The largest city in the Region of Rajastan, known for its Royal palaces, Huge Forts and colourful history. It is the capital of Rajastan and for good reason, it has an understated charm, with stunning architecture, beautifully detailed designs to not just buildings but clothing and markets. It is the centre of retail with carpets, clothing, precious gems and spices all big industries in the City.
Mostly the Royal history here with lavish palaces, huge forts and Indian everyday life that will make you feel like you are in a movie. It all played apart of making me fall in love with India all over again.
1. The Amber Fort
The Amber Fort was first built from 967 AD and is known for its artistic style elements, with its large ramparts and series of gates, courtyards and cobbled paths, the fort overlooks the Maota Lake, which is used for water sources, but also in itself has viewing stages for the visitors to the palace to enjoy.
The only thing I do not agree with is the Elephant riding, unfortunately they are being used to carry people from the bottom to the entrance of the Amber Fort, there is a whole line of them going up the steady pathway. They are beautiful creatures, one of my favourite animals and seeing them in this way makes you think of the cultural differences in India. To them this is a job and a way of making money for there families, but I see tired, over worked elephants. Its a shame, I wont lie I looked at the people on them in a very unamused way! On a lighter note it did really make me feel I was in India.
2. Spice markets
Go, buy, taste and enjoy the experience of really just immersing yourself in the cities spice shops, the owners are so kind, friendly and helpful. The spice markets go back to the first known trading of the spices from India round the world. You can even get local guides to help with choosing and understanding the different spices. An India must do!
3. The Royal City of Jaipur Palace
I didn’t get chance to visit this palace due to what we had already planned in the two days in Jaipur, however I have seen images and just like other architecture in teh city this is one to visit if you have time. Its on the most expensive side (700Rupees/ £7 per person, but the luxury feel, the beautiful painted halls, and rooms is totally worth it!
It was built in 1727 and is still the residence for the Jaipur royal family. In the 18th century, each region had a King, however in Rajastan almost each city had one due to the richness of the region. It is now a museum, and is central to the old town, with ceremonies, religious events all taking place in the Place every year .
4. Hawa Mahal – Palace of Winds
This 5 storey high, 953 window façade attached to the main palace, was an addition when it was built in 1799 as an extension to the Royal City Palace of Jaipur. It allows the royal ladies who at the time strictly observed “pardah”, to be able to watch any processions and activities on the street without being seen by the public. The nickname of the Palace of Winds/ breeze came about due to the windows all being designed to let the wind get trapped and brought into the palace to cool the court down During summer, CLEVER RIGHT!
It has become a poster image for Jaipur being one of the most photographed monuments in India besides the Taj Mahal, with its romantic curves, colour and detailed window patterns. It was built in the shape of Krishna’s crown due to the King at the time worshipping Lord Krishna a Hindu God .
5. Rooftop sunset meals
There are so many roof top restaurants within the city, one of the ones i visited was Dalja The Rooftop restaurant, in the Chandpole Bazaar area of Jaipur, with delicious Indian food, fused with a European meals like Pizza, but Indian spiced – Winner! With the group I was with, there was definitely food envy going on!
The sunset was perfect to finish 2 days in Jaipur, with fairy lights and even some fireworks going off in the back ground, there isn’t alot of high buildings which means you can see across the city for miles.
6. The Golden Palace – Jal Mahal, Water palace
A 280 year old palace (in 2020) in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city, named because of the water surrounding the whole thing, it is like a mirage with a floating palace look. The palace, built-in red sandstone, was once a five storied building, but four floors remain underwater when the lake flooded and still remains there with only the top floor exposed, CRAZY RIGHT! It is constantly under construction due to the importance of the palace, but its unsafe, whether they rebuild, restore or just retain what it is at the moment.
At night it is beautiful lit up to reflect the building within the lake which creates a beautiful illusion.
7. Kite flying
One of the most popular, traditional past times which has been played and handed down the generations, uncles, cousins, fathers, daughters all congregate on the roofs of the tall blocks of flats all over India with Jaipur being one of the cities it has become famous. The passed time, became more serious with Neighbours and families competing against each other to rip the strings so it flies away. Children traditional then go and try catch the broken Kite (Kite runners), which was made into a beautiful tragic story The Kite Runner (a must read by the way). From these family affairs, towns and communities made them bigger and soon huge competitions would take place every year around India.
We were taught by our guides Uncle, Cousin and himself and to be fair they were good!! I had a few goes, using a arm movement of keeping the kites in place but it was hard, and so much fun! Finishing the evening by meeting the matriarch of the family his mother and father, it was a privilege and moving moment to hear her talk to him and all of us having a laugh even with the language barrier. Even now the Kite flying brings people together.
