The capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur, has a markedly different feel from the other two corners of the ‘Golden Triangle’. The traffic is no less intense, but the architecture of its walled core – known as the ‘Pink City’ after the colour of the sandstone used to build it – is spectacularly flamboyant. Set in an orderly grid plan, the 18th-century buildings form a vibirant backdrop for markets crammed with dazzling tie-dye cloth and mirror-inlaid crazy patchwork quilts.
Jaipur’s palace hotels, originally created by the Rajput aristocracy for use while they attended court, provide havens from the brouhaha of the bazaars outside. Relaxing in their colonnaded courtyards after supper, you’ll be entertained in regal style be traditional musicians from the Thar Desert accompanied by dancers dressed in swirling pleated skirts and mirror-inlaid veils.
In addition to shopping and museums, visits to an elephant sanctuary, a leopard reserve on the outskirts and various breathtaking viewpoints overlooking the ‘Pink City’may tempt you to add an extra day or two to your itinerary.