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Jaipur

    4 Must See Sights in the Pink City of India – Jaipur

    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:

    4 Must See Sights in the Pink City of India - Jaipur - Markets - My Culture Craving

    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.

    4 Must See Sights in the Pink City of India - Jaipur - Cinema - My Culture Craving

    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.

    4 Must See Sights in the Pink City of India - Jaipur - Temples - My Culture Craving

    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.

    4 Must See Sights in the Pink City of India - Jaipur - Textile Factory - My Culture Craving

    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!

    Have you ever visited Jaipur? What would you add to this list of fab things to see and do in the city?? Please comment, Facebook or Tweet me to let me know :)!

    A Wedding To Remember in Jaipur, India

    When I was volunteering in India during my Gap Yah I was given the offer of a life time.

    As I was there during the wedding season, I was invited to go to the wedding reception of one of the volunteer project manager’s relatives – I was beyond thrilled… what better way to get an insight into the Indian culture and traditions, than at a wedding!?

    Hindu wedding celebrations are very important to their religion and can last for several days therefore, I felt blessed that I had the chance to be a part of one!

    After having the tricky task of choosing a sari for the occasion, from an exquisite selection of luscious fabrics, vibrant colours and sparkling embellishments, we were ready to razzle dazzle…

    A Wedding to Remember, Jaipur - Sari - My Culture Craving

    When we arrived, we were swooped up into the heart of the celebration and invited to join the extravagant parade or ‘Baraat’, which leads the groom into the wedding.

    I had no idea what to expect and wow, was I stunned.

    The fast-paced music blaring out of the gramophone-like speakers from the live band, which were performing on a moving podium. The accompanying trombones, trumpets and drums that marched alongside the procession. The groom atop a bejeweled white mare, wrapped in shimmering white, red and gold textiles… the energy was incredible, bouncing from person to person as they rejoiced and danced their way into the ceremony.

    A Wedding to Remember, Jaipur - My Culture Craving

    A Wedding to Remember, Jaipur - Horse - My Culture Craving

    A Wedding to Remember, Jaipur - Crowd - My Culture Craving

    Once we had made our way into the wedding it was time for the feast!! Two sides of the room were lined with fragrant, local Indian cuisine. Curries, chapatis, dal, parathas, rice, lassis, Indian sweets, naan bread – the list goes on.

    Although the food was a little on the spicy side for me, it was to die for.

    A Wedding to Remember, Jaipur - Food - My Culture Craving

    A Wedding to Remember, Jaipur - Saris - My Culture Craving

    During the time we had spent overindulging in the delicious food on offer, we noticed that the bride had sneaked onto the stage. She looked sensational. Dressed in a gorgeous red sari, which was covered in lavish, intricate, gold detail, decorated in detailed henna and draped in A LOT of gold jewellery – from a head-piece, nose ring and earrings to bangles, rings and necklaces, she was without a doubt the centerpiece of the wedding.

    However, she wasn’t.

    This amazed us a little. Unlike western weddings where the bride is the centre of attention, at this wedding the woman emerged from nowhere.

    No aisle. No confetti. No fuss.

    It was the polar opposite to a wedding in our culture however, it was fascinating to learn about the wedding traditions in Hinduism and how they differ to ours.

    We soon found out that at Hindu weddings, it is customary for the bride to look sad as she now has to leave her family to go and live with her in-laws.

    A Wedding to Remember, Jaipur - Couple - My Culture Craving

    Like the celebs we are, we also got asked to go up on stage to have our picture taken with the bride and groom…

    A Wedding to Remember, Jaipur - Bride and Groom - My Culture Craving

    We spent the remainder of our night dancing away to Bollywood classics with these cuties…

    A Wedding to Remember, Jaipur - Children Dancing - My Culture Craving

    It truly was a wedding to remember and an event, which I feel so lucky to have been able to experience!