Last updated on September 25th, 2018.
Rajasthan happened to become one of my favorite states in India. There are so many interesting destinations there and all of them are one of a kind. Take Udaipur lakes, blue streets of Jodhpur, the golden city Jaisalmer, Thar desert and many others. This post will be about a colorful city – Jaipur, otherwise known as a Pink City and a capital of Rajasthan.
Jaipur is one of the popular destinations also included in the Golden Triangle route (Agra – the city where Taj Mahal is, Jaipur – the Pink city of Rajasthan, Delhi – the capital). In this post, I have compiled tips and advice gathered during my several trips to Jaipur. Here is a menu for your convenience:
- Why is Jaipur a pink city?
- How to arrive in Jaipur?
- Best time to visit Jaipur
- How long to stay in Jaipur
- Places to visit in Jaipur
- Interesting local experiences
- Local food specialties in Rajasthan
- 2-day trip plan
Why is Jaipur a Pink City – story time
That question might have crossed your mind. Though Rajasthan is a special state where several cities have assigned a color to their “brand” like golden city of Jaisalmer, blue city Jodhpur, white city Udaipur and here comes Pink city Jaipur. Nevertheless, each color has a story. Jaipur has become pink only at the end of the 19th century during the visit of the Prince of Wales.
Maharaja of Jaipur gave the order to color the city in pink since it was the color of hospitality, so he wanted the guests to feel welcomed. Though there are several versions of this story, the fact remains the same, the walled city of Jaipur is still colored in a shade between red and pink.
How to arrive in Jaipur
As a capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is very well connected to the transport network. You can reach there by train, bus, and plane. Rajasthan has even sleeper buses which can be either a savior or disaster. I’ve taken several sleeper buses in Rajasthan and whenever you move on a smooth road, it feels almost like a train. You have a proper coach to sleep and in some cases, the drivers even have blankets. Nevertheless, if the road is not repaired or has numerous gaps, this ride can turn into a nightmare.
I always recommend traveling by train in India whenever possible, unless you need to go from extreme north to extreme south. Irctc is a great platform to check and book train tickets. In the case of holidays, foreigners can avail traveling quota which might be sometimes more expensive, but way better than a bumpy bus.
Best time to visit Jaipur
Considering that Rajasthan is a state built in the desert climate, there is quite a short period of time with a comfortable climate. The most popular tourist season in Jaipur is from November to February. From March the temperature raises fastly because of the upcoming summer.
I’ve been in Jaipur in January, June, August and October. I found nights in January a bit uncomfortable, though it was sunny and warm during the day time. It will not be that cold as in Delhi and the Northern states of India at nights, but you will still need warm clothes.
From mid-March till July the temperature will be on the rise with the peaks in May and June. From the summer season, I found August temperatures the sanest. It is still quite hot and humid, though it feels better when it’s cloudy or rainy.
How long to stay in Jaipur
In my opinion, it depends on your itinerary. If you do only Golden Triangle tour, I recommend spending 3 days in Jaipur. As a capital of Rajasthan, it has many cultural and historical places to offer.
If you are planning to visit other cities of Rajasthan afterward, I recommend a 2-day stay in Jaipur(anchor). I can visit Rajasthan cities again and again and every time I will discover something new.
Places to visit in Jaipur – city highlights
Here is a broader overview of both popular and offbeat places and at the end, I will summarize them in the advised itinerary.
I already confessed some time back that I love architecture and history. I visited several forts in Delhi and UP before Amber fort. In India, I haven’t had an impression of: “Oh, another fort” till date. Every time there is a different story and architecture. Ganesh Pol Gateway itself that serves as the entrance to Amber Palace is a masterpiece. Its ornamental painting work can capture everyone’s attention. There are numerous interesting areas of the fort to explore as well as a few great viewpoints where opens an amazing panorama of nature and surroundings.
There are two more forts that you might be interested in checking out –Jaigarh Fort (there is a great viewpoint from there though I didn’t go inside) and Nahargarh Fort.
Jal Mahal – a beautiful Palace located in the middle of the Lake is one of the popular tourist spots in Jaipur. It shows a fine combination of Mughal and Rajput architecture. As there is not public entrance as of now, you will be able to enjoy its view only from the sidewalk of the lake. It is on the way to the Amber Fort.
Hawa Mahal – This is another architectural gem which means Palace of Wind. You might have seen it in numerous time in different travel magazines, tours writing about Jaipur. The palace was built to enable royal ladies to watch festive events happening outside. It has 953 windows and they are constructed in the manner that there will be a cool breeze flowing through the palace irrespective of the season.
