Jaipur Travel Guide: Best Places To Visit

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.

Hawa Mahal

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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.

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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.

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City Palace

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….

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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.

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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!!

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Royal Gaitor Tumbas

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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…

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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!

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Packing Essentials

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.

 

Photo Credits:

  • @haylsa
  • @gypsea_lust
  • @lisadanielle_
  • @leonniehanne
  • @taramilktea
  • @doyoutravel
  • @ambeverly
  • @charlies_wandering

 

 

Don’t forget to follow me on my trips on @nikkilimx

 

 

Xx,

Nic

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Instagram-worthy places: All you need to know part 2

Hello again!

As promised, this is part two of insta-worthy places in Singapore.

You can check out Part 1 HERE

In this post, I’m gonna share with you my next few insta-worthy places in Singapore.

Enjoy…..

 Chinese Garden

The last time I actually visited the Chinese Garden was more than 10 years ago. I have no recollection of how the place looks like.

The Chinese Garden is a 13.5 hectare garden that was built in 1975 by the renowned Taiwanese architect Professor Yuen-chen Yu.

Within the gardens, you will find ponds, streams, a Chinese Pagoda, Bonsai trees and statues of Chinese heroes which make the Chinese Gardens the ideal place for you to enjoy some serenity.

The Stone Boat, Pagodas, Pavilions, Bonsai Garden, the Live Turtle, bridges, Tea House, Stone Lions and Tortoise Museum are some of the artistic masterpieces that stand out in the garden. The bridges at the Chinese Garden represent good luck!

The Chinese Garden is also the perfect place to visit during the Chinese New Year and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Come and enjoy art and culture entertainment from live Kungfu and acrobatic shows. It is also common to find couples shooting wedding photos within the gardens as they capture their special day in this beautiful location.

The Chinese Garden is so big with almost 6000 sq. meters of beautiful space, that we got lost and couldn’t find our way to the exit.

Haji Lane

From funky murals to quirky cafes and bars to cool boutiques, Haji Lane is definitely on my list on insta-worthy places in Singapore.

Known as Singapore’s original indie neighbourhood, Haji Lane is a popular spot for not only tourists, but locals as well!

After exploring the area, you can enjoy a meal or coffee at one of the many popular cafes like I am Cafe and Selfie Coffee.

Masjid Sultan Mosque

Masjid Sultan Mosque is located in Kampong Glam area, which is located in Arab Street. It was built in the early 1800s, when Sultan Hussain Shah, Ruler of Temasek (the former name of Singapore) proposed to build a mosque. These days it’s considered the “national mosque” of Singapore.

The original Masjid Sultan Mosque was demolished after about a century to make way for the current building, which was completed in 1932.

Petain Road

The last on my list of  insta-worthy places in Singapore is Petain Road. The row of houses is known for its eclectic style. The name “Petain” is quite controversial as it was named after Henri-Philippe Pétain, a decorated World War 1 French general who led France to victory against Germany in 1918. However, he worked with the Nazis and adopted repressive measures against the Jews when he became Chief of State. He was later convicted for treason and sentenced to life imprisonment.

There was a campaign by the French community to change the name of the road as they did not want to honour a disgraced French general, but it was not successful as many people were already used to the name.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post and if you’re ever in Singapore, do go visit these places! In the mean time, you can check out my Instagram

Till next time…..

 

 

Xx,

Nic

 

 

Instagram-worthy places in Singapore: All You Need To Know

Hi guys!

I’ve always written about beautiful places I’ve been to, where are the beautiful spots, best cafes and restaurants to go to, etc, but I’ve never written about my own home country, Singapore.

So today, I’m gonna share with you what I think are insta-worthy places in Singapore!

1) House of Tan Teng Niah (Little India)

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Possibly most colourful and insta-worthy place in Singapore, the House of Tan Teng Niah sits proudly in the centre of Little India. However, unlike the rest of the attractions in this list, the House of Tan Teng Niah isn’t really Indian. As any linguists may have already realised, this building’s routes lie firmly in the Chinese colonialisation of Singapore, and is the only survivor of its type in the neighbourhood.

Situated just a minute’s walk from Little India MRT Station is the Residence of Tan Teng Niah. While the choice of psychedelic colours on the exterior post-restoration is subject for debate, one cannot argue that this eight-room Chinese villa screams for attention in the vicinity of Kerbau Road.

