Jaipur: The city of forts and palaces

Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan, sits on a dry lake bed and is surrounded by the rugged Aravali hills, topped by majestic forts. This buzzing and bustling metropolis is a feast for the senses. It takes its name from Maharaja Jai Singh II, prince, soldier and astronomer, who ascended the throne at the age of 13 in the early 1700s. He conceived and designed his new capital with exquisite buildings of rose-coloured terracotta and broad tree-lined avenues exhibiting an astonishing model of city planning. Popularly known as the ‘Pink City’, Jaipur is well-known for forts and palaces like the Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal, Amber fort, Jantar Mantar and City Palace Complex.

Today, the city is a place where the old rubs elbows with the new. A walk through the colourful bazaars has you dodging buses, cars and camels in equal measure. The city is a paradise for shoppers as well as for history lovers. ! The markets have exquisite handicrafts, textiles and jewellery on offer; and, every corner of the city brings you a wonderful surprise in the form of an architectural marvel that gives you a glimpse into a bygone era and a different world.

Amber Fort: On the itinerary is a tour of the impressive Amber Fort, situated on a ridge just outside Jaipur City. At the foot of the hill you will mount your caparisoned elephant for the slow but steady climb up to the main gate, making your entrance in the time-honoured fashion. The Fort, completed in the early 18th century, took over 100 years to build and now, although deserted, offers a fascinating insight into the lifestyle of the Mughal ruling families.

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