Jaipur is a historic city in India with two famous nicknames, ‘Paris of India’ and the more popular one ‘Pink City’. A look at Jaipur city from a vantage point or a walk through its historical buildings and streets will show you how uniformly it is clad in shades of pink.
The city is a muse for lay tourists, culture trippers, literary artists, history buffs, architecture enthusiasts, and art and photography aficionados alike.
Its lovable ‘pinkness’ makes it a visceral and visual delight. Poets have written inspired poems after Jaipur’s resplendent beauty and visitors from all around the world have etched special odes to its glory in their travelogues.
The Pink City of Jaipur: Origins
There are several theories that exist in this context. The most popular one so far has its origin in the colonial rule. In the year 1876, Prince Albert was to undertake a tour of India. Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II, who was the then ruler of Jaipur, in his infinite spirit of hospitality, had the whole city painted pink terracotta in honour of the royal guest.
Pink was considered the colour of hospitality. Since then it became a law to have all buildings and homes painted in pink. The law is being followed to date in some parts. Historic accounts state the city was coloured in white before it was turned pink.
Political Relations with British
Popular belief states that painting Jaipur pink as a welcoming gesture was part of the Maharaja’s extreme strategy to impress Prince Albert upon his visit to India and he really wanted the Prince to visit Jaipur so that he could build strong relations with the Britishers.
What lends credence to this theory is the fact that the Maharaja also constructed a lavish concert hall and named it Albert Hall in honour of the British Prince. It is modeled after Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The Name is a Royal Gift
It makes sense too, since during Prince Albert’s long visit to India, plenty of Indian rulers at the time gave him expensive gifts and were all trying to show their hospitality towards him, including rulers of Alwar, Benaras, Mysore and Jodhpur.
It is believed that when the Prince visited Jaipur and saw its gorgeous pink avatar, he exclaimed ‘Pink City’ and the nickname stuck.
Many of the marvels in the city are built in red sandstone. Therefore, it could just be a coincidence that when the Prince was to visit, the Maharaja thought it was a good opportunity to paint the town pink, rather give it a more uniform and visually appealing look.
Jaipur’s current pink status
It is believed that the Maharaja’s wife convinced him to pass a law that all buildings should be painted pink after its new and successful makeover.
The law was passed in 1877. And still remains applicable. Even today, if you google pictures of Jaipur’s residential areas, you will find that they are mostly painted in some or the other shade of pink. Jaipur takes its pink rather seriously. And for good reasons too. It envelops the entire city in a romantic hue that leaves visitors giddy and mesmerized.
Most notable historical buildings of Jaipur that are pink
- Hawa Mahal
- Amer Fort
- City Palace
- Jaigarh Fort
- Jai Mahal
- Nahargarh Fort
- Chandra Mahal
- Rambagh Palace
- Jantar Mantar
From forts to palaces, streets to festivals, Jaipur’s charm in all its shades of pink are sure to spellbind you. Do keep this city at the top of your travel wishlist for its heritage, beauty and architecture. If you have any questions, please use the comment box.