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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Wrenn-Haye

Jaipur The Pink City India - The Capital of the State of Rajasthan

Updated: Apr 1

General Overview

The Wonders of Jaipur - also known as the 'Paris of India'

Having just returned from India in February this year, we have been compelled to write an informative blog on Jaipur the Pink City India.

Jaipur is located in the north eastern part of Rajasthan and as mentioned, it is the capital city of this 7th largest Indian state; surrounded by hills and desert areas to the north and west and fertile plains to the south and east. It sits 268 km (157 miles) from New Delhi.

Today Jaipur is well-known for its many glorious tourist attractions, such as colourful bustling bazaars, amazing towering historical forts, beautiful temples, unbelievable palaces and wildlife sanctuaries. Not only is it referred to as the 'Pink City', it has earned the name 'Paris of India' because of this reason.

Jaipur combines the appeal of its ancient history together with all the advantages of a big city. Regarding the old city itself which is the heartbeat of Jaipur, it has of late been awarded the status of being a UNESCO World Heritage site and when visiting this wonderous city, you will see why.

With regards to how long to spend in Jaipur, two to three nights is generally considered a sufficient amount of time to take in all the magnificent sights and to experience the culture, but make sure you plan your sightseeing itinerary ahead of time and don't leave it to chance.

Jaipur Royalty

In 1971, ruling monarchies were abolished in India, but saying that however, there are several Royal families that reside in Jaipur today with their opulent lifestyles, including the current King by heritage, Maharaja Sawai Padmanabh Singh who was born in 1998.

He is a distinguished Indian polo player and is renowned for his opulent lifestyle and global fashion flair. He resides with his family at the Royal Residences located within the 'Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum' complex, portions of which are open to the public and well worth a visit, as the buildings and artifacts are totally incredible. It should be noted that photography is not allowed in some parts of the museum and around the Royal Residencies.

The History of the 'Pink City'

Jaipur happens to be one of the most colourful cities in the Rajasthan desert. It was one of the first planned cities, established in 1727 and each and every minute detail was considered before laying the foundation stone; from the orientation of the gates through to the manuscripts scrawled above each shop. The city is divided into nine blocks on a grid-like system, with eight gateways all of which still remain intact. The three important gates to the walled city are Chand Pol, Ajmeri Gate and Sanganeri Gate which lead into the great bizarres.

The original name of Jaipur as we know it today, was 'Amer' or 'Amber', which remained the name from the 14th century to the 18th century AD until Kachwaha ruler Sawai Jai Singh ll (Reigned 1727-1743) had the planned city built over a four year period. The architect was Vidyadher Bhattacharya and the planning of the sciences was carried out by Vastu Shastra and Shilpa Shastraand. Once built it was then referred to as 'Jayapura'.

During the 19th century in 1876, the then reigning Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh I (Reigned 1835-1880), chose to have many of the honeycomb style buildings painted in a dusty pink colour scheme. This colour was symbolically associated with hospitality and vibrancy and the timing of his decision to commission this was to welcome Great Britain's Queen Victoria and her son Prince Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, which he certainly did in the most unimaginable way for their state visit in February that same year.

Not only did the Maharaja have the buildings painted pink, he also had a concert hall built, which he named the 'Albert Hall'. Today this is a historical museum and if you choose to visit and venture inside, you will discover a fabulous collection of treasures including paintings, crystal sculptures and jewellery and there is even a 2,300 year old Egyptian mummy called Tutu.

The 'Albert Hall' museum is also lit up at night in extraordinary colours which is a beautiful sight. When visiting the 'Albert Hall' you may also like to try one of Jaipur's oldest vegetarian restaurants which is highly thought of by the locals and tourists alike. It is called Laxmi Misthan Bhandar (LMB). Tel: +91 (0)902 460 9609.

Moving on, it is said that during the Royal visit in 1879, Prince Albert nick-named the city the 'Pink City' and the name has apparently stuck for evermore. A law was subsequently passed making it illegal for buildings in the old city to be painted any colour other than "Jaipur pink." This law still remains in effect today.

