Best for: learning about textiles
Charmingly situated in a restored haveli, the Anokhi Museum is the perfect introduction to Jaipur’s textile industry. Information boards are concise and excellently written, and the clothing on display is spectacular. Don’t forgo the on-site shop, and combine a visit with a trip to the UNESCO-listed Amber Fort, a remarkable walled fortification that rises above the city and is only a five-minute rickshaw ride from the museum.
Best for: art and theatre
Just outside the Old City, Jaipur’s most prominent cultural centre was built to preserve Rajasthan’s rich heritage and master craftsmanship. Showcasing a wide range of both traditional and contemporary art, the space houses six galleries, as well as a museum, library and an open-air theatre with an ever-evolving programme, from plays to folk dance. It also hosts its own theatre festival.
3. City Palace
Best for: royal heritage
Still home to the royal family of Jaipur, this 300-year-old palace has lost none of its splendour. The complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture, with some buildings added more recently than others. Among other things, the thoughtfully curated museum houses an extensive textile collection, featuring some of the elaborately woven, brocaded fabrics that formerly graced the royal wardrobe, as well as a carpet dating back over 400 years.
Best for: shopping local
One of Jaipur’s oldest markets, Tripolia Bazaar is a shopper’s paradise. You’ll find everything from traditional lac bangles — which are made from hardened resin — to wall hangings here, but keep a particular eye out for the blacksmiths. They’re a wondrous sight, all sitting outside their shops and seeming to hammer away in unison. If, like most, you’ve bought more than anticipated, you can purchase a beautifully crafted metal trunk to ship your treasures back in.
5. Bar Palladio
Best for: taking time out
Surrounded by the peacock-dotted lawns of Narain Niwas Palace, Bar Palladio, with its tented daybeds and vivid-blue frescoes, may just be the most visually arresting restaurant in the world. The menu has an Italian slant: expect beautifully authentic pasta dishes, plus an extensive — and potent — selection of cocktails; the margaritas are particularly good. Consider a stay at its sister property just outside the city, hotel Villa Palladio, too.
6. Hawa Mahal
Best for: architectural wonder
The ‘Palace of Winds’ has a staggering 953 windows. Part of the City Palace complex and used in the past as an enormous screened porch for royals to watch the world go by, the Hawa Mahal’s five-story facade is mesmerising, a silencing work of art that rises above the streets of the Old City. Visit early in the morning before the crowds descend.
Best for: learning a new skill
Feeling creative? A workshop is a great way to get a feel for the printing process. You’ll work alongside local artisans, choosing your own blocks and colour scheme. There are scores of companies providing the experience, but consider one of the sessions offered by the Wabisabi Project, which include a peek at the drying fields and plenty of chai to keep that creative energy flowing.
Best for: bespoke clothing
This little shop in the north west of the city, which featured in Vogue back in 2016, sells a joyous selection of textiles. Expect an explosion of colour and a charismatic owner keen to show you his wares, or if you have clothing that you want in different shades, take it with you and you can have copies made in a couple of days. Just be sure to haggle — but with a smile.
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