As the capital of the vibrant state of Rajasthan, Jaipur’s history, architecture and flamboyance has managed to create a special place in the hearts of both the Indian and the international travelers that visit ‘The Pink City’.
The old city of Jaipur is easy to distinguish from any of its other Rajasthani counterparts. Jaipur gets the tag of being, ‘The Pink City’, due to the city being painted in Terracotta Pink, to welcome the arrival of the Prince of Wales in 1776. It is now a law in Jaipur that the city must stay pink. Hence ,the color of the walls are maintained. Bigger than most cities in Rajasthan, yet not a metropolis. Jaipur has an extremely interesting vibe to it. The city is developing by the day. From bustling markets and formidable forts, the city has become home to a lot of cool shops, cafe’s, literary fests and is slowly arriving on the art scene. Jaipur is a part of the touristy yet iconic ‘Golden Triangle’ (other cities being Delhi and Agra) and in general the city enjoys excellent connectivity with other cities in North India.
History and Culture of Jaipur
Jaipur was built by Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of the Amer Kingdom. He wanted a more spacious administrative seat to rule from and the Amber fort, just wasn’t enough. Jai Singh also wanted to build a city that was secure and could thwart the foreign attacks on his kingdom which were worryingly increasing. For its time, Jaipur was one of the most advanced cities in the country. It was also the first planned city in the country. Principles of Vastu Shastra, and with inspiration from the books of Ptolemy and Euclid, the city was built. The city was painted pink by Ram Singh, as a sign of welcome to the Prince of Wales. The Terracotta pink is hugely synonymous to this day with Jaipur and local laws prevent the city from not only changing the color but maintaining the look. Jaipur has always been a place rich in culture. The city hosts the country’s largest literature festival. The Jaipur lit fest is an annual event that takes place every January. Jaipur is also home to a lot of artisans who specialize in a lot of crafts like Bandhani, Block printing, Stone carving and Sculpture, Tarkashi, Zari, Gota, Kinari and Zardozi, Silver Jewellery, Gems, Kundan, Meenakari and Jewelery. Clearly, the list is endless. Add to that Miniature paintings, Blue Pottery, Ivory carving, Shellac work and even leather ware.
The Raj Mandir movie theater in Jaipur is an Iconic movie theater built in art deco style. The cinema hall is a landmark in Jaipur and is popular among local moviegoers and fascinated tourists. Jaipur has also seen a lot of cafe’s pop up in the recent past. Most of these cafes are excellent and we strongly recommend you visit Tapri on your next trip to Jaipur. It’s a great rooftop cafe to visit around sunset. Grab a chai, take a breath and unwind as you watch the sun slowly come down over this beautiful city in Pink.
Jaipur takes its food extremely seriously. For the capital of a flamboyant state, the food scene in Jaipur is a fusion of the modern with the traditional. The Lassiwala on MI road in Jaipur serves arguably the best Lassi in the country. There are a few impostors around, so ensure you go to the legitimate shop (the one with the green and white roof). The Masala chowk near Albert Hall Museum is a food haven for street food lovers. An open air food court with a plethora of food stalls from, Masala chowk should be on the list of every foodie. Ensure you get your hands on some Dal Bati Churma, Dahi Papdi Chaat, and some Missi roti and Dal during your time in Jaipur.
How to Get to Jaipur
By Air – Jaipur has both, a domestic and an international airport, which aren’t too far away from the city. All major cities in India have very good air connectivity with Jaipur. There are a few international air carriers, primarily from the middle-east like Oman Air that fly directly into Jaipur. By Rail – Jaipur is a part of the most popular tourist circuit in the country, The Golden Triangle. Apart from that, Jaipur is also the capital of one of the most developed states in the country. The train connectivity of this city is extremely good. Most Indian cities are connected to Jaipur by train. The city is also a part of the ‘Palace on Wheels’ train journey that covers most of Rajasthan. This luxury train ride if your pockets can afford it will give you more than a glimpse into what being Indian royalty must feel like. By Road – Jaipur is well connected by bus from Delhi, Agra and other cities in Rajasthan. A drive from Delhi to Jaipur is approximately 6 hours. In terms of bus service, Rajasthan State tourism and Private Bus service providers can be relied upon.
Best Time to travel to Jaipur
The best time to visit is anytime between October and March as the weather is extremely pleasant. Diwali and Holi are both widely celebrated in Jaipur and if you can, you should certainly be in Jaipur for the festivities.
We strongly recommend you avoid the months from April to October as the summer in Jaipur can be very hot. Rajasthan has a monsoon during which, Jaipur is green and pleasant but if it doesn’t rain for a few days the weather can be quite hot and unbearable.
Getting around Jaipur
We recommend walking around the old city. The monuments are all easily accessible from one another. If you’re tired from all the walking. It’s super convenient to hop into an auto or a cycle rickshaw. For trips outside the city to places like Amber Fort you can easily take an Ola or Uber. Prepaid taxis are also easily available outside the airport and railway station.
Breaking stereotypes about Jaipur
While Jaipur is a delightful city to explore with lots to see, the city has its challenges. An extremely prominent city among tourists means you are likely to encounter aggressive shopkeepers, greedy rickshaw drivers and shady shopkeepers.
The Pink City Rickshaw Co (PCR) has set itself out to change just that. They have empowered 38 local women from Jaipur, who come from different backgrounds to help tourists explore Jaipur in their rickshaw while being their local support. They have also curated tours for travelers which helps travelers get to places they may normally miss out on and gather a unique insight into the city.
The next time you are in Jaipur give The Pink City Rickshaw Co a try.
Go Check Out
There’s literally a lot to see and do in Jaipur. Here are just a few of our favorite places you must go check out:
Amber Fort – Once the capital of the Kingdom of Amer, Amber fort stands outside the city of Jaipur, nestled on the top of Aravali Hills. Exploring the guardian fort to both Amer and Jaipur is an extremely fun experience.
Light and Sound Show At Amber Fort – The light and sound show at Amber, the show takes place every evening and gives you a glimpse into the history of the fort. Scripted by Gulzar and narrated by Amitabh Bachchan, the light and sound show is definitely and experience.
Hawa Mahal – Or the Wind Palace is a palace in Jaipur. Is an intricately built palace. The whole idea behind the construction of this one was to build a structure with my windows, so that the Royal women could observe everyday life and festivals. As the rules of Purdah forbade women from making public appearances without their face being covered. The Hawa Mahal is built in the shape of a honeycomb and has some 953 small windows. Ensure you are at the Hawa Mahal when the fountains are switched on in the evening, makes for an absolutely beautiful viewing.
Jantar Mantar – An outdoor observatory built in the 1700’s to gather astronomical data on celestial bodies like the sun and the moon. For the astronomy lover in you, the Jantar Mantar is a collection of outdoor astrology instruments and is home to the largest sundial in the world. The Jantar Mantar is also built in some other cities like Delhi and Varanasi, however the Jaipur one is our favorite. Hire the services of a guide to understand the intricacies of the observatory.
Nahargarh Fort – The most underrated fort in Jaipur, most people will skip this after they have been to Amber. We urge you not to! Nahargarh fort has arguably the best views of the city and you shouldn’t miss those for anything. Grab a beer at the restaurant within the fort as you watch the sun set over the beautiful Pink city.