One interesting fact about the current buildings is that the Government ensures that all are maintained and repainted the very same dusty pink every calander year; this takes place as an organised programme which lasts for 12 months. Apparently, when the very last building has been restored to its freshly painted pink glory, it is then time to start the new maintenance programme. During our stay, we were advised that it is a continuous cycle of improvement which is commissioned in order to not only protect the city's heritage, but to uphold the law and maintain Jaipur's namesake, the 'Pink City'.

Visiting Jaipur & Where to Stay

We entered Jaipur via the famous gate called 'Ghat Gate'; this particular gate is the final of the four gates in the southern area of the walled city; the walls surrounding the old city sit 6 and 3 metres high. The 'Ghat Gate' is illuminated pink at night and many people gather here to pose for photographs. We must admit, the gate when lit up gives off glorious pink hues and is particularly striking. When we visited Jaipur in January, it happened to be at the time of the God Rama Navami celebrations, so fireworks were in abundance above the gate and everywhere around, alongside huge celebrations taking place not only in the city, but across India. A sight to behold and an electric atmosphere never to be forgotten.

Famous Ghat Gate Jaipur Rajasthan India illuminated pink at night giving off pink hues.
'Ghat Gate' Jaipur

We chose to stay very near to this gate, at a stunning 225 year old heritage Indian mansion which was originally the residence of the rulers of Samode. Today it is still occupied by their descendants who have converted their home into a quintessential indo-saracenic hotel named 'Samode Haveli'. Our choice was recommended by our travel company Audley.

This intimate luxury hotel offers a blissful oasis in which to retreat after a day's sightseeing. We really loved what this special place had to offer with an opulent restaurant, huge rooftop bar with amazing panoramic views, as well as having a beautiful tranquil courtyard with fountains that had a bar to relax and enjoy, plus the icing on the cake for us was a gorgeous swimming pool, spa pool and gym, not forgetting a pretty terrace surrounded by glorious colourful flowers and exquisite shrubs, and where you could enjoy a tasty lunch and cocktails. The hotel is situated in the heart of the old city, ideal for sightseeing and shopping. Tel: +91 (0)141 263 2407 to make a reservation.

Obviously when choosing the location of where to stay in Jaipur, many people decide upon staying near to the Amber Fort or Man Sagar Lake area opposite the Lake Palace which is one of the most photographed monuments in Jaipur. The location is approximately halfway between the fort and the old city and 10-15 minutes in good traffic from the old city itself.

Accommodation is of course a personal choice and there are many homestays and boutique hotels, in addition to larger hotels, available to choose from depending on your budget. It doesn't have to be expensive to enjoy this prodigious city, but if it is luxury that you are seeking Jaipur is home to many top class luxury hotels, some with spas and amazing restaurants, giving you a glimpse of what it is like living as a Maharaja.

Stimulation of The Senses

From our perspective what can we say about Jaipur!

Well, it certainly was one of the busiest cities that we encountered on our exceptional tour of India and we can't help but highlight that our senses were somewhat overloaded during our stay.

Without putting a negative stance on this majestic city, we feel we should mention that the sights, smells and sounds can be a little alarming at first, especially when staying within the walls of the old city.

We did eventually however, get used to what to expect when leaving the confines of the calm environment of our beautiful hotel. That said, you have to take into account that it is the capital city; the Jaipur district as a whole has a population of 4,309,000 people spread over 467 square kilometres (187 miles). The old city itself has a population of 3.1 million and the locals live alongside the sacred cows and stray dogs, as is common across the whole of India.

You can anticipate hearing a diverse range of noises, as well as witnessing constant hustle and bustle everywhere you venture during your stay. The sights of all the local people going about their daily business and the shop and street traders encouraging you to visit their stores can be quite astonishing, but that's what gives Jaipur its marvellous character.

Furthermore, you will likely be flabbergasted at all the cars, motorbikes and tuk tuks which are in abundance racing around, all continually tooting their horns to claim their place on the busy roads. Not only on the main roads, but in the tiny back lanes that make up this unique city.

When walking around Jaipur, we recommend keeping your witts about you, or you will find yourself jumping out of the way of a tuk tuk, or motorbike racing past you whilst you meander.

