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Memories of the Pink City

Memories of the pink city

India, once known as  ‘The Land of the Golden Bird’ and to this date,  my eyes still see the land which has an abundance of wealth and prosperity , the age old customs , culture and traditions. India is one of the oldest country on the globe and has witnessed the rule of many dynasties and rulers , the traces of which have been perfectly preserved in the form of heritage buildings, art and architecture , culture and traditions and much more which can be seen in the different cities of the  modern day India.  My journey took me to one such city which changed the whole perspective of seeing this beautiful country.

 

History

The city of Jaipur, the capital city of the ‘Land of the Maharajas ‘– The state of Rajasthan, is one of the most well planned city ahead of its time.  This heritage city was given the name as the  ‘Pink City' by the ruler of the 17th century  Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh 2.  The chief architect of the ancient era was given the responsibility if shaping Jaipur to what it is today. The city was built with well planned roads by implementing the knowledge of Shilpshastra (the art of Indian architecture) astronomy and astrology. It took nearly 4 years to shape the entire city with appropriate boundaries and walls.  In 1876, the king of the city (Maharaja Ram Singh) ordered the city to be painted as pink as a symbol of hospitality to welcome the king Edward the 7th. After India got independence, the city was merged along with Jodhpur, Jaiselmer and Bikaner to form the state of Rajasthan

From the ancient brick walls to the magnificent forts, from the magnificent structures and architectures to the colorful streets, the city will give you a reason every single day to explore and cherish the streets of this beautiful city.

Tourism in Jaipur 

The journey to the pink city starts with the locals who take pride in being a part of the 'City of The Royals’ and welcome you with folded hands. As they say in Jaipur, ‘Padharo Mhare Desh’, -  come & feel the spirit of my country . The hospitality of the locals at any given point of time will make you feel special. Tourism is one of the most respected profession in the city and therefore the stake holders of the industry, from the owners of large emporiums to the traditional textile traders, from the rich diamond merchants to the craftsmen of magnificent art and architecture - the stakeholders of the tourism  industry respect the importance of the word hospitality and thus over the years have been welcoming tourist across the globe.

So, let me take you across the tourist sports and the tourism experiences across :

 

 

The Amber fort or the Amer fort

Considered to be one of the most beautiful forts of the world, this magnificent structure is a master piece of the art & architecture. The fort is a standing symbol representing the pride of the city’s heritage. The fort was built in the 16th Century and was the pride of the city. Over the years, this magnificent fort has been an attraction to the tourist from different parts of the world.

The fort is built on Red and White Sandstone and the architecture is an amalgamation of the two religions, Hindu and Muslim. The carvings on the walls depict the life of the Royal Rajput’s rulers and their work and contribution to the modern day city. It is said that during British rule over India, they were so influenced and impressed by the work of the fort that they started living in the fort.

The fort has many attractions and arts which makes it even more unique:

 The Diwan – e – Am or the hall of the public audience, in ancient era, was the hall for the voice of the common man. The only court where the king addressed his locals and where the audience could share their grievances to the supreme authority.

  The beautiful Sheesh Mahal (The palace of the mirrors)  piece of architecture was made out of ancient customs where it is said that the women were not allowed to sleep in the open stars. The king called upon the finest architects and built this magnificent piece of architecture which was embedded with mirrors and upon the light of 2 candles; the entire palace was lit like stars glittering the sky.

The beautiful The Mughal gardens are on the lake overlooking the fort and host some of the most beautiful and unique collections of flowers and is said to have the saffron flowers planted in the ancient era.

  The Elephant ride at the fort

The entrance to the fort is a highlight with a choice of climbing the fort on an elephant. These elephants were the ride of the ‘Royals’ and therefore are decorated accordingly. The elephant ride is a paid service.

The entrance to the fort is a highlight with a choice of climbing the fort on an elephant. These elephants were the ride of the ‘Royals’ and therefore are decorated accordingly. The elephant ride is a paid service

(INR 1100 / $17 single or couple).

