The 'pink city', gateway to the state, is on the popular 'Golden Triangle' route (Delhi-Agra- Jaipur-Delhi), which, for many short-haul visitors, is their only experience of Rajasthan. The steady stream of tourists means the city has to make little effort to attract visitors; as a result its pastel-hued buildings are not what they used to be and many of the sights are poorly maintained. Nonetheless it's a worthwhile stopover in itself, as well as a staging post for the surrounding area. The old city, with its bazaars, palaces and havelis, along with a couple of forts and the ancient city of Amber nearby, are well worth a wander. Knotted, narrow streets hold cupboard-sized workshops where elderly women dash out clothes on rusty Singers; men energetically stuff mattresses with piles of rags; boys mend bicycles next to old men rolling pellets of paste into sweets; whole families carve table legs or hammer bed headboards out of sheet metal; and 'gold men' leave the old city's textile houses sprinkled with metallic pigment from a day's work rubbing the powder into fabric patterned with resin glue. Escape the bustle and head up to the Tiger Fort (Nahargarh) for sunset, where proud peacocks pick among the ruins and monkeys scamper about in the twilight against the backdrop of Man Sagar Lake and its Jal Mahal (Water Palace).

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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