A romantic pink hue coats everything in Jaipur, hence the nickname, The Pink City. Weaving up stairs to a high point and viewing the city below is a must when you arrive in Jaipur. The exotic cityscape is completely washed in a soft, glowing shade of blush pink that deepens as the sun sets in the evening. It’s worthy of its exclusive royal heritage.
The romance of the city has not only been enhanced by the distinctive colour but by the myths that surround the city and its creation. Pink is the colour of respect, welcome and the rising of the sun. Painted to celebrate the visit to the city in 1876 by the Prince of Wales some might believe, but other people say that the city was pink long before this to intimidate the marble monuments of the Mughals. Then, in the mid-nineteenth century, Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II insisted on a new look and the city was painted a different colour. But he didn’t like the result and order it to be all-over pink once more which incidentally coincided with the royal visit. It is now laid down in law that the old city must always be pink.
It’s not just the blush pink accolade that has people visiting Jaipur, located in the country’s largest state, Rajasthan, it’s a jewellery box, scattered with epic forts, fairytale palaces and crumbling havelis. Set against an extensive backdrop of wild desert scenery and jungles, where leopards and tigers are free to roam freely.
There’s a lot going on here, ferociously crowded as pedestrians weave through the bazaars and market stalls amid a cavalcade of rickshaws, motorbikes, three-wheeled trucks, elephants and camels. Every corner turned, every tiny street you look down is buzzing with a vibrant exuberance.
Free to explore the city, we took a cycle rickshaw around the city, which quickly became one of my favourite moments from my time in India. Although probably dangerous, (there were a few near misses), it was amazing weaving in an out of the hectic traffic, horns beeping from every angle, children waving from tuk tuk’s and camels waltzing around roundabouts with us. We were completely immersed in the sheer craziness of India, and it was an unforgettable experience.
Arriving at India’s largest theatre, Rajmandir, also named the Pride of the City. With it’s high ceilings illuminated with a soft blue and tiny lights that have been made to look like stars above making you feel as though you’ve walked into a Bollywood film set or a palace. Its artist design and royal interior is mesmerising, a complete anomaly to what you expect to see from Indian architecture.
Watching a Bollywood film was a pinch me moment, it was a completely different experience to watching a film in England. The crowd were interacting with the characters, shouting as they disagreed with the plot and laughing and clapping when things for the characters went according to plan. It was refreshing and something I recommend setting aside time to do.
Hawa Mahal, a romantic pink sandstone fortress cascades over the street of Jaipur, originally built in 1799 as a vantage point for the ladies of the royal household. From behind shadowed windows of Hawa Mahal, high above the streets, the woman could observe the city without the being observed themselves.
The name Hawa Mahal means ‘Palace of Winds’ attributed to the gentle breeze that flows through its 950 intricately decorated windows, which have been designed to resemble a honeycomb structure that towers to five storeys. Built with a combination of Hindu and Islamic architecture with domed canopies, fluted pillars and floral patterns Hawa Mahal is an architectural gem and a true fairy-tale icon of Jaipur.
It’s a city filled with both ancient and modern design, creativity and mystery. But Jaipur’s pinkness will always be the abiding memory.
Hello, I’m Samantha. A twenty-two-year-old fashion communication and promotion graduate. An avid shopper, lover of interiors and good coffee addict.