Jaipur is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan in Northern India. It was founded on 18 November 1726 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amer after whom the city is named. As of 2011, the city has a population of 3.1 million, making it the tenth most populous city in the country. Jaipur is also known as the Pink City of India.
Located 260 km from the Indian capital New Delhi, Jaipur forms a part of the west Golden Triangle tourist circuit along with Agra (240 km, 149 mi). Jaipur is a popular tourist destination in India and serves as a gateway to other tourist destinations in Rajasthan such as Jodhpur (348 km, 216 mi), Jaisalmer (571 km, 355 mi) Udaipur (421 km, 262 mi). and Mount Abu (520 km, 323 mi).
The city of Jaipur was founded in 1726 by Jai Singh II, the Raja of Amer who ruled from 1688 to 1758. He planned to shift his capital from Amer, 11 km (7 miles) from Jaipur to accommodate the growing population and increasing scarcity of water. Jai Singh consulted several books on architecture and architects while planning the layout of Jaipur. Under the architectural guidance of Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, Jaipur was planned based on the principles of Vastu shastra and Shilpa Shastra. The construction of the city began in 1726 and took four years to complete the major roads, offices and palaces. The city was divided into nine blocks, two of which contained the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. Huge ramparts were built, pierced by seven fortified gates.
During the rule of Sawai Ram Singh, the city was painted pink to welcome the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, in 1876. Many of the avenues remained painted in pink, giving Jaipur a distinctive appearance and the epithet Pink city. In the 19th century, the city grew rapidly and by 1900 it had a population of 160,000. The wide boulevards were paved and its chief industries were the working of metals and marble, fostered by a school of art founded in 1868. The city had three colleges, including a Sanskrit college (1865) and a girls’ school (1867) opened during the reign of the Maharaja Ram Singh II.
The city was planned according to Indian Vastu shastra by Vidyadhar Bhattacharya in 1727. There are three gates facing east, west, and north. The eastern gate is called Suraj pol (sun gate), the western gate is called Chand pol and the northern gate faces the ancestral capital of Amer.
The city is unusual among pre-modern Indian cities in the regularity of its streets, and the division of the city into six sectors by broad streets 34 m (111 ft) wide. The urban quarters are further divided by networks of gridded streets. Five quarters wrap around the east, south, and west sides of a central palace quarter, with a sixth quarter immediately to the east. The Palace quarter encloses the Hawa Mahal palace complex, formal gardens, and a small lake. Nahargarh Fort, which was the residence of the King Sawai Jai Singh II, crowns the hill in the northwest corner of the old city.
Jaipur lies on a borderline between a hot desert climate and a hot semi-arid climate under the Köppen climate classification «BWh/BSh», receiving over 650 millimetres (26 in) of rainfall annually but most rains occur in the monsoon months between June and September. Temperatures remain relatively high during summer from April to early July having average daily temperatures of around 30 °C (86 °F). During the monsoon there are frequent, heavy rains and thunderstorms, but flooding is not common. The winter months of November to February are mild and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging from 10–15 °C (50–59 °F) and with little or no humidity and cold waves lead to temperatures near freezing.
Jaipur has many cultural sites like Jawahar Kala Kendra formed by Architect Charles Correa and Ravindra Manch. Government Central Museum hosts several arts and antiquities. There is a government museum at Hawa Mahal and an art gallery at Viratnagar. There are statues depicting Rajasthani culture around the city. Jaipur has many traditional shops selling antiques and handicrafts. The prior rulers of Jaipur patronised a number of arts and crafts. They invited skilled artisans, artists and craftsmen from India and abroad who settled in the city. Some of the crafts include bandhani, block printing, stone carving and sculpture, tarkashi, zari, gota-patti, kinari and zardozi, silver jewellery, gems, kundan, meenakari and jewellery, Lakh ki Chudiya, miniature paintings, blue pottery, ivory carving, shellac work and leather ware.
Jaipur has its own performing arts. The Jaipur Gharana for Kathak and Ghoomar are popular folk dance styles. Tamasha is an art form where Kathputli puppet dance is shown in play form. Jaipur has four majors fairs and festivals namely Elephant Festival, Gangaur, Kite Festival Jaipur and Teej. Jaipur is also famous for the Jaipur Literature Festival, the world’s largest free literature festival in which country-wide authors, writers and literature lovers participate.