In a remarkable accomplishment by India, on 6 July 2019, the capital and the largest city of the state of Rajasthan, Jaipur also known as the Pink City, was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This particular announcement was made in the 43rd session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
Why was Jaipur declared as a heritage city?
The Committee held its session at Baku (Azerbaijan). The declaration of the city makes it the 38th UNESCO World Heritage Site. Comprising of representatives from 21 State Parties, this Committee is under the responsibility to implement and enforce the Convention. The representatives of various states meet annually in a mandatory manner.
The recommendation for nominating Jaipur as a World Heritage Site was made by the ICOMOS (The International Council on Monuments and Sites) which is an advisory body of the World Heritage (WH) Centre for cultural sites.
The primary reason behind nominating Jaipur city is the exceptional town planning which is a signature for development in the city and the architecture which resembles a mixture and concoction of ideas and resonates perfectly the late medieval period through its buildings. The architecture is a blend of early Hindu, Muslim as well as modern ideas which are influenced by the Western countries. Such a beautiful amalgamation of a plethora of diverse ideas reveals the true beauty of the Pink city.
The town planning is an exceptional example of how an urban city should be planned so that along with culture, trade also thrives. Jaipur, being carefully planned in the plains rather than the hilly terrains or military cities, facilitates the city to become a commercial hub. The idea of building the entire city on a plain following the grid plan was interpreted according to the Vedic literature, specifically the Vastu and Shilpa Shastra, by experts.
The busy streets of the city are always bustling with people, with a huge amount of them being foreigner tourists. Both sides of the streets are bubs of various kinds of businesses that form a wide intersection in the center and as a result, create large public squares which are commonly known as ‘chaupars’. All important facilities and needs of the people are located along the major streets of the city such as temples, hospitals, markets or residences. All these articulated and well-planned details show the reasons why the Pink City Jaipur was selected to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The iconic temples such as the Govind Dev temple, or the famous City Palace and Hawa Mahal are all symbolic of the artists as well as the architectural skills of the craftsmen. The city has been successful in keeping its old traditions intact through its arts and crafts which are famous and recognized worldwide.
Countries that supported India’s Nomination
The countries that supported India's nomination are Brazil, Bahrain, Cuba, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Zimbabwe, China, Guatemala, Uganda, Tunisia, Burkina Faso, Bosnia and Hezegovina, Angola, St. Kitts and Nevis. Australia and Norway initially proposed referral but after the debate, they agreed for the inclusion of Jaipur city.
Jaipur – A Major Tourist Destination in India!
The capital city of the State of Rajasthan in India, Jaipur is also known as the ‘Pink City’ due to the vibrant color scheme which is dominated by majority of the buildings and houses in the city.
According to historical facts, the city was painted pink during the rule of Sawai Ram Singh I, to welcome and impress His Royal Highness, Albert Edward who was the Prince of Wales and later was crowned to be the Emperor of India, King Edward VII. The founder of the city was the Rajputana ruler Jai Singh II in the year 1727.
He was the ruler of Amer, and thus the city was named after him in his honor. He planned to shift the capital of his kingdom from Amer to Jaipur so that the rising population could be accommodated and water could be provided for keeping in mind its growing scarcity in a relatively dry state like Rajasthan. Jaipur was planned by the eminent, Vidyadhar Bhattacharya who wanted Jaipur to be a modern yet cultural city.
Thus, the city with a plethora of options to visit forms one of the most popular tourist destinations of India with a huge amount of tourists flying in from various parts of the world to witness the magic and beauty of the city. The city forms a major part of the Golden Triangle of the West circuit forming a trio with Delhi and Agra since all the three major attractions of India fall within each other’s vicinity.
Also, the city is a gateway for other attractive cities and tourist favorites in the state of Rajasthan like Jodhpur which is situated at a distance of only 348 km from Jaipur, Jaisalmer which is situated at a distance of 571 km or Udaipur situated at a distance of 421 km. Mount Abu which is again a very famous hill station is also situated nearby at a distance of 520 km from the city.
The climate also plays a major factor in attracting tourists from all over the world. The weather of the city is influenced by extreme hot and semi-arid climate. The city experiences long, excruciating and extremely hot weather and the winters here are usually for a short duration and the cold is mild. In the months of May and June, the temperature may increase up to 48.5 °C.
During winters, even though the cold is mild and subtle, sometimes the nights can turn chilly with the temperature dropping below -2.2 °C.
Major attractions include the Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Birla Mandir, Jai Mahal, City Palace, Jaipur Zoo, etc. Out of these Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal have been declared to be one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The city is rich with long-living traditions and culture, with artisans specializing in handicrafts as well as various forms of art. A major shopping destination, Jaipur consists of a plethora of shops that put arts and crafts on sale. The prior rulers of the city promoted work of artisans, craftsmen, and artists because of which many of such artists all around the world settled in Jaipur keeping the tradition alive.
