THE PINK CITY
It literally is pink. Jaipur was painted pink by its inhabitants by order of the Maharaja in a bid to impress and welcome Prince Albert during his 1876 tour of India.
My mini tour of India was supposed to begin in Mumbai but I had to cut it short due to work commitments and instead, I met up with some friends in Jaipur. The capital of the Rajasthan state is so beautiful, charismatic and full of life that I didn’t feel bad for missing out on Mumbai.
In just two short days, we packed a lot into our time but we couldn’t fit everything in, so there’s definitely reason to return, but for now, here’s a mini guide and some highlights from my Jaipur adventure.
Image above and below captured outside the Hawa Mahal.
The drive to Amber Fort is so scenic, it’s set up high on a hill and boasts some incredible views. Discovering this historical palace was like peeling away layers of an onion, there was so much to see, take in and wow over. My only criticism would be that it was quite heartbreaking to see that tourists were opting to enter the palace by riding elephants and I just don’t understand how this still happens, but that’s a different topic, for a different time.
There are four main courtyards in Amber Fort, each so different and leading to beautiful gardens, halls or temples and my favourite was the Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) which was embellished with delicate mirrors from floor to ceiling as well as the beautiful arches located in the second courtyard, boasting distinct Rajasthani architecture and structure.
PANNA MEENA KA KUND
On our way to the next landmark, we made a quick stop at Panna Meena Ka Kund, in other words, ‘the pretty stepwell that we’ve seen all over Instagram’. In real life, it’s a lot smaller than you imagine and even though it was dried up, except for a few metres of water, you really got a sense of what it would have been like here, years ago on hot Summer days when the whole community gathered to cool down and socialise.
Full disclosure, even though it’s not usually allowed, we sweet-talked the guards into letting us all have a chance to walk down and grab a photo opp. We couldn’t help it, the geometry was just screaming to be lensed!
The third stop of the day was at City Palace, and this is where I really went trigger happy with my camera, there are so many beautiful courtyards and different rooms to just get lost in. I’ve never been somewhere with so much architectural charisma. I loved the little trucks outside, the chandeliers in the audience hall and all of the different shades of pink, orange and terracotta.
Café Palladio is one of those places that just transports you to a different time and place altogether. We only stopped by for a quick caffeine fix but as soon as we stepped into the courtyard and made our way inside, the food smelled incredible, so the next time I visit, I’m 100% ordering a big fat meal.
From the beautiful interiors, exotic murals on the walls to the outdoor cabana’s and the array of happy customers enjoying their time, the energy and vibe of this place was so nice and definitely worth adding to your Jaipur list.
Our final stop in Jaipur was at Patrika Gate. There are so many gates in Jaipur, but this one was one all of our lists for its renowned colourful tilework and arches. We passed by around 7 am on our way to the airport, and thankfully, it was completely deserted aside from one very cute couple who were busy creating super romantic shots for their engagement announcement.
I just couldn’t stop staring at the intricate detail covering this place from floor to ceiling and with the morning light seeping through, it made it that much more magical.