Lay of the Land
“This is indeed India...the one land that all men desire to see, and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of all the rest of the globe combined.”~Mark Twain, Following the Equator, 1897
Rounding out India’s Golden Triangle that includes Agra and Dehli, Jaipur is a first-time must when traveling to India. The capital of Rajasthan in northwestern India is also fondly known as the “Pink City.” An 1853 visit from the Prince of Wales inspired a renaissance of sorts, during which the entire city was painted a welcoming pink. The warm coral hue, and inviting atmosphere, remains.
Founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727, Jaipur is India’s first planned city, with an intricate, well-organized layout and a mathematical six-sector division. Originally constructed as part of an eight-part mandala in keeping with Hindu architectural tradition, Jaipur has now expanded outside the original city walls. The central Palace Quarter is home to the Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, formal gardens and a small lake—all popular attractions.
Palace hotels, once home to India’s royal families, and painted elephants parading along the streets are part of the colorful everyday of Jaipur. The famous Amber Fort lies just outside the city, and within an hour’s drive are sensuous, embellished palace rooms to view, tribal villages to visit, hand-woven and embroidered Kashmir shawls to buy and a world of modern Indian design to uncover.
When To Go
The time to visit is during the cool season, from November to February, when temperatures hover in the high-50’s and low 60’s. The city is easily navigated by rickshaw, but taxis and car services are also available.