With beautiful bandhani work, block-printing, zardozi, and kinari silver jewelry, the art of stone carving and sculpting, miniature paintings, the famous lakh ki chudiya, pottery out of blue-colored clay and ivory are some of the major craftwork of the artisans of Jaipur. Tourists horde up such goods for their homes or as a souvenir from the beautiful and vibrant Pink city.
The local dance form Ghoomar is a famous and very popular folk dance which is known not only in India but in other countries too. The puppet show or the Kathputli is also a source of entertainment that is highly prominent in the city and performers go about from place to place for the display of shows, also known as Tamasha and are thoroughly enjoyed by the local people.
Other than all such reasons for being one of the top-most tourist destinations of India, Jaipur also becomes a major tourist attraction during the Jaipur Literature Festival which is the world’s largest free literary festival which is hosted with grandeur in Jaipur. Authors, writers, experts and literary enthusiasts from India as well as from around the world gather here to experience the beauty of literature and participate in the Festival.
Concerning the beauty of the city, many palaces have been converted into top-rated 5-star hotels and thus, people from India, as well as foreigners, stay in such lavish hotels to experience the life of royals of Rajasthan. The Raj Mahal Hotel is one of the most famous and expensive hotels in Jaipur, so much so that CNN has rated it to be one of the World's 15 most expensive hotel suites in the year 2012.
In terms of cuisine, the local dishes have marked a place on tourists, the taste and authenticity of which cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world except for the city itself. Delicacies like the famous Daal Baati Churma, Missi Roti, Laal Maans and Gatte ki Sabzi are lip-smacking and give a memorable experience to the tourists. Sweet dishes like Ghevar, Mawa Kachori, Gajak, Feeni, etc. are also a favorite among the tourists.
Attractions of Jaipur
The magnificent and vibrant Pink City Jaipur is the desert capital of Rajasthan. After being declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city is going to attract an enormous amount of tourists, much larger than the amount that arrived in Jaipur previously.
The city is home to well-preserved palaces, known as mahals, and forts which boast of exquisite architecture and brilliant designs. These palaces and forts are a reflection of their royal heritage and the traditions that are kept intact.
Along with being the cultural hub of the state, Jaipur has now developed into a highly modern city with hip cafes, bars and creative spaces all around the city. To experience the true essence of the city, one must mandatorily visit certain places such as Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, etc. and also experience the beauty of the city by enjoying certain local pleasures.
Here is a list of the major attractions of the city of Jaipur which makes it one of the most popular tourist destinations of India.
1. Experience the Royal life
The city consists of numerous exquisite palaces and mahals which have been either beautifully converted into premium heritage hotels or have maintained their serenity by merely opening certain areas for public visits.
One such signature of royalty is displayed through the City Palace which offers certain areas of the palace for the public to visit after buying tickets which range around Rs. 300 for Indian tourists and Rs. 700 for foreigners. The courtyards, galleries, Jaigarh are all open for the public while the royal family has their private space in the Chandra Mahal where they still reside.
The Pritam Niwas Chowk is the highlight of the tour because of its beautiful and vibrant painted doorways which are constructed in such a manner that they represent the various seasons. The architecture is a delight to the eyes and will leave you spellbound.
The tour includes some of the possessions of the royal family like the costumes, old weapons, paintings and pictures of the previous rulers and the old city of Jaipur. If you want a close look at the life of the royalties then a special ticket is also available which offers a tour to the private spaces of the royal family with the assistance of a guide. Also, the delicacies of the royals can be experienced in their restaurant called Baradari.
2. Visit the historical Hawa Mahal
An elaborate piece of architecture, this Mahal is also declared to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site considering its history, and intricate architecture. The Hawa Mahal is one of the major attractions of Jaipur and has earned the title of ‘Palace of the Winds’.
Built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in the year 1799, the Mahal consists of a total of 953 windows to provide ample ventilation which is spread throughout its four stories. It is said that the Mahal was constructed for the Royal women so that they could look out of the windows into the adjoined streets discreetly, without revealing their faces.
The palace does not contain any stairs to reach the top floors, instead, they have slopes that connect the floors. With a ticket of as cheap as Rs. 50 for Indian tourists and Rs. 200 for Foreigners, this site is a must-visit for all persons coming to Jaipur.
3. Find out about astronomy at Jantar Mantar
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jantar Mantar has a unique collection of a variety of astrological instruments which can be used for the measurement of time, observation of constellations, etc. The most attractive instrument is the enormous Samrat Yantra sundial.
Jantar Mantar has been ranked as the world’s largest observatory in the world. Built by the then ruler, Maharaja Jai Singh II in the year 1738, the Maharaja was a famous mathematician and had a passionate interest in subjects like astronomy, architecture as well as philosophy. For persons having the Government composite ticket, the entry fee is only Rs. 50 for Indians and Rs. 200 for Foreigners.
4. Experience the serenity of Amber Fort
Located atop a hill, this Fort looks like a dream palace overlooking the Maota Lake. The fort was constructed by Maharaja Man Singh I in the year 1592 and was home to the Kachwaha rulers until the year 1727.
The Amber Fort is a lavish piece of architecture with its exquisite halls, palaces, gardens, etc. It also offers brilliant mirror work which is a treat to the eyes. The view from the palace is so breathtaking that it offers the perfect spot for Photographers.
