Jaipur, AKA "The Pink City", is one of my favorite cities in the entire world. The side-by-side juxtaposition of traditional and modern is unlike anything I have ever seen anywhere else. You will feel like you're stepping back in time. It's a must visit stop on any Indian vacation.
It's not for the faint of heart, but it's hands-down my favorite way to explore Jaipur. And it's also the best way to take photos. From camels and elephants side-by-side with ox driven carts, bicycles and busses, you will never see anything quite like it.
HAVE A DRINK AT BAR PALLADIO
This picturesque bar, located at the Narain Niwas Palace Hotel, is Italian owned and was inspired by Harry's Bar in Venice The deep blue walls and the wandering peacocks create an atmosphere that is nothing short of magical.
Jaipur is home to some of the most opulent and luxurious hotels in the world. Even if you are on a budget, I highly recommend having lunch or a tea in the gardens at the Rambaugh Palace. Built in 1835, the palace was the residence of the Maharaja of Jaipur and his royal family, until it was turned into a hotel in 1957. Between the peacocks that wiill walk past your table, the flute players, bouganvilleas, and the stunning fountains, it will be a highlight of your trip.
Load up on bohemian, Indian jewelry at affordable prices at the Johari bazaar. Walking distance from the City Palace, Jantar Mantar, and Hawa Mahal, This market area is a great place to buy anything & everything from jewelry, wood carvings and textiles.
Note: Bargaining is required and expected, but don't be a jerk. These artisans spend their lives learning these skills and earn very little. Don't take advantage of them by haggling over a couple dollars that won't mean anything to you in the long run.
A Lassi is an Indian drink made from thick yogurt. There are many "lassiwala", a term for someone who makes lassi, in Jaipur but the original one is on M.I. road. You can try this traditional drink for only 20 rupees, or 27 cents. For more on how to make this classic Indian drink, click here.
Jaipur is famous for its wood block printed fabrics. Take a day trip to Bagru for a lesson on how these traditional fabrics are printed.
The old city is a photographer's dream! I can spend hours wandering the alleys and never get bored. You will see shops that feel straight out of another century, artisans practicing traditional crafts, and beautiful crumbling palaces and food vendors. If you are fascinated by other cultures like I am, you will LOVE this!
STOP AT THE CAFE ACROSS FROM HAWAL MAHAL FOR A PHOTO AND A SNACK
When you're ready to take a break from your stroll, climb the old stairs to the cafe across the street from Hawa Mahal for a must-have photo. Enjoy a sandwich and a cold drink before heading back to the wander the fascinating alleyways.
LOAD UP ON HAND-PRESSED SCENTED OILS
Fresh cut flowers are everywhere in Jaipur! enjoy some rose scented oil for $1 from the Pink City street vendors.
EXPERIENCE A FESTIVAL
If you are traveling at the right time of year, you might be lucky enough to experience one of India's many famous festivals. I've had the joy of experiencing Holi and Diwali in Jaipur and like everything else in India, the theme is sensory overload and I'm there for it!
Holi, also known as the festival of colors, is a Hindu celebration that a way to welcome in spring and new beginnings where people can release all their inhibitions and start fresh. Participants throw colored water and powders on one another. Holi has become known as India’s most vivid and joyous festival.
POSE FOR PHOTOS AT THE PATRIKA GATE
Built in 1727, the Patrika gate is the ninth gate of Jaipur and is 30 minutes outside of the city. It is one of the city's most instagrammable spots which is why you will see many fashion photographers, models, engaged Indian couples, and tourists there. It's best to go early in the morning if you don't want to fight the crowds, but it's well worth the visit.
VISIT THE MANY STUNNING FORTS AND PALACES but here's what NOT TO DO:
DON'T RIDE THE ELEPHANTS
Appreciate the beautiful elephants at Amber Fort from afar, but please don't ride them! I know it's tempting and seems fun, but those elephants are BADLY ABUSED. You can read more about it here. Captured from the wild, often as babies, these animals undergo a brutal training process called ‘the crush’ whereby they are beaten and starved into submission by their handlers. They are painted with colors to mask bruises and injuries inflicted by their handlers. A large portion are blind, underfed, and have burned and damaged feet from walking on 100 degree concrete.
AND THAT'S JUST THE SHORT LIST, ENJOY!
Did I leave off any of your favorites? Feel free to message me with your must-see spots at firstname.lastname@example.org