Jaipur’s most distinctive landmark, the Hawa Mahal is an extraordinary, fairy-tale, pink sandstone, delicately honeycombed hive that rises a dizzying five storeys. It was essentially a high screen wall built so the women of the royal household could observe street festivities while unseen from the outside. The top offers stunning views over Jantar Mantar and the City Palace one way, and over Siredeori Bazaar the other. Entry to the Hawa Mahal is not from the front but from a side road to the rear end. Facing the Hawa Mahal, turning right and again to the first right, leads to an archway entry and then to the rear side of the building.
Opening hours: 9am-5pm
Hawa Mahal Rd, Badi Choupad, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India +91 141 261 8862
The temple of Govind Dev Ji is one of the most sacred and famous tourist destinations in India. It is located in the City Palace complex. The temple is dedicated to Govind Dev Ji (Lord Krishna) and houses an image which it is believed reflects exactly how Lord Krishna looked during his incarnation on earth. The idol was originally kept in the temple of Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh and was later brought to Jaipur by Raja Sawai Jai Singh, a staunch devotee of Lord Krishna. Every day, various ‘Aartis‘ and ‘Prasad‘ or ‘Bhogs‘ are offered at the temple, at seven different times. The festival of Janmashtami is among the most important ones celebrated here as it commemorates the birth of Lord Krishna.
J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India +91 1800-103-3500
Tripolia means ‘three gates’. It was constructed in 1734 by the Mughal emperor, Akbar, and gets its name from its three archways. It is actually the main entrance to the City Palace and Jantar Mantar and is worth a look for the intricate architecture: pretty balconies enclosed by jaalis, lofty arches and a pillared hall on the left for guards.
Tripolia Bazar, Badi Choupad, Pink City, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India +91 1800-103-3500
Adjacent to the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, an observatory begun by Jai Singh in 1728 and built to resemble a collection of giant bizarre sculptures. Built for measuring the heavens, the name is derived from the Sanskrit yanta mantr, meaning ‘instrument of calculation,’ and in 2010 it was added to India’s list of Unesco World Heritage Sites. Paying for a local guide is highly recommended if you wish to learn how each fascinating instrument works.
Opening hours: 9am-4.30pm
City Palace, Jaipur, is a complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings right in the centre of the Old City. The outer wall was built by Jai Singh, but the palace has been enlarged and adapted over the centuries. There are buildings from several different eras, some dating from the early 20th century. Despite the gradual development, the whole is a striking blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The structures include the Mubarak Mahal, Diwan-i-Am, The Armoury, Pitam Niwas Chowk, Chandra Mahal, Bhaggi Khana and Maharani Palace.
By Shreyas Kulkarni