The Pink City of Jaipur in Rajasthan is perhaps one of the most sought-after destinations in India and its recognition by UNESCO in 2019 is well deserved. The rose walls of its narrow alleys and building façades justify its name. Due to its proximity to the Thar Desert, the state – not to mention the city – experiences hot temperatures for the most part of the year. But come autumn, the weather’s more bearable in a destination that embodies the deep-rooted antiquity of India. What follows are five reasons why you should visit Jaipur, India’s Pink City.
Forts and museums
The tiny windows of Hawa Mahal keep the fort interiors cool on a hot day. Peep through them or walk past the royal galleries at the City Palace Museum for a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage that embodies Indian history. Away from the city stands Amber Fort; its construction dates back to the 10th century. Located high on a hill, it’s the city’s must-see attraction. Once you’ve seen it, walk the battlement walls of Nahargarh and Jaigarh forts. You’ll often find musicians there playing traditional folk tunes.
Historic mansions or ‘Havelis’
Torn out palaces with tinted glass and floral paintings that have been retrofitted as hotels are entitled to call themselves ‘Havelis’. Though the host tourists, present royal families also reside in a few of them, so you can really say you’re staying in accommodation fit for a king. Immerse yourself in ‘Rajputana’ hospitality at the Shahpura Hotel while you enjoy some soothing cocktails at the neon-lit rooftop restaurant. Alternatively, follow in the footsteps of the Maharajas with a stay at the opulent Rambagh Palace, elaborately decorated with intricate latticework, cupolas and sandstone balustrades.
Each of the forts in Jaipur has their own temple and deity where the royal families have worshipped for centuries. Seek out the century-old, red domed Govind Dev temple that dates back to the Mughal period. Encircled by the high rocky faces of Aravali, the pink architectural splendour of Galta is famous for its wide tanks or ‘kunds’ and a natural spring that emerges from the hilltop. Meanwhile, Akshardham temple and Birla temple are at their best in the evening when they’re illuminated to show off their best features.
Art and Craft
The vibrant city of Jaipur has always been a den of gems and jewels. Block prints, lac work based on resin, leather products, dyed fabrics and wooden carvings all make great souvenirs. You can see vintage hand painted, block printed costumes at Anokhi Museum. While Johari market is the place to go and hunt out trendy stone jewellery, Tripolia is the best place for multi-coloured dyed fabrics and lac jewellery. Try Krishnapol and Chaandpol markets for their wide collections of ‘mojari’, turbans, ethnic ‘lehenga-choli’ and marble souvenirs.
The cuisines of Jaipur is rich, colourful and above all, diverse. Crunching on a crispy slice of bread in ‘Dal-Baati-Churma’ at the Trident Hotel or tucking into a zesty biryani at Cinnamon is food for the soul. Accompanying the mains come bowls of refreshing ‘Boondi Raita’ or ‘Ker Sangari’. Your dessert plate must include ‘Mohan Thaal’, ‘Mawa Kachori’ and ‘Ghewar’ at Lalit. For the best non-vegetarian options head to ITC Peshawari and ask for ‘Barrah Kabab’ or ‘Murgh Malai Kabab’.
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