Jaipur, the city-capital in the tone of an autumnal sunset, literally lush pink when prince Albert, the consort of Queen Victoria, stepped on its soil in 1883. Interspersing the play of red and pink were white borders and motifs, painstakingly outlining the architectural highlights of Jaipur's buildings. Jaipur had been like that since 1727 when Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II had it built that year.
Interestingly, the royal family's earlier residence at Amber, was only 11 km away and had been since the 10th century. Seven hundred years later, the Maharaja chose to raise a 'City of Victory, and aptly baptised it Jaipur. Coincidentally, the name also incorporated the first name of the Maharaja thus immortalising the builder : both through his nomenclature of dynasty and concept of ideals.
Jaipur was and remains the only city in the world symbolizing the nine divisions of the Universe through nine rectangular sectors subdividing it. A young Bengali architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, formalised the city's plans on the 'Shipa Shastra', the epochal Hindu treatise on architecture, tempering it with sublimity of Mughal and Jain influences of the times. The Palaces and forts of the yesteryears that were witness to royal processions and splendour are now living monuments. There is a timeless quality to Jaipur's bazaars and of eternity to its people. Could the woman drying chillies under the sun, in the shadow of the fort, have been there a hundred years ago? Could not the Jeweller, so carefully crafting the gold and precious stones of his trade, be equally its vision of the future.
Jaipur is a great city and this is its most noticeable aspect. Buildings testify to it. Its Palaces, luxury hotels, ancient beautifully carved and painted Havelies pay homage to the grand capital of princes and kings, a city of the past that belongs to India's future.