Royal Jaipur is Rajasthan’s capital: its largest city, and gateway to the Land of Kings. Founded in the 17th century by the legendary Jai Singh II, the city grew fabulously wealthy and expanded rapidly. It has now sprawled far beyond the pink sandstone walls of the old Pink City, but its historical centre remains littered with historical treasures. The majestic City Palace (still the home of the former royal family), the striking façade of Hawa Mahal, and the quirky Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory are surrounded by chaotic bazaars serving up arts, crafts, textiles and treasures from across the region. Jaipur’s stellar sight however is the magnificent honeycomb Amber Fort – original home of the Jai Singh Maharajas – found on a high ridge 12km outside the city. Accommodation in Jaipur is memorable: usually found in smart character-laden havelis, or in a succession of luxurious former royal palaces.

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