So after a 6 hour bus journey from Agra to Jaipur at 6.30am, we made it! As Jaipur was our introduction to Rajasthan we were keen to learn about the culture and mystery that surrounds the ‘pink city’ Full disclosure, at our time of being in Jaipur there was civil unrest in the north of the city (old town) so we didn’t get a chance to see this part which we were told is a monument to classical Rajasthani architecture. We arrived at a beautiful hotel – the Jaipur Inn, which had lovely clean rooms, an amazing roof terrace with an idyllic setting and some brilliant choices on the menu (aside from just curries!). Western food is a lot more accessible than it used to be in India, but that doesn’t mean it’ll still taste like home! We were also spending 2 nights here so we were feeling more relaxed already, knowing that we didn’t have to be careful what to unpack or about the time it takes to pack and lug it all ready for the next destination. Once arrived, we ordered some lunch and check into our rooms. We had a few hours to ourselves before venturing out again for an orientation walk around Jaipur. We had a little nap, freshened up and had a look out the terrace at the wonderful views it was offering. When it hit 6pm, we started our walk around the city. We rode a tuk-tuk to the outside of Jaipur. Rajasthan, is known as an important heritage state here in India and is home to the ‘Pink City’ in which we made our way through. The streets and markets were covered in pink/terracotta paint to celebrate Prince Edward of Wales coming to the city in 1876 as it’s a sign on welcoming! Now, every year, they continue that tradition and paint the city pink (terracotta now because it’s cheaper) once again. It was surreal to see & wonderful to be a part of it. Travelling through the pink city was an assault on the senses, although the wares offered by merchants are of usual poor value and quality, the market in pink city feels like you are taking a trip through time, as you view the various spices and jewellery on sale you feel as if you’re seeing the true Rajasthani culture and way of life. That’s not to say that Jaipur is archaic by any means, in fact quite the opposite. At the end of the pink city market, a metro station is currently being built. It’s a testament to the juxtaposition Jaipur has with regard to old and new, and that traditional ways of life and becoming more and more threatened by over population and monetary segregation of class. This however does not stop the beauty of Jaipur shining through the dust clad rooftops of this wonderful city. Next, we walked for a bit and visited a famous Lassi store where we stopped to grab one. Lassi is a drink famous in India, which is a handmade terracotta clay pot filled with a flavoured yogurt drink. Luke had mango and I had a plain one. It was surprisingly nice! We then headed to what is essentially, a motor garage, but at night is turned into a restaurant. It served amazing chicken tikka wraps, this is so far Luke’s favourite food. Furthermore, it was one of the girl’s 30th birthday so we celebrated that too with some delicious cake. We then got another tuk-tuk back to the hotel in which we played a couple of games of taboo with everyone on the roof terrace before heading to bed to sleep. In India we found ourselves taking a step back from the usual metropolitan speed and having moments where the chaotic horns and huge crowds make you appreciate that although India in general seems intimidating at first, from our terrace that night there was an organised chaos, a method to the madness and an outright sense of a culture pulling itself into a new, modern era – however tired the infrastructure is in its current state. The next day, we got up at 7am ready to head to the amber fort. Another tuk-tuk ride away, we headed off. When we arrived, there were a couple of Indian’s playing the flute for cobras which everyone seemed excited about. Me on the other hand, was about 10 miles away distracting myself ? (for anyone that don’t know me, I am petrified of snakes!). We had a guided tour around the amber fort, which included a guide explaining all about how it came to be, Jaipur has a problem with water supply due to the extremely dry area and this palace is a testament to how they came across this by storing their vast mineral resources here and selling them to Europe in the 1600’s. It’s a beautiful place but don’t expect to spend too long here. Maybe 2 hours max. Afterwards, we visited a jewellery workshop where we saw how the gemstones are made and polished which was quite interesting as it’s a massive trade in Jaipur. We then got invited to the shop next door where they sell all of this stuff and some people brought some for themselves. Next, we went for lunch as people took longer than expected ?. It was 300INR (£3.50) each for a buffet meal where you can go up as many times as you like, it included naan, curries, potatoes, pasta and much more. Buffet meals in India in general are of average quality but for the price, you’re just there to fill up and experience more of the culture. Once full, we went to another big trade in the Jaipur area, which was block printing. This is a special technique they use in order to make/decorate their garments and upholstery. We went into their workshop and they even gave us all an opportunity to try it ourselves, which was fun! From there, we went in their shop and again, people brought some bits. Including Luke, in the famous hareem pants! Picture coming soon… After this long day, we all returned and had a relaxing evening ready for Tordi Sagar the next day. We went on the roof terrace and watched sunset, played a few games, ate dinner and done a couple of calls to family as we had the opportunity. It’s safe to say that Jaipur is one of the few cities in India that has the best of both world. A stunning market, a selection of classic Indian restaurants and attractions but also the potential for so much more. In time, I think Jaipur will be worth coming back to. Tips Jaipur is less busy than New Delhi and is relatively easy to find your way about. Be careful about ATMs – only use ones inside of buildings because they are protected sheltered and less choice of being tampered with. Be resourceful of water as there’s always a water shortage. Jaipur contains 5% of India’s population and only 1% of the water supply. Don’t be fooled by fancy looking jewellery, Jaipur has a wealth of minerals and gems in its mountains but that doesn’t mean they’re of any better quality or price than back home – sometimes they’ll even be fake and you’ll get ripped off. Try not to ride the elephants up to the Amber Fort – they’re loosing their colouring already due to being unhappy ? 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