 

 

Some important facts:

The Amer fort is in the old city of Amer and is almost 10 KM away from the main city. The fort is well connected by the local transport of the city. Although, it is recommendable to take a guide and  a professional mode of transport (Local tour operators). The best time to enjoy the Amer fort is from October till March second week which is generally the winter season in India

Timings - The fort is open from 09:00 AM onwards till 06:00 PM

Entry Fees - INR 550 ($ 9) for foreign nationals. In case of foreign national students, the entry fees is INR 100 ($2) Student Id card of the school or university .

In case of Indian citizens, the fee is INR 50 and Indian students INR 10 subject to availability of the student id card of school or university.

Food and Beverage outlet available on the fort – Café coffee day

  • The Nahargarh Fort

Another magnificent fort standing tall on the edge of the Aravalli hills, the fort overlooks the entire city from certain view points. The fort was made for the purpose of retreat as the Rajput rulers were threatened by the attack on the city. The fort has some beautiful buildings and architectural work. The fort was also used by the wives of the British rulers during the British Era.  One can cherish an unforgettable experience of the sunset and the view of the entire city in the evening on the security checkpost of the fort.

Some Important Facts:

The fort is around 7 KM away from the main city. One should consider taking a professional transport as the roads are not well constructed and it is advisable to have a local or a professional guide along the journey to the Nahargarh Fort.

Timings – The official timings are 10: 00 am to 05:30 PM (evening fort is open however it is advisable to not to go alone)

Entry Fees – INR 200 for foreign national, INR 50 for Indian guest

Food and Beverage outlet available on the fort – Padao Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Jaigarh Fort

The Jaigarh fort also known as the victory fort is located in the aravalli ranges. The fort stands as a symbol of defense in the ancient times. The Jaigarh fort surrounded by the lush green gardens and is built of red sandstones. The story narrates that the Jaigarh fort held an enormous amount of treasure which was taken away in 1970’s. The fort held majestic weapons and was referred to as the cannon factory of the Rajput era. The most famous attraction is the biggest cannon - The Jaivan Cannon which was ever built and was fired only once.

Some Important Facts:

Timings – The official timings are 09:00 am to 04:30 PM

Entry Fees – INR 85 for foreign nationals & INR 35 for Indian tourist

The City Palace of Jaipur

The name itself suggest, the “Palace of the Royals’ – the city palace was built along the streets of Jaipur. The palace is situated in the old city of Jaipur and is well preserved. It was converted into a museum to showcase a glimpse of the ancient era and their lifestyle and culture which can be seen perfectly preserved. The museum showcases the weaponry, the art and architecture, the traditional and royal attire of the kings and queens, the different mode of transportation and so on. The palace is an ancestral property which belongs to the current Royal Family of the city. Also, a part of the city palace is the current residence to the ancestors of the Royal Family which is restricted to the public.

Some Important Facts:

The city palace can be visited thought the year. Although, one should consider visiting during winters when (October till March) the climate is much pleasant than summers.

The city palace is well connected through the local transport. Also, the city palace is well connected by local Cab operators of the city.

Entry Fees – INR 500 for foreign nationals, INR 130 for Indian Guest.

Timings - 09:30 am - 05:00 pm

The Jantar Mantar

The Jantar Mantar also referred to as the Astronomical observatory is one of the finest and the most unique construction of the city which was much ahead of its time. The Jantar Mantar was constructed by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh the second of Jaipur as a fascination in the subject of astronomy. The construction of the observatory is a perfection of the instruments used to study and research of astronomy. These instruments were perfectly carved in the form of marbles. The initial construction of these instruments was done with wood and thereby doing the necessary adjustments before the final construction which was done with marbles. The outcome of the construction was a perfection which used the sun rays to showcase the desired results.

The Jantar Mantar is a masterpiece of ancient architecture and a symbol of the technological advancement during the era of the Rajput’s. It is said that the Jantar Mantar is still used as a study by the research scholars studying astronomy and astrology. The studies of the Jantar Mantar have been further used by space agencies such as the NASA for their further research and study.

Some Important Facts:

The best time to visit the Jantar Mantar is generally the mid day where the sun is in the correct position to understand the readings of each instruments.  The Jantar Mantar is a must visit destination during your visit to the city of Jaipur.

Entry Fees – INR 200 for foreign nationals, INR 50 for Indian Guest.

