It is less popularly known as the “City of Victories”. Founded by the Rajput king, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, it is the capital and the largest city in the Indian state of Rajasthan. In 1727, he laid the foundation for a new capital city on a recently annexed territory. Jai Singh dedicated the city to Lord Krishna and named it Jaipur, which literally translates to “city of victory.”
Jai Singh had Jaipur designed according to shilpa shastra, the part of the Vedas that deals with design, architecture, and construction. The city was so well planned that even today architects and planners from all over the world come to study its layout. The original city was protected by seven fortified gateways (pols), all still standing, and a masonry wall twenty feet high and nine feet thick. Although the city has now spread far beyond these walls, a lot of its old buildings remain intact.
Tourists pour in from across the globe to experience what has popularly come to be known as “the pink city”. The majority of buildings from the old city were built using blocks of reddish-pink sandstone and therefore, the name. In 1853, the Prince of Wales visited Jaipur during the regime of Sawai Ram Singh. The whole city was painted pink to welcome him. Why the colour pink was chosen has never been clearly established.
The places to see in Jaipur are endless – palaces and forts, temples, markets, the Jantar Mantar. The most popular are the City Palace, Amber Palace & Fort, Nahargarh & Jaigarh Forts, and Hawa Mahal or the “Palace of Winds”. The Hawa Mahal is not a palace at all, but merely a facade, much like a movie set. It was built in 1799 for the ladies of the royal household to enjoy the breeze. They could also look out over their city keeping in order with the laws of purdah. Shopping in Jaipur is an independent activity in itself. Colourful fabric with traditional prints and motifs, exotic jewellery, handicrafts and footwear are popular buys. The Galta Monkey Temple is also worth a visit.
With such a wide array of goods on display, the Jaipur Tourism industry thrives on its ancient heritage.