Almost 300 years in the past, an enlightened maharajah with a penchant for jewels and a mind for structure constructed a deliberate metropolis amid the arid hills of northwest India. Known as Jaipur after the town’s founder, Jai Singh II, it arose on a grid of city sectors not only for royal palaces, however for the workshops of artisans recruited to ascertain a brand new business hub. Nowadays, gem cutters, jewellery designers and garment-makers are nonetheless flourishing in one in all India’s hottest vacationer and purchasing locations, a part of the Delhi-Agra-Jaipur Golden Triangle. It is a metropolis the place the royals, to today, occupy a wing of the Metropolis Palace, and the place mid-rise towers and a brand new subway system are muscling in on a proud previous. Avenue markets are awash in coloration and handicrafts, and Hindu temples will be discovered almost each 100 yards. Although the streets seethe with beeping and belching site visitors, vacationers and dung-dropping cows, yow will discover bliss amid the commotion.

Hinduism, with its colourful gods and goddesses, permeates on a regular basis life, so dive in with a go to to Birla Temple, a domed, white-marble building with an airy main hall, stained-glass windows and a shrine to the uber god Vishnu, and Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. Speaking of Uber, the ride-hailing service is a good way get around this spread-out city. From Birla, it’s a 20-minute ride to Govind Dev Ji Temple, built in view of the emperor’s City Palace windows. Get there for the 5:30 p.m. ceremony when priests in saffron robes pull back the curtains to the altar holding Lord Krishna, playing the flute under golden umbrellas. People pour into an open-walled hall by the hundreds, raising their hands in adulation, clapping and chanting while making circuits around the shrine, banging knockers on its wooden side doors to let Krishna know they have arrived. Free entry.

You can dine like royalty at 1135 AD, a restaurant in a palace perched atop Amber Fort, a magnificent hybrid of Hindu and Mughal architecture. Walk through the main courtyard up to a terrace with candlelit tables and scattered rose petals. A thali, or meal, served on a silver platter lets you sample a variety of dishes, from goat in red sauce to black lentil dal and a spinach and corn purée (1,750 rupees, or about $24). Ask for a tour of the glittering private dining room upstairs, with silver-backed chairs under chandeliers and a ceiling embellished with mirror fragments. The fort is a popular location for filmmakers. If you’re lucky, it will be alive with turbaned extras, white horses and adorned camels re-enacting a scene from a historical drama in the floodlit courtyard.

Ghee, a form of clarified butter, is essential to the fare at Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar, a landmark hotel, bakery and vegetarian restaurant where the menu front declares an adherence to Lord Krishna’s condemnation of food “which is half-cooked or halfripe …” The Rajasthani Special breakfast platters are anything but. Badvi Bhaji (potatoes, tomatoes, coriander and green hot chilies) and Poori Aloo Mattar (potatoes in tomato stew with peas), with fried wheat pockets, are served by efficient waiters in brown jackets with epaulets (breakfast for two, 750 rupees). The décor feels early 1980s — purple and teal wallpaper, and abstract Hindu wall hangings — but it’s been around since 1954, frequented by the jewelers and gem wholesalers taking a break from their workstations in the nearby back alleys.

Step back into the history of clan-warring Rajasthan, long before Jaipur became its capital, on a tour of the Albert Hall Museum. Or, step into the frenetic present, exploring the boulevards and back lanes of the old city. Walk under the porticos of sidewalk bazaars festooned with everything from puppets to pajama pants; around the horned bulls wandering on the narrow roads; past the carts of fried chickpea cakes, and marble-lined shrines with statues of gods; through an arched doorway into a four-story courtyard with intricate floral railings; and into a crowd of men at a corner fountain polishing brass prayer cups.

Inside Saurashtra Impex, an explosion of colorful fabrics heaped in piles and stacked to the ceilings greets you, along with the owner, Kishor Maheshwari, and his staff. They’ll extricate antique cushion covers from Pakistan, tablecloths with block-printed blue elephants and vintage rugs from Afghanistan. For a more refined retail experience, RASA boutique makes its own mod-Mughal brand of exquisite silk, cotton and linen dresses, tops, scarves and bedding (silk scarves start at 4,400 rupees).

The city isn’t exactly a hotbed of celebrity chefs, but the culinary scene is still lively. Options range from Meraaki Kitchen for dal fondue, or Virasat for traditional thali. For superb northern Indian cuisine, head to Peshawri, downstairs at the ITC Rajputana hotel. With its stone walls and mushroom-like stools, it serves dishes you eat with your hands, and pair with a pleasant Sauvignon Blanc from India’s Fratelli Wines (dinner for two, about 7,000 rupees).

At the famous Pandit Kulfi, redshirted servers prepare a frozen treat of milk, crushed almonds and cashews, sugar and cinnamon. They freeze it in metal cylinders and tap out the sweet and dense, double-sticked little rockets (20 to 50 rupees). For the international party scene, head to Bar Palladio, set in a former palace’s garden house with a dramatic Wedgwood blue interior and canopied tables in the garden. It serves Italian cuisine and cocktails, like a Cosmopolitan (500 rupees).


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