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Pink is often considered the most feminine color — providing chromatic inspiration for women’s restrooms, Barbie clothes, and baby showers. But the now-archaic blue-is-for-boys, pink-is-for-girls gender color segregation began in the 20th century. Before that, pink had a heyday in the 18th-century courts of European royalty, coloring everything from noblemen’s jackets to Madame de Pompadour’s china. Varying hues of pink have been used in opulent palaces, boudoirs, and fortresses throughout history. If this glorious color catches your fancy, you’ll want to check out some of these travel destinations for people who prefer pink.
Hawa Mahal, India
Jaipur, the capital city of India’s Rajasthan province, is known as the Pink City because many of its buildings are constructed from the local limestone, which has a naturally rosy tint. Arguably the grandest of all Jaipur’s buildings is the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, a 1799 addition to the sprawling City Palace. The 953 windows of Hawa Mahal are decoratively obscured by carved stone screens, which permitted women of the royal family to look outside without being seen in order to adhere to strict social and religious codes. The windows have a practical purpose too. They invite a breeze in to keep air circulating — a necessity in the hottest weather. The façade of the five-story pink building, with its intricate stone work and domed hanging cornices, was designed to resemble the arched and jeweled crown of Lord Krishna.
Las Coloradas, Mexico
As if Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula wasn’t pretty enough, the hot pink lagoons outside the little fishing town of Las Coloradas really turn up the tropical technicolor. The indigenous Mayan people began harvesting salt from the Gulf of Mexico more than 2,000 years ago, and it is still being produced the traditional way through solar evaporation in these pink manmade collection ponds. The brine shrimp and microbes that live in the lagoons turn the water a vivid pink hue, while feeding on impurities so the salt is clean when harvested. The organisms, in turn, feed the flamingos that flock to the region. Las Coloradas is within the UNESCO-designated Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve that protects coastal wetlands and ecosystems, so in addition to pink flamingos wading in pink ponds, you might also get to spot jaguars, hawksbill turtles, and wood storks in the jungles and wetlands you pass along the way.
The pink lakes of Las Coloradas have also attracted too many curious humans in the past few years, so visitors can no longer swim in the water, which is shallow, bath-temperature, and can really sting any cuts or scrapes you have due to its high salinity. But you can observe the wildlife and enjoy the contrast of white sand, blue skies, and hot pink water.
Schloss Drachenburg, Germany
The blush-pink, stone façade of this towering castle in the forest could inspire a visitor to don glass slippers and a crown just to visit. Or maybe when you hear its nickname, the “Castle of Siegfried the Dragon-Slayer,” you’ll want to wear a suit of armor instead. The truth is, though, that the legendary times of Siegfried far predate the 1882 construction of the castle even though the mythical battle in which he slew a dragon was supposed to have taken place near the site of the castle. The schloss ("castle" in German) was commissioned by a wealthy industrialist baron from the nearby city of Bonn and was built to his fairytale specifications in a neo-Gothic style. In subsequent years, his castle passed through incarnations as a resort, an art gallery, a boarding school for boys, and a training academy for elite Nazis during World War II.
Now owned by the state, the schloss has been restored to its intended beauty. Visitors can get a taste of what castle life would be like by strolling through the grounds to appreciate the gardens and touring the interior chambers to climb the many rose-hued stone steps up to the towers for a view of the Rhine leading to Cologne. (The stone of the famous cathedral there was mined at the same quarry as Schloss Drachenburg.)
Pink Sand Beach, The Bahamas
Numerous beaches of Bermuda and the Caribbean islands have sand that can look pink at certain times of day (tour books will advise you to arrive at sunset or daybreak to catch the strongest color), but few tropical beaches can compete with Pink Sand Beach on Harbour Island. No, the sand is not neon pink, nor flamingo pink, but it is most definitely pink — a pale rosy wash stretching the entire three miles of the beach. The pinkish color is the result of microscopic single-cell organisms known as foraminifera, which thrive on the reef offshore and wash up onto the sand along with tiny fragments of coral.
The colors of Harbour Island are pretty spectacular on their own, but don’t miss the colonial houses in Dunmore Town, the main settlement, which are painted in Easter egg pastels. The island’s long-reigning style queen, India Hicks (who is actually 678th in line to the actual British throne), is not afraid to splash around some hibiscus-hued paint or include a grass-green print fabric into her local designs. But at Pink Sand Beach, the purely natural blush of the sand, juxtaposed with the crystalline blue of the Atlantic surf, is quite a sight to behold and well worth a trip to this enchanted island.
Nasir ol Molk Mosque, Iran
After seeing the kaleidoscope of colors on the stained glass windows, you might think it’s unfair to call out just one hue in Nasir ol Molk Mosque, but it’s called the Pink Mosque for good reason. Pink definitely stands out among the psychedelic colors flowing into the mosque through the windows, as well as dominating the geometric tilework on the ceilings and even the wool prayer rugs carpeting the floors.
Unlike the stained glass windows of western churches and cathedrals, the multicolored windows in the 1888 Nasir ol Molk Mosque are orsi windows, separated by pieces of cut wood, rather than strips of lead. European-style stained glass windows usually depict narrative scenes or figures, but these panes are laid out in purely geometric designs. The effect is mesmerizing and magical — especially when the light from the windows dapples the interior’s pointed arches, carved pillars, and impossibly intricate pink patterns on the tiled ceiling.