As the sunset, the sky created such a beautiful haze of colours and with the rooftop view made it an amazing experience I will never forget!
8. The Nahargarh and Jaigarh Fort at Sunset
I headed out onto a Jeep Night Safari, racing past all the hot spots of the city, as well as the more unknown ones like the Albert Hall and the Water Palace just floating on the lake water. Until our first stop, the Jaigurh fort , with strong arches, steep cliffs and insane views you can see why this …. century structure is perfect for sunset. The gardens are just as beautiful as the fort itself.
It takes a very winding road to reach the Nahargarh fort further up the hills, with jungles forming on right side of the road thick with plantation, tigers have been known to be seen. We stopped at several view points before the final stop . The fort was built in 1734, and is known as the reason for why Jaipur quickly developed with hardly any invasions due to the strength of these Forts on top of the surrounding Arravali hills.
As we headed back down it has soon become completely dark, with everything lit up in the city including the Albert Hall Museum is located at the end of the huge long Ashak Marg road which goes between all the parliamentary buildings and embassies, and at night it comes ot life with colours, lights which changes every few minutes to create a beautiful view as you drive upto it.
9. Fabric Block pattern printing
From the buildings to the clothing in India you can see the detail which is put into the patterns and decorations, within Jaipur we headed to a factory business who hand print and produce beautiful intricate patterns for fabrics including bed linens, mens shirts and women’s clothing as well as accessories. The art of fabric Block printing has been practiced for over 1500 years with symbolic shapes, colours and patterns still used now.
10. Go watch a Bollywood film
The famous Jaipur cinema, is a stunning piece of Indian architecture, infact it will rival the theatres in England, with its high ceilings, traditional typical patterns and structures of the Indian culture, this cinema isn’t just for seeing the films but also seeing the building.
Seeing a Bollywood film in India is as good an experience as seeing the Taj Mahal, SERIOUSLY! The atmospheres in Indian cinemas is completely different to what I have grown up with in the UK, where in UK your told to be quiet, watch and don’t be loud, the Indian cinemas loves to react and immerse itself in the film. From whooping, to booing, to just casually taking a phone call in a boring bit? Anything goes.
11. The Chandpole Gate
The entrance to the old city, and the area best known for giving Jaipur its nickname the Pink City, the pink traditionally is due to the stone that the buildings is made of and when dry has this pink tone to it, quickly making Jaipur the pink city. The colour chosen was a terracotta pink as this colour historically represents welcoming and hospitality. The paint which is now used was produced from a calcium oxide compound and is extremely durable in the arid conditions of Jaipur showing how beautiful the main streets of the old city used to look like in all its glory. When you walk upto the Gate there is a circus of activity, with women sat on the floor selling pots, jewellery, fruit, theirs men calling you to see if you would like a tuk tuk, and so many locals shopping and buying in every direction.
The entrance itself was built in the , and is a dominant site for people in Jaipur. With the markets, spices, shops all found behind it bringing aa welcoming, raw taste of India
12. Shopping, Colours, Curries and Clothes
Jaipur is big in the Retail world, infact if you ask anyone in India where to go to buy anything fashion wise, it would be Jaipur. One of the richest cities in India for global clothing business. Sarees, fabrics, big names such as Zara, Monsson and Anthropology actually come and research the next seasons of patterns and colours in India!
We headed to a fabric printing factory and shop, who let us try out step by step fabric printing and even showed us what they had completed, which gets sent all over the world. I didn’t need any of it, but the fabrics and beauty of the items I saw made me buy some Silk emerald pajamas and a beautiful Silk scarf.
Another workshop we visited was a jewellers who were making rings and earrings while we walked round. It was so interesting to see how they had precious Gems like Moonstones and Rubies for people to pick themselves within the show room, so people could design their own rings which could be done within 24 hours. Such a precious gift to remember the trip by
The best was the Spice Markets though, the sweets, flavours, spices and even just the atmosphere was like something you see in a film scene, shouting coming from every direction, different activities going on in every direction, thousands of people going about their own daily lives which all congregate and make this magical scene of what I imagined India to be like. You get to try, smell, touch some of the spices, Saffron, Cinnamon, Masala, talking to the local buyers and sellers. Its what India is!
The reason I had such a fantastic time here was the passionate and personal connection because our G adventures guide was from here, I could tell how proud he was to show us round his cities playground, his hiding places and local haunts. The places off the beaten track and the most incredible experience was meeting his family which really gave that personal touch to an incredible City. It really is a fairytale place with princesses and kings, elephants and lakes, sunsets and colour, come and experience it for yourself.