The street smells can at times can be quite quite pungent on the nose, depending on where you are walking in the city, particularly the old town, but don't be alarmed by this, after all remember this is India and it is somewhat to be expected at times. They are not all bad smells though, far from it as you will also experience the lovely aromas wafting into the air from all the street food stalls dotted around the city.

We did not feel deterred in any way of letting this mar our wonderful visit to Jaipur, as there is so much to absorb with the astounding sights all around, you tend to spend your time looking here, there and everywhere and taking photographs and dodging cars etc so the less than favourable smells actually fade into insignificance.

What To See In Jaipur

Our personal sightseeing itinerary took in many of the popular sights including Amber (Amer) Fort, Anokhi Textile Museum, Amer Stepwell, Jal Mahal City Palace, Maharaja Sawai Man Sing II Museum, Jantar Mantar Observatory, Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), Galta Monkey Temple and Jawahar Circle Park. Of course however, there are plenty of other tempting attractions to enjoy too, so we suggest you make a plan of action to utilise your time in Jaipur wisely, but these are the sights that we chose to feature in our blog.

Amber (Amer) Fort

This grand ancient architectural towering fort which combines Indian Hindu and Muslim Mughal elements, was built with red and white sandstone in the 16th century. The fort sits high on a hill above the village of Amer on the outskirts of Jaipur with profound views of the desert terrain. It is the property of the Government of Rajasthan and a visit to Jaipur would not be complete without visiting this amazing place, which has a labyrinthe of passageways and elegant royal halls.

Front View of Amber Fort in Jaipur Rajasthan India
Amber (Amer) Fort

If you fancy lunch or dinner when visiting the fort, there is a superb elegant restaurant called '1135 AD' which serves a selecton of both Indian and Continental food. Tel: +91(0)982 903 7170.

Anokhi Hand Printing Museum

This is a privately owned museum which was opened in 2005 and is the initiative of the founders of 'Anokhi' which is a well-known Indian brand of block-printed cloth.

The museum is located in the Amber district; we found our visit to the galleries to be extremely interesting and enjoyed seeing all the beautiful hand printed textiles together with relevant objects and photographs which were on dispay, dating from the early 1970s to the present day.

We also had the opportunity to learn about the textile traditions and observe a block-printing demonstration by a skilled artisan, plus try our hand at block-hand printing ourselves. You can actually see our vlog showing this artisan at work in our Rajasthan blog.

The 'Anokhi Cafe' is a great place to recharge your batteries. They serve a small menu of home-made organic foods inluding wonderful cakes, chai and coffee. Tel: +91(0)141 400 7245.

The Anokhi Hand Printing Museum is near to the Amer Stepwell, so it is best to combine a visit to these two attractions, together with the Amber Fort which sits very near to these two locations as well.

Amer Stepwell

This particular yellow-coloured stepwell is an attractive hidden gem, a historical ancient landmark located in north west Amer dating back to the 16th century. It is a unique architectural stepwell with a myriad of diamond stair steps that criss-cross their way down at least eight stories to a well at the bottom. There are also recessed doorways and octagonal arches dotted around. Today the well has murky, green water that sits at its base; we felt it was without doubt a sight to behold and definitely presents a great photo opportunity for those visiting.

Stepwells were built in ancient times not only as a source of water, but they represented culture, particularly within this semi-arid state in Rajasthan which relied on the importance of having stored water available. The idea of the design was so that at any level of the pool whether it rose during the monsoon, or fell to low levels in the summer months, the water could be reached by the community. The stepwell became a social meeting point for the local people and was used for bathing, washing clothes and the ladies in particularly were able to meet and chat about their lives.

Jal Mahal City Palace

This has to be one of Jaipur's top attractions without doubt. The titular royal family reside in part of the City Palace today, but you are able to visit the extraordinary courtyards and gardens, outstanding pavilions, the armory, royal halls including the hall of public audiences and art gallery. It is a very historical complex constructed in 1729 as part of an abitious project by Maharaja Sawai Man Sing II and a visit to this attraction is a definite must for your sightseeing itinerary.

Maharaja Sawai Mansing II Museum

Located within the City Palace, the museum is run by the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust who have opened its exclusive spaces to the public. You will anticipate to see collections of national importance which have been accumulated over the centuries by the Kachhwaha rulers of Amber and Jaipur. The exhibits can be found in the textile gallery, the thrown room, an armoury, painting and photography gallery, archives and library as well a beautiful open public gallery which displays two large silver urns (gangajalis) recorded in the Guiness Book of Records.

