Rajasthan happened to be one of my favorite states in India. It just has so many unique places: take Udaipur lakes, blue streets of Jodhpur, the golden city Jaisalmer, Thar Desert and many others.
This post will be about Pink City Jaipur – the capital of Rajasthan. Since it’s also part of Golden Triangle route (in addition to Agra and Delhi), I’ve been getting quite a few questions from travelers about it.
Many visitors plan one week to 10 days for the whole Golden Triangle route. Due to time limitation, I’d like to share with you places to visit in Jaipur in 2 days. Of course, I will not pass some practical tips and overall information about the destination that will help you plan your trip to Jaipur.
This post is compiled from several trips to the city. Here is a menu for your convenience:
- Why is Jaipur a pink city?
- How to arrive in Jaipur?
- Best time to visit Jaipur
- Places to visit in Jaipur in 2 days
- Day 1 of Jaipur itinerary
- Day 2 of Jaipur itinerary
- Interesting local experiences in Jaipur
- Where to stay in Jaipur
- Local food specialties in Rajasthan
- Other useful tips for visiting Jaipur
Why is Jaipur a Pink City?
That question might have crossed your mind. Though Rajasthan is a special state where several cities have assigned a color to their “brand” as the golden city of Jaisalmer, blue city Jodhpur, white city Udaipur and here comes Pink city Jaipur.
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 the capital of Rajasthan, Jaipur is very well connected to the transport network. You can reach there by train, bus, and plane.
If you start from Delhi, the trains go from NDLS (New Delhi Railway station) and Chandni Chowk (Old Delhi Railway station). If you take Shatabdi (fast train express), it’s roughly a 4.5-hour journey.
Read my post about traveling by train in India, where you will find all the information from booking the tickets, finding the right couch, food on the train and other important details. IRCTC is the official platform to check and book train tickets.
In case of holidays, foreigners can avail traveling quota at the stations of main tourist destinations (Delhi, Agra, Varanasi, Mumbai, Goa – you name it) which might be sometimes more expensive, but way better than a bumpy bus.
Rajasthan has regular buses and 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.
If you are new to India, take a look at my guide to transport in India and local market players in this sector.
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 fast because of the upcoming summer.
Summers are extremely hot when the temperature can reach up to 50C in May and June. Once the monsoon starts (usually end of June, beginning of July), rains are seldom.
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 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.
Read more about seasons in India and best time to visit different states around the year.
Places to visit in Jaipur in two days
Jaipur is so heavily stuffed with architecture and interesting places that it is impossible to see them all in in one visit and even one week. I’ve been to Jaipur several times and even now I just scratched the surface.
Here is a broader overview of both popular and offbeat places, that I will summarize them in the advised itinerary. You can switch days with places depending on your area of stay.
Day 1 of Jaipur itinerary
1st part of the day will include a visit to Amber Fort and an Ancient step well. They are close to each other and both are quite far from the main city.
These sites will take around 4 hours to visit (more in detail a bit later). 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.
The 2nd part of the day can be more relaxing. If you have a flexible budget, I recommend spending some time with elephants on the farm. Most of the elephant farms are situated beyond the Amber fort area on the outskirts. Please, please don’t ride elephants in the fort or any other places.
If you are on a budget, I’ll tell you about Monkey Temple from where you will see a great view of the city on a sunset.
Amber Fort is one of the most famous forts in India. The fort used to serve as a residence of the Rajput rulers when Amber was the capital of Jaipur state. Nowadays, it’s a UNESCO heritage site that attracts millions of tourists. During day time you can explore the fort, the palace, and its jaw-dropping halls, while in the evening you can attend the light show that tells about the history and significance of the place.
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.
- Ticket Price: 500 INR foreigners, 100 INR Indians.
- Working hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Time of stay: 2-3 hours
Other forts in Jaipur just FYI if you stay longer: 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. Jaigarh Fort is close to Amber Fort, though, in my opinion, it will be optimistic & hectic to include it.
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.
- Ticket price: no fee.
- Working hours: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Time required: 1 hour. Technically it’s a well, so you will able to see the whole site once you enter. If you would like some guidance, history, walk around, pictures – these are the factors that will take more time.
