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Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, is famed for its culture, forts, palaces, and lakes. Jaipur owes its name to founder Sawai Jai Singh II, one of the most powerful Rajput rulers of the city. In the 17th century AD, Jaipur was re-modeled as per vaastu shastra principles, where natural elements are juxtaposed to create positive energy. Later, during the British colonial era, the old city of Jaipur was painted pink to welcome Prince Albert to India. Jaipur has several iconic monuments – the beautiful Hawa Mahal, also known as the “Palace of the Winds,” is a must see. Another fascinating monument is the Jantar Mantar Observatory, where geometric devices are used to measure time and track the orbiting stars. The Jaipur City Palace museums showcase ancient manuscripts, coats of arms, and costumes of erstwhile royalty. The mighty Amber Fort, by the Maota Lake, is a fascinating blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture, and an elephant ride up to the fort is an adventure in itself! A shopper’s paradise, Jaipur is packed with bustling bazaars that sell hand-sewn cotton quilts, leather mojris (Rajasthani-style footwear) mirrored lac bangles, and bandhani tie and dye fabrics. The local food is irresistible – famous dishes include laal maas, dal baati churma, ghewar, and kachori.