We visited this museum alongside the City Palace and the Jantar Mantar Observatory, as they are all very near to each other.

Jantar Mantar Observatory

This observatory is a UNESCO World Heritage site which dates back to 1726. It was set up by Sawai Jai Singh II. It houses nineteen fixed astronmical instruments and has earned its title as one of the world's most accurate pre-modern observatories. We found our trip to his observatory totally fascinating and would recommend including this as a must see on your sightseeing itinerary.

Wthin the outdoor observatory, there is a display of twelve instruments which have been designed to directly measure latitute and longitude, each instrument corresponds to a specific sign of the zodiac and Richard and I had our photos taken beside the Capricorn and Saggitarius astrology signs.

Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)

Considered to be one of Jaipur's legendary tourist attractions. The building is red and white sandstone located in the heart of the old city and within its structure there are 953 small windows, which allow a breeze to flow through this five storey high building.

Hawa Mahal Palace of the Winds with elephant being ridden in front. Elephant has a painted face for the Elephant Festival
'Palace of the Winds'
Galta Monkey Temple

This temple is approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) from Jaipur city in a hilly forest region that has a fresh water spring which flows down the hill into seven pools that surround the temple itself, making it a very serene and relaxing place to be. The temple earned its name from all the Langur and Rhesus monkeys that are present at the temple. Photo courtesy of R J Singh.

Jawahar Circle Park

This lucious green park full of greenery and natural surroundings, including manicured rose gardens and flowering shrubs, occupies an open space of 452 metres x 1420 metres in Jaipur. It is a stunning park that houses the famous Patrika Gate and which is enjoyed many who enjoy a nice walk and some relaxation from the hustle and bustle. There is also a fountain and at 7.00 p.m (IST) each evening, the fountain lights up into a multi-coloured display and the fountain turns into a dancing fountain with music. You can also find a food court in the park with snacks and street foods. Photo courtesy of Mayur Sable.

Shopping in Jaipur

Jaipur is a shoppers paradise, after all it is the 'Paris of India', so be prepared to be in awe of all the stunning products on offer in the many bazaars and shops around the city, particularly the old city. Make sure you save room in your case for your purchases and don't be afraid to barter on price, as this is normal practice and the locals love showing off their wares. You can expect to be shown a full range of items when visiting a trader so allow plenty of time for your shopping extravaganza, don't leave it until the last minute; the hospitable traders quite often even offer you a cup of Chai whilst you browse.

The 'Chandol Bazaar' is one of the major bizzares; it's vibrant and rich at which you will find marble sculptures. Next up is the 'Kushanbil Bazaar' which is the best place to sample the Indian Ittar (perfume) and aromatic spices. I can certainly vouch for the beautiful ittar as I purchased a few bottles - Amber, Jasmine, Tobbaco Oud and a replica of the scent Good Girl, all exquistely presented in glass bottles.

I had the privilege of choosing the bottles myself and I opted for purple and gold coloured bottles with a unique design on the front and an ornate lid, each were then placed into their own black suedette draw-string pouche which gave my purchase a real touch of luxury. They were not overly expensive either; in fact for four bottles, two large pump bottles and two small roll on bottles, I paid around 6,050 Rupees (GBP£57.00).

Depending on the quality of the ittar, it generally has a shelf-life of 3 to 5 years and even longer if a higher quality ittar is selected. What's not to like about that, having a really unique scent oil to take back home; some of the shops even sell online too despatching worldwide, which is music to my ears for sure, so when you run out you can easily replace them.

'Johari Bazaar' can also be discovered in the same area as 'Chandol' and it is one of the most popular and oldest bazaars in the old city, specialising in intricately designed jewellery made by true craftsman, particularly Indian silver jewellery which Jaipur is known for. Finally, you will also enjoy seeing a gorgeous array of colourful, quality printed textiles which are synonymous with Jaipur.

