01-04 October 2019

Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan in India’s north-west, is also known as the Pink City, due to the terracotta-pink old walled-city buildings repainted to impress Prince Albert during his 1876 tour of India. Founded in 1727 by the ruler Jai Singh, it was laid out in a strict grid pattern with wide arcaded main streets, quite unusual in India. Jaipur was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 2019. It’s a colourful city with great food.

We stayed at Pratap Bhawan Homestay. Owner, Himanshu Rathore is a trained naturalist and keen photographer. The rooms are decorated with his tiger photos.

With wife Deepti they produce delicious traditional home cooked Rajasthani cuisine using their special family recipes. You won’t get food like this in any restaurant.

Entrance to Jaipur Old City, or “Pink City” 
Camels are used to pull carts in and around Jaipur, mixing in with the traffic
Hawa Mahal, “Palace of Breeze”, built in 1799 with 953 windows is a facade supported by buildings behind
It allowed the royal ladies to be able to watch activities on the street without being seen
Snake charmers in action in the Old City
Colours of Jaipur markets
Women selecting material in the wedding market – only men work in the markets
Mister Pickles: his pickles and chutneys are so famous the whole street is called Pickle Street
Jaipur street food – Bazaars, Cuisine and Craft of Old Jaipur walk with Virsat Experiences
Guide Madhav offers Kulfi (ice cream), man selling sugars, preparing condensed milk, best samoas in Jaipur
Doorway to an old haveli (mansion) – most of them are now used as shops or apartments
Typical Jaipur street in the Old City
Once elephants trundled into the City Palace grounds; now buses, cars, tuktuks and motorbikes compete for space

In the 16th century, Amber Fort was built on a hill 11 kilometres from what is now Jaipur by a trusted general of Emperor Akbar, Maan Singh. It became the main residence of the Rajput Maharajas who lived a life of unbelievable luxury within the walls. The World Heritage fort presents a fascinating blend of Hindu and Muslim architecture over an area of 4 square kilometers.

Amber Fort constructed of red sandstone and marble
The Hall of Public Audience has 40 intricately carved pillars with Moslem and Hindu elements
Palace of the Maharaja from the Hall of Public Audience – crowded on a public holiday
Courtyard through the marble lattice work – royal women could see, but not be seen
Mirror Palace with thousands of mirror tiles, precious stones and coloured glass on its walls and ceiling
If two candles are lit in the Mirror Palace, it looks like thousands of glittering stars, thus the queen could sleep under the stars without being out in the open air!
Jal Mahal, “Water Palace” – a hunting and pleasure lodge for the king and his entourage 
There are actually four more levels built under the water