Getting in Rajasthan for real, these will probably be your first stops, part of the Indian Golden Triangle. Typical of what you’ll be looking for in the region, the Pink City is home to palaces and forts.
Unless you’re a passionnate of indian architecture and / or have a lot of time, you will have to make choices on which one you will visit. Here are rapid descriptions of where we have stopped at.
Also know as the Pink City, it is well on the path of tourists, as the last leg of the Golden Triangle ( with Delhi and the Taj Mahal). You must learn that the color of the wall was originally meant to hide the poor quality of the buildings at the time.
The Pink City is actually the center part of town only, surrounded by walls and accesible through several gates. It hosts the main attractions that are the famous bazaars themselves, and the City Palace, as well as the renowned Palace of Winds, or Hawa Mahal, intended for the women of the court to watch the street without being seen.
The Jantar Mantar, with its astronomical devices spread across a small park, might also interest you, even if just as an architectural curiosity, or a scientific one, whichever pleases you best.
South of the Pink City, lay the Ram Niwas gardens, for a greener stroll, with the Central Museum inside the Albert Hall, for those willing to learn more on Indian art.
A fair warning on jewellery
Jaipur is also known for its jewellery and gems.
We have no knowledge here as where you should go were you interested in buying.
But we did experience the scam that unfortunately comes with it. We were soon getting out of town when a very nice and smart guy invited us for chai. Socially friendly, we followed him. Everything went fine, and that’s where it gets dangerous: you don’t notice you’re being scammed until much later on.
The trick went far: we were invited to meet his friends, who picked us up by car and brought us to a café further away, therefore, we had no idea where we were, and they were not bringing us back to our place.
We had agreed on meeting the next day, for an outing, which got “cancelled”, and we got to meet “the boss” instead, in a grand hotel garden, for tea. That’s when the talks started: they would be flying us anywhere in the world (in our case, Japan) to retrieve a postage under our name, containing the stones we would not have to pay for, and come back. Earning I don’t know how much on the side. Sounds good, but we passed on the offer.
So, be wary, as they are very good at tempting you. We didn’t follow up to the point where they probably would’ve asked us for our credit cards, but many forums talk about it. Makes you wonder how anyone can fall into it, but I’m sure it’s easier as it sounds. And I’m sure it can also turn maybe more violent than what we experienced.
Not in Jaipur itself, but a tuk-tuk ride away, Amer (or Amber) Fort was our favorite in the vicinity because it was out of the city. Settle on top of a hill, the scenery includes views of the surrounding hills with walls atop, and Amer town itself. The architecture is interesting, with several separated areas, each with its own function, as usual: different apartments, courtyards to stroll around and discuss important matters, a garden, etc, etc…
Also, in town, are two other interesting sites: a Jain temple, and an amazing Panna Meena ka Kund, an abandoned step well built to preserve water at the time.