At 'Johari' all the shops are numbered and yes you guessed it, they are painted pink. You will also unearth an impressive collection of the famous shimmering lac bangles, sarees and camel and sheepskin jutes (shoes), as well as an enormous selection of other traditional clothing and handicrafts. You can expect to browse for hours, so ensure you have plenty of energy and patience too, as sometimes it can be difficult to make a decision as to what to buy when faced with such beautiful products.

Each of the bazaars can be reached on foot in the old city, you just need to plan your shopping trip in advance to visit the bazaars that appeal. If staying outside the old city then hop in a tuk-tuk, or a taxi and ask to be taken to there. They are all reasonably priced; tuk-tuks are generally 200 Rupees (GBP£2.00) for a ride.

If you want to rest and relax during your shoppping trip in Johari, there is a lovely organic Indian vegetarian restaurant located in a boutique hotel right in the middle of the jewellery market called 'The Johri'. Reservations are usually recommended however, Tel: +91 (0)890 555 180 to be sure of a space at this lovely restaurant.

One last tip is that if you shop until you drop in Jaipur and find yourself with too many wares to fit into your suitcase, then you can even purchase suitcases in the bazaars for anything from 850 to 2,120 Rupees (GBP£8.00 - £20.00) depending on the size of the case, but do remember you will have to pay excess hold baggage with your chosen airline unless your ticket allows two cases in the first instance e.g Premium Economy, Business or First Class airline tickets.

Food and Eating Out In Jaipur

There is a full range of street foods and restaurants in the city of Jaipur, something to tickle a plethora of taste buds. The food scene is very inviting and you will come across all sorts of tastes and cuisines, some of which are very authentic and others that have been adapted for the local palate.

Foods in Jaipur and across Rajasthan tend to be quite highly spiced, plus there is a whole range of sweet treats for those that enjoy such foods. There is far too much to write about here, but you will see for yourelves all the delightful foods on offer around the city whether it be from one of the street traders, or in one of the many restaurants.

As far as where to eat out is concerned, it really does depend on what you are looking to experience. We have mentioned a few places throughout our blog which appealed to us. You cannot go wrong with eating out in some of the many hotels across Jaipur. One such hotel that we highly recommend is the Swapna Mahal at the Raj Palace which is a multi-cuisine restaurant with a buffet and a la carte menu. Tel: +91 (0)141 263 4077. The setting is simply stunning and worth popping in there just to take in the wonderful architecture of the buildings and the beautiful gardens.

Festivals in Jaipur

Everyone loves a festival and there are certainly plenty of festivals on the agenda throughout the calendar year in Jaipur and whatsmore right across Rajasthan. The festivals attract people from all over the world and many interesting ceremonies, rituals and performances can be seen at such cultural festivals across the city.

The popular ones that attract a melting pot of people are Teej, (September), Diwali (October-November), Gangaur (March-April), Kite Festival (14th January), Elephant Festival (March) and the Camel Festival (January). Photos courtesy of freepic.diller.

In addition, to these more traditional and cultural festivals there are some newer ones too, including the largest free Literarcy Festival in the Asia Pacific established in 2006 (Jan-Feb) and the International Film Festival of India (January) which began in 2010.

Best Time To Visit Jaipur

As with most of cities within the state of Rajasthan, the best months for tourists to visit are the winter months from November through to February, although do note that January has fluctuating temperatures so you will need a jacket, or dress with layers for added warmth. The temperatures range from 8 degrees at night to 32 degrees during the day.

Temperature Guide for Jaipur Rajasthan India
Temperature Guide

Our Conclusion

"We believe that Jaipur is definitely worth adding to your itinerary if you are planning to travel to North India. It has a rich heritage and the city is full of wonderful sights to experience and treasure in your memories".

We hope that you have enjoyed our blog about Jaipur, thank you for visiting Escape with Us Worldwide Travel BLog & Vlog site. We hope that we may have inspired you to include Jaipur on your itinerary during your visit to incredible India 🇮🇳.

We are currently working on a number of blogs related to our recent travels to India and these will be uploaded to our website in due course, please bear with us. In the meantime, if you have not already checked out our Rajasthan and Udaipur blogs then please do to inspire you further.

Alternatively you may like to contact us via the contact form below with any questions or perhaps you have an inspiring travel story yourselves which you may wish to share with us.

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