Jantar Mantar is an ancient astronomical observatory built by the founder of Jaipur, and is deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage site. If it sounds a bit dry and academic a place to drop into on your holiday, don’t be put off – it is a truly remarkable experience that seldom fails to provoke questions about what mankind has been up to for the past three centuries.
The observatory is a collection of 19 architectural astronomical instruments that rely on the movement of the sun to predict time, calendars and lunar charts. The instruments allow the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye.
Among the various edifices – and arguably the greatest attraction – is the world's largest stone sundial. To give you a sense of the insight and precision of their construction, this sundial tells the time with a degree of accuracy of two seconds.
Standing tall as one of India’s most distinctive sights, the Hawa Mahal is a striking pink sandstone palace that also plays with light and positioning to reveal secrets.
This ‘Palace of the Breeze’ was designed with nearly 1,000 intricate latticework windows, which allow a gentle breeze to drift pleasantly throughout the interior. It was built so the ladies of the royal family could watch the festivals and processions taking place in the streets below without having to venture into the city, and so their faces were hidden from the crowds.
From the top of the floors, not only do you see the Pink City stretched romantically out before you, but you also get heart-stopping views of the City Palace, the home of the current royal household.
You can add experience packs to make your itinerary unique to your own interests. The 'Active' experience pack includes a cycle tour of Jaipur - one of the best ways to see the city.
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