1 Photographer's delight Be sure to pack your camera because Jaipur's vivid colours make for a photographer's heaven. One of the best vantage points is at the corner of Chandpol and Kibhanpol bazaars, where you'll find a small temple with a rooftop platform that looks down on the most colourful and busiest intersection in the city. Wiry merchants balance enormous baskets of fruit, vegetables, noodles and nuts as they stride among the trishaws, elephants, camel-pulled carts and glittering wedding horses. Women in blindingly bright colours sashay through the chaotic bazaars, while men with curly moustaches and multicoloured turbans guard the halls of Jaipur's monumental forts. Jaipur, capital city of Rajasthan, the land of the warrior Rajputs, is known as the Pink City because of its rosy sandstone buildings. 2 Princes and palaces Jaipur's main City Palace ( www.royal familyjaipur.com), has been converted into a museum. Elegant arches sit on slender columns and marble lattice screens; galleries that were once full of delicate wall paintings are linked by a maze-like complex of connecting courtyards and pavilions; audience halls, sitting rooms, dining rooms, banqueting chambers and offices that once bustled with activity are now filled with ogling tourists. It's not hard to picture a time when queens, princesses and concubines schemed in the zenana, or private women's quarters, while Jaipur's warrior princes held court. Adding to the mystique of the City Palace is the fact that Sawai Bhawani Singh, the man who would have been maharaja had history taken a different course, continues to live in a section of the complex. 3 Ride a rickshaw Take a rickshaw through Jaipur's fascinating bazaars. The main market thoroughfares are Johari, Bapu, Nehru and Tripolia bazaars and M.I. Road. You'll see snake charmers coaxing cobras from baskets, and stonemasons, wood carvers and brass workers chiselling away. There are shops specialising in precious and semi-precious stones, ornaments and jewellery, artisans making enamel bracelets and stalls selling everything from shoes to carpets. Don't forget to haggle in the bazaars, as well as for the best price before setting off on your rickshaw: a 30-minute ride should cost from 150 to 250 rupees (HK$25 to HK$43). 4 Palace of the Winds One of Jaipur's most recognisable buildings is the Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of the Winds. Built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh, this architectural marvel is a pyramid-shaped edifice with hundreds of tiny windows, domes and spires. Although the facade has the appearance of a grand palace, that's all it is: a facade forming an integral part of the City Palace and an extension of the zenana. From the Palace of the Winds, women at court could watch parades on the street below, without being seen. 5 Amber Fort Set on a hilltop 11km from Jaipur, the ancient capital of Jaipur's Kachhawaha rulers can be reached by elephant (400 rupees return) from the base of the hill. An imposing stairway leads to the Diwan-I-Am, or Hall of Public Audience, with its double row of columns and latticed galleries. The Jai Mandir, or Hall of Victory, has glittering mirror ceilings and walls. From the 16th century until the 1980s a goat was sacrificed every day at the Kali Temple. The maharaja's apartments are situated on the higher terrace and are linked to the women's apartments. 6 Elephant festival Join in the fun at Jaipur's annual Elephant Festival, where elephants dressed in royal finery parade for the crowds, run races, play polo and enact a tug-of-war. For centuries, the elephant has been a symbol of strength and wealth for the Rajput kings. The festival is usually held in March to coincide with India's Holi Festival ( www.incredibleindia.org ). 7 Live like a maharaja Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II was one of the first Rajasthan nobles to convert his family palace into a five- star hotel. In 1958, the family moved out of its principal residence, the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur, and handed over the reins to Taj Hotels. Other palaces soon followed suit: the Rambagh Palace Hotel ( www.taj hotels.com) has a series of royal suites that reflect the opulent living of past eras, and its turbaned, moustachioed retainers are at guests' beck and call. The concept of living like a maharaja has such powerful market appeal that it has inspired the Indian-managed Oberoi Group to design and construct from scratch a series of new luxury hotels leaning heavily on Rajasthan's opulent heritage. 8 Count your lucky stars In 1724, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II created an observatory full of enormous astronomical instruments chiselled out of stone. To this day, most continue to provide accurate measurements. So keen an astronomer was Singh that he built a series of observatories around the region, of which Jaipur's Jantar Mantar complex ( www.jantarmantar.org ) is the largest and best preserved. Climb the steep, narrow steps for a fine view of the surrounding area or crawl around under the instruments, which measure local time, the angle of the sun, altitude and the declination of stars and planets. The most striking instrument is the Brihat Samrat Yantra Sundial, a towering yellow edifice with a 27-metre arm set at an angle of 27 degrees. The shadow this casts moves up to four metres an hour and calculates local time. 9 Spot a tiger Sariska National Park outside Jaipur, a former royal hunting ground and one of the country's most popular parks, offers safaris into a landscape alive with tigers, jungle cats, civet cats, wild boars and languor monkeys. The many religious monuments within the park mean it must be kept open year round, but the best weather for exploring is from November to June. The reserve was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1958 and came under the auspices of Project Tiger in 1979 (projecttiger.nic.in). 10 Palace on Wheels Roll back through time and travel like a maharaja in the Palace on Wheels ( www.palaceonwheelsindia.com ). Each carriage has been refurbished to resemble the original saloons of the maharajas and comes complete with private bathroom, wall-to-wall carpeting and a personal attendant. Sweep through the outer reaches of Jaipur, then strike out to explore 'classic' India: Jaisalmer's desert camps, Jodhpur's blue city, Udaipur's lakes and gardens, Bharatpur's bird sanctuary and the fabled Taj Mahal at Agra.