Jaipur is known as the Pink City and on arrival visitors will immediately understand the reasoning behind the name. Every building within the walled historic centre is painted a terracotta “pink” colour and there are few exceptions to this uniformly colour scheme.
The historical reason for the uniform colour of central Jaipur lies with the absolute power of the Maharaja (Sawai Ram Singh II) over his capital and his extreme strategy to impress Prince Albert during his 1876 tour of India.
Prince Albert spent a mammoth 17 weeks conducting royal duties throughout the Indian subcontinent but he grew tired and lonesome of his official engagements as he was without his dear wife, Victoria. For Indian leaders this was an ideal opportunity to strengthen ties to the British aristocracy and gain personal acquaintances with the Royal family. The Maharaja of Jaipur was one of the richest and most powerful men in India and he impressed the British court like no other.
Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II first strategy was to ensure Albert would visit Jaipur and to succeeded in this he constructed a lavish concert hall and named it in honour of the prince. The exquisite Albert Hall stands amid the carefully laid out grounds of the Ram Niwas Public gardens and can be visited by tourist today. With Prince Albert enticed to Jaipur, the Maharaja set about beautifying his city and this included repainting the entire city.
The colour chosen was a terracotta pink as this colour historically represents welcoming and hospitality. The paint was produced from a calcium oxide compound and is extremely durable in the arid conditions of Jaipur.
During my one week of exploring Jaipur, I stayed at Shahpura Hotel, which was formerly a palace. Shahpura hotels belong to chain of luxury heritage hotels, and for over two decades the brand offers world class contemporary luxury and comfort to the modern-day traveler and is a known brand in luxury and heritage travel in India.
Known as “Palace of Breeze”, Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 as an extension to the Royal City Palace of Jaipur. My driver told us that royal ladies would stay there to watch any festivities or processions taking place on the streets, since they were not allowed to be seen in public.
This is one of the famous and instagrammable places to visit in Jaipur. The best time to visit will be early morning when there isn’t a crowd. I went about 8:30am and there were only three other people there taking pictures.
I did some research before exploring Jaipur. Apparently, many tourists who have been to Hawa Mahal shared that in order to get the perfect shot of the architecture, you’ll have to go to one of the cafes opposite. Do take note that these cafes will charge a small sum of money for you to enter to take pictures. However, I went to two cafes and to me, the view was not as awesome as the one which I took on a terrace, which I may add, did not cost me a cent at all! And to be honest, a staff at one of the cafes, Tattoo Cafe, was really rude to us, even after we told him that we’re not just taking pictures, but were actually planning to get a meal too.
Do be mindful also of the locals trying to sell you things along the street at Hawa Mahal. My driver shared that once you purchase a product from one of the street sellers, others will start crowding around you and pressure you to buy from them as well.
The palace was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. As most structures in Jaipur this palace also reflects the fusion of Mughal and Rajput architecture.
The City Palace complex is spread over a large area occupying one seventh of the old city of Jaipur. It has a sequence of gardens, buildings and courtyards, temple and museum to give it a grand view that reflects its historical importance and magnificent royal grace. Its outer boundary was built by Raja Jai Singh and other structures by his successors to add charm to it. It also served as a residence for former Maharaja of Jaipur.
The City Palace is open from 9:30 in the morning. The entire palace will take around one and half to two hours to visit. We wanted to visit on our second day exploring Jaipur but my driver told me each person costs about INR 3500 which is a lot of money for a tourist site in India. There were two of us and we didn’t want to spend that amount of money on one place so we decided not to go.
But I’ll be sharing here some photos taken by other instagrammers….
Rambagh Palace’s The Rajput
Dating back to 1835 and formerly the residence of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II and his queen, Rambagh Palace offers a luxurious stay in a soft, relaxing environment away from the bustling city centre of Jaipur. Peacocks strut across the lawns and Indian classical musicians play on the verandas at this wistfully romantic hotel. Over the years, it has played gracious host to several illustrious guests, including Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Charles and Jackie Kennedy.
This is definitely one of the places to visit in Jaipur!! Even if you’re not staying in the hotel, you can actually make a day trip there to explore the grounds, and even have breakfast at its famous Rajput room!!
Royal Gaitor Tumbas
Royal Gaitor Tombs is actually one of the most instagrammable places in Jai[ur, but not as well known amongst tourists.
Did you know that it is actually a tomb for many Maharajas?
There were only like three groups (including my group) when we visited, even though it was in the afternoon. This site felt so different from the other touristy spots that I had visited so far in Jaipur. It was so peaceful and serene that I was there for almost two hours! And I had a personal guide! A cleaner of the place itself, who volunteered to bring us around, without asking for money! Such a refreshing change as wherever we go, the locals who volunteered to be our guide, would ask for money in exchange. But of course, we gave him a good tip after that…
Exploring and enjoying the marble decor, I am amazed as to why this place is less visited by tourists, compared to the other instagrammable places in Jaipur. If you do plan on exploring Jaipur, don’t forget to add this on your list!! So worth it!
We visited Jaipur during the June/July period which is the hottest period! It was 48 degrees!! Bring lots of sunscreen, hats and sunglasses! Also make sure to bring some outfits that cover your shoulders and knees as some places are quite conservative.
Don’t forget to follow me on my trips on @nikkilimx