THE PINK CITY OF INDIA!
The colors, architecture, and people...I'm in Jaipur! And I love it! Thank you to the locals that showed up to help me make this video. You all are the best support system in the world. LIKE Nas Daily on Facebook!@NasDaily on Instagram! Music: Soul by DJ QuadsPosted by Nas Daily on Monday, October 9, 2017
Affectionately known as the Pink City, Jaipur is Rajasthan’s iconic capital and India’s first planned city. Part of India’s Golden Triangle Tourist Circuit, this city is pretty unique. On one side, we saw rugged hills and huge fortresses lording over the city. As we travelled through the bustling streets, we noticed well-preserved buildings steeped with architectural magnificence and regal forts which still held pockets of stillness. Amidst all the buzz, we also discovered fine examples of Mughal architecture all around. It dawned upon us that Jaipur really stood out as a city that is distinctly different from New Delhi or Mumbai.
The splendours of Jaipur’s majestic past still stand tall — even though the city is almost 300 years old today — with star attractions like the Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal and the City Palace. But the one thing that really captivated us about this flamboyant city was the fact that everything was suffused in a shade of terracotta pink — a symbol of hospitality that’s synonymous with the Rajasthani’s kind nature.
Important things to know about Jaipur
We already know the common burning question — why is this exquisite city pink? We found out that when the Prince of Wales wanted to visit in 1876, the entire city was painted pink under the direction of the Maharaja, to welcome him. Local laws subsequently require the colour to be maintained and buildings are regularly painted over to ensure the pink exteriors remain fresh.
This culturally affluent city literally made use of a single colour to define and distinguish itself from other cities in India and it became the city’s unique selling point for tourism. In Agra, we saw the Taj Mahal. In Dharavi, we saw slums that were fundamentally economic powerhouses. In Jaipur, we saw a city that was proud to show off its pink — and we were smitten.
Best time to visit Jaipur
If you’re visiting Jaipur, an important thing to note is that Jaipur has a very hot and dry desert climate. The best season to visit Jaipur is during the winter months from November till February. During this season, average temperatures take a dip and hover at around 25℃.
From April until July though, temperatures can reach an unbearable average of 40℃. However, with the pollution and dust combined, sightseeing becomes almost impossible. The perpetual summer heat is also very draining, so it’s important to constantly stay hydrated if you visit during the hottest months.
Things to do and places to visit in Jaipur
Jaipur’s cultural heritage has been known far and wide for attracting scores of tourists from around the world. This inherent heritage is reflected in various places of interest, which you can incorporate into your personal itinerary. There’s no shortage of things to do here in Jaipur which is home to a plethora of buzzing bazaars, historical attractions, temples, museums and palaces. Trust us, the sheer size and grandeur of some of these sites are impressive and our time in Jaipur left us with lots of eye-opening experiences.
The Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 and this five-storey palace is the city’s absolute must-see. Just based on the exteriors, the honeycomb lattice structure left us in awe. We were even trying to count how many windows there were on this palace because of its sheer size — 953 to our dismay! The purpose of the windows was to basically allow members of the royal family, the females in particular, to watch the outside world without being seen. The palace is built in red and pink sandstone and is a great example of the vibrant fusion of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles.
The City Palace is a lavish complex that formerly housed the royal families of Jaipur and served the most important role in Rajasthan’s history. Over the last few centuries, this vast palace has seen many majestic celebrations, including royal marriages and festivals. Jantar Mahar, the astronomical observatory — and UNESCO World Heritage Site — is also part of the City Palace complex. The sun dial is responsible for measuring the planetary movements. Spend time wandering around the peaceful courtyards, buildings, and gardens and take advantage of the photo opportunities all around. Today, the palace buildings contain well-curated galleries, gilded costumes and illuminated holy scriptures for your viewing pleasure.
This sprawling palace complex and fortified structure is more than 400 years old! Amber Fort, also known as Amer Fort, is a 30-minute ride from the city centre. The fort is situated on the rocky hill of Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles), next to Maota Lake, and overlooks the city of Jaipur. We really benefited from viewing Jaipur in a whole new perspective — the hues of pink were even more impressive from above. We missed the Light and Sound show that’s held every evening but we heard it’s stunning.
If you’re not too busy exploring the elaborately decorated rooms, you can marvel at the Sheesh Mahal which has mirror mosaics and coloured glasses all around. The reflection that this makes is indeed a visual delight. The Amber Fort is a relic of a bygone era and well worth a visit.
The Galtaji Fort
This is no ordinary temple and it’s one that you should consider visiting. The Galtaji Temple is a unique Hindu temple as it is centered around a natural spring that can fill up to seven large pools and never runs dry. There is also a large colony of monkeys (over 200 of them to be exact) that call this place home.
Even though this temple was slightly out of the main city centre, we felt that it made for a great half day excursion especially for witnessing sunsets. The aura of calmness here is otherworldly and we felt that our visit enriched our overall experience to Jaipur as a whole. While there is no entrance fee to enter, we know the monkeys will charge at you if they see you offering food.
If you’re visiting Jaipur, we reckon you visit the cluster of bazaars. As we strolled around the labyrinthine alleys, we saw all sorts of goods ranging from jewellery fit for a queen, delicate textiles, brassware, carpets and bangles of every colour. Some bazaars specialise in selling a particular good. At the Johari Bazaar, you can peruse through a selection of silver and gold jewellery as well as precious gemstones. In Nehru Bazaar, you can expect to see embroidered leather shoes while in Tripolia Bazaar, you can find carpets boasting elaborate designs.
Most bazaars also sell beautiful handicrafts that have been skillfully made by local craftsmen, and the blue pottery sold is also well worth checking out. We have one tip for you: bargaining is key so always negotiate down 20 to 40% of the original price unless you’re at a high-end boutique of course.
To refuel and satisfy your cravings, we totally recommend having a cup of roadside chai and sampling some local street food. Masala Chowk, an open-air food court with plenty of street food stalls, is great to curb those growing hunger pangs.
The royal state of Rajasthan is home to landmarks and a rich heritage that will leave you enthralled. Sans the dust and haphazard sprawl, there is still something so regal about India’s Pink City that beckons to be experienced. It was an awe-inspiring journey for us; from meeting amicable locals to admiring the palaces and winding around the bejeweled bangled bazaars. Being in Jaipur also allowed us to glimpse into the world of dynasties that used to once rule in the past.
We were told to be wary of scams especially when it came to gem and rickshaw scams but aside from that, Jaipur is pretty safe to explore. The trip was extra meaningful because we chose to get lost in the moments and embraced Jaipur not just as tourists, but as open-minded wanderers. If you’re hankering for a cultural experience in India that’s unique and distinct, Jaipur holds the key to a whole new world.