By Ryan C. Haynes
"It's to the north west of the country, in Rajasthan, Jaipur is the capital - a large city. Rajasthan was the last state to agree to be part of India.
It is the land of kings. It's part of the desert, and this wealthy part of India delivers one final resounding cultural insight to the country for my trip here. As I head from Delhi on a local bus that takes 6 hours stopping at every town along that way I see the change from central India to Rajasthan. More fields of corn, yellow fields being harvested by women in incredibly bright saris of multiple colours, carrying towers of gatherings a-top their heads. A few horse and cart help transport the harvest and then there’s the rare tractor. I've been transported back in time.
A highway is being built between Delhi and Jaipur, slicing through the middle of towns, cutting buildings in half as locals continue to try to operate businesses and homes that have been part-demolished. Pavements are made of the demolished rubble as kids and shoppers clamber their way along the road. The bus jaunts over and aside large potholes - it's a construction site on a massive scale.
I arrive in Jaipur and the atmosphere is instantly different to Delhi, the architecture more unique and original, it feels like there is a real heritage here that belongs to Rajasthan, my hotel - Umaid Bhawan Heritage Hotel - reflects the style of palaces in the region: it's ornate, slightly extravagant, visually rich.
The Pink City: painted to hide the cheap materials used to construct the inner walls. The heat of the day sets in early as I walk to the palace. The streets are lined with food markets that open early, and local shops begin to set up for the day. I stop at a temple and enter a conversation with the man on the door."