In the Rajasthani capital of Jaipur, in India, the colour pink is a part of life. Upon arrival, you’ll see it everywhere – predominantly splashed across the city’s regal architecture. The latest addition to the Pink City’s signature colour scheme are the custom-designed, eco-friendly rickshaws driven by local women for Pink City Rickshaw.
These neon-bright vehicles are more than just a fun way to explore Jaipur, however. Pink City Rickshaw helps support more than 200 local women from low-income households by exclusively employing female drivers. The company also equips its employees with professional training and opportunities for economic empowerment among their communities.
Empowering local women
Puja Gour, Vice President of ACCESS Development Services, a nonprofit organization based in Jaipur, that partners with Pink City Rickshaw tells us: “Empowering women is our main initiative but creating an engaging and curated experience on our sightseeing tours is a top priority as well. Tourism meets philanthropy as you are guided through the medieval mystique of the walled city, seeing the local culture and sites through the eyes of the smart, enthusiastic and knowledgeable women who navigate Jaipur’s streets.”
A modern icon since the 1880s
“The presence of rickshaws in India has played an important role, from the electric cities to the smaller towns of rural regions,” explains Puja. “Growing up in Patna in Bihar, we didn’t have a public transportation system. Hopping on a rickshaw (usually hired by a family or friend) for weekly outings with other neighborhood children continues to hold a warm place in my heart. While the city’s rickshaw industry has traditionally been dominated by men, the societal backdrop is adapting to the transition of new drivers — giving women the power to gain professional experience and income, while also giving you a fuller experience compared to the standard point A-to-B taxi service.”
Soaking up the sites
Sites like the 16th-century Amber Palace and UNESCO world heritage site Jantar Mantar observatory are part of what draw so many visitors to the magic of Jaipur. Stroll Amber Palace’s cobbled paths and take in views of Maota Lake. The magnificent City Palace is home to Mughal and Rajput architecture. It is also the present residence to the last ruling royal family who live in a private section of the palace.
You’ll also get lost in some more off-the-beaten path destinations. Explore the partially hidden lower level of Mansagar, a beautiful place of solitude often overlooked by the masses. When you take a tour with the women of Jaipur, you’re making a personal impact on the local community and contributing to a cleaner environment. You’re also experiencing the magic of one of India’s most dynamic cities.