An early start takes us to the Amber Fort, located just outside the city limits. Once the ancient capital of Jaipur State, construction of the fort/palace was started in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh, the Rajput commander of Akbar’s army. The fort is stunningly situated atop a hill. We’ll ascend the road leading to the palace in princely style, aboard Indian elephants - subject to regulations/availability as the elephants are limited to the number of trips that can make up the fort each day. We explore the richly decorated palace admiring how kings and queens once lived.
En route to the City Palace, we’ll pass Hawa Mahal – the Palace of the Winds. Although little more than an impressive façade it is one of the city’s landmarks. The 5-storey building which overlooks the main street of the bustling old city is a stunning example of Rajput architecture with it’s pink, delicately honeycombed sandstone windows.
We visit the City Palace, a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. If the flag is flying, the Maharaja is in residence. A part of the palace has been converted into a museum, which has an impressive collection of arts, carpets, enamelware and weaponry.
Just over the road,(look out for the snake charmers that dot our route) from the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, an observatory of astronomy built by Jai Singh in 1728. Of the five observatories he built, this is the largest and best preserved. At first glance, Jantar Mantar resembles a sculpture park, though in fact, each construction has a specific scientific purpose. Some measure the positions of stars, whilst others calculate eclipses, the lunar calendar and simply the time of day. Even today, most of the constructions remain accurate!
Overnight - Jaipur