Jaipur. The Pink City. Rich in culture, history, and tradition. It was painted pink as a sign of hospitality when Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales visited in the late 1800’s. Now, under the law, the city has remained pink. Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and is home to the beautifully pink Hawa Mahal and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Amber Fort.
We decided to see Hawa Mahal – Palace of the Winds (pictured above) first thing in the morning, as sunrise is the best time to see the colors really come to life. Monkeys played above us on the corrugated metal rooftops and the streets were relatively quiet. Hawa Mahal was originally built so that women could enjoy the comings and goings of the streets below and still remain unseen, per the custom of the day. As my mom and I watched the light slowly creep down the walls of the palace, I couldn’t help but feel grateful to be able to go about as I pleased. But one of the greatest things I was grateful for was the fact that I was experiencing this moment with my mom, who has not only given me so much opportunity but has taught me what it means to be a woman – that we have worth and that freedom is one of our most precious gifts. As a woman who loves to travel, I don’t take those lessons lightly.
After wandering the pink part of the city, we took a taxi to Amber Fort – perhaps the main attraction in Jaipur. There was so much to take in and explore. It was like stepping back in time. Gilded ceilings, domed minarets, snake charmers, beautiful gardens – classic India all in one palace. We explored the architecture and design imagining what it would’ve been like back in its prime.
We made a quick trip to the monkey temple (which is just about how it sounds) and came back around to end our day at Jal Mahal, a palace which sits in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. It seemed to be the place where the locals hung out at sunset. I think I was more interested in the lighting and the people than the actual palace, but it was definitely an interesting place. There’s just something about the light in India. It seems to always be soft and always a little extra golden.