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When most tourists think India, they think Rajasthan, Delhi or Agra. The northwest region of Rajasthan fulfils every romantic expectation about Indian life and culture with its fairy-tale landscapes, mighty hilltop forts, remote desert citadels and extravagant royal palaces and culture of picturesque crowds dressed in vibrantly colored turbans and saris, crowded bazaars overflowing with sumptuous fabrics, embroidery and jewelry, the vivid orange flash of a tiger or leopard seen padding quietly through the undergrowth of a national park.

A short journey by road or rail from either Delhi or Agra is the fascinating city of Jaipur which is visitors' first experience of Rajasthan with its endless forts, palaces and other creations, from cenotaphs to observatories dotting the city and its environs. Jaipur city is is 260 tears old and the current capital of Rajasthan. Founded in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, it is one of Rajasthan's 'youngest cities'. The palaces of Jaipur are favorite destinations. In fact many palaces and forts in Jaipur have been converted into heritage hotels. Today, with a population of around 2.5 million, Jaipur is the state's most advanced commercial and prosperous business center as well. .

One of Jaipur city's striking feature is its regular grid plan with wide, dead straight streets, laid out at right angles and broadening to spacious plazas at major intersections. It has It has an extraordinary collection of bazaars, each with different trades and crafts, allotted their own streets within the grid. Jaipur is a major tourist and business center and is very spread out. Eye catching Jaipur has beautiful gardens, parks and monuments. .

Jaipur attractions fall into three distinct areas. At the heart of the urban sprawl is historic Pink City - the area's striking feature is its uniform pink color. Jaipur was given a color coat of pink a century ago in honor of a visiting Prince and ever since it has retained this color. Drive past pink rose residential and business areas. Here you'll find the fine City Palace, Jantar Mantar observatory and Hawa Mahal, a myriad teeming bazaars stuffed with enticing Rajasthani handicrafts. The bazaars are the most vibrant in Asia, renowned for hand dyed and embroidered textiles, jewelry and the best selection of precious stones and metals in India. .

The city area south of the Pink City is home to the Ram Niwas Gardens, Central Museum and Birla Mandir. Finally, the city's outskirts are dotted with intriguing relics of former royalty - notably, Nahargarh Fort, cenotaphs at Royal Gaitor and Temple of Galta. .

Jaipur attractions in detail: .

Amber Fort - this was the ancient capital of Rajasthan prior to Jaipur. Amber Fort is a significant pillar in Indian architecture, a perfect mixture of Hindu and Muslim architectural styles. The interior of the fort is magnificent, ornate, elegant. With walls filled with mirror works, mosaics, engravings, carvings, paintings, frescoes and murals that impart grandeur to the rooms. The Sheesh Mahal, or the Hall of Victory, glitters with mirrors - entire walls and the complete ceiling is covered with intricate carvings embedded with tiny mirrors. .

Maharaja City Palace - The beautiful palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh during his reign. Among the various forts and palaces of Jaipur, City Palace stands apart with its outstanding art and architecture. City Palace complex covers a huge area, divided into a series of gardens, courtyards and buildings. This former royal residence now houses a museum with a vast amount of artifacts. .

Observatory or 'Jantar Mantar', is the largest stone observatory in the World. One of the five astronomical observatories built by Maharaja Jai Singh (between 1727 and 1733) . Initially Jantar Mantar was named Yantra Mantra, which means instruments and formulae - this observatory still provides accurate information comparable with today's modern instruments. The compound instruments, whose settings and shapes are scientifically designed, depicts the forte of Medieval Indian Astronomy. Jantar Mantar is wholly constructed with stone and marble. The observatory has fourteen statistical instruments for measuring time, predicting eclipses and to ascertain other astronomical events. .

Ram Niwas Gardens - Completed in late 1860's, the gardens are situated in the heart of Jaipur city. The property has been designed to incorporate four sentry doors, pools, fountains, lawns and flower beds. One of the largest parks of Rajasthan, it covers an area of about 35 acres. It houses the Central Museum (Albert Hall), Jaipur Zoo, Ravindra Rang Manch Theatre, exhibition ground, gymnasium and several well-known cafés and picnic spots. .

Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of Winds, has a beautifully decorated facade of 953 windows. It is a Jaipur landmark built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799. The Hawa Mahal displays fanciful architecture and has been so named because the palace has specially latticed screens and arches for an unbridled flow of air currents in a set pattern with the passage of the sun. .

Nahargarh Fort : Nestled between the Nahargarh hills, this charming and captivating Fort was built by Sawai Raja Jai Singh in 1734, with splendid additions by his successors. The fort is a major tourist attraction, exquisitely constructed. It was used as a retreat for the ladies of kings and maharajas. The women quarter, or Zenana, are elegantly designed to impress women. There are 12 magnificently designed quarters with all the eminent facilities. Quarters are interlinked with kitchen, spacious corridors and fire place and boast of the rich architectural beauty of Rajputana art and taste of luxury of the Rajas and Maharajas of the bygone era. The fort has a stunning view of Man Sagar Lake and surrounding areas. .

Nahargarh Fort is also known as the tiger fort as it has a legend connected to it. According to local legend the spirit of the Prince used to haunt the site and would not allow workers and artisans to go to the construction site. Religious prayers were performed to make the spirit satisfied. After several rituals, the spirit made an appearance and agreed to give up the evil activities once the fort was named after him! .

Royal Gaitor is a beautiful and a peaceful spot situated at the Nahargarh foot about 15 km from the main city. Here one gets to see marble and sandstone chhatris or cenotaphs of the former Jaipur rulers. The Royal Gaitor is a complex of temples and tombs within a dramatic rocky setting and an amazing view of the city wall which snakes up and over the dusty hills behind.

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