City Palace Jaipur – A heritage complex which includes gardens, palaces, museum, courtyards. It’s located in the heart of the Pink City Jaipur and used to serve as a place where the Maharaja reigned from. The architecture reflects a mix of Rajput, Mughal and European styles. The most visited sights include Chandra Mahal, Mubarak Mahal, Diwan-I-Khas and Govind Dev Ji temple.
Rambagh Palace – Centuries back this palace used to be the residence of Maharajas. It used to serve different purposes. By mid of 20th century, the Royal family decided it was too costly to maintain such a huge territory with gardens. Thus it was converted in one of the most dreamy hotels by Taj Group.
Other Architectural monuments
It’s an observatory with astronomical constructions used centuries back to measure time and predict different natural phenomena like eclipse or monsoons. There are 5 Jantar Mantars around India. Jaipur has the biggest collection of Instruments. I visited the one in Delhi and it was interesting for me to learn how those constructions were used. If you haven’t been to any monument of this type, then I would recommend a visit to Jantar Mantar.
Panna Meena ka Kund
This is an ancient step well of India. There are plenty of wells all over India and you hardly can meet people there. It’s not a fort or a palace covered by every possible touristic media, but still, it’s amazing how these wells were smartly built centuries back to reserve water. This one is quite close to Amber Fort and is one of the offbeat sites.
Royal Gaitor Tumbas and Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan
These both places are offbeat and out of guide books. I got lucky to meet local Jaipurians who advised these places. Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan served to be the funeral area for Royal ladies and Royal Gaitor Tumbas for male Royal family members. These places combine peaceful spirit and splendid architecture. You can get the entrance for a price of 30 INR as hardly anyone knows about its existence. We seemed to be the only visitors there on the weekend day. For architecture and offbeat travelers, I recommend them both.
This is an offbeat viewpoint from where you can see the whole Jaipur and its forts for a price of 50 INR. It’s very close to the city palace. Except me and my friend, there were only 2 more people so no one will be pushing you out if you decide to enjoy the panorama for more time.
There are also some famous gardens in Jaipur. Due to time constraint, I’ve seen just one on the way to monkey temple. Well-known gardens: Sisodia Rani Palace and Garden, Kanak Vrindavan Mahal and Gardens; Ram Niwas Garden, Vidyadhar Garden.
Monkey Temple (Galta Ji)
There is a long walk uphill till you reach the temple. On the way, you will find some great viewpoints with city and hills panorama. It will justify your climbing effort. Obviously, you will meet many monkeys on the way. Some people feed them, however, I would be careful with petting street animals. Remember some of them are skilled to rob you. The temple was built in the 18th century.
Rajasthan, in general, has many specialties: from food to textiles. Whether you would like to find a new fabric for your suit or get lost in the noisy local streets exploring local life Jaipur got you covered. Here are some of the interesting experiences for you:
It’s very tough to escape shopping in Jaipur while being surrounded by numerous markets: Johari Bazaar, Tripolia Bazaar, Nehru Bazaar and so on. Beware of local sellers – they are just PRO in storytelling. I came with no intention to buy anything but I couldn’t resist. Those Rajasthani shoes, perfumes, essential oils, the smell of burning cinnamon and candles, tea sellers. The combination of everything in local markets makes them irresistible. If you don’t have the intention to buy anything as I didn’t, don’t go to the market! 😀 Period. 😀
Jaipur by Cycle
Cycling is generally an offbeat experience all over India, though this is one of the ways to explore the city, its heritage and street life. Cycling Jaipur provides the tours in the city. All the tours take place in the morning hours and extend up to 3-4 hours covering some of the main views of the city.
Since my childhood, I was dreaming to see elephants in real life. Not in the Zoo, I can’t stay caged animals, but nearby, so I can be around. If you have also dreamt of seeing these animals, Rajasthan is a perfect place to do that.
Nevertheless, beware, there are plenty of companies and individuals who capitalize on tourist’s unawareness and sell numerous elephant experiences in the fort, around the city, etc. Please avoid such people! Elephants are not the pet animals and you need to know what they go through to become a tourist attraction (Attention: strong graphic content!). If you wish to see elephants, visit either sanctuaries or farms. Most of them are situated on the outskirts of Jaipur.
