Since many of us are locked down globally, I thought I would take you on a (virtual) journey to the city of Jaipur, one of my favorite places in India. Let me show you my favorite places to eat, sleep, visit, and shop.
MY FAVORITE HOTEL
Hotel Narain Niwas Palace is the place where I usually stay when I come to Jaipur. The heritage hotel has beautifully decorated rooms in traditional Rajasthani style with large lush gardens where peacocks and parakeets roam around freely. It feels a bit like an oasis in the middle of the busy city of Jaipur. The exterior walls are painted in bright yellows and dusty pinks which create such happy vibes.
BREAKFAST LIKE A QUEEN
If I want to splurge a bit and feel like a true Indian queen, then I have breakfast at Sujan Rajmahal Palace. The palace, which was built in the early 18th century, is still home to The Maharaja of Jaipur. Wonderful interiors, colorful wallpapers, tall bay windows, mirrored doors and staff wearing elegant white shervanis with pink turbans make this experience so regal.
BEST PICTURE SPOT
Panna Meena Ka Kund is an 400 year old stepwell, a man-made structure as large as a colossal pond. This large reservoir of water consists of stairs or steps that descend to the pond and was built for the purpose of rainwater harvesting, water supply, and baths.
There is a local belief and an intriguing fact that you can’t use the same flight of stairs while going up and down. Only locals can do this as they are habituated to it. I tried it and must admit that this is true!
Galtaji is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage consisting of several temples hidden in a narrow crevice in the ring of hills that surrounds Jaipur. The first time I saw this spectacular yet surreal site I felt a bit like Indiana Jones discovering a secret place. Walking up the hill you pass by hundreds of friendly monkeys, pilgrims and smiling sadhus (holy people).
Owned by Italian Barbara Miolini and designed by Dutch designer Marie-Anne Oudejans, Bar Palladio Jaipur is an orientalist fantasy, an ode to Italian style and cuisine, viewed through the prism of a Mughal dreamworld. I go there not only for the outstanding food, but also because of its romantic, relaxed atmosphere.
Jaipur has countless shopping places, from cheap street bazaars to high-end designer boutiques. My tip: go to Johari Bazaar for handmade jewelry, to Chandpole Bazaar for the typical handicrafts like Juttis (handmade shoes), bags and saris, to Kripal Kumbh for blue pottery and finally - an absolute must: visit Jaipur's first concept store "Hot Pink". The iconic boutique was described by Condé Nast as "one of the most beautiful shops in the world". Hot Pink carries the trendiest Indian, French and Italian fashion and lifestyle brands under one roof - and my brand is one of them!