Jaipur is often referred to by one of its many nicknames; The City of Gates, The Pink City or The Paris of India. In my mind, the comparisons to France’s capital do Jaipur a disservice. It is just as enthralling, historic, and beautiful as the ‘City of Lights’ but couldn’t be further from it in terms of atmosphere. The city’s bustling streets burst with colour and chaos. Cycle rickshaws weave among clouds of exhaust and soot as they dodge camels, cars and the occasional dawdling elephant. Swarms of motorbikes honk and buzz through the city’s vibrant marketplaces and grand gateways. However, the present-day metropolis that is modern Jaipur has been built on centuries of history. This is the ‘Land of the Kings’, the realm of maharajas, where majestic forts and opulent palaces are more numerous than anywhere else in India. The splendours of Rajasthan’s past are still here to explore. At the centre of Jaipur, the elegant City Palace, still housing the former royal family, is an island of tranquillity; the marvellous honeycomb facade of the Hawa Mahal looms over a traffic-clogged thoroughfare; and the city’s pink-tinted walls are punctuated with 7 imposing, decorative gates. Look further still and you will find sprawling hilltop fortresses, Escher-like step wells, and temples left to the care of roaming packs of monkeys.

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