Miley Cyrus once said that pink is not only a colour but it’s an attitude too and while some people insist on wearing pink on Wednesdays, we’re gonna go past those midweek blues and dash into Saturday with a burst of hot pink.
What I really meant was that we’d be taking a stroll through the Pink City of India i.e Jaipur, the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan.
Back in the time of the British rule, the king of Jaipur, Sawai Ram Singh I had the whole city painted pink in order to welcome HRH Albert Edward to India. Pink is used to signify love and goodwill and back then, people took the significance of colours very seriously hence Jaipur got its current name of the Pink City.
When the city was painted pink, it was a lot smaller than what it is today so now, the Pink City is an enclosed market area in Jaipur with a developing city surrounding it.
This is one of the gates of the Pink City enclosure. I really admire how the architecture has stood the test of time and is standing tall. I agree that the pink has turned into more of an orange-ish hue but if you look closely, you can tell that structure was once a shade of pink. I also love the uneven domes on the turets. It’s so chic:)
This is a glimpse of the inner market place of the Pink City. The place has all kinds of shops, right from jewellery shops to clothes shops to shops selling utensils and household goods and even cafes and restaurants. If you look at this picture, you’ll even see a tattoo cafe at the top. It’s so amusing when something as hip and jazzy as a tattoo cafe finds it’s place among vintage architecture:)
This is the most iconic structure in the Pink City area and also in Jaipur as a whole. It’s called Hava Mahal which means ‘Palace of Winds’. The netted windows of the palace form a sort of a cross ventilation system which makes the interiors of the palace cool and breezy, notwithstanding the weather outside. The lantern shaped windows remind me of a pipe organ and I get the feeling that if there was a piano attached, the pipes(windows) would give out bursts of pink colour along with a musical note:) I also love the 2-D look of the building which makes it stand out from the rest of the pink structures. The Hava Mahal looks straight out of a comic book when viewed along with the rest of the Pink City but this peculiarity has a lot of beauty in it.
This is the back side of the Hava Mahal. Tourists are allowed to enter the palace and take a tour and the entry inside is from the back door. The pink windows in the middle of the white building gives a very bohemian patchwork look and that makes it so trendy. Our ancestors sure had amazing taste when it came to architecture, hehe:)
This is how one of the pink windows of the Hava Mahal look on the inside. The coloured glass is present behind the white lattice grill and the tiny door is green from outside. This was one of the prettiest sights that I came across on Jaipur. I’m a huge fan of coloured glass and I love the disco vibes that this window emanates. The windows of the Hava Mahal have different interiors and the glass stained decor is for the larger ones.
Jaipur is called ‘An Interior Designer’s Heaven’ as every interior designer with an ambition has travelled here for an educational trip. I love how medieval vintage architecture acts as an inspiration for modern art and architecture. It’s like being taught by the spirits of the past.
This is a side view of the window arrangement with a view of the street, taken from the top floor of the Hava Mahal. Climbing all the way to the top rewards you with a lovely view of the city but one has to be a bit careful as the floor and stairs might be a bit slippery. Also, beware of the wedding photographers and the couples being photographed. They might run you over in all their romantic flurry. hehe….
This is the view from the other side of Hava Mahal’s top floor balcony. I simply love the contrast between the Pink City view and the terrain view, as one shows a carpet of pink while the other is a blend of green and white. The sloping structure in the distance is from the astronomical garden called Jantar Mantar which we will be visiting next.
Moving on from Hava Mahal, here’s the astronomical research garden in the Pink City called Jantar Mantar. It was built in 1794 by Sawai Jai Singh II, the King who gave Jaipur its name. The park/garden has astronomical devices that were used by medieval astronomers to determine celestial knowledge like the altitude of the Sun, positions of the Moon, Earth’s rotation and revolution patterns etc. There’s also devices built in the shape of constellations of zodiac signs so the second picture is me posing with the Pisces device. Personally, I found the Jantar Mantar a bit dull. I’m not overly into astronomy so the devices didn’t interest me too much. However, if you are an astronomy geek, then the place is right up your alley. Even if you’re not, I’d still recommend you go for a stroll, just to see how geeky our ancestors were and to pose in front of your zodiac device.
