Architectural wonders and Sufi mysticism

Shamsher Singh
Jaipur can often leave you feeling amazed

Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal
Jaipur owes a lot to its founder, Raja Jai Singh II. He had varied interests but was especially passionate about science and astronomy. Jantar Mantar has an amazing collection of astronomical instruments, including a sun dial, which were used for weather forecasts back in the 18th century.

Hawa Mahal is an incredible piece of architecture too, and is one of the iconic monuments of Jaipur. Made of pink sandstone, this five-storey structure is in the heart of the town's main bazaar area. Its main attractions are the 953 jharokkhas (windows), which stack up like a pyramid, and were built to allow women of the royal family to take a peek at the streets below without being seen. The windows are designed so as to let the breeze be distributed uniformly throughout the structure.

Apart from visiting Jaipur's famous forts and taking a trip to the Ranthambore wildlife sanctuary, you could also head to Ajmer to visit the Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti dargah, believed by Muslims to be second only to Mecca in its holiness. Legend has it that Mughal emperor Akbar walked barefoot to the dargah to pray, after which he was blessed with a son. It is one of the biggest tourist attractions in India, and only two hours from Jaipur. Many cricketers and Bollywood stars seek blessings at Ajmer.

Listen to folk music and go dancing
Rajasthan is famous for its folk and traditional music. Most evenings in the summer, there is live music in Central Park, which has colourful fountains, and is a good place to walk and jog.

B2B in the basement of the Country Inn and Suites, near the railway station, has a decent-sized dance floor and is popular with youngsters over the weekend. Players also head there during the IPL.

Shop in the bazaars
Jaipur is one of the biggest markets for precious and semi-precious stones. There are lots of showrooms on MI Road and Chowda Raasta, where the traditional goldsmiths carve out intricate designs, blending stones on gold and silver jewellery. Sanganeri prints, block prints that are used for salwar kurtas, curtains, bedsheets and various furnishings, can be bought at Bapu Bazaar and Chowra Raasta. Jaipur quilts, made of silk, linen and cotton, are popular buys too.

Improve your golf swing
Rambaugh Golf Club is an exclusive club but you can hire equipment and play there for a day after making prior arrangements.

Former Rajasthan fast bowler Shamsher Singh was a Rajasthan Cricket Association selector. He managed the Rajasthan Royals during their victorious 2008 IPL season

As told to Nagraj Gollapudi