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Rajasthan - Jaipur The Capital

     Pink in colour, the Capital city has come to be called the pink city of Rajasthan. Pink has a connotation of Rajput hospitality, and may also be of the so-called brilliance of royal romance. It was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727 AD. Encircled by a wall, the city has a grid system of design done by one Bengali architect, Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. The planned city has a symmetry in the arrangements of various structures. It is divided into nine rectangular sectors called chokris. The streets are wide and the buildings like shops appear in lines. One can relax in the parks and the gardens. Palaces have been converted into heritage hotels.

     The City Palace: This complex of palaces is a landmark in Jaipur and well-known tourist attraction. The first structures were constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, the founder of Jaipur. The white marble columns and the colourful motifs of the City Palace located in the heart of the city are an illustration of a fusion of Mughal and Indian architecture. It has a museum which contains Mughal and Rajput weapons. An art gallery has miniature paintings.

     Hawa Mahal: Hawa in Hindi means wind, and therefore, Hawa Mahal means 'Palace of Winds'. Built in 1799, it is located in the old city. It is said that the palace was designed to facilitate womenfolk to watch processions etc on the streets without being seen. It is a five-storied building.

     Jantar Mantar: The instruments like Ram Yantra in this observatory throw light on the status of Indian astronomy during the medieval period.

     Govind Devji temple: The idol inside this Krishna temple was shifted here from Vrindavan in Mathura, in today's Uttar Pradesh, by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. It is a well-known temple in the city.

     Other sites:- The Statue, built to pay homage to the founder of Jaipur, Sawai Jai Singh; Swargasuli tower; Island palace or Jal Mahal in Man Sagar lake; the royal crematorium; Ghat Ki Guni gardens; Nahargarh fort; Amer, erstwhile Kachhwaha Capital; Shila Mata temple in Amer whose idol was brought from former East Pakistan; Amer palace. One shouldn't miss the palace and the temple. Jaigarh has a military station of the medieval period containing a massive cannon called Jai Ban.

     EXCURSIONS

      Ramgarh lake (32 km): Is a large artificial lake and is a picnic spot; Sanganer (12 km on Tonk Road): Has palaces, Jain temples and popular centres of textile crafts; Samod palace (40 km); Bairath (85 km on Shahpura-Alwar Road): The remains of Buddhist temple can be seen here. There are also constructions of the Mughal period and even ancient regimes; Abhaneri (125 km, near Bandikui): Jain temples and a 7th century Hindu temple can be seen here; Sambhar (95 km): The country's largest inland salt lake is here. The Devyani tank is located here; Madhogarh-Tunga(40 km): The battle with the Marathas was fought here.

     HOW TO REACH: Well-connected by air, rail and road with all major towns. Cycle-rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, bus and taxi are the local means of transport.

     CLIMATE: Summer temp range, 25 to 45 deg C; winter temp range, 8 to 22 deg C

     CLOTHING: Cotton in summer, light woollen in winter

     SHOPPING: The exclusive travellers' items include gems, Sanganeri cotton prints, kota sari, brassware and juti footwear. The main shopping centres are Rajasthali Govt handicrafts shop on MI Road and Chaupar stalls.

     LANGUAGES: Hindi, Rajasthani, English

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