Travel Gems

A colourful adventure

Travel is a passion for me. The colour, nature and architecture always sparks ideas and inspires me. This trip wasn't about sparking ideas though. This time I was setting off to the Pink City alongside my dear friend Caroline Issa, to visit the artisans I've been working with for years. After months of brainstorming, sketching and playing with gemstones, we were off to see the first pieces of our limited edition collection come to life - the first-ever collaboration for me!

Jaipur isn't your average city. It's painted pink for one thing - a symbol of hospitality to welcome British Royals a couple of centuries back I believe. A symbol that rooted it firmly in colour forevermore and it bursts at the seams with it! What better place to explore the fruits of our hard work on a rather colourful collection then? Handily, it's home to the workshop we've been working with for years. Family-run, like so many of our workshops - we were even greeted by the man who cut our very first gemstone upon arrival!

Of course, this trip couldn't be all work and no play so, as keen explorers, Caroline and I were packed some adventure in and, luckily for you, we've rounded up some highlights!

SEE

Apart from examining our new pieces, sifting through an abundance of natural gemstones and learning about the technique of rough cutting them (a great way to minimise waste FYI!) we were keen to explore. If you're an architecture buff, you'll have your hands full in Jaipur. From the stunning City Palace and the Gaitor cenotaphs, to the Amber Fort and magnificent Sculpture Park at Nahargarh Fort. Shape, colour and serious craftsmanship await around every corner. Have your camera ready!

EAT

No adventure is truly complete without trialing the best of the local fare. From farm-to-table delights at Jaipur's recently opened sustainable restaurant, White Sage, to feasting amongst a contemporary take on traditional interiors at the City Palace's Baradari restaurant. There are so many options to satiate one's appetite, you're truly spoilt for choice. Make sure you pay a visit to the Lassiwala for the most popular Lassi in Jaipur. He's the talk of the town and certainly lives up to the hype (ask Caroline, she went in for seconds!).

SHOP

My house is filled with trinkets from my travels. I love to return from trips with treasures and, my goodness, the bazaars in Jaipur are filled with treasures indeed! For home furnishings and the most amazing linen waistcoats, Hot Pink at the Narain Niwas Palace hotel courtyard is just brilliant. The Amer road is also a must visit - whether for block printed bed linen at Riddhi Sidhi, beautiful antiques at Manglam Arts or to visit the museum and farm at Anokhi - it's delightful. I also picked up a pair of copper drinking goblets at the Johari Bazaar - my top tip is to make sure you leave some room in your suitcase, you're bound to need it!

SLEEP

There are some wonderful hotels around the city but for this trip, it was all about the SUJÁN Rajmahal Palace. This absolutely stunning hotel is set in a real-life royal palace that's home to the Maharaja of Jaipur. Lush, manicured grounds surround a pink palatial building that's filled to the brim with pastel-hued elegant decor. It's a welcome sanctuary and was the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of our busy days. We couldn't recommend it more!

IMMERSE

Wandering off the beaten track and immersing yourself in the local culture is where some of the best experiences, not to mention inspiration, resides. It's also truly grounding. Some ways to do this in Jaipur? Number one is to get up early to go to the flower market. You won't regret it, nor will you find a better way to energise yourself for the day ahead. Pep up with powerful pinks and let stunning saffrons revitalise you. Colourful flowers burst from bags as the sun rises in the sky and cheerful faces descend. Again, get your camera ready. We spent hours marvelling, chatting to the locals and snapping away. It's an absolute must-see!

As for sun set, the Jal Mahal Palace on Sagar Lake is a scene of tranquility. From the most golden of golden hours to a blanket of blues and peaceful purples. You can sit amongst cheery locals to absorb and reflect.

Jaipur is magic. Go.

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