India's 'Pink City' Is a Stunning Mix of Palaces, Bazaars, and Luxury Hotels
Jaipur is a city of ancient forts and royal palaces, a place where visitors will find sweeping views of lush green hills and some of the finest hotels in the world.
Nicknamed the Pink City, Jaipur forms a point on the Golden Triangle, the tourism trail that connects the Indian capital New Delhi with Jaipur and Agra, home of the iconic Taj Mahal. It is the gateway to Rajasthan, the aptly named land of kings and a city steeped in history and early architectural innovation.
Here are eight reasons why you should add the Pink City to your India itinerary.
There's a palace for every day of the week.
Jaipur is a city with enough palaces to visit a new one every day of the week. Its most famous palace is Hawa Mahal, a five-story pink sandstone structure in the heart of the city. Hawa Mahal's exterior looks a bit like a honeycomb at first glance. Look a little closer and you'll notice the exquisite curves of 953 small windows.
Luxury hotels will make you feel like royalty.
Jaipur is a city with no shortage of luxury hotels boasting over-the-top dining and spa experiences. Several historic palaces have been reimagined as five-star hotels, giving visitors a window into what royal life may have been like in the era of Maharajas.
It's a shopper's paradise.
Jaipur is home to a collection of markets selling everything from jewelry, clothing, and textiles to marble statues. Johari Bazaar is one of the city's best-known markets and the place to shop for jewelry. Head to Tripolia Bazaar if you're in the market for a rug. Look for local shoes and clothing at Nehru Bazaar.
It's surrounded by historic forts.
Jaipur is a city surrounded by epic forts. Nahargarh Fort, Amer Fort, and Jaigarh Fort are open to tourists and offer epic views of the city and a unique window into the city's early defenses.
It really is a pink city.
Jaipur is nicknamed the Pink City, a nod to the color of the sandstone buildings at its core. These buildings have been a dusty shade of pink since 1876, when they were painted for a visit by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband.
It's a shining example of early urban planning.
Cities in India can feel chaotic, their streets a labyrinth that can take a lifetime to learn. Jaipur is different. It was the first planned city in India and has been recognized as an early example of urban planning. There's still traffic, but the streets are built on a grid and that makes them a little easier to navigate than their counterparts in New Delhi and Mumbai.
You can make your dream of riding an elephant come true.
If ever you've dreamed of riding an elephant, you can have your chance in Jaipur. Elephant rides are available at Amber Fort and offer a comfortable ride up what would otherwise be a very steep climb to its entrance.
It's a city filled with art.
Jaipur's luxury hotels aren't the only place to sample Indian art in the Pink City. Visit one of the city's art galleries to see more, and maybe bring home your own piece of the pink city.
Jaipur is a gem, but it isn't the only gem in Rajasthan's crown. From Jaipur, it's easy to visit other famous Rajasthani cities including Udaipur, a picturesque city set around a collection of lakes, and Jodhpur, a Rajasthani city with its own iconic shade — blue.