Exploring JAIPUR: the Pink City of India

Hello, India!
HELLO, INDIA! It was in Jaipur when I first set foot in the lively country of India! Here I was being greeted by the birds around the city palace! Thanks to my Shembot brother/ travel buddy in India, Louis Brian (IG: @bryehero), I got pictures like this in Jaipur!

Jaipur, the Pink City of India, has captured the eye of travelers and tourists around the world because of its impressive structures all covered in shades of pink. This is especially true within the walled historic center, which was painted with terracotta pink color. In this blog post, let us learn how to go to Jaipur, how it got its monicker, what places to explore, where to stay and who to contact should you decide to go here! For sure, once you have decided, you’d have a great time here in the Pink City of India!

JAIPUR

Jaipur is the capital and the largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. It is famed as the Pink City, the title it gained because of the dominant color its structures have. It is home to some of the most beautiful structures of India, including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Amer Fort and Jantar Mantar.

SNAKE CHARMERS.
SNAKE CHARMERS. One of the most exciting things that I’ve done in Jaipur is sitting beside the snake charmers, who let me play their flute and made one of their snakes crawl on my shoulders!

A PEEK OF JAIPUR: Jaipur was the first sight I’ve seen of India after the plane we were riding landed on its soil. It was evening when we first set foot, so I have to ease my anticipation by getting a good night sleep in our hostel. When we woke up in the morning, we had a hearty Indian breakfast while having a great view of the city. Birds were flying all over the neighborhood; kids were preparing to go to school with their dads in their cars or motorcycles; women were hanging colorful laundry on the roofs of the house ― seems like I could be anywhere but no, I was already in India. And I felt this more when we already explored all around the city!

COLORFUL JAIPUR.
COLORFUL JAIPUR. While it is true that many structures are colored pink in the city, it doesn’t mean the city lacks in other colors. In fact, it is brimming with other colors as well! Just like this part of the city around the city palace.

WHY JAIPUR IS CALLED THE PINK CITY

As mentioned earlier, Jaipur’s walled central area is covered in terracotta pink paint. This has started in 1876 when Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, who was then the ruler of Jaipur, had the whole city colored in pink in honor of Prince Albert of Britain. He was said to choose pink as it is a color of hospitality, which was meant to impress the British monarch once he visits the city. In addition to that, a beautiful concert hall in the city was also named after the prince: Albert Hall. It is believed that Maharaja’s wife convinced him to create a law stating all buildings should be colored pink. The law was passed in 1877, and it still takes effect until now.

HOW TO GO TO JAIPUR

There are many ways of going to Jaipur. From Manila, you can book a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok or Singapore. These three cities have a direct flight to Jaipur via AirAsia, Thai Airways, among others. (Last time I checked, though, it’s only in Kuala Lumpur that has direct flights going to Jaipur.)

REMINDER: You have to prepare your Indian Visa first before going to Jaipur. Please proceed to this link, which details how you can get one.

HOW TO GO AROUND JAIPUR:

Taxis, tuktuks, buses and trains are the modes of transportation in Jaipur. In exploring the key attractions of Jaipur, it is best to rent a car or a taxi especially if you’re traveling in group. Prices will depend on how many hours you’d be spending during the day. In our case, we have rented the taxi from 9 AM to 6 PM for 1,600 rupees (parking fees not included).

WHAT TO EXPLORE

Amer Fort

AMER
AMER. Technically not a part of Jaipur, Amer is still one of the most visited places by travelers and tourists who go to Jaipur. Why won’t it be when it’s one of the most outstanding structures just near Jaipur?

Before Jaipur, Amer (known before as Dundhar) was the capital of the state of Rajasthan. It was ruled by the Kachhawa clan from 11th to 16th centuries. In 1952, a fort was built by Raja Man Singh over the old capital.

MONKEYS ALL OVER.
MONKEYS ALL OVER. Aside from birds, monkeys such as these in the picture stay along the forts of Amer.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Amer Fort is beautifully made up of red sand stone and marble. Its main entrance is called “Suraj Pol” or Sun Gate, which opens up to the main courtyard and the palace. The fort has influences of both Hindu and Muslim architecture.

ENTRANCE TO THE AMER PALACE
ENTRANCE TO THE AMER PALACE. Entrance fee going inside the Amer Palace is 200 rupees.

Jaighar Fort

JAIGHAR FORT.
JAIGHAR FORT. This is the view from one of the higher parts of the fort. A part of it is similar to the Great Wall of China, isn’t it?

Built with thick walls made up of red sand stones stretching to a length of 3 km and a width of 1 km, Jaighar Fort is built in 1726 by Jai Singh II. Its main purpose was to protect the Amer Fort and its complex from warlords and rivals of the royal family.

OVERLOOKING AMER FORT.
OVERLOOKING AMER FORT. That’s the Amer Fort from here in Jaighar Fort! Do you know that they’re connected by an underground passage?

