I was excited for Jaipur. Of all the places in India, I’d seen snippets of the Pink City the most on Instagram. I mean, anywhere with the title Pink City was bound to be a place I’d fall in love with.
Even after about ten minutes in our car I could see the place lived up to it’s name – each building painted a uniform terracotta colour. Jaipur was painted this colour under the order of the Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh in 1876 in order to impress Prince Albert whilst he was touring India. Apparently it worked, and they kept the colour ever since. Now it impresses the thousands of snap-happy tourists that visit the city.
We only had a day here to explore Jaipur, but we made sure to pack in as much as we possibly could. We started at the majestic Amber Fort – the first thing you’ll spot here are elephants, trudging up and down the hill with tourists on their back. It’s a beautiful place, but this definitely mars the experience – please consider the life of the animal when you come across something like this, and don’t take part.
Next we stopped at one of the extremely photogenic stepwells that you can find across the country. They were both gathering places and somewhere to collect water, designed to cope with the fluctuations in water level across the seasons. I was half amazed, half very distracted by the monkeys running around on rooftops just behind!
Our final stop was the colourful City Palace. Part of this building is still a royal residence, so it’s amazing to wander. We didn’t make it inside as we were short on time, but even the outside was impressive enough, with chandeliers hanging from pink arches.
We had to stop at the much-Instagrammed Hawa Mahal on the way back to our hotel – that’s the one that looks like it’s straight out of a Wes Anderson film. The beautiful latticed windows were designed to allow the royal women to observe everyday life and the streets below them without being seen.
I’d love to head back to Jaipur one day – there is just so much to take in!
On to our last stop in India in the next post…