Popularly know as the Pink City, Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan in Northwest India. The Pink City nickname dates to 1876 when the entire city was painted pink to to commemorate the visit of the Prince of Wales. Jaipur has a myriad of attractions, including the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), the Jal Mahal (Water Palace), the City Palace, the Rambagh Palace, the Nahargarh Fort, the Amber Fort, the Jantar Mantar observatory, Mansagar Lake, and a large variety of temples and gardens. Once the capital for the Indian Royalty, the Pink City is now a bustling metropolis with over 4 million residents. The city has an international airport and accommodations for any budget.
The ancient Mayan city of Tikal, located in present-day Guatemala, has structures that date as far back as 400 BCE, though most of the structures were built in the Late Classic Period (600 – 900 CE). One of the largest urban centers of the pre-Colombian Mayan civilization, the city was at its peak at around 700 CE. Tikal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the ruins include five large pyramid temples, a large palace, small pyramids, tombs, and numerous other buildings with a grand total of 3,000 structures. The University of Pennsylvania and the government of Guatemala have contributed to the restorations done on the site in recent years. Travelers can find a variety of accommodations in the nearby cities of Flores and Guatemala City. Fans of the original Star Wars films may know Tikal as the “Massassi Outpost on the fourth moon of Yavin” from Episode IV: A New Hope.
The city of Bagan (previously spelled “Pagan”) in Myanmar (previously called Burma) is an ancient city that is home to over 2,000 temples and pagodas. Many ancient kingdoms have claimed Bagan as their capital city throughout its history. The majority of Bagan’s 67 square kilometers (26 square miles) worth of buildings were constructed between 1000 CE and 1300 CE. Bagan became a thriving center for Theravada Buddhism under King Anawrahta’s rule in the early 1000s. Visitors to Bagan can enjoy a variety of accommodations, cuisine, and activities, including touring the city by car, bike, or horse-cart, enjoying local art, and taking a boat trip on the Ayeyarwady River.