Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in Jaipur - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do

February 26, 2018
Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do


24 HOURS IN JAIPUR, INDIA: WHAT & WHERE TO SEE, STAY, EAT, AND DO

Strictly speaking, I had 4 days in Jaipur - but one was written off for recovering from Bombay, two were chock full of festivities and shenanigans (you know how traditional Indian weddings are like, it’s like Bollywood but bigger and better), which left all of a day to see as many of the Pink City’s highlights as I could. Yet, despite a thousand setbacks thrown at me in the form of mind-boggling inefficiency (Bombay International Airport, I’m looking at you), culture shock (Me, to my taxi driver: “Shouldn’t you unfold your side mirrors before you drive?” Taxi driver:Side mirror use by bad driver only. I good driver. No need use mirror” Me: *screams in British accent*), and sheer bad luck - you know by now how my travel companion couldn’t enter the country, leaving me to travel solo in India? That story is now immortalised in my “Travel BTS (Behind The Scenes) ” Highlights reel on my Instagram @poshbrokebored - I survived my trip to the capital city of Rajasthan and made it back, relatively unscathed, with this guide to 24 Hours in Jaipur



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- STAY - 
FAIRMONT JAIPUR

The Fairmont Jaipur is my kind of extra: from the moment I was greeted at the main entrance by guards on horseback (and an elephant, too) and an elderly gentleman who showered me with rose petals from a balcony above the double front doors (above); to navigating the labyrinthian corridors where musicians serenaded visitors from every corner, until I reached my oversized room with its four poster beds, cavernous bathroom, and enormous soaker tub (left). 

Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do


It’s easy to see that The Fairmont Jaipur is inspired by the Mughal dynasty and Royal Rajputs of yore. With a sweeping vista of Jaipur from its position in the majestic Aravalli hills, perfect blend of traditional Rajasthani decor and modern amenities, and impeccable attention to detail, every second of my stay at The Fairmont Jaipur made me feel like a maharani.



Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do

Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do

Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do


- SEE -
HAWA MAHAL 


On Wednesdays Everyday we wear pink...”

The icon of Jaipur, the “Pink City”, is indisputably Hawa Mahal. Also known as the Wind Palace, the Hawa Mahal is Jaipur’s most distinctive landmark: a jaw-dropping, five storey, honeycomb hive-like beauty of pink sandstone rising out of the historic centre. The Hawa Mahal was born in 1799 as a concession to the now antiquated practise of purdah - that is, Zenana (ladies of the royal household) forced to live in seclusion from the public or the male eye - the latticed windows allowed the women to watch the life and processions of the city that they were isolated from.

While navigating the narrow corridors of the Hawa Mahal and the royal relics of its small museum does lend some royal realness, in my honest opinion the best way to enjoy the Wind Palace is from across the road. Have a refreshing drink at The Wind View cafe (no prizes for guessing how its name came to be...) or even just climb up the stone stairs between the shops until you find a balcony where you can gaze or photograph to your heart’s content.


Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do





Fun fact: “Jaipur Pink” is so intrinsically tied to the city’s heritage and identity that it is enforced under local law - every building within the historic centre must be painted the exact shade. For that, we have Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh to thank: he ordered Jaipur to be painted this pleasing colour to impress Prince Albert during his 1876 tour to India, and the rest is history! 







- SEE -
JAIGARH FORT & AMBER FORT


Just a llittle way from Jaipur-proper is the majestic Amber Fort and her twin, Jaigarh Fort. The latter (above) was built to defend Amber Fort and earned the nickname ‘Victory Fort’ for never having been seized by invaders. It was in Jaigarh Fort where I had the great privilege to attend an opulent Indian wedding, where the surrealism of partying the night away like Indian royals in an 18th-century fortress closed to the public after hours added to the magic of my Jaipur experience.

Equally magical was my daytime visit to Amber Fort. Climbing up the hill while sidestepping elephants to this former royal residence was made that much easier by views of The Hills of Eagles, the surrounding town of Amer, and the complex on Maota Lake (below). As sprawling as the Amber Fort complex is, as dizzingly detailed were the mosaics of Ganesh Pol (the gate that lead to the private palaces of the Maharajas), and as jaw-droppingly dazzling were the intricate glass-inlaid walls of Sheesh Mahal (mirror palace) were; it was fairly easily to navigate the Amber Fort. Next time, I’ll stay for the Amber Sound and Light Show in the evening for a ocular tour of the fort’s history - narrated by Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan’s to the soundtrack of haunting Rajasthani music.


Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do


Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do

Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do
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Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do

Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do

Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do

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Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do

- EAT -
CAFE PALLADIO


It may seem odd to dine in a Sicilian-inspired cafe in Jaipur, but Cafe Palladio is where the well-heeled international crowd go for their Mediterranean burgers and lime-infused coffees on a sultry afternoon. Cafe Palladio is a vision in pastel: its terrace of pistachio marble and walls painted with orange blossoms evoking the exotic loveliness of Visconti’s masterpiece “Il Gattopardo”. Just know that the languid atmosphere is just as much to do with the place’s charming old-world decor as it is with the extremely slow service - this is colonial realness at its best! 


Visit sister restaurant Bar Palladio for dinner in sumptuous peacock-blue surroundings.



Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do

- SEE -
JAWAHAR CIRCLE


It was rather mindboggling for me to comprehend that this astonishing structure was not in fact a historical site but rather, “just” the entrance gates to a public park just under 10 years old! Some proud locals of Jaipur will have you know that Jawahar Circle Garden is “Asia’s biggest circular park developed on a highway” and others will tell you outright that it is the largest circular park all over in Asia. 

Either way, the gardens are extremely popular for its surrounding rose garden, musical fountain, and of course Patrika Gate. Patrika Gate is what I call “the Diet Coke of Jaipur” - for the claustrophobe and germaphobe who can’t handle the rugged charms (read: chaos, cacophony, and questionable hygeine) of the old city, the intricately painted arches of Patrika Gate, are a colourful crash course in Rajasthani culture. Each pillar is painted with scenes dedicated to the history of Rajasthan, making it educational as well as one of the most photogenic (yet peaceful!) places in Jaipur.

Other notable sites I’d love to visit on my next trip to Jaipur is the City Palace (a striking blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture), the adjacent Jantar Mantar observatory built for measuring the heavens and a Unesco World Heritage Sites, and Nahargarh Fort.

Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do



Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do



FLIGHTS:

From London Heathrow and New York City a myriad of airlines including British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Air India fly to Delhi and Bombay where you can take a domestic flight to Jaipur. Flying to Jaipur from Kuala Lumpur is much easier: Air Asia has just launched a new route that flies directly to Jaipur in under 6 hours.


GETTING AROUND:

Indian road traffic is, to put it politely, an absolute clusterf*ck. If you like a gamble, by all means take a rickshaw (tuk-tuk) and hang on for dear life, but whatever you do, do not engage an elephant ride - the working conditions of these creatures is mired in controversy. Instead, hire a guide from your hotel front desk - an air conditioned car and driver for the day cost me no more than ₹4,000.



Jaipur, India: 24 Hours in the Pink City - What & Where to See, Stay, Eat, & Do

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