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"Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan is also known as Pink City. It is surrounded on all sides by rugged hills that are crowned with forts and enclosed by embattled walls. Jaipur was and remains the only city in the world, which symbolises the nine divisions of the universe, through nine rectangular sectors sub-dividing it."
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Jaipur Information and City Profile - IndiaLine Travel Guide

Royal Tomb  Jaipur
Royal Tomb - Jaipur

The Architecture of Jaipur

The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is not only the gateway to the state, it is also the most natural place to begin a discovery of its multi-faceted attractions. For visitors unfamiliar with its history, a little explanation may be necessary, since it will aid their understanding of one of the most fascinating cities of India.

Having outgrown the original nine grids, Jaipur has spread in all directions, but its market areas are still characterised by streets and areas where work of a certain kind may be found. For example, there will be a separate street for marble-workers, while another area will deal exclusively in textiles, or jewellery.

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 north India. As in the Mughal tradition, the durbar or court areas became much more open, characterised by a series of arched pavillions 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 overlook 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, as canals and fountains.

In Jaipur, the facades seem to have become as ornate as the interiors and sometimes, as in the case of the Hawa Mahal, even more so. The Hawa Mahal, part of the City Palace complex, is a familiar landmark, and looks like a series of pierced windows placed in tiers to overlook the street below. In fact, the façade pretty much characterises it for, on the inside, the building is no more than a series of corridors with windows overlooking the street. Its purpose was simply to allow the royal women a view of ceremonial processions while seated behind the small windows, allowing them to look out without themselves being seen.

Shopping

aipur is a treasure trove for the shopper. One can find the country’s finest jewellery here, usually in a fashion called kundan, or enamelled-ware. Jaipur also specialises in marble work, woollen carpets, cotton rugs, hand-block printed Sanganeri and Bagru cotton fabrics, tie and dye, brassware, exotic blue-pottery made from crushed quartz, and leather footwear.There are also places where you can find copies of antiques down to the last detail

Festivals

Teej (July-August)

Teej is celebrated in the Hindu month of Shravan, corresponding with July-August every year and marks the advent of the monsoons, a time of joy and respite in Rajasthan. The festival is extremely popular with Rajasthani women. It is dedicated to goddess Parvati, the consort of Shiva. Married women dress up in all their bridal fineries, they apply henna on their palms and swing on flower-decorated swings as they sing traditional songs. They pray to goddess Parvati for the long lives of their husbands.

Gangaur (March-April)

Gangaur is an 18-day festival celebrated by women all across Rajasthan. Married women pray for the long lives of their husbands while unmarried girls pray for a good match. The festival celebrates the love between Shiva and his consort Gauri or Parvati.

The festival commences on Holi. Women gather flowers and draw water from selected wells while chanting hymns in praise of the goddess. At the end of 18 days, the festivities culminate with the arrival of Lord Shiva to escort his wife back home. A grand procession, symbolic of a marriage procession, carries a beautifully decorated idol of Gauri in a gold and silver palanquin through the city. The procession includes elephants, camels, horses, dancers, drummers and joyous children.

Elephant Festival (March-April)

The elephant festival at Jaipur is celebrated around Holi (Feb-March) every year. A royal procession of numerous decorated elephants is taken around the city as people sitting on elephant backs throw gulal or coloured powder on each other. Other festivities include elephant polo, elephant races and a tug-of-war between the elephants and men.

Getting There

By Air

Jaipur is well connected by air to Delhi, Mumbai, Calcutta, Ahmedabad, Varanasi and some other big cities in India. Regular flights ply between Jaipur and these places

By Road

Jaipur is about 260 km from Delhi. Regular state transport buses and taxis ply on this route. The Rajasthan Roadways operate many deluxe and air conditioned buses between Delhi and Jaipur.

By Rail

There are regular trains plying between Jaipur and most parts of India. He Shatabadi Express that connects Delhi with Jaipur is one of the most convenient trains.

 



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