Located in the western state of Rajasthan, Jaipur presents an eye-catching stop on a Golden Triangle tour. The landscape here is high desert, with rocky hills and dry river beds. Almost as if to compensate, the women here dress in bright colors -- fuchsia, yellow and orange are the favorites -- and the city's pink-painted buildings contrast the sky.
Those rose-colored structures give Jaipur its nickname: the Pink City. Built in 1726, Jaipur is India's first planned city, and the wider avenues add some elegance to Jaipur's chaotic, highly mercantile streets. The city's ruling clan, the Kachwaha, encouraged artisans and craftsmen to make Jaipur their home, and that legacy endures (you'll find some of the best shopping in India here).
Jaipur also has some of India's best hotels, including the flagship Oberoi Rajvilas (the founder of the luxury Oberoi hotel chain hails from the area); Uniworld is one river cruise company that utilizes the sprawling resort. The 32-acre property combines colonial chic with Indian decor, boasting tented villas, peacocks walking the grounds and two outstanding Indian restaurants onsite. After the madness of Jaipur's bazaar, the resort is a much-needed escape.