With its old castles and lakes, its intricate interior decorations and rich desert colours, its plush palaces and royal aura, Jaipur occupies a stronghold on the Indian tourist map. It is Rajasthan's most flamboyant city and boasts of a martial heritage like none other. Ruled over by the valiant and hardy Rajputs, Jaipur has seen and survived brutal history, including changes from the Mughal to the English, and finally, Indian rule. Its tradition of valour is surpassed only by its reputation as an unchallenged manufacturing-cum-marketing centre for all that is exotic and exquisite in Indian art: jewellery, gem stones, miniature paintings and enamelled objets d'art. Founded in the eighteenth century, it is also showcases architecture's grand theme. The scale of its many forts evokes an era that made space for life, passion and war; their walls echoing the danger-fraught, chivalrous and whimsical lives of its royals.