Timings - 09:00 am - 05:00 pm

There are no proper Food and Beverage outlets. Although there are a few shops selling refreshments.

 

The kitchen experience with an Indian family

It is said that in the century old Ayurveda System, food was considered the best medicine. The food imbibes cultural and geographical importance and needs of that place. The Indian kitchen from the ancient era and from different dynasties has had its importance and if we scroll the history books, it is traceable that each dynasty has contributed to the modern day exotic Indian cuisines. Even today, the grandma’s recipe leaves modern chef and five star hotels’ dishes much behind in flavors & taste.

Therefore an experience of a lifetime where you can cherish the art of Indian cooking in a full length organized cooking with an Indian family who have been hosting guest from overseas from generations.   The only restriction is it will be only vegetarian. The host family is a joint family Brahmin – Agarwals who still carry with them the art of cooking which was aborted from generation to generation. The demonstration is organized by Mrs. Anita Agarwal where she will teach you the perfect blend of spices. Her art has been recognized in the United States where she was invited to host a session of art of Indian cooking which was organized by high end families in the city of Philadelphia in collaboration with couple of famous Indian restaurants. The male members of this family are businessman, government officers, cardiologist, Authors and Engineers.

With Great zest they would love to share to cook & eat with you.

You may contact them on the following number - +91-8529751365(available on whatsapp)

The Heritage Walk by Malik

Jaipur is the only town of those days which was first planned and then made. Sawai Jai Singh 2nd.The city was found  in 1727 A.D. The bird’s eye view of the town looks an art work of great artist. To walk and explore its street with an expert history guide adds more beauty to your perceptions about the city of the Royals.  The heritage walk is of 2 to 4 hours that includes walking across the streets and viewing the age old havelis and forts, active temples, local street markets which have been the same for generations, people, culture, forts and palaces and much more.

This walk is definitely different from routine sightseeing as you are escorted by a history expert guide who is also a professor (Prof. Krishna Malik) in the University of Rajasthan teaching history and has lived and played in the streets of Jaipur. He also holds a license recognized by ministry of Tourism, government of India .

Professor Malik is one of the most famous guides of the city and works for passion and is the first choice of all the luxury hotels for their guest.

Prof. Malik can be contacted at: ajaymalikjaipur@gmail.com

The Wedding Vows

The Indian wedding is known to be culturally rich and is renowned worldwide. The wedding tourism in India has rapidly seen a growth over the years especially in the northern part of India The city of Jaipur is a hotspot for destination weddings offering exotic locations. At the same time a tourist can enjoy the renewal of wedding vows in the traditional Indian customs and traditions which is organized by a local travel company (MY HOLIDAY MASTER) in the city at an ancient temple. The entire experience is although expensive but an experience of a lifetime.  (Credits - # celeb-india)

Contact details of the travel company - info@myholidaymaster.com

  • Visit to the Elephant Village

The elephants were once the ride of the Royals. Although one can cherish the experience of the Royal elephant ride while climbing on the Amer fort, the city has even something more unique to offer. The rural areas adjoining the old city of Jaipur have the elephant village where the elephants are kept and are bread by their owners. The village is maintained by the locals and the local government and together they organize activities for the visitors such as elephant ride, elephant feeding, bathing the elephant and many other activities which is generally enjoyed by the families especially the small children. The environment is safe for small children as these elephants are all females and are well trained and kept in hygienic surrounding. These activities have not only generated employment for the locals, but are an experience for the overseas tourist. The Elephant Village is located in a rural area and it is recommendable that a local who has visited the place can accompany along .

The Balloon Ride by Skywaltz

The Hot air balloon ride is one of the key attractions of the city. Organized by one of the famous adventure sports company (Skywaltz) , the hot air balloon ride is one of the key attractions as it goes across the Aravalli hills where one can enjoy the view of the tall standing structures of the Forts and palaces and the view of the entire city .