Amer Fort and Jaighar Fort are similar in structural design. They are considered as one complex as they are connected by an underground passage. This passages is said to be used as an escape route by the royal family.

BEAUTIFUL DESIGNS.
BEAUTIFUL DESIGNS. I enjoyed visiting Jaighar Fort because of its impressive structures and beautiful designs.
GOING UP!
GOING UP! Going around Jaighar Fort would require lots of going up and down movements. Prepare your towel just to wipe your sweat while roaming around this place.
Processed with VSCO with s3 preset
PROPS ON! We saw a foreign lady posing in one of the stairs in the fort. I guess she is in it for the gram! Haha.

Panna Meena Stepwell

This is one of the places I really wanted to visit in Jaipur. An old stepwell in Jaipur, Panna Meena has these impressive symmetrical steps that attract quite a lot of foreign tourists.

JAIPUR'S POPULAR STEPWELL
This is Panna Meena Stepwell, probably the most photographed stepwell on Instagram is just near Amer Fort!

I have a story to share about this place. It was already late afternoon when we reached this stepwell. There were two guards when we stepped in, and they were adamant on preventing us from getting down the steps. They said if we wanted to, we shall go to their “office” in Amer Fort and pay 5,000 rupees. No one in their right minds would pay that amount just to go to the steps! Besides, I think there really is no office of such in Amer Fort. They were just waiting for us to give them bribe to finally let us down the stepwell. But NO! I just thought of something to capture the architectural wonder of Panna Meena as shown in my picture here. Ha!

Nahargarh Fort

OVERLOOKING THE CITY OF JAIPUR
OVERLOOKING THE CITY OF JAIPUR. Here’s the view from Nahargarh Fort as the sun begins to rise! Can you see the trail going up the fort? It’s gonna take you about 30 minutes to reach Nahargarh. By the way, if you can see vandals along the forts, it is usual as this fort is one of the most visited forts in Jaipur due to its proximity to the city.

Along with Amer and Jaighar Forts, Nahargah Fort sits on the top of the Aravalli Hills. Once you’re here, you’ll see the whole of Jaipur City! It’s a good place to see the sunrise, but you have to wake up very early because you have to hike the hill towards the fort! By the way, the entrance fee to Nahargarh Fort is 200 rupees.

The beautiful sunrise in Jaipur!
BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE IN JAIPUR! I thought I won’t be able to see the sunrise in this part of India, but I did! And it was such an awesome experience because the sun seemed really big!

Royal Gaitor

GAME OF THRONES?
GAME OF THRONES? Nope, this is the Royal Gaitor, one of the most impressive structures I’ve seen in Jaipur. But this actually reminds me of the HBO show who has just recently concluded.

A grand memorial place for the royal family, Royal Gaitor is situated on the northern side of Jaipur near Nahargah Fort. The whole compound contains mausoleums and tombs of rulers of the city.

GRAND.
GRAND. That’s just one word that fitly describes Royal Gaitor!

Compared to the other beautiful structures of Jaipur, Royal Gaitor isn’t too popular for travelers and tourists, so if you want to avoid the crowd for a while, you have to head here in Royal Gaitor.

WHITE MARBLES.
WHITE MARBLES. Some of the mausoleums and tombs of Royal Gaitor are made up of white marble just like this one I’m sitting on. Meanwhile, you can see at the background Nahargarh Fort, which you can visit right after.

Hawa Mahal (The Wind Palace)

PALACE OF WINDS
PALACE OF WINDS. Isn’t Hawa Mahal so good to look at?

One of the most recognizable places in Jaipur is Hawa Mahal, which literally means “Palace of Winds.” This palace, which is made up of red and pink sand stones, is located near the City Palace, and would only require about a 10-minute walk from there. Built in 1799, Hawa Mahal has a facade that looks like a honeycomb of a beehive ― representing five floors of rooms with small windows that are decorated with intricate latticework. It is said that these small windows were used before by the women of the royal family to watch the streets below without being observed. I guess they liked peering without being seen!

OVERLOOKING HAWA MAHAL.
OVERLOOKING HAWA MAHAL. There’s a restaurant in front of Hawa Mahal where you can have a great view of the palace. I actually forgot the name. I guess you just have to look for it yourself. Hehe.

The City Palace

ENTRANCE TO THE CITY PALACE.
ENTRANCE TO THE CITY PALACE. Here is one of the entrances towards the city palace. Look at those intricate designs!

One of the most popular travel destinations in Jaipur, the City Palace is located in the northeast side of central Jaipur. Built between 1729 and 1732, this has been home to the royal family since Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II’s reign. The impressive structures in the city palace are said to be based on a fusion of Rajput, Mughal and European styles of architecture.

CITY PALACE
CITY PALACE. This is just one of the structures you can find once you go to the city palace of Jaipur!

