Majestic Jaipur – The Pink City

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Item Code: IHL696
Author: Aruna Ghose
Publisher: Prakash Books
Edition: 1998
ISBN: 962217552X
Pages: 112 (Illustrated Throughout In Color)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 11.0 inch X 8.4 inch
Weight 430 gm
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Shipped to 153 countries
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Book Description
From Back of the Book

Jaipur, believed to be the twelfth largest city in India today, is a busy, commercial centre, the capital of Rajasthan. Distinguished by the colour pink, this picturesque city is enclosed by fortified, crenellated walls. Within, is meticulously planned town, a tribute to the enlightened monarch who built it, dominated by opulent place and gardens. In the streets and bazaars, however, one encounters, what an early writer poetically described as the ‘India of novels and the opera, fairylike and incredible…


The celebrated lipstick-pink crenellated walls perforated with musket and cannon holes and embroidered with towers and parapets, look like a hardboard film set at first glance. This is Jaipur, coloured pink by the Rajputs to symbolise hospitality and, the oldest surviving urban centre in northern India to be built to a plan. Not a crumbling shell of another culture which rose and fell amidst the shifting sands of Indian history, it is a vibrant and burgeoning modern metropolis and the 12th largest city in the country. The old city is a constant and colorful melee, and if the way ahead is blocked, the hapless Jaipuri simply swerves across the road and proceeds on the wrong side. Bikes, rickshaws, autorickshaws and the ubiquitous Ambassadors and Marutis squeeze through the narrow gates while angular and milky-white cows moon across the lanes of traffic and pigs rooting among piles of rubbish compete for space with playful goats.

Yet even amidst this maelstrom it is still evident that Jaipur began life as a well—planned town on a neat urban grid. Even in the filthy road leading north from the Chandpol Gate where naked children wash themselves at the roadside pump, the old drainage channels are in place. The ranks of arched shop-fronts on the main street are part of a carefully—executed symmetrical design, and the royal buildings reveal the l8th—century synthesis of Meghan and Rajput architecture so characteristic of the magnificent city of Jaipur.

The city’s main artery runs horizontally from Chandpol to Surajpol Gate. Until the 20th century the seven gates of Jaipur, linked by the famous pink wall and each with two kiosks above and machicolations over the entrance, were kept locked at night. Large sections of the wall, alas, have disappeared, probably for secondary use as building material; it is sad to record that a great deal of the heritage of Jaipur has been eroded either by greed or by need.

Jaipur is liberally splashed with colour. Mounds of gleaming scarlet chillies fringe the Chandpol Bazaar, at its western end a particularly seething and slow- moving mass of humanity, especially in the morning rush. Hundreds of fruit and vegetable sellers bunch around the old town’s main circus, the Badi Chaupar. Women from outlying villages adjust canvas canopies or squat alongside their pyramids of strange-shaped fruit, bright of plumage in their ankle bracelets, toerings and bangles. Rosita Forbes, writing just before the Second World War, commented, ‘the streets of Jaipur look as if all the Impressionists had upset their paint boxes’.


Half Title Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II as painted by Sahib Ram, AD 1740. Courtesy City Place Museum, Jaipur
Title spread The best time to approach Amber is at dawn when shafts of the early morning sun illuminate the imposing ramparts of the sprawling fortress
Right When seen from a distance, Jal Mahal gleams like a jewel set in the calm waters of the Man Sagar lake
A view of the city of Jaipur from Nahargarh Fort 6-7
Local women draped in vibrant red odhnis or veils add a splash of colour to an elephant polo match at Chaugan Stadium below Nahargarh Fort 8-9
Polo Jaipur style. A slower more sedate version of the game where elephants lumber across the field, steered by their mahouts, while players try to manoeuvre the ball with their sticks 10-11
Hanuman leaps across the ornate gates leading into Diggi Palace 12-13
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