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One of India’s most defining features is the vast array of colors you can find throughout the country. While traveling through the state of Rajasthan, every city seemed to have its own color scheme and charm.
Keep reading to discover the most colorful cities in Rajasthan, including tips on what to do in each one.
The Most Colourful Cities of Rajasthan, India
Jaipur – The Pink City
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan and is nicknamed the “Pink City”. Upon walking around the old city, it becomes obvious why as you walk through gorgeous, pink-colored architecture. It’s no wonder the city is on everyone’s India itinerary!
The history of the pink color goes back to 1876. Prince Albert and Victoria were going to visit India, and the king didn’t want to miss the opportunity to strengthen ties with the British. So he ordered that the whole city be painted pink, which represents welcoming and hospitality. How sweet!
Nowadays, pink buildings are an icon of the city. The most beautiful prominent building in the city is Hawa Mahal “Palace of the Winds,” which contains 953 windows.
Tip: To get a shot like this, head across the street away from the masses of tourists up a stairwell. You will eventually get to a rooftop where there are a few shops, but they don’t mind if you stop to take a photo.
What to do in Jaipur, India
Walking around Jaipur is an activity on its own. Wander around the local spice markets, where you can buy vacuum-sealed bags of spices to bring home with you.
In the evening, check out a Bollywood film at the famous Art Deco Raj Mandir cinema. I didn’t expect much going to the cinema and ended up loving the experience. Going to a movie in India is not like going to a movie anywhere else; the locals get super into the movie and make the experience so much fun.
Another attraction worth checking out is Amber Fort, which was the former capital of Jaipur state. Out of all the forts I visited in India (and trust me, there are many), Amber fort was my favorite.
This magnificent fort contains an extensive palace complex, including Mirror Palace, a room filled with thousands of mirrors.
In the ancient days, the queen was not allowed to sleep in the open air, but she loved the stars, so the king ordered his architects to build a room that would solve the problem (relationship goals)!
If you reflect light against the mirrors, it looks like stars in the whole room. It’s a beautiful sight to witness.
For a unique adventure in Jaipur, try a hot air balloon ride!
Jodhpur – The Blue City
Jodhpur is the second-largest city in Rajasthan, known as the blue city. There are many theories floating around as to why the city is painted blue.
One theory states that the color blue is associated with lord shiva, while others believe it is a determinant of social status. Tales say that the Bramin painted their houses blue to differentiate themselves from the lower class.
Others have a simpler explanation for the color: blue keeps your house cooler during the scorching heat of summer. Regardless of the reasoning, the blue colors found throughout the city make for some pretty photo ops.
What to do in Jodhpur, India
Jodhpur is home to one of India’s largest forts, Mehrangarh. The fort is 410 feet above the city, so head there for the best views of the blue city below.
For a more authentic Indian experience, take a day trip from Jodhpur to the nearby village of Bishnoi. There you can get an up-close look at life in rural India. This is a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
Tours can be booked from any agency in town. If you stay at Zostel (which is a great, clean hostel in Jodhpur), they run a great tour to Bishnoi village for 1200 rupees ($17 USD).
Jaisalmer – The Golden City
Jaisalmer is a city located in the heart of the Thar Desert. The city is well known as the golden city of India, and walking around, you will quickly understand why.
Yellow sandstone was commonly used in the construction of the city’s architecture and still exists all over the city, from the impressive Jaisalmer fort to the intricately carved sculptures in the old town.
What to do in Jaisalmer, India
The Jaisalmer fort goes by the name “Golden Fort” as it rises from the desert and becomes one with the golden hues of the sand. Forts are found all throughout India, but the Jaisalmer fort is unique as it is among the few living forts in the world. Nearly one-fourth of the old city’s population still resides within the fort!
Jaisalmer is famous for the architecture of its magnificent historic mansions, located both inside and out of the fort. Walking around the city of Jaisalmer is a non-stop photo op!
Jaisalmer is also the best place in India to do a desert camel safari, due to the proximity to the Thar desert. Overnight tours can be booked from town for as low as 1500 rupees ($20USD).
Tours include a camel ride out to the middle of the desert, where you will spend the night sleeping under millions of stars.
Udaipur – The White City
Udaipur has the name of the white city because of all the Rajput-style palaces around the lake, as well as the white marble palace in the middle of the lake.
I didn’t have a chance to visit Udaipur during my trip to India, but it was a clear favorite among all of the travelers I met in India. Udaipur is regularly ranked as one of the best holiday destinations in India. I can see why!
How to visit the four most colorful cities of India
India is massive, even traveling within one state can take hours. To get between the four most colorful cities in India, you have a few options.
- Hire a private driver: This is not as expensive as you might think. We hired a car and driver for two weeks with unlimited KM, and it cost us 50,000 rupees in total ($700 USD). If you have extra in your budget, hiring a private driver gives you the freedom to come and go as you please.
- Take a train: If you want to save money traveling by train is a cheap option, and an experience everyone should have at least once while traveling in India. The country has an impressive train network that connects most cities. Visit the Indian Rail website to see the train schedule times. Foreigners can’t buy train tickets online so you need to buy them through a tour agency in India. If you know a local they can buy one for you.
- Take the bus: Taking a bus in India isn’t as bad as you might think, and it’s an affordable option. Buses run between most cities and long-distance buses even come with a bed. You can buy bus tickets online here. My only words of wisdom are that if you do take the bus, opt to spend an extra bit to make sure it includes AC. India is a HOT country! Busses are a great option if the train isn’t available.
- Fly. Although not as cheap as the bus or train, there are affordable flights between most cities in India. Flying can save you a lot of time in India and might be the best option if you want to see many places in a short period. Find the cheapest flights on SkyScanner.
However you decide to get around Rajasthan, definitely include these four colorful cities of India in your itinerary! Tell me, what’s the most colorful city you’ve visited?