The history of the building goes back to 1900, when Tan Teng Niah who was one of the few prominent Chinese businessmen in Little India, built it for his wife. This building is one of the last surviving Chinese villas in Little India.

A few Chinese businessmen decided to set up business in Little India following the success of the cattle trade. They were usually in the businesses of rattan works, pineapple factories, and rubber smokehouses. These industries may seem unrelated to the cattle trade in the area but there was a far-reaching commercial relationship which made sense.

The wet environment of the area provided the abundant amounts of water which rattan works required. Recycled rattan by-products and the dregs of pineapple skins from the factories then went into the cattle feed. Bullock carts were readily available and that facilitated goods transportation such as rubber sheets prepared by the rubber smokehouses.

Tan Teng Niah was one such owner of a rubber smokehouse and his legacy would continue to survive today at 37 Kerbau Road as the Residence of Tan Teng Niah.

The best time to visit to capture the vibrant colours is around noon (no shadow casted) but it can be extremely hot and scorching, If photography is not critical, visit during the cooler part of the day in the morning or early evening. If you visit in the evening, you can also dine alfresco and order from a restaurant that now occupies the building or from a hawker across the street.

As the premises house several business, it is not possible to visit the interior of the house, it is definitely a colourful visit.

2) ArtScience Museum: Future World

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You don’t have go too far to find insta-worthy places in Singapore!

Look no further than the Singapore ArtScience Museum, which houses renowned exhibitions that push the boundaries of science, technology and knowledge.

We’re in for a whole new treat because Future World recently added 10 new installations!

3) Peranakan Houses at Koon Seng Road

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Now, you know how much I love a beautiful and colourful backdrop! So it’s a no-brainer that these Peranakan Houses at Koon Seng Road made it to list of insta-worthy places in Singapore.

What does Peranakan mean? Peranakan descendants are of Chinese immigrants who came to the Malay Archipelago, including British Malaya (now Malaysia and Singapore) and Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia).

The road is actually named after Cheong Koon Seng, born in the 1800′, who was one of the first thirteen students at Singapore’s Anglo-Chinese School. Until the 1970’s, the area was inhabited by Peranakan Chinese, which explains the colourful and unique Chinese architecture to be found in the area.

The houses were built in the 1920’s and 1930’s but it was until the early 90’s that they were to be officially marked for conservation.

These perfectly painted Peranakan-themed houses are now a popular spot for budding photographers, tourists and fashion models visiting the city looking for a colourful backdrop for their photography. Each house is painted in a different pastel, and each property tells its own story.

They say some of the houses are still lived in by the original families that moved in during the 20’s and 30’s, while many moved out due to violence in the area during the 1970’s allowing a new generation of Singaporeans’ to take over.

4) Japanese Cemetery

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Established in 1891, the Japanese Cemetery Park was used to serve the burial needs of the Japanese residents in Singapore. In 1891, three brothel keepers, Futaki Takajiro, Shibuya Ginji and Nakagawa Kikuzo obtained permission from the government to build a cemetery for the destitute Japanese prostitutes who breathed their last in Singapore but had no final resting place.

The founders of the cemetery were also rubber plantation owners, hence they used some of their land to serve as land for the cemetery. As a reminder of their deeds, there are still two huge rubber trees commissioned as heritage trees within the compound of the cemetery.

After World War I, industrialisation grew at an astonishing pace in Japan, and hence the composition of the Japanese community here evolved to include people from other sectors, such as agriculture, retail, fishing. The cemetery later grew to include the tombs of these people. As the community became wealthier, the architecture of the tombs took on more ornate and elaborate styles. Design features included stone sculptures of Jizo (a Japanese deity) or Corinthian-styled columns, and plots were also demarcated with fences and gates.

It is now the largest and most well-preserved Japanese cemetery in Southeast Asia, measuring approximately 30,000 square metres, and houses around 1000 graves. The cemetery was closed to burials in 1973 and named a memorial park in 1987. The Singapore government transferred custodial rights over the cemetery to the Japanese Association in 1969. Today, the Japanese Association continues to manage the affairs of the cemetery.

Just before entering and when leaving the cemetery, I did a silent prayer stating that I was not here to disturb the peace of the dead.

While walking about the cemetery, useful information board will tell you more about the history of the Japanese Cemetery, which I found very useful and knowledgeable.

Hope you enjoyed this post!

Stay tuned for part 2, which will be out next week!

 

Xx,

Nic