The pink sandstone used to build many of Jaipur’s palaces, including Hawa Mahal, above, gives the city its nickname. Getty Images
The pink sandstone used to build many of Jaipur’s palaces, including Hawa Mahal, above, gives the city its nickname. Getty Images

My kind of place: Jaipur - A capital of colour



Why Jaipur?

Clubbed with a tour of Delhi and Agra to form the famed Golden Triangle circuit, Jaipur is the portal to the desert state of Rajasthan. Magnificent forts and towering palaces in salmon-hued sandstone lend the state capital the moniker “the pink city”.

Founded in the early 18th century by Rajput ruler Maharaja Jai Singh II, the city retains its grand Rajasthani flamboyance and traditional roots while embracing modernity. Wide roads, an airport and edgy hotels stand alongside colourful bazaars and impregnable forts, and many local women sport heavy jewellery and bright oranges and pinks on a daily basis.

A comfortable bed

Away from the chaos of the Old City but still within walking distance, Diggi Palace (www.hoteldiggipalace.com) is the site of the annual Jaipur Litfest. Housed in a 200-year-old haveli and run by the Diggi family, the hotel features open courtyards, lawns and an alfresco restaurant. Doubles from 6,000 rupees (Dh330).

The former home of Maharaja Man Singh II, and his fashion-icon wife Gayatri Devi, the Rambagh Palace (www.tajhotels.com) is now a heritage hotel run by the Taj Group. Unsurprisingly, it is luxurious, with marble arches, acres of lawn space, filigree-work interiors and butler service in some rooms. Doubles from 41,000 rupees (Dh2,270).

The grand Alsisar Haveli (www.alsisarhaveli.com) in the midst of the action-packed Old City is run by a Shekhawati Rajput family. Antique pieces and traditional Rajasthani furnishings lend the 19th-century mansion an old-world charm, and the pool is an added bonus. Doubles from 9,000 rupees (Dh500).

Find your feet

Jaipur’s historic character comes to life in its many grand palaces, forts and havelis. A convenient way to get your bearings and take in all the city’s sights is to sign up for an informative walking tour with Jaipur Walks (call 0091 98 29071784 or email jaipurwalks@yahoo.com).

Devote a fair bit of time to the magnificent Amber Fort, the old Rajput capital. The 16th-century sandstone behemoth was built over a period of more than 100 years and features a fine blend of Mughal and Rajput-style architecture. The City Palace, built in 1727 by Maharaja Jai Singh II, is a warren of courtyards and chambers in marble and sandstone. The museums house royal garments and palanquins, while the Diwan-i-Am is an impressive marble hall with an ornate painted ceiling. The upper floors of the seven-storey Chandra Mahal are still a royal residence. The five-storey Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds is perhaps Jaipur’s most recognisable structure. Nearly 1,000 latticed windows adorn the pink-sandstone façade of the 18th-century palace. Women of the palace would discreetly watch the action on the street below while taking in the cool breeze.

Meet the locals

Jaipur’s bazaars are a riot of colour and chaos. Spread out around Hawa Mahal is Johari Bazaar, where turbaned, mustachioed men and neon-clad women haggle over the prices of jewellery, crafts, leather products, textiles and utensils. Wander through the streets to get a lesson in the art of bargaining and stop at Laxmi Mishtan Bhandar for a sweet treat. Locals are chatty and only too happy to display their range of block-printed textiles, kundan jewellery and pottery. At Khazana Walon ka Rasta in Chandpole market, watch artisans carve marble and create miniature paintings.

Book a table

For the complete Rajasthani experience, including a cultural extravaganza, vegetarian feast and floor-seating, a visit to Chokhi Dhani is recommended. The cultural complex is modelled on a village with camel and elephant rides, puppet and dance shows and is located about 45 minutes outside Jaipur. The buffet-style vegetarian dinner features every Rajasthani speciality, from dal baati (lentils served with flaky circular wheat bread), churma (a crushed wheat bread and jaggery dessert) and sangri (a bean-like vegetable). Entry is 600 rupees (Dh33) and includes dinner. The swanky Peshawri at the ITC Rajputana hotel offers North West Frontier cuisine – delicately spiced kebabs, murg makhani (chicken in creamy butter sauce), soft naan and paneer tikka. A meal for two costs 3,500 rupees (Dh193).

Shopper’s paradise

The street markets in the Old City, including Bapu Bazaar, Johari Bazaar and Tripolia Bazaar, are the best bets for bargains and a taste of traditional shopping. Look out for camel-skin leather products, jootis (shoes or sandals), silver jewellery and brass pottery.

