Jaipur also known as The Pink City, it is just a 6-hour drive from the capital, New Delhi. Founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Sing II, the history of Jaipur stretches back to the 17th century.
In 1853, the city was painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales during his visit to Jaipur. Today, the city walls are still pink giving it a distinctive characteristic. Within the city centre, a landmark not to be missed is the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds. Built in 1799, the Hawa Mahal consists of five floors and has 953 small windows facing towards the street. The purpose of the windows is to allow the women of the Royal Families to watch processions and activities taking place on the streets without revealing themselves.
Located about 11km away from the city is the magnificent Amber Fort (or Amer Fort). A major tourist attraction, the road leading to the fort is usually heavily congested. If you are stuck in a jam (like I was), just stay cool and admire the fort from afar. Running in parallel to the Maotha Lake, the fort with its high walls looks simply majestic. When you reach the base of the fort, you can either choose to walk up or take an elephant ride to the top. Once at the top, you can catch a panoramic view of the saffron garden and marvel at the exquisite Hindu and Mughal architecture.
Just opposite the City Palace, you will find Jantar Mantar, the latest addition to UNESCO World Heritage Site. With an array of astronomical instruments built in the early 18th century, the observatory in Jaipur is the largest and best preserved in India. Each individual instrument has its own function, be it to tell time or to determine the movement of the planets. To the layman, the instruments might look simple and ordinary. It is only when you understand the science behind them that you will marvel at the advancement of Indian astrological wisdom.