There were a lot of people when we entered the city palace complex. I guess they were also there to admire the beautiful structures surrounding us. We got to roam around the complex and capture some colorful photographs.

PASTEL.
PASTEL. That’s what the structures of the city palace look like to me – pastel colors!

The palace complex houses courtyards, museums, pavilions, restaurants and even offices. Chandra Mahal, a luxurious seven-storied citadel boasts ornately decorated rooms, marvelous works of art and beautiful gardens, is probably the most impressive structure in the whole complex. Due to time constraints, though, we were not able to visit the structures inside!

WALLING.
WALLING. My smile in this wall just shows how excited I am while roaming around the City Palace!

By the way, entrance to the City Palace costs 500 rupees. With museums, it would cost 900 rupees.

WHERE TO STAY

BACKPACKERS HOSTEL

This is where we stayed for two nights in Jaipur. I was impressed with the hostel’s amenities considering its relatively cheap cost. We stayed in their air-conditioned dormitory with free breakfast and it costed us only about 500 rupees each!

THE VIEW FROM THE TOP
THE VIEW FROM THE TOP. This is the view that we got from the top of our hostel while eating breakfast.

Aside from that, the biggest draw of this hostel is their great view of the city from the rooftop where everyone staying is requested to eat their breakfast… because it’s where the kitchen and the dining area are!

WHO'S EXCITED FOR HIS FIRST INDIAN MEAL?
WHO’S EXCITED FOR HIS FIRST INDIAN MEAL? It’s meee! Tara, let’s eat!
Potato and carrot curry,
INDIAN BREAKFAST: potato and carrot curry, fried bread dough and coffee!

JWALA NIKETAN GUESTHOUSE

This is one of the most popular guesthouses in Jaipur as it was featured in Lonely Planet. Its prices are competitive considering it is near many establishments in Jaipur. Look at these pictures to convince you to stay in this beautiful guesthouse.

WHO TO CONTACT

ASHU.
ASHU. Here’s our friend, Ashu, who helped us a lot during our travel in Jaipur. Contact him should you decide to go in the Pink City of India!

This is my friend, Ashu, and I recommend for you to contact him should you decide to go to India. He can get you a great deal should you decide to travel in and around Jaipur. He is the owner of Jwala Niketan Guesthouse, and he also arranges tours around the city. Actually, he can also arrange you tours in the cities of Agra and Delhi, which resemble the “Golden Triangle” of India together with Jaipur. Here is Ashu’s number: +919929090877.

Expenses (1 rupee = 0.74 peso)

Traveling in and around Jaipur won’t cost you too much. Keep in mind that you’d be spending for at least four major things: hostel, transportation, entrance fees of your travel destination and food.

Backpackers hostels and guesthouses offer affordable rates (from 500 rupees up per person). I highly recommend the two I have mentioned above.

It should be noted that we have spent about two days in Jaipur to explore all of the places mentioned above. We have rented a taxi for an entire day during the first day and it costed us 1,600 rupees. That actually is a good deal considering taxi fares can range from 80 to 200 rupees depending on the distance of the places you’re going to visit. Tuktuk’s fare is lower, and it’s a good choice of transportation when going just around the city (e.g. terminal, restaurants, etc.) It’s what we have used during the second day.

Here’s the list of the entrance fees of some of the travel destinations in Jaipur. Take note that the fees for foreigners are different for locals.

Amber Fort –  500 rupees

City Palace – 500 rupees, 900 rupees (for museums)

Jantar Mantar – 200 rupees

Nahargarh Fort – 200 rupees

Jaighar Fort – 85 rupees

Hawa Mahal – 200 rupees (though we didn’t go inside; we just went to a restaurant overlooking the palace

Royal Gaitor – 30 rupees

SPICY PIZZA HUT
SPICY PIZZA HUT! Prepare to eat lots of spicy food while in Jaipur! While there are many Indian restaurants around, you can still opt to eat in a few Western restaurants. But get ready, for their meals are still filled with spices! Even their lemonade!

Indian food isn’t too costly. Depending on the places you’d be eating, a decent Indian meal can range from 120 to 200 rupees. Some guesthouses have their own restaurants and eateries so you won’t have to go far if you’re hungry.

*Taking all considerations given above, a 2-day travel in Jaipur can cost you about 7,000 to 7,500 rupees (around P5,240 to 5,620). This is exclusive of would be expenses for pasalubong and tips.

***

THANK YOU
THANK YOU for reading, guys! I hope you were able to get a lot of information in my blog post about Jaipur!

I hope I have inspired you to travel in the Pink City of India with this blog post! Hit up the text box below if you have comments, suggestions or any other reactions about Jaipur. Thank you, guys, for reading!

I FELL IN LOVE WITH JAIPUR. And just by looking at the places and knowing our experiences here, you’d understand why.

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