Whilst I was living/volunteering in Jaipur, India in 2011, I fell in love.
I fell head over heels for a city (and country), which for some, is too manic, dirty and stressful to bare. However, for those 6 weeks, this mania became my second home.
With its dusty, honeycomb-coloured buildings, fragrant fruit, clothes and spice markets and abundance of regal history, elaborate temples and grand forts, this city’s majestic past without a doubt shines through its chaotic mayhem.
Here are my pick of the top 4 things to see/do whilst visiting this flamboyant city:
Shop ’til you drop
Jaipur’s market stalls and shops add a new level of vibrancy to the city’s pink streets. Selling everything from pottery, jewellery, bags and textiles to puppets, leather, shoes and clothes, it takes a lot of restraint to walk past each shop without nabbing up everything.
Make sure you take some time to venture into a textile shop to try on a sari or two. Most shops will provide you with chai whilst draping you in exquisite fabrics and accessories, enabling you to feel like a Bollywood goddess for an hour or two….
Don’t feel like ‘if you try, you must buy’. Most shop owners find it a privilege to be able to show you what they have on offer, even if you don’t make a purchase.
Go to the Rajmandir cinema
Going to the Rajmandir cinema is a fun and interactive experience, to say the least.
The pastel pink building, which resembles a meringue cake/American diner, opulent entrance hall, grand screen room and singing, dancing, laughing and clapping crowd, create an eccentric treat for all of the senses.
Having hosted many Hindi movie premiers over the years, the Rajmandir cinema is the perfect place to experience one of the country’s famous Bollywood films.
The cinema only shows one film at a time. Check out their website for viewing times and booking instructions.
Visit its many temples and forts
Jaipur is overflowing with sumptuous forts and temples.
From the Monkey Temple (Jalta Ji), which is home to a stunning, rustic temple nestled between scenic mountain ranges and a host of ravenous, cheeky monkeys to the iconic Amer Fort, Hawa Mahal, City Palace and Jantra Mantra, Jaipur will definitely leave you ‘templed’ out.
Most of the sights have around a Rs200 (approx £2) entry fee.
Go to a textile factory
Be warned – you may spend the whole of your India budget in one these textile factories however, they are a great way to see first-hand how all of the beautiful and intricate patterned fabrics, which line the streets of India, are crafted.
From the creation of the natural dyes to the printing, dying and embellishing of the textiles themselves, you can watch as talented locals manipulate a plain piece of material into a spectacular work of art.
Most factories can also ship packages home for you. Meaning, you don’t even have to worry about the extra weight load in your backpack :D!