Rajasthan’s largest city, Jaipur, dates back to the 18th century. Considered the first planned city in India, it is part of the tourist friendly Golden Triangle. Along with Delhi and Agra, Jaipur is a convenient place to stay if you are visiting sites such as the Birla Temple, the City Palace or the Vidhan Sbha.
In honor of the Prince of Wales’s visit in 1876, all the city’s buildings were painted a deep, brick red. Now faded to a rosy pink, these same buildings have earned Jaipur the nickname “Pink City.” The city’s actual name comes from the Maharaja Jai Singh II, who first settled in the area.
Accommodations run the gamut from budget guest houses to palace-like venues where you can live the life of a maharaja. The Krishna Palace is actually in the budget category, but you wouldn’t know it from the expansive gardens, roof top restaurant and large rooms with private bath. Another surprise is the Pearl Palace, with enough art work to classify it as a mini art museum. A government run Youth Hostel, part of the Hostelling International network, as well as an assortment of bed and breakfast properties are also available.
Hotels in Jaipur are varied – in the moderately priced category are properties such as the Arya Niwas Hotel, which was once a mansion belonging to a feudal lord. Managed by a live-in family, the hotel offers a sizable garden and a restaurant serving vegetarian food. The Loharu House is a private residence belonging to the Royal Family of Loharu. A few rooms are rented out and guests are treated to well appointed rooms and meals prepared by the family’s chefs. The Colonel’s Homestead Jaipur is another option, sitting next to a 50 acre nature area filled with colorful birds. The couple that operate the property are well versed in local attractions and the best places to do some shopping. Home cooked meals are also offered.
The Naila Bagh Palace is a heritage home that was built in 1872. It was then home to Jaipur’s Prime Minister Thakur Fateh Singh Ji. Managed by the seventh generation of his descendants, the palace sits in the midst of expansive gardens. A sizeable courtyard is open to guests, offering a place to just sit and relax. Another splurge property is the Trident Jaipur. The recently renovated low rise property is designed like a sprawling, white Mughal palace, complete with swimming pool. Upgrade to a room overlooking the lake for the best views.