Jaipur is part of the tourist “golden triangle” which also includes New Delhi and Agra. All the buildings in the inner, old city are terracotta pink hence the nickname The Pink City. In fact, a law passed in 1877 and still in existence today makes it illegal for buildings within the old city to be painted any other color than Jaipur Pink.
Three forts located on the mountain walling in Jaipur are must see places. The capital of the Kachwaha Empire used to be Amer, located in the gorge of the mountain. However, Jai Singh II moved the capital to Jaipur, which remains the capital of Rajasthan today. The move was in large part for logistical reasons. Trade is much more difficult when the capital of an empire is located on a mountain, and expansion of the city is challenging when there’s no where to expand except for vertically.
My overall experience in Jaipur was extremely polarizing. On my first day, I explored the pink city. I was harassed by two men on separate incidences in broad daylight and near tourist attractions. Later that day, I met a really nice guy who was completely ashamed and sympathetic about my experiences. He introduced me to a very kind family who set up a private car and tour guide for me the following day to ensure my safety. I also stayed in a hostel, The Big Mooch, where the owners were incredibly funny, hospitable, and welcoming. During my time in Jaipur, I encountered the worst and the best people that I met throughout my time in India.
The Hawa Mahal is in the heart of the pink city. The palace has a facade that’s comprised of nearly a thousand tiny windows designed for the royal women to observe events outside without being seen by the public. The royal women, in the nineteen hundreds, were not allowed to be seen by anyone in the public, but they still wanted to view ceremonies and people on the streets of Jaipur. The facade is made of red and pink sandstone and resembles a beehive. You can go inside the palace and peer out the windows similar to how the royal women used to hundreds of years ago.
Monkey Temple and Sun Temple
Located within a ten minute walking distance, these two temples are seen hand in hand. I went during sunset, so I got to see sunset views of Jaipur from the Sun Temple. The Monkey Temple has a shocking amount of monkeys. They also are very feisty and fight with each other. One monkey literally howled at me as I was taking the photo below.
Only part of the City Palace complex is available to the public today, but when viewing the city from above, you can see the size of City Palace complex. Today, you can walk through one of the palace’s gates and see a few buildings. One building has a museum of the history of dress in Jaipur with some impressive garments on display. The rest of the palace open to the public show cases the beautiful structure and designs of the palace.
This is the tallest structure in Jaipur and was built as a symbol of victory of a battle in 1749. To get to the top of the tower, you have to walk this curved path that has “steps,” which are more like slight ridges carved into the smooth path. It’s slippery to get your footing going up and down the incline and could definitely be dangerous in the rain. The tower doesn’t seem to attract many tourists, so I got to enjoy the top of it all to myself. I sat for a little while and soaked in the views of Jaipur.
Once the palace for the royals of Amer, the fort and palace overlook a lake. The fort incorporates Hindu elements and styles with Muslim architecture, which differs from a lot of the exclusively Muslim inspired palaces in the area. Part of the palace is covered with intricate designs and mirrored glass. There are many rooms that served to house hall meetings and audiences. The king and queen also had a bathing and relaxing quarter that overlooks a lush garden on the lake.
Jaigarh Fort, also known as the Victory Fort, is nearly 2 miles long and served mainly as a place for the military to live and train and house weapons. The fort has the then worlds largest cannon on wheels, and you can walk through the rooms and see the machines where cannons were constructed.
This fort was originally built as a retreat for the royal family who resided in the Amer Fort. The fort contains many apartments for the royal family and offers incredibly views of Jaipur. Allegedly, the fort was haunted and when it was being constructed, the workers would find all of the work from the previous day destroyed.
The Jantar Mantar is a massive sundail and can measure the location of the sun and planets. It is at least 200 years old and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It can tell the time with accuracy within a half a second based on the location of the sun. Seeing the massive structure of the instruments, it’s incredible to think how people constructed the Jantar Mantar to measure the time, sun, and planets with such accuracy 200 years ago.
The palace is located in the middle of a lake. The palace has suffered damage over the years and restoration efforts have not been fruitful, so tourists cannot visit inside the palace.
Albert Hall Museum
I intended to go inside the Albert Hall Museum, but was side tracked because of the harassment. I did get to see the outside of the museum and feed the pigeons outside of the museum. The outside structure is truly impressive.