Fly high over the 'Pink City' and see its famous sites from a hot-air balloon.
Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan is also known as the ‘Pink City’ after Maharaja Ram Singh had the palaces and fortified walls painted terracotta pink to welcome Prince Albert in 1853.
Jaipur was India’s first planned city and although it is considered by many to be one of the finest planned cities anywhere, the planning gets lost in the colour and chaos of everyday Rajasthani life. Scooters, rickshaws, trucks and camel carts jostle for space as they pass traditionally dressed Rajput men wearing colourful turbans and monkeys climbing the wires overhead.
Things to see & do
Hawa Mahal (The Palace of the Winds)
Hawa Mahal an ornate pink facade five stories high, enabled the women of the Royal household to observe everyday life and processions in the main thoroughfare of the old city. Built at the end of the 18th century its 953 windows also created a refreshing breeze (hawa), which kept the palace cool in the hot months.
Iswari Minar Swarga Sal (Heaven Piercing Minaret)
An important landmark is Iswari Minar Swarga Sal, located in the heart of the old city of Jaipur. A leisurely climb to the top allows the viewer to admire the Hawa Mahal and City Palace nearby, and the Nahargarh Fort in the distance.
City Palace (Pink Palace)
The palace was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II and reflects the fusion of Mughal and Rajput architecture. Spread over a large area occupying one seventh of the old city of Jaipur, it has a sequence of gardens, buildings and courtyards, temple and a museum. It also served as a residence for former Maharaja of Jaipur.
Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory
Most intriguing of the sights of Jaipur is the Jantar Mantar Astronomical Observatory. Built in the 18th century by Jai Singh, it is a curious collection of huge stone “instruments” that were designed to observe and measure all manner of astronomical activity, including the worlds largest sundial at 27m tall and just two seconds out!
Amber Palace & Fort
Construction of the fort began in 1592 and it is well known for its unique style, blending both Hindu and Mughal features. Located high on a hillside, the fort was traditionally the ancient citadel of the ruling Kachhawha clan of Amber, before Rajasthan's capital relocated to Jaipur. The Sheesh Mahal is the worlds finest chamber of mirrors and illuminates with the light of a single match.
Hot Air Ballooning - US$ 241 *
Floating across the skyline of Jaipur in a hot air balloon, enjoying the silence and serenity of the morning while gazing down on ancient forts and palaces and watching the city slowly come alive, can be the highlight of the trip.
* Hot air balloon flights are operated by Sky Waltz. Flights operate mornings from Sept to June and morning and evening from Sept to Mar and are subject to weather conditions. Tickets are fully refundable.
Shopping in Jaipur
Jaipur is a treasure trove of shops bursting with delights, from marble statues to antique textiles; traditional print blocks to local musical instruments, spectacular jewellery and exotic handicrafts, folk art and semi-precious stones (the local specialty).
For those who wish, you will have the opportunity to visit preferred licensed handicraft centres.