Jaipur – Exploring the pinks of the city!
I have a very strong affinity towards Rajasthan - it's culture, people, and its music. Having been to different parts of Rajasthan, with every city I visit, I fall more in love with this state.
The first time I visited Rajasthan was in 2007. It was a part of a school trip, and I believe, the memories of that time have kept me crazy about the place till now.
I went to Jaipur many times after that school trip in the later years, to tour the city and to meet friends.
But this time it was different. This time, I was planning (at least tried to plan) the whole trip. I was going to show around to my mom, and also capture lots and lots of pictures and take videos.
In this post, I share tips on how to reach Jaipur, where to stay, and top places to see, eat and shop at.
How to reach Jaipur?
I took a direct flight from Amritsar to Jaipur of about 1 hour and 30 minutes and the tickets cost us around 6000 INR per person for a round trip that we booked two weeks before the travel date.
You can also take a train from Amritsar to Jaipur. There are three trains that run between these two cities daily and take around 13-17 hours to reach Jaipur from Amritsar.
Check the official IRCTC page for train bookings.
If you are coming from the capital city of India, New Delhi, you can select from the following options:
Take a flight from New Delhi and reach Jaipur in under 1 hour. The flights are way cheaper if you book ahead of time.
Drive your way into the city. It takes around 4-5 hours of driving to reach Jaipur from New Delhi.
These are a few services you can use if you wish to take a car:
Zoom Car - Rent a self-drive car
Bla Bla Car - Share your ride with someone who is already heading to the same city
Ola Outstation - Rent a car, with a chauffeur at your service
There are also many buses that run between Delhi and Jaipur throughout the day. Check Redbus for best suitable options.
There are many trains as well that go between the two cities that take between 4-6 hours of travel time.
Check the official IRCTC website for the most suitable option.
Where to stay?
Jaipur is visited by tourists from around the world, which is why the city will not disappoint you in terms of hospitality.
There are many hostels and hotels for both budget travelers, as well as travelers that seek luxury.
I stayed with the Lords Plaza Hotel, located very close to the old city, which has most of the Jaipur attractions. It was a pretty decent hotel with spacious room and a clean washroom. City view at night from the room was one thing that I enjoyed the most apart from the tasty breakfast buffet.
Places to see
Jaipur is culturally and historically rich that you'll never feel a lack of places to visit and explore. Walk through the city bazaars(markets), visit the historical monuments, eat authentic Rajasthani food, watch Rajasthani performances, or sit in cozy cafes to work on your things, the city has everything.
Here is how we spent three days in the royal city of Jaipur.
Also known as the Palace of Winds, Hawa Mahal was built in 1799 as an addition to the existing City Palace. Located in the heart of the city, the palace has a structure similar to a beehive in the front. It is 5-storeyed and has 953 small windows (or jharokhas) that helped the cool breeze to flow in and also allowed the royal Rajputana ladies, to look out at the streets below, without being seen, in respect of the Purdah system that prevailed during that time.
Located on the back side of Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar is only a 10-minute walk from there. Built as a means to measure time and space, Jantar Mantar has around 19 astronomical architectural devices that astrologers used to measure position and distances of heavenly bodies to predict the time, and other celestial movements.
City Palace is where the Maharaja of Jaipur used to rule from and currently there is a private section of the palace, that serves as a residence of the royal family.
It is a perfect example of Rajasthani grandeur, with extensive gardens and many courtyards that take you back in time when the palace premises was the complex from where the rulers ruled their kingdom.
A perfect example of beauty and peace, built with pure white marble, Birla Mandir is one heck of an architectural marvel. With intricate carvings on domes and walls of the temple, it is so much more than just a religious site. Though crowded during the evening, for me it is the best time to visit the temple - when the evening prayers begin, and the sun slowly starts setting down with the cool evening breeze flowing. It gets so quaint even amidst all the noise and crowd.
Baapu Bazaar and Johari Bazaar
When you are in Jaipur, you cannot miss the colorful streets of the city, especially Baapu Bazar, and Johari Bazar located right in the heart of the older city.
You can buy anything from traditional wear, handicrafts, textiles, and jewels from both of these markets.
Chokhi Dhani, an artificially created village that provides a glimpse of Rajasthani culture and a taste of Rajasthani food.
While I enjoyed my time here, maybe because I wanted to, but honestly, the experience was not worth the ticket price of 700 INR per adult. It surely is a place to watch Rajasthani folk performances, but the lack of energy and enthusiasm in the performers, make you worry about them rather than enjoy their art.
The food, however, was good, but again I am sure you will find something very similar in the city itself, where you can get an authentic Rajasthani meal experience.
The timing of Chokhi Dhani is 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm, but most of the people reach around 7:00 pm after the sun has set and the village is lit up.
We reached Chokhi Dhani around 4:30 pm, therefore we could see the place in daylight as well.
Located around 30 km from the old city center, and lying in the Aravalli Hill Range, Nahargarh Fort gives a spectacular view of the Jaipur city. The fort also has multiple separate chambers for the queens of the then ruler, Maharaj Sawai Madho Singh.
There is a Wax Museum, and a Sheesh Mahal at the entrance of the fort, entry to both of which is 350 INR per person.
Built by Sawan Jai Singh, Jaigarh Fort is just a 15-minute drive or an hour walk from Nahargarh Fort. We easily got Uber from Nahargarh Fort, but you can also take auto-rickshaws or tuk-tuk to Jaigarh Fort.
The views from the fort are astounding, with a backdrop of Aravallis surrounding lake Maota.
The fort is also home to once the world's largest manual cannon, Jaivana and also has an armory chamber that displays old swords, shields, and guns.
Amer fort, originally a palace built by Raja Man Singh in the Amer city, from where the Rajput Maharajas ruled the state. If you are coming from Jaigarh fort, you can walk to Amer fort, through a tunnel that connects the two. It is around a 10-minute walk from Jaigarh Fort to the tunnel and a 15-minute walk further to the Amer Fort. You can also use a Golf cart to reach the tunnel, for a nominal price.
The different sections of Amer Fort, include, Diwan-i-Aam, the Diwan-i-Khas, Sheesh Mahal and Sukh Niwas.
There is also a residential section in the fort for the royal family.
You can take a full-day car rental with or without a chauffeur that takes you to all the three forts, Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, and Amer Fort and also gets back you to the town.
You can book separate Uber/Ola cab to the forts and on your way back.
PS: You will get a cab to return back or transfer between the forts easily, if you are visiting the forts in the morning.
Places to eat at
Pandit Ji Ki Kulfi
One of the many places that people suggested me was Pandit Ji Ki Kulfi. Situated right in the heart of Johari Bazar, it easy to locate, and with a long queue of people outside the shop, you simply cannot miss it.
It is one of the older shops in the town, and they serve old-styled Kulfi, frozen in steel containers. The consistency of the ice-cream is really good and it is very filling too.
Tapri Tea House
We had breakfast in our hotel, Lords Plaza on all days during our stay in Jaipur. But we spent our afternoons, and evenings at Tapri Tea House. I really love the combination of simplicity and fanciness of the cafe. The food is good, and the ambiance is very cozy.
If you are in search of local cloth - dresses, or bedding, traditional designs, cutlery and much more, Baapu Bazar and Johari Bazar are your best bet. You'll definitely find something of your taste in these markets.
Apart from the Bapu Bazar and Johari Bazar, we found this amazingly interesting government funded store, Rajasthali. It offers a variety of local Rajasthani handicrafts, including textile, furniture, pottery, paintings, jewelry, and more.
The beauty of the city and its people never fails to disappoint you. Even with all the modernization happening, Jaipur remains traditional at its core.