 

Recommended Shops and Emporiums

The city of Jaipur is one of the oldest and well planned city and at the same time is considered to be one of the most richest city of the ‘Princely State of Rajasthan’ not only in terms of wealth but also the age old art and architecture perfectly preserved in the local streets of the city . The age old art and architecture of the ancient era to the modern era have been passed on as an ancestral practice from generations of the ‘Maharaja’s’ to this date. This practice has created an employment for thousands of local artisans who perfectly preserve the age old heritage in the form of art and architecture and have been selling it to millions of tourist every year. These products can be found in the local streets of the city in the form of art and crafts perfectly designed and made by the expert craftsmen. One can even see these craftsmen working on the final product and designing it into perfection in workshops and emporiums where one can buy these products at a wholesale price.

When it comes to traditional textiles, the ‘Pink City’ is recognized worldwide for the quality of textiles and fabrics along with the work of the local artisans.

One of the most unique creations in terms of Fabric’s is handmade carpets and textiles. These carpets are carefully weaved to perfection. The art of designing and weaving these carpets can be found in the rural village connecting the city and has created a numerous employment opportunities for these craftsmen. These artisans are the ancestors of the craftsmen who were in the same occupation serving the ‘Royal Family’s’ and the practice of weaving Rugs have been passed onto generations. From sourcing out the best wool to cleaning and spurning the yarn and later weaving it to the final product, these artisans have carefully preserved this art for generations.

Today, these Rugs are not only bought by millions of tourist worldwide but also exported worldwide.

TEXITLE EMPORIUMS

Paliwal Carpets and Textiles

The Paliwal carpets and textiles is one of the oldest emporiums which was started as a workshop and the family for many years has been practicing the art designing textiles and carpets to perfection to this date. The craftsmen at Paliwal carpets are simply hand gifted with the hand of designing textiles and carpets and this can be seen live upon your visit to the emporium. From weaving of carpets to block printing of the fabrics, these local artisans have the provision of showing how the age old architecture is being practiced in the modern era. The employees at the stores have been a part of the industry for long and thereby take pride in displaying their work to their guest from overseas. There is a vast collection of products for sale, all carefully designed, handmade and perfected to the age old art

Rugs

These rugs have been carefully weaved and handmade by the local artisans in different shapes, sizes, colors and designs creating vase collection for the end consumers to choose from. The prices of these rugs depend upon the size and the amount of work done on these rugs but are generally available in multiple options in terms of prices.

Shawls

At Paliwal Carpets, the Shawls are an attraction to the eyes. Available in different forms and styles, there is a vast collection of Shawls. Although the original ‘Pashmina Shawl’ which is made of pure wool of the Pashmina Goat. Also, the Pashmina Shawls one of the reasons of being expensive is the quality of the embroidery, the design and the work done on the final product which is an ancient art.

Paliwal Carpets and Textiles is one of the most famous and well reputed emporiums in the city. Also, they provide shipping facility with insurance to your doorsteps overseas.

Apparels & Home Collections

Address - Paliwal Carpets & Textiles Mount Road, Opp. Ramgarh Road, Jaipur (India)

Handicrafts

1) Mangalam handicrafts

The Mangalam emporium is one of the most famous emporiums of the city offering wide range of products ranging from wide range of handicrafts to fine knitted fabrics . The Mangalam emporium also deals into custom made handicrafts and is visited by thousands of tourist worldwide. The emporium is the choice of many tourist for handicrafts.

3) Rajasthali 

 Rajasthali  - one of the most famous handcraft emporiums managed by the government of Rajasthan . The emporium is the flagship of the small industries and a is a part of promotional scheme of the government of Rajasthan promoting small business and the local culture and tradition.  The Rajasthali is famous for handcrafts espicially the work of blue pottery.

Jewelry

  1. The Gem Palace

The Gem Palace is one of the most renowned jewelry emporium of the city which has its routes for over hundred years. The emporium displays the finest collection of Gems and jewelry carefully made by craftsmen who have been involved into this occupation for generations and served have served some important delegations such as the Royal family of Jaipur, the last viceroy of British empire in India and many other important profiles added to the port folio which has given the Gem Palace a global name in the industry .

Address: The Gem Palace  - Shop No.348, MI Road, Jaipur, 302001

 

 

2) Silver and art Palace

The Silver and Art palace is one of the largest emporiums of the city which came into existence in the 19th century . The emporium is an attraction for those who wish to explore the beautifully carved gemstones and designer jewellery . The Jewels are an eye for attraction at the silver and arts emporium and is one of the recommended stores of the city .

