Jaipur, India - Stein Travel
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Jaipur

Situated 190 miles (300km) southwest of Delhi, Jaipur is an essential stop on any tour of Rajasthan. The old, walled section of the city is known as the Pink City: it was painted red (a lucky colour in Hindu culture) to welcome England's Prince Alfred in 1853, and the fading old buildings still retain traces of this hue. Jaipur is one of India's newer cities, founded in 1727, and was the creation of Jai Singh II, the Maharaja of the Kuchwaha Rajputs, who decided when Mogul power was on the decline to move from his outmoded hillside fortress at Amber to establish a new capital on the plains further south.

The Pink City was built in only eight years. Much of it was designed by Jai himself, including the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar, a fascinating astronomical observatory with massive instruments used to predict the monsoon and to identify the movements of the stars. Most impressive is a 27 metre-high sundial that is accurate to within two minutes. All seven gates into the old city remain, one of which leads into Johari Bazaar - the famously frenetic jewellers' market, boasting the best selection of precious stones in India.

Jaipur is now a thriving commercial city, home to about two million people. Although some visitors are put off by the over-zealous traders and the insane traffic, most are enthralled and enchanted by this welcoming, exciting city. There is no better place in India to shop than in Rajasthan's capital - you'll find everything in its shop-lined streets, from jewellery to silks to perfumes and stationery. Just be prepared to bargain hard for a good deal.

Information & Facts

Climate

Jaipur has a semi-arid climate, with hot weather in summer and cool, comfortable winters. Summer is between April and June and temperatures can reach as high as 113°F (45°C); while the monsoon season, from July to September, is characterised by torrential downpours and high humidity. Jaipur's winter weather is more pleasant, with clear, blue skies and temperatures averaging around 64°F (18°C). The best time to visit Jaipur is between October and March.

Language

Although English is generally used for official and business purposes, Hindi is the official language and is spoken by about 40 percent of the population. Urdu is the language common with the Muslim demographic. India has a total of 22 official languages

Money

The currency is the Indian Rupee (INR), which is divided into 100 paise (singular paisa). Major currencies can be changed at banks, and authorised bureaux de changes. It is impossible to obtain rupees outside India, but no matter what time you arrive in India there will be an exchange office open at the airport. It is illegal to exchange money through the black market and it is advisable to refuse torn notes, as no one will accept them apart from the National Bank. It is best to change money into small denominations. Travellers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted, particularly in tourist orientated establishments. ATMs are not generally available.

Shopping

Jaipur is a great place to practice your bargaining skills. The vendors and market sellers in the city offer a great variety. Gemstones, clothes, jewellery, clothes and blue pottery are all readily available. The best places to shop are the Gem Palace, Chameliwala Market and Amrapali.

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