Jaipur is the capital city of Rajasthan state in India. As I was in India during the time of Holi, I wanted to make sure I could partake in the celebration, but safely. Because it's a huge holiday, the trains were all filled with super long wait lists, and I knew I wanted to go to Jaipur after Rishikesh. My hostel was booked, and the only train available for days without being waitlisted was arriving early morning of Holi. I saw Backpacker Panda hostel chain in Jaipur advertising a Holi party, so I knew it would be a great day!
Arriving to Jaipur 4am, I slept for a few hours before preparing for the Holi festivities. I borrowed some coconut oil from a dorm mate to protect my hair from harsh chemicals of the powders, and eliminate any staining. I had a pair of white pants that were already getting holey in the inner thighs, so I figured they would be awesome pants for Holi. I put on my pearly whites for total color destruction and headed to the rooftop for some safe color fun. After the group covered each other, we took it to the streets. Hostel staff friends were waiting outside to greet us, and everyone was extremely respectful with me and the other girls. There is a lot of controversy because men can get liquored up on Bhang, a hallucinogenic alcoholic beverage, then roam the streets and touch women inappropriately. Instead, we received lots of cheek coloring and hugs from locals. My hostel group walked around and returned for people to get watered down with hoses and water guns. We relaxed with music and food served by the hostel. One of the most memorable times of my travels!
Jaipur is an amazing city, but very spread apart. I was given an autorickshaw driver's phone number by someone in Rishikesh, and hired him for the afternoon to take me to noteworthy places.
First, he brought me to the Albert Hall museum.
Next up was the Monkey temple! It was quite the hike, about 30 minutes up and down steep hills. Below is the view from the hill leading to the temple. You can see the autorickshaw parked on the street below waiting for me.
Next, my driver took me to the Amber Fort!
He also took me to several places along the way. The Jal Mahal:
And, an adorable elephant sanctuary where I met Madonna!
He took me to a factory where they demonstrated textiles, as well as a trip to the grocery store (per my request - milking my last few moments with a personal driver taking me everywhere). I enjoyed being able to stop on and off with someone waiting for me. You seriously live the life of luxury in India. I paid the driver 500 rupees, plus a 100 rupee tip, which isn't even a full $10. The girl who referred me to him said she tipped him 100 after 2 days!)
Because the Hawa Mahal was in the city center, I opted out of the driver stopping there for me, and I wanted to be able to take my time without feeling that someone was waiting for me. I visited the Hawa Mahal the following day! It's a palace that was originally created so noble women could view the street happenings and festivals under privacy of the thousand windows!
I had peaked my head outside of the first level middle window, and a guy took my photo. With pure luck, I was able to throw my business card out the window, which landed inside of the guard rail. He climbed through it to retrieve my information, and sent me the photos!
Here are a few more from the Pink city!
Jantar Mantar was on the list of my composite ticket, and was special to me because of growing up with the vedic observatory models being present in commercial buildings in my hometown. Jantar Mantar was full scale, bigger than human sized instruments!