It’s hard to miss the pink in the ‘Pink City’ as Jaipur is fondly called. Jaipur is a fine representation of the regal grandiose that has always distinguished the state of Rajasthan. Home to opulent palaces, towering forts and holy temples, not only has Jaipur gracefully retained its royal roots but it proudly displays them for visitors to see and experience.
Don’t leave Jaipur before you See:
1) HawaMahal: Jaipur’s most iconic landmark, the red and pink sandstone façade of HawaMahal or Palace of Winds is widely recognised. Within its chambers, hidden from public view, the women of the royal house would secretly observe the activities on the street through the palace’s latticework openings. A fine example of Mughal architecture, the pyramidal design of HawaMahalrises five-storeys from the ground.
2) Nahargarh Fort: Set on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, Nahargarh Fort is striking in stature. Built as the summer palace for the royal family, the main palace within the fort is known as MadhavendraBhawan. In addition, there are nine other double storied living spaces within the fort. . An example of Indo-European architectural style, royal frescos and marble engravings can still be see on the interior walls. Connected to Jaigarh Fort, the views of Jaipur city are stunning from Nahagarh Fort.
3) Amber Fort: The charm of Amber Fort is undeniable. Perched on a hilltop, this 15th century fort is impressive both in size and structure and can be accessed through imposing ramparts and cobbled pathways leading to its gates. Built using Mughal style architecture, the golden frontage is complemented by elaborate interiors complete with ornate archways leading to expansive chambers with hand painted and mirrorwork ceilings and walls. The fort houses the Diwan-e-Aam, or ‘Hall of Public Audience’, the Diwan-e-Khas, or ‘Hall of Private Audience’, and also the Sheesh Mahal, the ‘Mirror Palace’. The splendor of Amber Fort is heightened during the Light and Sound Show in the evening which is a must watch.
4) JantarMantar: Dating back to the 18th century, JantarMantar is an astronomical observation site and a testimony of the scholarly brilliance of a bygone era. Among the 20 instruments found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site, it also houses the largest sundial in the world.
5) City Palace: Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, the City Palace depicts typical Rajput style architecture complete with layers of chambers and halls. While a portion of the palace remains the residence of the royal family of Jaipur even today, visitors have access to other parts of the palace complex including Mubarak Mahal, Diwan-i-Khas and Maharani Palace. The City Palace also houses a museum with a fine collection of artefacts and a temple.
Do in Jaipur :
a) Visit an Elephant Camp: Located behind Amber Fort, DeraAmer is a privately owned 160-acre forest and wilderness camp. A natural habitat for elephants, camels and other domesticated animals, visitors can explore the Aravali forest on elephant back. They can also be privy to how they’re cared for and try their hand at bathing these gentle giants.
b) Shop for Local Handicrafts: The local bazaars of Jaipur are teeming with things to buy. Clothes, shoes, home furnishings, handicrafts, spices, jewelry and pottery…there isn’t anything you won’t love or can’t find. Some of the popular marketplaces in the city are Baapu Bazaar and Johari Bazaar. Keep your wallet handy!
c) Watch a Polo Match: The ‘game of kings’, polo, continues to be widely played and patronized by the upper echelons of society in Jaipur. While invites to an exclusive polo match can be hard to come by, you can watch a match at one of the city’s polo clubs like Ramgarh Resort & Polo Complex or Jaipur Polo Club, free of cost.
d) Block Printing at Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing: The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing was established to preserve the age-old tradition of hand block printing. Much of Jaipur’s artisan community still practices this intricate craft. At the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing, you can get educated about this endangered trade and witness block printing artisans at work. Visitors can also shop for locally made hand-crafted merchandise.
What to Eat :
a) Ghewar: A favourite with locals and tourists, ghewar is a traditional Rajasthani sweet that is circular in shape. It’s deep fried and laden with pistachios and almonds. LMB in Johari Bazaar is an acclaimed eatery to sample this delicacy.
b) Kachori: Kachori is a fried snack that can either be sweet or savoury. When in Jaipur, pick up your box of the famous pyaazkachori from RawatkiKachori and enjoy it with a hot cup of tea!
c) DaalBaati: A popular dish of Rajasthan, daalbaati is daal served with hard wheat rolls (baati). Seasoned with ghee and served hot, most local eateries in Jaipur have it on their menu.
d) Lal Maas: Literally translated as ‘red meat’, lalmaas is a lamb dish that dates back to royal times. Doused in spices, yogurt and chillies, the flavour of the gravy is heightened by it being cooked on a slow fire for many hours.
When to Go :
Jaipur experiences extreme weather and has three distinct seasons – summer, monsoons and winter.
a) October to March: These are undoubtedly the best months to visit Jaipur as the summer heat has abated. December and January are the peak of winter and are exceptionally cold and dry. Temperatures start rising in February and remain pleasant till March which is the ideal weather for a holiday!
b) April to June: With May and June being the hottest months, summers in Jaipur can be brutal with temperatures going upwards of 40C.
c) July to September: Though still hot in Jaipur, the monsoons during these months bring with it high humidity levels.
a) By Air: Jaipur International Airport is located in Sanganer, approximately 12 kilometres from the city centre. It is well serviced and connected by flights from across India as well as international destinations like Dubai, Muscat and Abu Dhabi.
b) By Road: The Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation runs a fleet of air conditioned and non-air conditioned buses from nearby cities and towns. If driving to Jaipur, national highways connecting from Delhi and Gujarat make for a smooth ride.
c) By Train: Jaipur Junction is the city’s largest railway station. It has direct trains running from major cities across India including Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. For a truly luxurious experience, the Palace on Wheels makes a scheduled stop in Jaipur.
Both public and private transportation is easily available in Jaipur. From cycle rickshaws and local buses to air-conditioned radio cabs, take your pick! Also, the first phase of the rapid transit system, the Jaipur Metro, covers a distance of 9.6 kilometres from Mansarovar to Chandpole Bazaar.
What to Pack:
Lightweight cotton clothing for the summer as temperatures can peak beyond 40C. Essentials like a good pair of walking shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, a sunhat and mosquito repellent. A jacket for winter nights as temperatures can dip to 4C.