Settled in the rugged hills of the Aravallis, Jaipur is the pristine jewel in the desert sands of Rajasthan.
Jaipur is as remarkable for its marvellous architecture and town planning as it is for the lively spirit of the people who inhabit it. The city presents a unique synthesis of culture that has to be experienced in order to be appreciated.
With its origin buried deep into the pages of history, the city still exudes a magical old world charm; an aroma of chivalry and romance is evident, despit having evolved into a city that is the hub of modern commercial activity in the region. Tell-tale signs of the glorious past and regal splendour of the city lie strewn across with gay abandon.
The colourful and intricately carved monuments are adequately matched by the lively spirit of fanfare, festivity and celebration of the people. Even today, one can find weather beaten faces with huge coloufrul trurbans, fierce moustaches and lips that spontaneouslya crease into a heart warming smile.
A city like Jaipur, where modernity and tradition live hand-in-hand, is truly rare. Perhaps this is what makes it an attractive destination for tourists who flock to Jaipur , year after year.
History of Jaipur :
The historic city of Jaipur or "The City of Vicotory" was founded in 1727 A.D. by the great Kachhawah ruler Sawai Jai Singh II (1700 - 1747 A.D.), and named after him.
The monarch was not only a great builder, but also a poet and an astronomer.
Under his aegis, the city was designed by his talented architect Vidyadhar, who gave shape to the creative aspirations of Sawai Jai Singh in the form of the dream city of Jaipur.
The city is rectangular in shape and divided into nine blocks on the basis of principles laid down inthe"Shilpa Shastra", the ancient Indian treatise on architecture.
Built on the pattern of a grid, the city has wide straight avenues, roads, streets and lanes and uniform rows of shops on either side at the main bazar, all arranged in nine rectangular city sectors (Chokris).
The principal monuments of Jaipur are concentrated in the centrally situated Palace area (Chokri Sarhad ) in and around the city Palace. In course of time, the sunset-pink tinge of its walls, buildings and temples gave it the name Pinck City.
Fairs & Festivals :
The festival is celebrated on the 14th of January every year. This has now become the festival of kite-flying which does not spare the soaring spirits of anyone in Jaipur. The devoted ones, however, take a holy dip in the kund at Galtaji. The traditional sweet associated with it is Phirni, made in abundance by the halwais of Jaipur
Young girls and newly married women praying for their loved one or husband respectively, offer prayers to Goddess Parvati in spring (March-April). A colourful procession follows the silver and gold palanquins of Goddess Parvati brought out from the City Palace. Ghever, the traditional sweet associated with this festival is prepared all over the city.
This festival is held on the day of Holi, the festival of colours, at the Chaughan stadium. Beautifully decorated and caparisoned elephants assemble to participate in the royal procession. Elephant polo, elephant race,elephant tug-of-war with a few tourist and holi on elephant back are some of the exciting events.
To celebrate the advent of the monsoon, girls and young women dressed in colourful leharia sarees or costumes, sing songs and offer puja to goddess parvati, and pray for conjugal bliss and happiness. An elaborate procession comes out of the City Palace for two consecutive days. Villagers come to watch it in large numbers and buy knick-knacks from the stalls on the footpaths of the main bazars.
Dussehra is celebrated by staging Ramlila in different parts of the city and cuminating in the ceremonial burning of the giant effigies of Ravan, Kumbhakaran and Meghnath, celebrating Lord Rama's victory over the Demon King, and victory of Good over Evil. A mela is organised at Amer and thousands of devotees visit the templeof Shila Mataji situated there. Special puja is offered by the former Maharaja in the City Palace amidst traditional fanfare. Durga Puja is celebrated in several community pandals for four days by the large Bengali population in the city.
Celebrated every year in October- November, Diwali is perhaps the most popular of all Indian festivals. The origin of this festival can be traced back to the ancient Hindu epic Ramayana, when Lord Rama returend to this kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years of exile. The whole kingdom was lit up with diyas (earthen lamps ) to celebrate his return. To date, on Diwali day, houses all over India glow with the twinkle of innumerable divas, candles and electric lights. The night is illuminated with the flaming lights of fireworks, creating kaleidoscopic design against the black canvas of the sky. During the Diwali celebration decoration and lighting is done throughout the walled Pink City, with every market competing with the others to pick-up the best decorated market award. There are special prizes for the best decorated individual buildings as well. Most people prefer walking through the street to enjoy this dazzling extravanganza.
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