general info.

Introduction :
Jaipur, the vibrant capital of Rajasthan, is popularly known as the ' Pink City ' because of the pink-coloured buildings in its old city. It sits on a dry lake bed in a somewhat arid landscape, surrounded by barren hills surmounted by forts and crenellated walls. This buzzing metropolis is certainly a place of wild contrasts and a feast for the eyes. Jaipur has massive forts, magnificent palaces, exquisite temples and marvellous gardens. All through, Jaipur has retained its strong Rajputana flavour tempered by several influences - the mughal being the most prominent. The region's strong cultural heritage is distinctly evident even today. The city is a visitor's delight. From the intricate, delicate looking Hawa Mahal to the graphic forms of the Jantar Mantar - an open air observatory of outsized astronomical instruments, the Badi Chaupar lined with shopsand business establishments on both sides to the majestic fort-palace at Amber; from the colorful fountains of life to the sublime Birla Temple; from the architectural delight of the City Palace to the serene Jal Mahal. The principal shopping centre in the old city is Johari Bazaar, The jewellers' market. Unlike most other shopping centres in narrow alleys in India and elsewhere in Asia, this one is broad and open. There are three main interconnecting roads in the new part of town - Mirza Ismail road (MI road), Station road and Sansar Chandra Marg.

Money :
You can change money at Thomas Cook on the Ist floor of Jaipur Towers on MI Rd. The tiny Bank of Rajasthan in the Rambagh Palace changes money and is conveniently. The Andhra bank, MI Rd, does cash advances on Master Card, Visa and JCB (Japanese Credit Bureau) cards. The Central Bank of India, Anand building, Sansar Chandra Marg, issues cash advances on Master Card and Visa (min. US$100).

Post & Communications :
The main post office on MI Rd is quite efficient and there's a man at the entrance who sews up parcels, sealing them with wax. DHL Worldwide Express is in a lane off MI Rd at C-scheme, G-7A Vinobha Marg. There are scores of round-the-clock local/long-distance telephone booths in Jaipur, and their charges are generally cheaper than the hotels.

Special Event :
Teej, also known as the festival of Swings (a reference to the flower-bedecked swings which are erected at this time), celebrates the onset of the monsoon and is held in honour of the marriage of Shiva and Parvati. It is celebrated with particular fervour in Jaipur.

Bookshops :
If you are the hunt for reading material, there is a wide range of English-language books as well as magazines and maps at 'Books Corner', MI Rd (near Niro's restaurant). You can pick up a copy of the informative 'Jaipur Vision' here, which contains useful information about the city. A good range of titles can also be found in the bookshops at the Rambagh Palace, Rajputana Palace Sheraton and at the Bissau Palace hotel.