Constructed out of red sandstone and marble stone, the architecture is a marvelous amalgamation of Hindu and Muslim designs. The fort also organizes a sound and light show in the evening which displays the history of the fort and also, has a beautiful, luxurious restaurant called 1135 AD. The entry fee is Rs. 100 for Indians and Rs. 500 for Foreigners.
5. Know about the military powers of the Rajputanas at the Jaigarh Fort
Also known as the Fort of Victory, Jaigarh Fort is a true representation of the military skills of the Rajputs. It is home to the world’s largest cannon called the Jaivana and many other weapons and other forms of artillery because of which it attracts militants and weaponry enthusiasts.
The grandeur of the fort is such that despite being a part of several wars, it has never been captured. It is situated on the top of Amber Fort. The fee is around Rs. 50 for Indians and Rs. 100 for foreign visitors.
6. Admire the beauty of the magical Jal Mahal
Floating magically on the Man Sagar Lake which is situated near Amber Fort, the Jal Mahal or Water Palace is believed to be constructed by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh I as a resting lodge for himself and his companions when he used to visit the lake for duck hunting. This architectural delight is such that it will leave you intrigued and spellbound.
Numerous flocks of migratory birds like the grey heron and blue-tailed bee-eaters visit the lake offering the visitors a spectacular view. The palace is constructed in such a manner that four floors of the palace are submerged below the water. Lime mortar was used to construct a brilliant piece of architecture so that water does not seep. The palace is, however, not open for public visits.
7. See the majestic Nahargarh Fort
Located beautifully on the rough Aravalli Ranges, this magnificent fort overlooks the entire city of Jaipur as well as Amer. The locals prefer this fort as a favorite picnic spot and this fort shot to fame when the hit Bollywood movie ‘Rang de Basanti’ was shot inside the Fort. Also known as Tiger Fort, this glorious fort was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in the year 1734 to strengthen the security of his capital.
The Fort holds the beautiful Madhavendra Bhavan complex which is said to be the background for the recent Sculpture Park. It also has a good wax museum and you can also experience the delicacies of Rajasthan in its in-house restaurant called Once Upon a Time. If you are a hiking enthusiast the fort is an awesome destination to cover from the Old City. The entry fee is Rs. 50 for Indians and Rs. 200 for foreigners.
8. Shop extensively at the Bazaars
If you visit Jaipur, shopping in the numerous bazaars in the Pink City is a must since it displays the heart and soul of the city. Along with being a shopper’s paradise, the colorful and bustling bazaars will be a memorable experience for you.
Jaipur has mainly five main bazaars which are Johari Bazaar which is famous for precious gemstones and cheap yet sustainable jewelry, Nehru Bazaar which is prominent for the variety of Jooties it has to offer, Bapu Bazaar is the go-to place for textile goods which are a specialty of Jaipur, and Kishanpole Bazaar which is the ultimate market for elaborate wooden and marble sculptures.
For locally-made polished bangles, you can head to the Tripolia Bazaar. These markets show you the joy and enthusiasm of the locals. You can also enjoy local delicacy snacks in such markets infamous joints like the Laxmi Misthana Bhandar.
There are other attractions also like the Albert Hall Museum, Amrapali Museum, the Museum of Legacies, the enormous Flower Market, etc. The list of places to visit in the Pink City is huge. You must experience every bit of the city to know the true spirit behind the grandeur, flamboyant lifestyle and exquisite delicacies of Jaipur.
How to reach Jaipur by road, rail, air?
Reaching Jaipur is highly convenient whether it is through roadways, rails or air. The city is located at National Highway-8 which connects Delhi to Mumbai. Almost all the prominent air-carriers provide direct flights daily to the city from almost all the main cities of India. The airport is located in Sanganer which is approximately 12 km away from the city.
Via road also the travel is convenient as it is a mere six-hour drive from the Capital of India, Delhi since it is only 268 km away from Delhi. Bus services are available through Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation from nearby states like New Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, etc.
Railways are again a highly convenient and cheap mode of transportation for people visiting Jaipur since it is the headquarters of the North-Western region of Indian Railways. Most of the popular trains like the Shatabdi Express, Pune Jaipur Express, Jaipur Express, etc. provide direct connectivity to Jaipur.
However, if you want to experience a luxury journey to Jaipur via train, then Maharajas' Express would be a great choice for you. It departs from Delhi station and covers around 12 destination and arrived at Jaipur. This luxurious ride to pink city will enlighten your experience with magnificent facilities such as private saloon, two unique dining restaurant, assortment of cuisines included famous dishes of Jaipur, free wifi, AC, Bathroom with hot and cold water, Dedicated butler service, writing table, Live TV, Direct Dial international phone service and many more. You can also get a private cabin. Ticket Price of Maharajas' Express – $6840 to $23,700.
How many UNESCO World Heritage Sites available in India!
India presently has 38 World Heritage Sites, which include 30 Cultural properties, 7 Natural properties, and 1 mixed site.