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 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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Hawa Mahal (The Wind Palace)
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!
The City Palace
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.
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.
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!
By the way, entrance to the City Palace costs 500 rupees. With museums, it would cost 900 rupees.
WHERE TO STAY
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!
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!
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
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
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.
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!