JAIPUR - "The City of Victory", was first intended to be "Sawai Jaipur", named after the boy Prince who commissioned it - Maharaja Jai Singh II - a warrior, astronomer and politician who reigned over the Mughals from 1699 to 1743.
Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a grand visionary and architect, helped Jai Singh II design and develop his vision of the city. The two began work during the second half of the Prince's reign in 1727. Concentrating on shaping his creative pursuits and passions, Jai Singh's ambition was to make Jaipur one of the greatest cities of his time. He was clearly successful. Within five years a walled city of unparalleled beauty was created.
Jaipur was built according to a plan, with the glittering City Palace in the centre. Spreading around, in tiers, were public buildings, residences of noblemen, and the living and trading quarters of merchants and artisans. At it's simplest, Jaipur was based on seven blocks of buildings, subdivided by straight, wide roads. All of it surrounded, as cities then were, by a high wall for defence into which were set seven gates.
Today's Jaipur is pink, visually described as the city shaded with the autumn colours of a sunset. Although originally the walls were render set and pigmented the colour of red sandstone, Jaipur's universal coat of pink only came in 1876 to coincide with the visit of the Prince of Wales (King Edward VII). Almost the entire city was given a coat of pink paint, thus giving it the name "The Pink City".
In her book, "A Princess Remembers", Maharani Gayatri Devi describes the city thus - …… On a plain, encircled by brown desert hills with fortifications and walls snaking over their contours. The capital itself was the prettiest I had ever seen - an intricacy of domes and towers, lattices and verandas, with all the buildings coloured a deep oleander pink. In the wide well planned streets the women wore skirts, bodices and shawls instead of saris, and all the men wore gloriously coloured turbans - red, magenta, daffodil yellow and an indescribable pink that was both pale and piercing. It was an incredible effect, this pink against the background of the desert sky.