Every tourist spot has its own attraction and tourists pick places if those attractions are appealing to them. Some of the tourist destinations have more than one attraction as well. Jaipur would certainly be one of those places. I am not biased towards this place, but seriously, the diversity in the offerings of Jaipur is seriously mind-boggling. For the history buffs, the rich legacy; for the architectural wonder lovers the grand forts, palaces and even some of the best hotels in Jaipur as they are converted palaces actually; the photographers and nature buffs are amply satiated by the Ranthambore national park, the adventurous types can go on safaris and the common household “aam aadmi” tourist can roam around the city and check this Mahal and that fort till they drop. This is the long answer to what’s so special about Jaipur? The short answer is, it’s awesome!
Architecture and History
Let’s start well within the city, Amber Fort is known for a fine specimen of Mughal-Rajput hybrid architecture and built by Raja Man Singh. City Palace (built circa 1730) is luxury itself and where the royal family principally lived and reigned from, carrying four enormously exquisite gates and structures like Mubarak Mahal and Chandra Mahal and is a fine specimen of a culmination of European, Mughal and local architecture. Hawa Mahal (built by Sawai Pratap Singh in 1747) is there for the royal ladies to enjoy the breeze while looking down upon Jantar Mantar, City Palace, and Siredeori Bazaar. Jal Mahal (built in 1799 by Maharaja Madho Singh, were they en route to a Mahal dedicated to every element?) is situated in the middle of Man Sagar lake (!), and the view is simply awesome.
Nahargarh Fort (built by Jai Singh in 1734) was built to give an extra layer of security to the Amer Fort (as if it wasn’t intimidating enough!) and sits prettily with Jaipur in the background. Jaigarh fort (built by Sawai Jai Singh II in 1726) is another fort built to protect Amer Fort (another fortification!) and is probably the most intimidating of them all. Rambagh Palace (built in 1835 for Ram Singh) is probably one of the most artistically done palaces in India and was originally meant to be a garden!
With palaces and forts done, check out Jantar Mantar, world’s largest sundial is here, and it is one of the most advanced observatories of its time. A balanced mix of art, science, and religion is this place. Don’t forget the Albert Hall Museum either.
OK, so you have no liking for the man-made attractions except the Taj Mahal? Heard you. Come here, let’s take a day off to Ranthambore. This is one of the largest tiger reserves of India, and the chances of spotting a tiger here are very high as well. That is not all as you also see other wild animals freely roaming and often coming close to the safari cars. If you are budding Salim Ali (the greatest birdwatcher of India, in case you didn’t know), Ranthambore wouldn’t disappoint you either. It has thousands of birds, and some of those are exotic and rare. Flora and Fauna galore, the hills and the valleys would make you note them with their sheer beauty. There is a fort/palace here which houses some nice temples. Skip that if you wish but don’t skip the lake where it’s a visual feast for any birdwatcher. You can check out a little more detailed account on popular travel blogs like Yatra.
One of the most colourful and princely states of India, Jaipur truly represents the perennial culture of India, happy go lucky, jovial, amiable and welcoming. There are multiple festivals, and even when it’s not festival time, you can enjoy the local folk music and dances.
The food, the Rajasthani thali, is known all over the world for the number of courses served on a thali. The handicrafts, I have a mini collection of what I purchased from Jaipur over all these years and believe me, people only praise for the exquisite touch these local artists carry!
There is no problem for accommodation with even the best hotels in Jaipur being rather reasonably priced and the weather, albeit hot, is rather bright clear for sightseeing.
Combining everything, let me quote “kuchh to hai tujhme jo auron me nahin hai” (there is something in you which others don’t have) for Jaipur, a city I love.