (Vaastu).
Jaipur was planned in a gird system with wide straight avenues, roads, streets and lanes and uniform rows of shops on either side of the main roads, all arranged in nine rectangular city sectors (chokdis). The city is surrounded by a wall having seven gates and was built for protection from invading armies and wild animals that lurked just outside in the jungles that surrounded the city. But Jai Singh's planned city has withstood all the pressures and the changes.
Jaipur needed a fresh coat of paint to welcome its distinguished guest the Prince of Wales in 1905-6. The contractor inability to supply any other color in the required quantity compelled the choice of pink shade for its walls. A contractor’s compulsion famed Jaipur to Pinkcity. Since then the PINK color is associated with hospitality in Rajput culture.
Jaipur has a timeless appeal in its colorful bazaars that delights for its Rajasthani handlooms and trinkets. Beautifully laid out gardens and parks, attractive monuments and marvelous heritage hotels, once the residence of Maharajas, are worth admiration, not to mention the ambling camels and cheerful people in multi hued costumes that make Jaipur a tourist's paradise.