Molly Mahon’s Insider’s Guide to Jaipur

Molly Mahon’s Insider’s Guide to Jaipur

British printmaker Molly Mahon takes a deep dive in to Jaipur to give us an insider’s guide to the ‘pink city’. The ancient art of Jaipur block printing has been passed down through generations, and the area is famed for its vegetable dye and mud resist prints. With seemingly endless knowledge on fabrics, printing and of course colour, Molly and her Sussex-based brand and family (and Bramble the dog) are fantastic advocates for India's Jaipur and all that comes with it. With sustainability and eco-craftmanship at the fore of her business, it’s clear that Molly’s past travels to the coral-hued city had a hefty input on the mark her brand makes on the planet. While delving into the city’s ancient trades, Molly discovered some of the top places to eat, stay and explore. Read on for her insider’s guide to Jaipur



There’re oodles of places to visit in Jaipur, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to block printed apparel. I have barely touched the surface over ten years of travelling here. Block printing is vital as it preserves cultural heritage, supports artisanal craftsmanship, promotes sustainability, offers design flexibility and contributes to the beauty and uniqueness of textiles. By valuing, embracing and purchasing block printed products in Jaipur, you’ll be supporting a more diverse, sustainable and culturally rich textile industry. I have honey picked one or two of my favourites, but a top tip is just to follow your nose, meander along the streets and explore…

For something traditional try Anokhi; for something modern try Rasa; and for something more expensive try the shops at the entrance to the Narain Niwas. To see block print in action there are two areas that are particularly worth visiting: Sanganeer and Bagru. Jaipur merges into Sanganeer which was the official craft district, renowned for its block prints and paper manufacturers. Keep your eyes peeled for the swathes of colourful fabric billowing from 10ft-high bamboo pole structures in the midday sun. Bagru, on the other hand, is a sleepy village about 45 minutes out of town.  You will find smaller family-run spaces all based around a communal drying space; a kaleidoscopic array of drying cloth which then gets rolled into bundles and disappears off piled high on the back of motorbikes, the only vehicles that can truly weave through the narrow streets and herds of cows. This was one of the places I went to develop my very first block prints; it will always remain a hugely influential and educational part of my journey as a modern block printer.

Flowers in Jaipur, India

Image © Jerome Galland



Whether it’s traditional curries, tasty chai or exotic cocktails you’re after, Jaipur is sure to get your tastebuds tingling…

Jaipur Modern

This simple café serves carefully sourced food. Focusing on organic farming initiatives, sustainable agriculture and supporting local farming communities this is a great example of how simplicity equals success.  A particular highlight is the Q-Burger – a must try in my opinion.

Bar Palladio

Situated in the Narain Niwas Palace, Bar Palladio is known for its stunning blue and white décor inspired by the Chandra Mahal room at the City Palace. The City Palace is still used by the current Maharaja of Jaipur, but at certain times it is now possible to visit them.  Expect Italian fare at Palladio and plenty of cocktails; you can just picture yourself sitting on the little umbrella’d outdoor sofas around a crackling firepit with a Mojito in hand.

Food truck in Jaipur, India



Beyond its blush-pink buildings and beautiful block printing, Jaipur has so much on offer for exploring. From ever-changing flower markets to heritage-filled palaces, this pretty city has tonnes for everyone…

Phool Mandi Flower Market

Drag yourself up at sunrise to experience this daily flower market.  It is a treat for the senses as an incredibly uplifting and indulgent aroma for hits your nose, permeating from the mountains of flower heads for sale. It’s a photographer’s dream; a lively, flamboyant display of economy and beauty. It is mesmerising watching this way of life which is based around the beauty and power of flowers.

Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)

Hawa Mahal is an obvious, but MUST stop for all those travelling through. The iconic shaped Hawa Mahal that hangs over the busy street below. It is built from red and pink sandstone and is eye-catching as it is, but it becomes ever more interesting on learning that the 953 windows were built in to allow the ladies of the royal court to peer out at passing festivals and everyday life without being seen, while catching a cool breeze at the same time.

Amber Fort

Amber Fort is certainly worth the 20-minute trip out of Jaipur. I bypass the elephants carrying people up and down to the fort from the village and opt to drive through the town and around to the back entrance. By doing this, you will pass the magnificent Anokhi Museum which lays bare the history of block print in its beautifully curated cool airy rooms.  Grab a chai and a delicious biscuit, and you will be ready to tackle the enormous Amber Fort and all its ornately carved arches, intricately decorated spaces, including a fav of mine, the mirror palace. You can virtually spend the whole day exploring the architectural marvel of this enormous palace.

Also in Amber (or locally known as Amer) is another unknown spot worth a visit; the stunning Step Well Panna Meena Ka Kund. I was so blown away by the geometric brilliance of the undulating steps and shapes it creates that I based a block print on it (I doubt I am the first), as it makes for a very effective repeat pattern.

City Palace

You will all have seen a multitude of selfies in the doorways of the Pritam Niwas Chowk that represent the four seasons or perhaps deities (it’s unclear), but the City Palace's courtyard’s original use is thought to be for dance performances. The detail in the decoration is staggering and a wonderful place to feed the creative mind. Paying a bit extra to go and see the Chhavi Niwas, the blue room, that has open sides to allow a cooling breeze to pass through, is a must. The blue and white pattern is very effective and must have been the inspiration for Bar Palladio.

Nila House

Recently created and supported by the Bamford Foundation, this is a marvellous exhibition and experience space that aims to celebrate and preserve India’s rich heritage of traditional craft. It is cool in both senses, and a serene environment to learn about India’s rural artisan communities, as well as the integrity and importance of craft, and offers the opportunity to shop really beautiful one-off pieces. Be sure to take a peek in the indigo dying room.

Women in Jaipur, India



Whether you kip in a hotel in the old city, or rest your weary legs in a former palace, Jaipur is brimming with history, heritage and flawless service just waiting to be enjoyed…

28 Kothi

28 Kothi is a delightful boutique place to stay; it is small and intimate and a safe haven for any independent traveller.  You will have a very personal service here. A particular highlight was staying in Topaz with the little balcony below a breezy tree.

47 Jobner Bagh

Located in a pretty walled garden, 47 Jobner Bagh is an exquisite retreat that captivates with its timeless beauty. The simple decor makes for a calming place to rest from the hustle and bustle of the markets that may well have drawn you in; the Jali walls and multitude of greenery are an interior highlight. The owner Shiva is often about and welcomes you as if an old friend and there is always an interesting crowd here.

The Johri

My husband and I stayed at the Johri for the first time in January and were mesmerised by the tucked away charm of the Johri in the mid of the jewellery district. The charming staff add to its splendour.

Samode Haveli

Samode Haveli is the place to go and see beautifully decorated walls, have a swim, meander the lawns and be spoilt rotten in the restaurant. An urban oasis in the old city and is well placed for great fabric hauls and overnight shirt making.

Rajmahal Palace

Rajmahal Palace is a truly enchanting place to stay, offering a blend of regal opulence and sumptuous decorative features.  The staff’s pink turbans can’t be missed.

Chairs in a hotel in Jaipur, India

Image © Jérôme Galland

Header Image © Jerome Galland


Written by Molly Mahon