India’s oldest planned city brings the best of Rajasthan’s culture to the fore. From food to architecture to shopping, Jaipur presents everything in one colourful package. Remarkably, for a city as old as this, it has kept up well with the times, as you will realise when you walk into its hip cafes, trendy bars and expensive hotels. Here’s how to make the most of your time in the Pink City.
Jaipur, capital of Rajasthan’s heroic and fearless warrior kings, is steeped in centuries of history, culture, and royal tradition. The colourful city entices not only with its majestic forts and resplendent palaces but also with the atmospheric bazaars of the original Old City which goes back to the 18th century. Go on a sightseeing tour of the Pink City.
Constructed in a blend of Mughal and Rajput architectural styles, the resplendent City Palace or royal complex has an excellent collection of miniature paintings, carpets, royal memorabilia, and rare astronomical works in Arabic, Persian, Latin, and Sanskrit. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II (1728-1734), the Jantar Mantar Observatory is remarkable for its accuracy even today! The Jantar Mantar has an extraordinary collection of complex astronomical instruments. It is the largest and the best preserved of the five that Jai Singh built.
Best time to visit: October to March is the best time to explore Jaipur.
How to reach
By air: Located in Sanganer, Jaipur Airport is 12 km away from the centre of the city. IndiGo operates more than 150 flights to Jaipur and all other vital locations.
By train: Jaipur Junction is the central railway station of the city, connecting it with the rest of the country through several trains like Shatabdi Express, Ajmer Shatabdi, Adi SJ Rajdhani and many more.
By bus: Jaipur is well-connected with the other cities of the country through a vast network of buses run by the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC).
Getting around/Transport in Jaipur
Auto-rickshaws and rented cabs like OLA are the popular means of transportation in the city. You can also try Jaipur metro that runs between Chandpole Bazaar to Mansarovar.
Feast like the kings. This restaurant serves a great ten course Rajasthani thali, in a romantic setting. The recipes have reached perfection over generations and assure of a great meal.
The sister property of Bar Palladio, in chic Narain Niwas Palace, Café Palladio serves Mediterranean food in a cheerful setting. Stop by for a coffee and something to snack on, or have a meal—you won’t leave disappointed.
A local institution, Chokhi Dhani is known for its rustic Rajasthani fare in a setting that mimics a village fair. Bangle sellers, potters and dancers round out this traditional experience.
Jaipur’s most famous sweet shop is known for its pyaaz ki kachoris, chaat and samosas. Have a sweet tooth? Try their ghevar and rasmalai. Want a proper meal? Walk into the adjoining restaurant for a belly-bursting Rajasthani thali.
On Hawa Mahal Road, Pandit Kulfi offers some unusual flavour of the favourite milk-based dessert. There are Indian variants like paan and Kesar pista, but also chocolate and sugar-free flavours in a nod to today’s diets.
The outdoor café at the Taj Rambagh Palace Hotel serves up orders in silverware (even if it’s just a hot chocolate), and offers you a chance to survey the palace grounds. The food is a bonus. Go on, feel like royalty.
Jaipur is home to mix of stores, from places where you can get traditional block printed outfits, to stores that sell the best of Indian fashion, and course gems and jewellery, there’s something for every taste, and budget. A visit to the three most popular bazaars is probably the right place to start.
When it comes to where to party in the city, your best bet is at Jaipur’s hotels that cater to every kind of traveller.
28 Kothi, Civil Lines Located centrally, 28 Kothi is a boutique guesthouse that has only five rooms (named for different coloured stones) and is an unpretentious refuge from the chaos of the city. This quiet Civil Lines property features expansive lawns, home-style cooking and in-room Ayurvedic massages.
Alsisar Haveli, Sansar Chandra Road For a stay that immerses you in the Jaipur of old, book yourself into one of the 45 rooms at Alsisar Haveli. The meticulously restored former nobleman’s townhouse features courtyards, gazebos and more.
Diggi Palace, C-Scheme The venue of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Diggi Palace is a hotel that also happens to be the home of Thakur Pratap Singh Diggi, who still lives in a part of the building. The hotel consists of 70 unique rooms and a multi-cuisine restaurant that the family itself runs.
The Oberoi Rajvilas, Paldi Meena Spread over 32 acres, this hotel is known to host the glitterati. With 54 rooms, 13 luxury tents, and a Shiva temple on-site, the hotel offers a sense of tranquillity to its guests.
Radisson Blu Jaipur, Durgapura With a location that is close to the airport, and a range of eating options, the Radisson Blu Jaipur combines business essentials with modern comforts. If you’re planning a conference or a destination celebration, this might be worth considering.
It is one of the best places to visit near Jaipur. Packed with mosques, old mansions, Tonk will amaze you with the beauty of ancient architectural wonders. The stunning artwork of temples and mosques with Sunheri Kothi or Mansion of Gold being the ultimate one.
Known as the home for the Royal Bengal Tigers, Sariska is another interesting nearby place from Jaipur. Especially if you love adventure, wildlife and jeep safaris, this is the place you must visit.
From mysterious forts like Bhangarh Fort to beautiful palace-like Neemrana Fort, Alwar is the best place near Jaipur to explore ancient forts and ruins.
Now this place needs no introduction. Ajmer stands outs reflecting divinity for the famous Dargah Sharif of Moinuddin Chishti. The place also has other attractions like Taragarh Fort and Sagar Lake to make your visit memorable.
There’s a host of tours and experiences that have sprung up recently to cater to those that are looking to see the city differently. For example, Virasat Experiences offers walking tours themed around different points of interest—like photography, gastronomy, history and more.
If you’re looking to get some exercise, they set-up cycling tours of the city as well.
Skywaltz is another company that offers hot-air balloon trips from which you can look down on the town and Amber Fort while enjoying a journey up in the crowds. Adventure seekers can also try para-motoring on the outskirts of the city that is organised by Wingmasters Co. This aerial experience allows you to see nearby attractions like the Mendota Fort from above.
Within the city, once you’ve had your fill of shopping and sightseeing, make your way to the Anokhi Museum of Hand printing where you can try your hand at block printing your shirt.
For those looking to get away from the city, book a night at Dera Amer, a campsite that can organise elephant treks through the jungle and facilitate visits to a neighbouring village as well.
The kite festival of Jaipur has become one of the most popular festivals of the city. Each year, a large number of visitors from all over the world visit Jaipur to attend this festival.