Exploring the Pink City of Jaipur
The Indian state of Rajasthan is notorious as being the home of colours. From colourful saris and turbans to adorned elephants and camels there is colour in every city corner, but most famously are the colourful cities themselves.
Our first colourful city was Jaipur – the pink city.
Jaipur is the capital of the state and is the gateway to what would be a rainbow journey around Rajasthan.
After a perfect morning at the magical Taj Mahal we buckled up for the long drive to Jaipur.
Arriving in the early evening we checked into our quite nice hotel and managed to kick out the persistent hotel worker who, desperate for a tip for doing nothing, lingered around the room showing us how to turn the TV on using the ‘on’ button, showed us where all of the most obvious utilities were and finally unwelcomely answered our phone for us before I almost screamed.
Finally alone we took a moment to relax before heading out for a little street exploring.
We had been told that Jaipur was the ‘place to buy textiles’ and keen to stock up on some nice scarves we went into a little shop where every pattern, size and design was thrown open in front of us until we finally realised we hated all of them and escaped.
Our driver had somehow decided that my mothers simple “yes” to answer to his question, “do you like beer madam?” earlier that day, meant that she was a raging alcoholic and required an esky-full of beer for the entire trip. Mum felt obliged to crack one open and after our textile encounter it seemed like the right moment…
At least I now have a winning photo of my mother drinking beer surrounded by street cows in India (That I’m not going to share here because I have a minor fear that I will be disowned)…
After her beer we hit the town.
The streets were hectic and we weaved past rickshaws, cows and many, many men.
The streets were absolutely filled with men. Men everywhere. Obviously all the women were ‘at home cooking’ we were later informed.
We stopped in front of two local eateries and had to make the painful decision of ‘which seems less likely to give us Delhi belly?’
We made our decision based on the least annoying employee standing outside trying to convince us to come in.
Drooling over an absolutely wonderful thali, we left feeling more than satisfied after another incredible Indian feast. Indian food had exceeded all expectations so far.
We decided to have a post dinner stroll around the busy, testosterone-filled streets of the city.
The city was mayhem and required intense concentration to avoid being run over by the insane drivers somehow permitted to fill Indian roadways.
After having a couple of young men follow us all the way through town I eventually confronted them and we headed home for the night – keen to have a shower and remove the thick layout of dust that we were now covered in, courtesy of the streets of Jaipur.
The next day we were up early to see the well-known sites of Jaipur.
First up was the Amber fort.
Situated on the outskirts of town -13km from Jaipur’s city centre, Amber Fort is another gorgeous reminder of the Mughal rule – combined with Hindu architectural elements.
The beautiful fort began to exist in 1592, when the Mughal ruler of the time, Raja Man Singh I, decided to use the remains of an earlier fort to construct the grand fort that exists today. Built using red sandstone the original fort saw many modifications during the span of a century and a half.
Although intended to be a military fortress the fort served as more of a pleasure palace. With precious stones adorning the walls and ceilings and pristine courtyards still existing today it is easy to see the high luxury that the fort residence were surrounded by and I can only imagine how much grander the fort would have looked during the peak of the resident’s power.
With so many secret hallways and tunnels, (many used by the Mughal ruler of the time to visit his many in-house mistresses), exploring the fort is almost like being a child in a maze-like playground. We ducked through low tunnels and climbed up winding staircases around the complex keen to see what architectural beauty would great us around every bend.
We spent the morning admiring the fort and the pretty elephants carrying the lazier tourists up to the top (which we opted out of as we were not sure of the ethical situation that the elephants were in and we are always very cautious of animal tourism).
We then went shopping.
Other than textiles, Jaipur is also well-known for being the place to buy jewellery. With many pieces exported worldwide being put together in the city we took the opportunity to buy the perfect little-sister souvenir.
We were not ready to give up on our textile hunt yet and asked our guide to take us to where they actually make the textiles.
Finally. We had found our textile heaven.
With walls covered in textile-filled shelves of every shape, colour and design we were finally able to do some serious textile shopping.
We stocked up on scarves and before we knew I had ordered some custom-made gorgeous pants (based on the design of my favourite pants from Buenos Aires) – in three stunning patterns at a very, very good price.
Before we left textile heaven my mother managed to convince me to try on a sari after guilting me with the “do it for your mummy” line.
Despite knowing that it would be the most impractical clothing item to own, I actually felt extremely glassy trying it on and was grateful for the mummy guilt trip.
For two women that have a strong dislike for shopping we left feeling very successful.
We then headed for the centre of the pink city to admire the terracotta shades that exclusively colour the walls of the old city architecture. With the beautiful Hawa Mahal, the extraordinary iconic pink honeycombed hive that rises from the centre of the pink city.
The city centre was a different kind of buzzing than the streets surrounding our hotel – instead of local chaos we were now surrounded by tourism chaos with people trying to sell us everything and anything at every corner and turn.
We took a thali time out from the crazy streets at a crowded local eatery and started to wind our way home for a well needed rest after a hot, busy day in the pink city.
The fort is located 11 km from the city of Jaipur. The fort is opened to visitation from 8 in the morning till 6 in the evening. For more details about visitation hours, contact, 0141-2530293.
Elephant ride is available from morning 7:30 till afternoon 12:30. The light show in Hindi starts from 8 in the evening and the English light show starts from 7:30 in the evening.
Entrance Fee and Charges
- Foreigner – INR 550 per person
- Foreign Students – INR 100 per person
- Indians – INR 25 per person
- Indian Students – INR 10 rupees per person
- Light Show in English – INR 200 per person
- Light Show in Hindi – INR 100 per person
- Elephant Ride – INR 1100 Single or per couple