If you stay longer in Jaipur and would like to do side-trips, check-out my guide to Chand Baori – the biggest step well in the world.
Spending time with Elephants in Jaipur
Since my childhood, I was dreaming to see elephants in real life. Not caged in the Zoo, but nearby, so I can be around. If you have also dreamt of seeing these animals, Rajasthan is one of the places 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!
Before paying money, ask a few questions about conditions where elephants live. They shouldn’t be caged, chained, have saddles for riding, etc. Ethical elephant tours are expensive (e.g. 3000 INR per visitor, because this is an approximate cost to treat an elephant a day properly).
Jal Mahal Palace
On the way back you can spend some time near the lake and enjoy Jal Mahal view (lake palace). It is 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 no 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.
Are you traveling on a budget? Here is an alternative for 2nd half of the first day – instead of Elephant farm you can visit Galta Ji or Monkey Temple which is especially beautiful before the sunset.
Galta Ji or monkey temple in Jaipur
The temple was built in the 18th century. 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.
To sum up: one day is about covering the places and experiences outside of the city center outskirts. To be more efficient in commuting, I recommend hiring a cab or auto to Amber Fort and back.
Day 2 of Jaipur itinerary
In the 1st of the Day, you will visit the pink-walled city and its main sites – City Palace, Hawa Mahal. They are in the same area, so both will take around 4 hours to explore.
2nd part will be again more relaxing and offbeat at times. I would visit Royal Gaitor Tumbas (more details later) and then climb Sargasuli Tower for a Pink City view. I really like the viewpoints. In the evening a light walk through famous local markets.
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.
- Ticket cost: 500 INR for foreigners, 130 INR for Indians
- Working hours: 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Time required: 1 to 3 hours
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.
- Ticket cost: 200 INR for foreigners, 50 INR for Indians
- Working hours: 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
- Time required: 1 hour
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 recommended me 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.
Sargasuli tower 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.
Closer to the evening you can visit one of the textile companies if you are interested in it. There are plenty of 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, so it was something new to me.
It’s also 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.
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, don’t go to the market! 😀 Period. 😀
Other interesting experiences and places to visit in Jaipur
Overall I was trying to mix culture with architecture, history with local life for your 2 days itinerary for Jaipur. In my opinion, it makes little sense to visit all the palaces or all the forts in one go. Trust me, after third fort in a row, you will mix up several century of history and most probably get bored.
My 2 days itinerary for Jaipur presented above requires some discipline to make it (kinda no sleeping till 11 a.m. :D, sorry). But, if you are planning Jaipur in 3 days, here are a few more places and experiences to consider:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Where to stay in Jaipur?
This totally depends on your budget. Jaipur has many options from modern hostels to traditional luxurious palaces which were transformed into the hotels.
Budget hostels: check out Zostel, Crashpad and Madpackers. If you are looking for authentic palace experience and don’t mind paying 400+ USD per night, look into Rambagh, Oberoi, Sujan Rajmahal Palace – they all have mind-blowing interiors and some used to serve as real palaces in the past.
There are mid-range options (e.g. Havelis) – like Samode, 28 Kothi, Umaid Bhawan Heritage House, where you can expect paying between 80-200 USD per night.
For more information, check out best hostels in Rajasthan where I gathered reputed chains and adventurous options. While local people are rather familiar with these companies, if you are a foreigner – it will be a nice introduction to you.
You might also find useful a comprehensive review of travel budget in India, or what money can buy you in this country – from backpackers traveling for 10 USD a day to luxury travelers.
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.
Other useful things about Jaipur travel
- 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 my favorite destinations in Rajasthan are Udaipur and Jodhpur, Jaipur has its unique experiences to offer. For cultural tips and general behavior norms, check out things to know before landing in India.
- If you are planning to visit other cities of Rajasthan afterward, 2-days in Jaipur will be the right choice to get an introduction into the state’s capital. As part of Golden Triangle tour, I recommend spending 3 days in Jaipur.
- If you are planning an extensive trip around the country, don’t miss my 25 best places to visit in India for the first-timers.
What about you? Have you visited Jaipur? What else would you advise for the first-timers?