Jaipur (The Pink City) & Amber Fort, India

Jaipur Walled City Man Sagar Lake India
Jaipur's Walled City 
at Man Sagar Lake - India
Jaipur (The Pink City) & Amber Fort, India (2/14-16/2013) – Located on India’s famous tourist golden triangle, Jaipur is visited by many foreign travelers.

OK, our followers have come to trust our judgments so here it is... Our elephant ride to Amber Fort and attending a 5,000-person Indian wedding was lots of fun. We thought that Jaipur’s Old Town was not a highlight of our trip through India.

Jaipur The Pink City India
Jaipur (The Pink City), India
Jaipur, known as The Pink City (see photo), is the historic gateway to the Indian desert state of Rajasthan. In 1876, the whole city was painted pink to welcome Edward, Prince of Wales. It is required that landlords maintain the pink color of their buildings.

Downtown Old City Jaipur India
Downtown Old City - Jaipur, India
Downtown Old City Jaipur India
Marketplace of Old City - Jaipur, India
Chaotic and congested Jaipur’s Old City gets down to business so you will see hundreds of shops. We wandered Jaipur’s back alleys and streets passing by the garment, spice, and other districts. It seemed to us that the shops, without too many buyers, pretty much sold the same things and there were scores of them calling you to call in. It’s hard to tell who keeps them in business. Sadly for us, there were no sidewalk cafes, etc. to sit down, have a drink or tasty snack, and watch life go by.

Streets of Jaipur Cows India
Streets of Jaipur with Cows - India
Crowded Bus Jaipur India
Crowded Bus - Jaipur, India
Camel carts, rickshaw drivers, and cows pass through the streets of Jaipur. The sights and smells of India hit you as soon as you arrive. The interesting smells engulf you initiating you to your new world like making a new friend. In the mist of all this, the colors of India are marvelous – the women in their colorful clothing, flowers, richly painted buildings, and even the trucks. Color is everywhere and the food is wonderful. Obviously apparent, India is a young country with a large amount of its population below the age of 30.

Indian Family Jaipur India
Indian Family - Jaipur, India
Scenes from the popular 2010 movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel were shot in Jaipur. According to director Madden, this area of India was "the place to film because the terrain felt right, most particularly the colors felt right. It's just an incredibly rich color palette you find in that part of India. It felt right to us as the setting for the story."

Indian Muslim Wedding Jaipur India
Indian Muslim Wedding - Jaipur, India
Women Dancing Procession Indian Wedding Jaipur India
Women Dancing in Procession 
of Indian Wedding - Jaipur, India
A highlight of our visit to Jaipur was being invited in to attend an Indian Muslim wedding with 5,000 people attending! It was amazing and the people were very hospitable inviting us to have dinner and even go up on the stage. We danced in the procession leading into the wedding area. They had two elephants, two camels, two white horses, and a silver chariot. Hey, we are spoiled now and want any future weddings we attend to include elephants – too much to ask for?

Elephants Arriving Amber Fort India
Elephants Arriving at Amber Fort - India
Elephants Amber Fort India
Elephants at Amber Fort - India
Another highlight of our visit to Jaipur was visiting Amber Fort located about 7 miles from Jaipur. The most fun we had was riding an elephant (see photo) up the steep ramp to visit Amber Fort. It is not expensive to do this but you do need to arrive early because the line for the elephants can get very long and by midday the elephants stop.

Amber Fort was the royal palace of the Kachwahas. It is a massive fort-palace built in Hindu-Muslim style dating back to 1600-1727. Don’t miss the Sheesh Mahal covered with thousands of mirror tiles on the walls and ceiling.

Jal Mahal Water Palace Man Sagar Lake India
Jal Mahal Water Palace 
on Man Sagar Lake - India
On the way to Amber Fort, the Jal Mahal Water Palace makes for a beautiful visit (see photo). It sits in the center of the Man Sagar Lake and was an entertainment palace for the rulers. It is best visited after the summer monsoons because the lake can go dry during the winter.
Hawa Mahal Palace of Winds Old City Jaipur India
Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) 
in Old City - Jaipur, India
The City Palace inside Jaipur’s Old City is a very large complex divided into a series of courtyards, gardens, and buildings. A central tourist focus point is the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds). Built in 1799 and decorated with intricate latticework, it was an extension of the women’s chamber and because the royal ladies had to observe strict face cover (pudah), it was built to allow royal ladies to secretly observe everyday life in the street below. The five-story exterior is like a beehive honeycomb with its 953 small windows (jharokhas) – see photo.

Indian Families Enjoying Day Jaipur India
Indian Families Enjoying the Day - Jaipur, India
There are some other interesting places to visit around Jaipur. Kalighat Kali Temple is a sacred Hindu temple dedicated to the Hindu goddess Kali. Pilgrims from all over India who treat Kali much like their mother, bring her their problems and prayers for prosperity.

Pat Sparkling Indian Bangles India
Pat Looking at the Sparkling 
Indian Bangles - India
On the eastern side of the city are the Galwh Bagh (The Monkey Temple) and the Suriya Mandir (The Sun Temple). Both are full of locals and tourists who come to feed the tame monkeys and enjoy the views. The Sun Temple at the top of the hill has one of the best views of the city, especially at sunset.

Wayne Dunlap New Friend Amber Fort India
Wayne Meets a New Friend 
at Amber Fort, India
More about Jaipur (The Pink City)... Jaipur is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the ruler of Amber, founded it in 1727. The city today has a population of about 3 million.

Travel tips... India has three main seasons - hot and humid Summer (March to May), Monsoon (June to September), and Winter (milder summer). The best time to visit is during the winter between November and February – February has the best weather. Locals in India can manage to speak in broken English and those working in corporates and belonging to middle, upper middle and high class can speak fluent English.

Statues Hindu Gods India
Statues of Hindu Gods - India
Staying healthy in India... Most visitors choose bottled water that can be purchased reasonable cheaply. When buying water from street vendors, make sure the lid is sealed and not refilled with tap water. Make sure you rinse your toothbrush with bottled water and keep your mouth closed when showering. It is also wise to be careful what you eat. Outside of major tourist hotels and restaurants, particularly risky things to stay away from are raw leafy vegetables and egg-based dressings like mayonnaise, and minced meat. To be safe, you should stick to boiled, baked, fried, or peeled goods.

Please see our other 6 travel blog posts about incredible India:

Taj Mahal, India

Mumbai (Bombay), India
Goa Beaches, India

Cremations on Ganges River - Varanasi, India

Khajuraho (Kama Sutra Temples) - Orchha, India

New Delhi, India (Capital) 

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  1. It's interesting to read your take on this historical city. I can imagine not having a cafe or comfortable spot to sit back in and watch every day life pass by for a moment must have been difficult. At least you guys got some great shots though!

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