For a more leisurely and comfortable shopping experience, head to an emporium such as government-run Rajasthali (www.rajasthali.gov.in) for a range of crafts and textiles. Buy gems and jewellery at Gem Palace (www.gempalacejaipur.com), where British royalty is known to have shopped. Jaipur Jewellery House (www.jaipurjewelleryhouse.net) and Amrapali Jewels (www.amrapalijewels.com) stock a range of silver pieces and semi-precious stones.

What to avoid

Save your sightseeing, especially Amber Fort, for early morning or late afternoon as the midday sun can be particularly punishing.

Don’t miss

The annual Jaipur Literature Festival, or Litfest, is a cultural extravaganza, bringing together eminent international writers, thinkers and speakers. Expect discussions, debates, workshops and live music. The 2016 edition, featuring speakers such as Margaret Atwood, is scheduled for January 21 to 25.

Go there

Direct return flights on Etihad (www.etihad.com) from Abu Dhabi to Jaipur cost Dh1,389 including taxes.

TO CATCH A KILLER

Director: Damian Szifron

Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Ralph Ineson

Rating: 2/5

10 tips for entry-level job seekers
  • Have an up-to-date, professional LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, set one up today. Avoid poor-quality profile pictures with distracting backgrounds. Include a professional summary and begin to grow your network.
  • Keep track of the job trends in your sector through the news. Apply for job alerts at your dream organisations and the types of jobs you want – LinkedIn uses AI to share similar relevant jobs based on your selections.
  • Double check that you’ve highlighted relevant skills on your resume and LinkedIn profile.
  • For most entry-level jobs, your resume will first be filtered by an applicant tracking system for keywords. Look closely at the description of the job you are applying for and mirror the language as much as possible (while being honest and accurate about your skills and experience).
  • Keep your CV professional and in a simple format – make sure you tailor your cover letter and application to the company and role.
  • Go online and look for details on job specifications for your target position. Make a list of skills required and set yourself some learning goals to tick off all the necessary skills one by one.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach outside your immediate friends and family to other acquaintances and let them know you are looking for new opportunities.
  • Make sure you’ve set your LinkedIn profile to signal that you are “open to opportunities”. Also be sure to use LinkedIn to search for people who are still actively hiring by searching for those that have the headline “I’m hiring” or “We’re hiring” in their profile.
  • Prepare for online interviews using mock interview tools. Even before landing interviews, it can be useful to start practising.
  • Be professional and patient. Always be professional with whoever you are interacting with throughout your search process, this will be remembered. You need to be patient, dedicated and not give up on your search. Candidates need to make sure they are following up appropriately for roles they have applied.

Arda Atalay, head of Mena private sector at LinkedIn Talent Solutions, Rudy Bier, managing partner of Kinetic Business Solutions and Ben Kinerman Daltrey, co-founder of KinFitz

RESULTS

Catchweight 82kg
Piotr Kuberski (POL) beat Ahmed Saeb (IRQ) by decision.

Women’s bantamweight
Corinne Laframboise (CAN) beat Cornelia Holm (SWE) by unanimous decision.

Welterweight
Omar Hussein (PAL) beat Vitalii Stoian (UKR) by unanimous decision.

Welterweight
Josh Togo (LEB) beat Ali Dyusenov (UZB) by unanimous decision.

Flyweight
Isaac Pimentel (BRA) beat Delfin Nawen (PHI) TKO round-3.

Catchweight 80kg​​​​​​​
Seb Eubank (GBR) beat Emad Hanbali (SYR) KO round 1.

Lightweight
Mohammad Yahya (UAE) beat Ramadan Noaman (EGY) TKO round 2.

Lightweight
Alan Omer (GER) beat Reydon Romero (PHI) submission 1.

Welterweight
Juho Valamaa (FIN) beat Ahmed Labban (LEB) by unanimous decision.

Featherweight
Elias Boudegzdame (ALG) beat Austin Arnett (USA) by unanimous decision.

Super heavyweight
Maciej Sosnowski (POL) beat Ibrahim El Sawi (EGY) by submission round 1.

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League, last-16, second leg (first-leg scores in brackets):

PSG (2) v Manchester United (0)

Midnight (Thursday), BeIN Sports

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE.

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE

MATCH INFO

Who: UAE v USA
What: first T20 international
When: Friday, 2pm
Where: ICC Academy in Dubai