The Pink City of India - Jaipur, also the capital of the state of Rajasthan, was founded by one of the greatest rulers of his time, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The city was designed by the architect, Vidyadhar Bhattacharya. A marvel in town planning, Jaipur is a harmonious blend of culture, education, religion and historical monuments. Today, the city is the hub of modern commercial activity.
Amer Palace, City Palace, Jantar-Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Jaigarh and Nahargarh forts are some of the prime attractions of the city. The list of historical sites being endless, Jaipur offers a complete package for recreation.
Situated on the National Highway No.11, 54 kms. east of Jaipur, Dausa is an ancient town of archaeological importance. It had the privilege of being the first capital of the erstwhile Kachhawah rulers of Dhundhar. An old fort and many small havellis are located in and around Dausa.
HOW TO GET TO JAIPUR
Air: Jaipur is connected by air to Delhi, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Calcutta and Ahmedabad.
Rail: An excellent connection from Delhi is the Shatabdi Express which provides a fast, air-conditioned rail service. Other connections to Jaipur are from Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ahmedabad, Secunderabad, Agra, Lucknow, Chennai (Madras), Jammu Tawi, Mumbai and Calcutta.
Road: A convenient mode of travel to Jaipur is by road through a network of comfortable tourist buses. Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation runs an excellent regular service of AC and Deluxe coaches from Delhi (from Bikaner House, Pandara Road and Sarai Kale Khan).
Some notable distances are: Delhi 259 kms., Udaipur 405 kms., Jodhpur 336 kms., Ahmedabad 657 kms.
LESSER KNOWN DESTINATIONS AROUND JAIPUR
LOCATION: Abhaneri is located within the Dausa district and lies at a distance of 90 kms. from Jaipur.
HISTORY: The architectural beauty of Abhaneri speaks volumes of its history. There are various intricately carved sculptures and temples. One look at the carved sculptures reflects the richness of culture and tradition of Abhaneri. Abhaneri has also been a victim of Muslim invasions.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS: Abhaneri is famous for two fine monuments of architectural significance 'Harshat Mata temple' and 'Chand Baori'. This temple is a fine example of architectural brilliance of the 8th century. Although very much in ruins, the temple portrays the brilliance of the Pratihara sculpture. There is a ten-faced sculpture depicting Ravana shaking the Kailash mountain (abode of Lord Shiva). There are various statues of elephants which reflect the creative genius of the sculptors and the exquisite statues of Mahishasurmardini and Ganpati which, it seems, would come to life any moment. There is a huge tank (Chand Baori) opposite the temple, fortified on all four sides with bastions for defence. The staircase of this tank is so stunningly designed that a coin once dropped here is impossible to retrieve. There also exists a maze popularly known as Andheri-Ujali which extends a few kilometers into the Aravali Hills. This maze was used as a measure of security during the past.
Although Abhaneri is now in ruins, the place has a distinct nostalgia about itself.
BAIRATH OR VIRATNAGAR
LOCATION: Earlier known as Viratnagar, Bairath lies 169 kms. south-west of Delhi and 66 kms. north of Jaipur - Shahpura - Alwar route, in Jaipur district. Upto Shahpura, the route lies on National Highway no.8.
HISTORY: The history of Bairath dates back to ancient times. Virat, the capital of Matsya, is considered to be the abode of King Virata. It is said that the Pandavas spent one year of their exile here. Excavations reveal that Bairath formed a part of the Mauryan empire and flourished as a Buddhist establishment from 3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS: The Ashokan inscription, the monastery and the circular temple are the pointers towards Bairath's antiquity.
The Bhim-ki-Dungiri or Pandu hill is a low rocky hill. A large cave on this hill is considered to be Bhim's (one of the Pandava princes) abode. Bijak-ki-Pahari is a grey granite hill with remains of two Buddhist monasteries, which existed when Huen Tsang visited India in 634 A.D. The Jain temple of Parsvanath consists of a sanctum preceded by a Sabha Mandapa and is surrounded by a broad circumambulatory passage on three sides. There is an oblong courtyard enclosed by a high wall and a beautifully carved pillared portico.
Bagru is situated 35 kms. south-west of Jaipur on Ajmer road along National Highway No.8. The ground level fort is still in good shape. The prime attraction of Bagru is its hand printed textiles. The designs are simpler here, the technique less complicated, and the colours are of more earthy shades.
30 kms. north-east of Jaipur, off the Delhi-Jaipur highway, a road leads to the Ramgarh Barrage. It is famous for its huge lake created by constructing a high dam amidst tree covered hills. This is where the citizens through long in large numbers for picnics during the rainy and winter seasons. The temple of Jamwa Mata and the ruins of an old fort still remind people of its hoary past.
94 kms. west of Jaipur in perhaps the country's largest inland saline lake, Sambhar. It is also known for its ancient holy Devayani tank, the palace and nearby site, Naliasar. The ancient temple of Shakambhari Mata, from which this town is supposed to have derived its name, is also situated here.
16 kms. from the Pink City of Jaipur, on Tonk road, the town of Sanganer exhibits beautiful Jain temples.
It also has important craft industries (mainly textile printing and handmade paper) besides the ruined palaces, broken city walls, triple gateways and a neglected Mughal garden. Large and small units of block and screen printers produce some of the finest hand-printed textiles in the country which are also exported and admired around the world.