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SOURCE: PTI

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday visited Pink City’s iconic sites of Amber Fort, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal, which tourism trade stakeholders believe will further boost the tourism industry here.

Macron reached Amber Fort, one of the top tourist attractions of the city atop a hill, from the Jaipur airport. The magnificent fort, a UNESCO world heritage site, is an extensive palace complex that has been built with pale yellow and pink sandstone and white marble. The 16th century fort, located at a distance of 11 km from the main city, is divided into four main sections that are graced with their own courtyards.

The French president visited ‘Sheesh Mahal’ and ‘Deewan-e-Aam’ at the fort.

From the fort, Macron went to Jantar Mantar which is one of the oldest astronomical observatories featuring the world’s largest stone sundial.

At Jantar Mantar, he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi who reached the site from the airport and visited the observatory together.

Built by the then ruler of Jaipur Sawai Jai Singh in 1729, Jantar Mantar is a UNESCO world heritage site which not only attracts tourists, but also historians, astronomers, architects, mathematicians, and geographers.

The collection of nineteen astronomical instruments in Jantar Mantar allows the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye.

The Laghu Samrat Yantra, a Sun Dial, helps to calibrate local time to an accuracy of 20 seconds.

The next site was Jaipur’s iconic landmark, Hawa Mahal, a five-storey building that looks like a honeycomb of a beehive and it is always windy inside, owing to the numerous windows and ‘jharokhas’.

The two leaders reached Hawa Mahal holding a roadshow from Jantar Mantar. They saw Hawa Mahal from outside only.

The main purpose behind the construction of Hawa Mahal, built in 1799, was to allow women members of the royal family and the court to observe the busy streets of the Johari Bazaar from the many ‘jharokhas’ of the palace, without being seen themselves. The palace is considered as the tallest building in the world that has been built without a foundation.

Later, PM Modi and Macron reached hotel Rambagh Palace for a bilateral meeting. The palace was earlier a royal guest house, then hunting lodge and later became the residence of the then ruler of Jaipur Sawai Man Singh II.

Built in 1835, Rambagh Palace has hosted guests like Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Charles and Jacqueline Kennedy.

Meanwhile, tourism industry stakeholders said that after the US, the number of French tourists remains high in the state.

“The visit of PM Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron will certainly give a boost to the tourism trade of Jaipur. French tourists admire the architecture, culture, cuisine and colours of Rajasthan. Several French artists and designers have collaborated with Rajasthani artists,” tour operator Sanjay Kaushik said.

“Jaipur is one of the most favourite destinations for French tourists, and now the city is poised to become more popular across the world,” he said.