There are plenty of sights in Jaipur that are worth visiting. There will be also many companies offering their services on spot, but I do recommend to shortlist options before coming to ensure quality. Jaipur Magic is one of the top rated in heritage walk programs. One of the most attractive points, you can find knowledgeable women guides there. I don’t have anything against men guides, but I do admire Indian women who make their way in different industries and become successful.
Pottery is one of the experiences that will help you further connect with India. If you are in Jaipur for a few days and want to try something offbeat, join a pottery class. I’ve visited a pottery village in Delhi and talking to local artisans was one of the most interesting experiences for me. Pottery can help to express yourself in a different way. Clay Botik conducts 2 hr workshops every day for tourists as a fun stress-busting activity, with songs playing in the background and amazing artworks on colorful walls.
Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing
This is a one of its kind museum in the world, which is depicting the beauty of hand printing. The art of block printing faces a serious challenge from modern manufacturing. This art is slowly disappearing. The Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing educates the tourists on the art of block printing. It has the aim to make everyone a little wiser and more sensitive to the need of protecting this heritage craft for future generations.
This museum is located in a magnificent haveli (mansion), which is just a 10-minute walk from the Amber Fort. It displays a varied selection of block printed textiles, images, tools and related objects, all depicting the complexity of ancient tradition of block printing. One of the fun activity to do here is to buy a T-shirt and block print it by yourself in the museum. There are many artists showcasing their craft, and they are more than happy to help you learn block printing.
I’ve bought quite a few skirts and pants with patterns on them, but only in Jaipur I had a chance to try block printing myself and understand how they were made.
Local food specialties in Jaipur
Once you enter Rajasthan, all Indian food becomes chillier and spicier – even the dishes that are supposed to be plain. One of the famous snacks is kachori – it has many varieties – I love onion(pyaaz) one. From whole meals, Dal Bhati Churma is a typical Rajasthani dish. Dal is a type of curry, Bhati is kind of bread that can come plain or with fillings, Churma is a sweet dish.
From sweets, I strongly recommend halwa – there is something different in the way it’s made in Rajasthani cities. Ghewar is also a typical sweet you will find every now and then.
2-days trip to Jaipur
I would like to share my idea of a Jaipur route that includes some offbeat places as well. Firstly understand one thing: it’s not possible to see whole Jaipur in one trip. There will be certain things that you will cover and some you won’t be able to. I’ve improved the route and itinerary compiling different trips and I guess the following plan can create a comprehensive impression of the city. you can change day 1& day 2 with places.
Day 1 – Outskirts of Jaipur
1st part of the day: Amber Fort, Ancient step well.
They are close to each other and both are quite far from the city. These both will take around 4 hours to visit. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking a lot. Prices in the forts on food and drinks are a bit higher than in the city. Jaigarh fort is close to Amber Fort, though, in my opinion, it will be optimistic & hectic to include it.
2nd part of the day: Elephant Activity
The 2nd part can be more relaxing. Most of the elephant farms are situated beyond Amber fort area. Please, please don’t ride elephants in the fort or at the farm.
On the way back you can spend some time near the lake and enjoy Jal Mahal view (lake palace). In the evening you can do some shopping at the famous Jaipur bazaars or sit in a rooftop café and enjoy evening city.
1st Part: Royal Gaitor Tumbas, City Palace, Hawa Mahal.
They all are in the same area, thus visiting these points will take 5 hours or so. Then you can climb Sargasuli Tower to see the city view. It’s also nearby.
2nd part: Monkey temple, exploring city streets, markets.
There is a long walk to a Monkey Temple with some amazing views opening from there. Closer to the evening you can visit one of the textile companies if it represents an interest for you. There are plenty textile shops in Jaipur, that will be happy to open new horizons for you in clothes manufacturing area. I’ve been to one in Jaipur. Afterward, I’ve visited several more textile manufacturers around Rajasthan because I had no idea about labeling clothes and how they were made.
I do not recommend overplanning your trip. During my first visit to Jaipur, I was so tired of walking, lack of sleep during several days on the road and all this hustle and bustle of touristy cities that I wasn’t able to fully experience Jaipur. I was completing my impressions and memories during several visits. Despite there are no destinations in Rajasthan that can overcome my interest towards Udaipur and Jodhpur, I have to admit that Jaipur has its unique experiences to offer. For cultural tips and general behavior norms, check out
Despite there are no destinations in Rajasthan that can overcome my interest towards Udaipur and Jodhpur, I have to admit that Jaipur has its unique experiences to offer. For cultural tips and general behavior norms, check out things to know before landing in India.
What about you? Have you visited Jaipur? What else would you advise for the first-timers?