I am a lover of colours, history and cultures, so naturally, I fell for Pink City the minute I arrived. Out of three months in India which I mainly spent working in Mumbai, visiting Rajasthan was one of my great highlights (as well as a trip to Punjab).
Jaipur( Pink City ) is the perfect weekend getaway for people caught in a big city life and is easily accessible by train or plane from all major Indian cities. The air here is fresher and less humid, the traffic is not as bad as in Mumbai and it is more tranquil and quiet. Also, the landscape stands in contrast to many other regions of India since Rajasthan is famous for its deserts, dry lands and earthy tones.
During my time in the Pink City I stayed at the Madhuban Heritage Hotel which I can highly recommend. Apart from the beautiful Rajasthani style and interior of the place, the garden where breakfast was served gave me the feeling of being in a desert oasis. The entrance to the Old City is within a 20 minute walking distance through residential areas, so there is no need to take a car. Also, being a young woman travelling by myself, I felt very safe in Jaipur in general.
Entering the buzzing Old Town through Chandpol Gate (which translates to Moon Gate) is quite an experience. The streets are filled with stalls, people, camels, rickshaws and cars and the beautiful ancient architecture of the buildings gives you the feeling of being either in a Bollywood movie or a novel like One Thousand and One Nights. There is so much to see and so many narrow alleyways to explore, I could not decide where to start.
A bit of an insider advice however is the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a landmark of Jaipur. Of course, everybody knows it from the outside with its honeycomb-like appearance. But not many people seem to enter the palace which was built in 1799. I still remember the sandy and orange colours and beautiful old doors as well as the golden spires at Hawa Mahal. Also, the grounds are less crowded than the City Palace Jaipur.
Given my admiration for historic places and culture, I could not get enough of Jaipur’s forts. The most famous one – Amber Fort – should definitely not be missed. However, it is very busy with people and I had trouble to find a quiet spot for myself. Hence, for those you like some alone time I can recommend Nahargarh Fort and Jaigarh Fort.
Nahargarh Fort lies on top of a stony cliff just north of the Old City. It is possible to take car to the top, but it is quite a detour. I decided to take a rickshaw to the end of Nahargarh Fort Road and then walked up the serpentine path to the fortress. I admit that it is quite steep, so if you are not into walking you might want to take a vehicle instead. But the exercise was definitely worth it.
First, I walked through a non-touristy part of Jaipur with narrow streets and typical Indian houses before climbing up the lonely path. The view over the city is brilliant and if you need a break, you can just stop along the way. Nahargarh itself consists of many patios and the view from the top floor is priceless. My favourite thing about this fort were the wall painting.
Jaigarh Fort, which is located on a hill above Amber Fort was even less frequented. It is very spacious and dreamy. You can see for miles from the walls of the fortress and also spot the mighty Amber Fort below. Due to its remote location you need a car to get there.
Last but not least, I would recommend a visit to the tranquil Royal Gaitor just outside Jaipur which consists of royal graves of honour. Jai Singh II. is buried here, the founder of Jaipur. The stone memorials have beautiful and richly detailed reliefs.
Jaipur is a beautiful city to visit and should not be missed when travelling or working in India! If you want to see more photos of my Rajasthani and Indian adventures, feel free to follow me on Instagram @vzwi1