The King who built this was an astronomy geek and he has such parks and observatories built in many parts of India, the one in Delhi being the most famous. The Jantar Mantar is near the City Palace of Jaipur, the current residence of the Royal family which is open for tourists. I didn’t visit the City Palace cause I wanted to explore the Hava Mahal properly but there’s always gotta be something for next time. Besides, I got a picture:)
Who knows, I might be a lost princess after all and destiny has a planned time for me to embrace royal life….hehe.
Now, we’re gonna go for what’s called Retail Therapy™. The Pink City of Jaipur is essentially a market place so shopaholics are bound to have a gala time here! The first shop is a jewellery shop specialising in all sorts of jewels, right from daily wear to wedding wear. Jaipur is famous for its large danglers called ‘Jhumkas’ and bangles with chipped metal work. My mum loves jewellery so the jewellery shop definitely had her heart. The second pic is the clothes store. Rajasthan is famous for a kind of tie-dye called ‘Bandhni’. It’s also famous for clothes with mirror work and accessories. The last shop on the list is a shoe-shop, selling all kinds of cloth shoes and sandals.
Shopping in Jaipur is a unique experience but one has to do a bit of research on the prices and the quality before visiting. Tourism is big in Rajasthan so there is a chance of the traders taking a wee advantage of certain unsuspecting tourists when it comes to the pricing and quality. There’s also certain shops aided by the government to promote cottage industries but while these shops have a good collection, dealing with the salespeople can get heated as they do get a bit too sweet in their sales talk. So I recommend being firm in what you want and informing yourself before hand but at the same time being polite cause getting heated might not be the best option. This way, you can have a stress free shopping experience.
Another thing is that Jaipur is quite famous for astrology and astrologers have their shops attached to the cottage industry places. Now if you believe in astrology, you can definitely go for a session but if you don’t, make sure you are firm cause the salespeople do try to get you to go for an astrology session. I personally don’t believe in astrology so I know it can be a bit frustrating to fend of a group of coaxing salespeople but it does some good to stand your ground.
Here’s some graffiti at the beginning of the Pink City. It’s a nice contrast between modernity and vintage art. The red rickshaw-looking vehicle that you see is actually an electric rickshaw. It was a pretty common sight in Jaipur and it is one of the best ways to travel in the Pink City as the drivers also act as guides and can make some good recommendations when it comes to restaurants or shops.
This is the Jal Mahal or the ‘Water Palace’ located a little outside the Pink City complete with a photobombing crane:). It’s currently closed to tourists but the promenade is a lovely place to chill out and admire the view. The Palace is actually five storied but for of those are currently submerged in the lake. Jal Mahal was used as a hunting lodge in the past and some of the locals claim that the Palace is haunted. In fact, it features on the list of top five haunted places in Jaipur and the actual spooky part is that no one knows the reason for it being haunted.
The Palace looks eerie to me, and it reminds me of the scene in ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ where Haydee’s home is captured due to Fernand’s betrayal.
It’s fascinating how a palace in India takes me back to a French Classic. hehe.
The Lake on which the Jal Mahal stands has quite a full stock of fish so Kingfishers such as this one are a common sight. I was lucky to get one perching, seconds before it took off on a hunting expedition:)
This is the Jal Mahal promenade. The stalls have good souvenirs like magnets and postcards. There’s also some street food available and you can find professional photographers who can click your photo with the Palace as a backdrop and give you a printed souvenir. There’s also stalls which lets you try out traditional outfits for a photoshoot and it can be a fun way to get into Rajasthan’s culture.
Finally, we’ve got a camel basking in the sun opposite the promenade:)
And that is a wrap.
Until Next Time,