Jaipur is the capital of the Indian province of Rajasthan, which means Land of the Kings. The dry desert punctuated with hills is an excellent canvas for Jaipur’s colors to stand out, whether it’s the women in their saris, gaily-painted elephants, elaborate Rajasthani fabrics, or the pink-colored Old City. Visitors will marvel at the rows upon rows of shops selling Indian curios and clothing, pedestrians in colorful garb jostling for space on the pavement with camel-drawn carts, and cows ambling in the middle of the street oblivious to traffic and the incessant honking of horns. Jaipur is both instantly a feast and an assault on the senses.

The city takes its name from the famed warrior-astronomer Maharajah Jai Singh II. In 1727, Jai Singh decided to move from the nearby fort of Amber and construct a city according to the principles of Hindu architecture. Jaipur’s monicker of “Pink City” stuck when in 1876, the Maharajah Ram Singh had the entire Old City painted pink, a color symbolizing welcome, in honor of the Prince of Wales (who later became King Edward VII). Since then, the coat of pink throughout has been kept.

If you’re fascinated by Indian culture and envision it as the land of exotic delights, Jaipur does not disappoint. A trip there is a glimpse of the myriad other marvels you can see and experience in India.

Read these articles for more beautiful travel destinations:

(First published in Marie Claire Magazine, Lifestyle section as "A Jaunt through Jaipur" in July 2006; adapted for use in Female Network)

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