Address: 313-A, Near Subhash Chowk, Old Amer Rd, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002

Recommended Food and Beverage Outlets

The land of the Royals, the princely state of Rajasthan is famous for its rich culture and tradition. The Royals took pride in their rich customs but all their celebrations were focused on the feast which was a blend of the rich Indian cuisines. The herbs and species during the ancient era gave rise to the traditional Rajasthani Cuisine which is famous worldwide. The city of Jaipur, being the capital city of the princely state of Rajasthan is visited by millions worldwide and one such attraction is the Indian food. The city has a few well established and well recognized food and beverage outlets which serving the traditional Indian food keeping in mind the blend of spices especially for their guest from overseas. The warmth of the Royal Indian Hospitality and the aroma and taste of the delicacies, these recommended food and beverage outlets have been recognized and recommended by tourist across the globe.

The Suvarna Mahal Restaurant - The Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel


The Swarna Mahal is one of the most famous restaurant in the city. Once the dining palace of the Royal’s , this restaurant is a symbol of Luxury along with ht Royal India hospitality blended by the taste of the rich Indian delicacies prepared by the master chef’s of Taj Hotels and Resorts.

Address: The Taj Rambagh Palace Bhawani Singh Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302005

The Surya Mahal at the Oberoi Rajvilas 

The Surya Mahal at the Oberoi Rajvilas is another symbol of luxury and elegance blended with spices. The aroma of Indian delicacies will enrich your mind and soul and the ambience of the restaurant will make your evening a never ending memory. The restaurant is a multi cuisine restaurant and has a choice of outer seating as well as inner seating and generally has cultural performances in the evening.

Address- Surya Mahal Restaurant - The Oberoi Rajvilas  - Jaipur Goner Road, Jagdish Colony

 

 

The Grand Peacock Restaurant

 

The Grand Peacock restaurant is one of the most renowned restaurant  in the city . It is a multi cuisines restaurant situated in the old city of Jaipur and has been the choice of thousands of overseas tourist visiting Jaipur and for all the right reasons . The restaurant serves fine dining ambiance and also has an option of rooftop seating .

Address -  The Grand Peacock Restaurant  - 17, Amer Road, Gangapol, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002

Activities

Recommended Hotels - Luxury Hotels

  • The Oberoi Rajvilas

 The Oberoi Rajvilas is a symbol of Luxury combined with traditional Indian Hospitality . Managed by the Oberoi Hotels and Resorts which is in itself a renowned brand name in the global hospitality industry , the this luxury boutique hotel is one of the finest luxury hotels of the city which has been carefully designed with perfection . The hotel has beautiful luxurious rooms of different categories and luxurious Spa facilities. The hotel has an elegant pool facility and some of the finest food and beverage outlets serving not only traditional Indian food but also some of the most amazing international cuisines prepared by highly trained and experienced chefs. The Oberoi Rajvilas is a perfection and the charm of its hospitality attracts thousands of people across the globe. A stay at the Oberoi Rajvilas can cost upto $1000 per night.

Address - The Oberoi Rajvilas  - Jaipur Goner Road, Jagdish Colony

The Taj Rambagh Palace

The Taj Rambagh palace, a symbol of luxury is a charm of the city . A heritage hotel which was once the residence of the Royal family of Jaipur, the building is a master piece of art and architecture from the ancient era. The hotel is managed by one of the finest hospitality organization of India - The Taj Hotels & Resorts. The hotel is well equipped with luxury rooms which have been refurbished with the modern facilities . Also, the hotel has its own charm of Royalty, offering unique experiences such as a heritage walk of the palace, a royal welcome , services like the Maharajah's (King)personal butler. Staying at the Rambagh Palace can cost up-to $1000 to $ 1200 per night.

Five Star Hotels

The Fairmont Jaipur

The Fairmont hotel is one of the newest edition to the Indian hospitality industry . Managed by Accor hotels , the Fairmont Jaipur is a masterpiece of architecture and the design of the hotel is inspired by the Mughals. The hotel is made in the shape of a ancient castle. Although , Accor Hotels are a symbol of modern luxury , the Fairmont Jaipur is an amalgamation of the luxury combined with the lifestyle of the Royal's . The hotel attractions thousand's of tourist from different part's of India and overseas. The hotel is also a hotspot for Destination Weddings . The Fairmont is generally priced at a starting price of $200 to $300 depending upon the availability and season.

