Morning drive to Amber, the name of the ancient kingdom of Jaipur and also the name of its ancient capital, situated 7 miles away. Its history can be traced backed to the 12th century. Amber Fort is superbly located, protected by the wild Arravali Hills on all sides. Originally built in the 11th century, it was expanded by Raja Man Singh in the late 16th century. The ascent to the Fort will be on elephant backs.
Afternoon: city tour including the City Palace, Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), Jantar Mantar – Observatory & bazaars. Special dinner at Spice Court Restaurant.
Known as the “Pink City,” Jaipur was founded by Sawai Jai Singh II (1700-1743). It has 7 gates into the city–one for each of the 7 planets (which was the number of planets known at the time of the city’s founding). At the heart of Jaipur is its City Palace which houses an extensive collection of rare manuscripts, Mughal and Rajasthani miniatures, Mughal carpets, costumes and textiles, arms and weapons, royal buggies, chariots and palanquins and a remarkable carriage -the indiraviman – that was drawn by four elephants.
At the center is Chandra Mahal, the seven-tiered moon palace where the present Maharaja still resides. The City Palace complex also contains the Govind Devji Temple, dedicated to Lord Krishna. Just outside the gateway of the City Palace is Jantar Mantar, the Yantralaya of Sawai Jai Singh II, the last great classical astronomer in India. The modernistic structures known as Yantras are the unique creations of this astronomer-king, designed by him and built by experts to observe the movements of the sun, moon, planets and stars. This is the largest of five observatories founded by the astronomer-king in various parts of the country. Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) is Jaipur’s most-photographed building, a honeycomb palace with 953 latticed windows overlooking the bazaar and busy streets of Jaipur. Built in 1799 by the poet-king Pratap Singh, this extraordinary building was used by purdah-bound women to watch the grand processions that were a regular feature of the city.