Jaipur, Rajasthan, India
As the gateway to the desert state of Rajasthan, however, it’s also a city permanently under siege. Package tourists are captivated by (and offloaded on) the bustling bazaars, world-class hotels and clammy sophistication, while camel carts and cows waddle through diesel-soaked streets, rampaging rickshaw drivers hustle and burn past businessmen and tourists, and scores of street children beg outside huge jewellery shops and palatial hotels. Jaipur beams boldest at dusk – when it’s well worth walking to Amber – and, much like its founder, Jai Singh II, the Pink City is both proud and resilient.
Jaipur, also popularly known as the Pink City, is the capital of Rajasthan state, India. Jaipur is the former capital of the princely state of Jaipur. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, the city today has a population of more than 5 million residents.
His Highness Sawai Bhawani Singh Bahadur (born 1931) is the current titular Maharaja of Jaipur. The city is remarkable among pre-modern Indian cities for the width and regularity of its streets which are laid out into six sectors separated by broad streets 111 ft (34 m) wide. The urban quarters are further divided by networks of gridded streets. Five quarters wrap around the east, south, and west sides of a central palace quarter, with a sixth quarter immediately to the east. The Palace quarter encloses a sprawling palace complex (the Hawa Mahal, or palace of winds), formal gardens, and a small lake. Nahargarh Fort crowns the hill in the northwest corner of the old city. Another noteworthy building is Sawai Jai Singh’s observatory, Jantar Mantar.
Jaipur was founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, a Kachwaha Rajput, who ruled from 1699-1744. Initially his capital was Amber (city), which lies at a distance of 11 km from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. Jaipur is the first planned city of India. The King consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the layout of Jaipur.
After several battles with Marathas, Jai Singh was keen on the security aspect of the city. Being a lover of mathematics and science, Jai Singh sought advice from Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal, to aid him design the city architecture.
The construction of the city started in 1727. It took around 4 years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks, of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. Huge fortification walls were made along with seven strong gates.
For the time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent. In 1853, when the Prince of Wales visited Jaipur, the whole city was painted pink to welcome him. Today, avenues remain painted in pink, provide a distinctive appearance to the city.
In the 19th century the city grew rapidly; by 1900 it had a population of 160,000. The city’s wide boulevards were paved and lit with gas.
The city had several hospitals. Its chief industries were in metals and marble, fostered by a school of art founded in 1868. The city also had three colleges, including a Sanskrit college (1865) and a girls’ school (1867) initiated under the reign of the enigmatic Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II. There was also a wealthy and enterprising community of native bankers, particularly the Jains and the Marwaris.
Jaipur has an average elevation of 432 metres (1417 ft). The district is situated in the eastern part of Rajasthan. It is bound in the north by Sikar and Alwar, in South by Tonk, Ajmer and Sawai Madhopur. Nagaur, Sikar and Ajmer in the west and in east by Bharatpur and Dausa districts.
The major rivers passing through the Jaipur district are Banas and Banganga. Ground water resources to the extent of about 28.65 million cubic meter are available in the district. Although serious drought is rare, poor water management and exploitation of groundwater with extensive tube-well systems threatens agriculture in some areas.
Jaipur has a semi-arid climate. Although it receives over 650 mm (25 in) of rainfall annually the rainfall is concentrated in the monsoon months between June and September. Temperatures remain relatively high throughout the year, with the summer months of April to early July having average daily temperatures of around 30oC. During the monsoon months there are frequent, heavy rains and thunderstorms, but flooding is not common. The winter months of November to February are mild and pleasant, with average temperatures in the 15-18oC range and little or no humidity. There are however occasional cold waves that lead to temperatures near freezing.
For more information on the following topics, please see our Jaipur travel guide available below:
- Getting there and away
- Getting around
- Useful Information
Jaipur, the City of Victory, also known as “Pink City”, is chaotic & congested, though it still has a habit of tickling travellers pink and is the gateway to the desert state of Rajasthan.
|Jaipur Walking Tour
Walk around the ‘Pink City’ of India – Jaipur – and experience various bazaars, palaces and the well-known Hawa Mahal.
Take the magnificent journey through palaces, temples, museums and national park of the western, desert state of Rajasthan.