The Hilton Jaipur

The Hilton Jaipur is the newest addition to the city and is a modern hotel just like all the Hilton hotels  across the globe . The hotel is built according to the international standards in the heart of the city and has been a charm to the tourist travelling from China and middle east. The hotel has well furbished modern rooms with all the luxury's and well designed hotel facilities. Also, the chef's offer exotic cuisines according to the international standards amalgamated with the blend of Indian spices . The Hilton is generally priced at a starting price of $160 to $200 depending upon the availability and season.

The Trident Jaipur

The Trident Jaipur is one of the finest symbols of hospitality in the city . The hotel is located at a perfect location which gives an add on advantage to its guest. The design is inspired by the architecture of the Royals. The hotel is well equipped with spacious and well designed rooms and facilities to the international standards . The Trident brand is a part of the Oberoi Hotels and Resorts which automatically gives an add on advantage of being associated the finest hospitality chain and assures its guest of the most memorable experiences during their stay . The Trident is generally priced at a starting price of $200 to $300 depending upon the availability and season.

 

Best time to visit the city

The best time to visit the city is generally from the month of October to March when it is winter season in Northern India. Also, this is the busiest time in the city , therefore it might be a little expensive .

From April to September, there are less number of International tourist because of the temperature which can go upto 45* C .

How to Reach Jaipur

The city is well connected by flights from Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and the flight duration is 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Also, the city is well connected by road from Delhi .The city is also accessible through the trains between different cities of northern India especially Delhi which has a very frequent service and takes 5 hours to reach Jaipur from Delhi.

Local Transport in the city

The city has a good road conditions but sometimes may get busy. It is easy to get an Uber service. However , it is recommended that one should book their transport well in advance through a reputed travel company to go around the city and also if you wish to travel between the cities.

Gangaur Festival

Gangaur is the most significant and colourful festival of the city. The festival is generally rejoiced by the women and girls. The festival stands as a symbol of worship of Lord Shiva where the women of the house pray to the lord for well being of their husbands or to find a suitable groom in their lives. The women of the house are dressed as the best attires , the gold and silver

 

Teej Festival

Teej is another important festival which is rejoiced in Jaipur. On this day, women and girls wear new clothes, jewelleries and make designs on their palms and feet with mehndi (henna). They gather in group in a temple and perform special puja, aarti and offer prasad to Goddess Parvati. Women pray for their husbands whereas girls pray for their future husband. Women and girls perform folk dance, sing traditional teej songs and enjoy swinging. These three are the unique features of this festival.

 

Kite Festival

On 14th January, the festival of Makar Sakranti is celebrated all over India. This festive time is rejoiced for various reasons but the main reason is the transition of the sun from Sagittarius (dhanu rashi), the zodiac sign to Capricorn (makar rashi). According to the Indian astrology, the northward journey of the sun begins on this day. People take holy bath in the Ganga River and then donate things to the needy people. Also, on this day, people enjoy the flying of kites. Complete sky is adorned with beautiful, big and small colourful kites. In Jaipur, it is declared as the state holiday. Various kite competitions are held in Jaipur as well as across the state in which the most famous is International Kite Festival held by the State Government which goes on for three days. Many competitors from all over the world participate in this event.

Some important recommendations

  • The city of Jaipur is the capital city of the state of Rajasthan.
  • The city is well connected by road from Delhi (270 km / 5 hrs)
  • Jaipur has an international airport . Although major flights landing in Jaipur are from Delhi and Mumbai, therefore Jaipur is accessible by air majorly from Delhi and Mumbai.
  • Jaipur is well connected by Train from Delhi with multiple options thought the day.
  • The best time to visit Jaipur is between October to March when the weather is pleasant. April to September is generally the summer season in north India.
  • Jaipur is well connected by road to the other cities of Rajasthan such as Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaiselmer , Ajmer & Pushkkar.
  • Jaipur has an excellent road connectivity from Agra (220 km / 4 hrs) which is one of the most important tourist destination.