The Jewels Of Jaipur

Rajasthan’s Pink City has served as a creative mecca for centuries: a testament to its early rulers, who welcomed and supported artisans. Today Jaipur is famous for its gem market, but it is the dazzling block prints that lure textile designer Molly Mahon.
Curated by Molly Mahon


Our guide to the delights of Rajasthan’s capital city is British creative Molly Mahon, a textile designer who marries the traditional Indian technique of block printing with a modern English aesthetic. When Molly first visited Jaipur, she was blown away by the incredible craftsmanship she found there. From that very moment, India became a huge source of inspiration – the architecture, the artisanal decoration and patterns, and the rich, joyful colours. Her life and work is now firmly intertwined with this Indian city, so who better to take us on a tour of Jaipur’s local gems…


Pictured: Molly Mahon


Image: Anopura

Where to stay:


This is an absolute haven for a pure disconnect. Set in the middle of the desert, an hour from Jaipur, the hotel has only a handful of private villas, each with its own pool. It is my escape – the place I visit to collect myself and recover from jet lag. The bathrooms are huge and luxurious, the table linen all beautifully block-printed; delicious home-grown organic fruit and veg revitalise and restore, and the cheese soufflé is an unexpected delight!
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This is a relatively new hotel, set right in the heart of the old city. You are literally in the hustle and the bustle of the Johri Bazaar, yet on entering this old-style establishment, you step in to a calm and cool respite with cold lime sodas at the ready and a welcoming and friendly team of staff. I adored my soft-pink room with little flowers painted across the walls and all over the bedding.
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Image: The Johri


Image: The Johri


Set amongst lush greenery, but still close enough to the old city, I love Jobner Bagh for its sophisticated yet rustic charm. It’s super homely and friendly, and a great place to relax. Don’t miss the plant-pot-filled roof terrace – perfect for watching the fireworks during Holi or the Kite Festival in January.
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Image: Jobner Bagh


Image: Jobner Bagh

Where to eat:


Go for afternoon tea or pre-dinner drinks. Sit out under the red striped parasols in the lush garden and, if you are lucky, you might spot a bit of polo being played or witness the dance of a peacock.


I can only imagine that you have seen pictures of Palladio flash before your eyes via Instagram – it’s reknowned for its blue and white interiors, decorative spaces that delight and inspire. Sip cocktails around the little fire pits or gobble up the delicious Italian fare. There is a party atmosphere here and it is popular with both the locals and tourists alike. Dress GLAM!


Offering good value, North Indian fare, Niros has been serving superstars and locals for over six decades, and its unpretentious and unchanged surroundings prove that the focus is on the food. Perfect for a light-hearted, convivial evening.


Image: The Palladio


Image: Rambagh Palace

Where to shop:


The old city was created as a commercial hub and it’s still hustling and bustling today, with small stalls selling fabrics, shoes, jewellery and all imaginable handicrafts. Leave the map behind and wander through the narrow streets and grid-like passages, soaking up the atmosphere and busy local trade. I visit to buy pretty little prayer bracelets and snippets of silk.

Teatro Dohra

This is a cool concept store selling a well-curated collection of contemporary clothing and jewellery. The owners are particularly keen to promote slow fashion, small labels and local artisans, making this a store that truly celebrates the craftsmanship of India. It’s an Indian version of Collagerie!


This tucked-away shop is one of my favourites and I get excited the minute I arrive at its beautiful blue doors. The brand belongs to our friends Manish and Madhu – they are passionate about preserving the arts of block printing and embroidery, while injecting their own, very modern spin to their designs. Rasa’s beautifully made products have earned the label a devoted global following.


Where to visit/what to see:


It has become a ritual for me to rise early on at least one morning while I am in Jaipur, and to whizz (traffic free) through the old streets of the city in a tuk-tuk to visit this energetic flower market. Here, deals and transactions fly through the air, and flower heads are scooped and tied into beautifully printed but worn pieces of fabric, before being shipped off – carried atop heads or piled high on the back of motorbikes and tuk-tuks – to temples, smaller shops, restaurants and hotels. I love the energy and the bargaining, the chatter and community spirit, the beautiful bundles of roses and marigolds, and the realisation that this market has existed for hundreds of years. It feels as though you’re witnessing something very true to the people of Jaipur, which is a treat for all the senses. And can you imagine the fragrance of all those roses!?


Recently created and supported by the Bamford Foundation, this is a marvellous space that aims to celebrate and preserve India’s rich heritage of craftsmanship. It is cool in every sense, and offers a serene environment in which to learn about India’s rural artisan communities and the integrity and importance of traditional crafts. It also offers the opportunity to shop for beautiful one-off pieces.


I was moved to tears not only the first, but also the second time I visited. The restored haveli (a traditional mansion) alone is absolutely stunning, and it houses the extensive Anokhi archive, which is ever evolving. This is the place to go for anyone with even the vaguest interest in block printing and/or cloth. Beautifully curated and brilliantly displayed, it feels like an honour to stop by here. They also serve delicious chai and homemade biscuits – just what is needed before one heads up the hill and takes on the Amber Palace!

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