Spending Diwali in Jaipur: “the Pink City” – India

Spending Diwali in Jaipur: “the Pink City” – India

Diwali is a popular Hindu festival celebrated over 5 days in October or November all over India and the Hindu community around the world.

Diwali is also called the ‘festival of lights', celebrating the victory of light over darkness as well as marking the start of a new financial year.

Lakshmi, the goddess of fortune and prosperity is the main deity honoured during Diwali:

Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth and fortune
Lakshmi – the goddess of wealth and fortune, is the main deity celebrated during Diwali

For us, it means lots and lots and lots of fireworks – everywhere, over 5 days!

Boys lighting fireworks on the streets of Jaipur
A common sight in the streets of Jaipur during Diwali – boys lighting fireworks everywhere!

To prepare for Diwali, Hindus spring clean and decorate their homes and businesses.  On the main Diwali night, Hindus dress up in their best outfits, light up diyas (lamps and candles) inside and outside their homes and participate in family pujas (prayers) mainly to Lakshmi.

Then more fireworks follow and the partying begins.

Diwali in Jaipur - lots of lights everywhere
Celebrating Diwali in Jaipur with our friend Andrew – every day during Diwali was like a colourful street party with lights everywhere.
Our favourite brand of fireworks
Our favourite brand of fireworks – popular in Jaipur

Diwali in Jaipur: the Pink City

We spent Diwali in Jaipur, nicknamed, the Pink City.

Unfortunately, this nickname has nothing to do with the LGBT community but instead relates to a law requiring all buildings to be painted the colour of hospitality (ie pink)!

View of the Pink City from Hawa Mahal
The view of the Pink City from up high at the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)

This law in fact dates back to Queen Victoria's visit to Jaipur in 1876: to prepare for her visit, the then Maharaja of Jaipur (Ram Singh) ordered the whole city to be painted the colour of hospitality (pink) to welcome her and her entourage.

The popular Raj Mandir cinema in Jaipur
The popular Raj Mandir cinema in Jaipur – painted pink of course

Diwali in Jaipur was really special for us.  Diwali in itself is a colourful and quite spectacular Indian festival, but to be in the pretty Pink City during Diwali made it even more memorable.

Every day during the 5 days of the Diwali festival we experienced a friendly outdoor festival atmosphere as people took to the streets to celebrate, with fireworks going on till late in the night.

Diwali in Jaipur: one big street party
Stefan enjoying a delicious lassi with these girls from Gujurat visiting Jaipur for Diwali
Jaipur's party atmosphere during Diwali
Stefan enjoying Jaipur's party atmosphere during Diwali

Avoid elephant rides up to Amber Fort!

Jaipur's Amber Fort is the big stand out attraction in Jaipur where the old Maharajas used to live.  It dates back to 1592 when it was built by the Rajah Man Singh I.

Nomadic Boys posing by the Amber Fort
Posing by Jaipur's magnificent Amber Fort

The Amber Fort is located on the top of a hill but sadly elephant rides are offered, which we strongly advise to avoid. Sebastien instead found a more innovative way to enter the Amber Fort with this very unique elephant:

Sebastien's innovative elephant ride
Sebastien's innovative elephant ride into the Amber Fort

We were really impressed by the Amber Fort's elaborate architecture and interior decoration:

Posing inside the Amber Fort
Posing inside the Amber Fort with our friend Andrew
Nomadic Boys at Amber Fort
Nomadic Boys posing at Jaipur's Amber Fort
The elaborately decorated interior of the Amber Fort
Stefan posing by the beautiful mosaic walls insude the Amber Fort

The Hawa Mahal Palace

The Hawa Mahal is another popular palace in Jaipur.

Posing inside the Hawa Mahal Palace
Posing inside the Hawa Mahal Palace with our friend Andrew

The Hawa Mahal Palace was built in 1799 made with a high screen wall to allow royal ladies to observe every day life outside without being seen.

The intricate design of this palace as well as the views over the Pink City from up above were beautiful:

Spot the Nomadic Boy
Spot a Nomadic Boy somewhere inside the Hawa Mahal
The views of the Pink City from the Hawa Mahal Palace
The views of the Pink City from the top of the Hawa Mahal Palace
The views from the Hawa Mahal Palace
The views from the top of the Hawa Mahal Palace

Indian wedding during Diwali

In the midsts of all the Diwali excitement in Jaipur, we were invited to attend a Muslim Indian wedding in a nearby village.

Indian weddings are big affairs and the entire village gets involved.  The wedding begins with the groom on his horse, covered with beautiful decoration as he (and the rest of the village) make the journey to the bride's house where she is waiting for him.

During the wedding procession through the village, people are dancing, music is playing and money is offered to the groom and his family for good luck.

 

The procession eventually reaches the bride's house where the couple are united and married, and the (very hungry) followers are fed:

Women at the wedding eating happily
The woman on the right with the pink sari made us laugh as she enthusiastically scoffed down her food

This was a lovely way to round of our Diwali experience in Jaipur, but after so much tourism, we were quite knackered.

Luckily we stumbled on this gem: Hotel Meghniwas, which has a lovely pool area and perhaps some of the best North Indian food we've had.  Surprisingly it was incredibly cheap and we definitely recommend to all travellers looking for some relaxing time when in Jaipur.

Relaxing at the pool of Hotel Meghniwas
Relaxing at the pool of Hotel Meghniwas – an oasis in this busy city
Delicious food at Hotel Meghniwas
A romantic meal at Hotel Meghniwas to end a busy few days celebrating Diwali in Jaipur

For more information about awesome festivals in India, check out Sid's awesome post about Holi in India.

Watch our video as we danced our way through this incredible country:

FOR MORE FROM OUR TRAVELS IN INDIA, CHECK OUT OUR VIDEO:

 

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6 Comments

  1. Great post! We wish to visit India next year. It is on our bucket list. So many cool places to visit there and the food must be amazing 🙂 Love your blog! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • Thank you very much guys.

      Reply
  2. Great selection of pics! What an excellent record of your adventures in ‘The Pink City’ 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you very much Philippa 🙂

      Reply
  3. oh wow, I wish I could be travelling with you boys. Looks awesome, have fun!

    Reply
    • Awww thanks Simon 🙂

      Reply

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