Your essential guide to Jaipur-which attractions are a must visit, & which to miss!
Jaipur had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember, and it lived up to all my expectations! The heritage buildings have a pink hue to them, (rightly earning the city the name- ‘Pink City’), the bustling markets sell everything you could ever want, and the beautiful architecture of the palaces and monuments are awe inspiring!
Best time to visit Jaipur
Keep in mind you are going to one of the hottest states in the country when you plan your visit.
The ideal time for a visit is November to March, temperatures between 23-32℃;
April to June is quite hot with temperatures between 38-40℃ which makes it difficult to explore the city during the day.
July to October are warm but expect a little rain on some days.
I went in January, so the weather was perfect- pleasant during the day, and cool at night.
How to plan your trip in Jaipur
Ideally you should be staying somewhere in the heart of Jaipur. A good point of orientation is the Hawa Mahal. Check to see how far your hotel is from the Hawa Mahal, and you will know how near or far you are from town. The area around the Hawa Mahal is the ideal location to stay as it is near some of the major sights like the City Palace, Jantar Mantar, the shopping area, and the food markets.
Start your day early to avoid the crowds at all the places of historic importance. Especially at the palaces, it pays off to go early, as your pictures will come out much better when it isn’t crowded with a horde of tourists!
You can get a composite ticket which includes entry to all the major monuments and palaces, and is valid for 2 days. It is available for purchase from all the participating sights.
I feel this ticket is worthwhile only if you want to visit every single place included in the ticket in the 2 days. If you want a more relaxing trip and want to pick and choose the sights over a longer period of time, then it is advisable to purchase tickets for each entry separately.
Start your day at the City Palace,( it opens at 9.30 AM), do a quick stop at Jantar Mantar if you are interested, and then walk to the Hawa Mahal.
1. The City Palace
The City Palace was established by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727 when he moved to Jaipur from Amer to establish it as the capital of Rajastan. Within the palace there is a museum dedicated to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II, a gift shop, and a restaurant. I went into the gift shop and was surprised to see that it wasn’t as expensive as I expected! So do have a look, maybe you will find something to take home.
The royal family still lives in a part of the palace and their quarters are off limits to visitors. There is a separate entry which costs Rs.2000/head, that grants access to a couple of the private rooms of the palace. The beautiful blue room you might have seen in pictures is accessed through this separate entry.
2. Jantar Mantar
The Jantar Mantar is home to a collection of 19 architectural astronomical instruments built in 1734. It is advisable to get a guide who can explain to you the instruments and their purpose, because I went in without a guide, and it was quite difficult to understand. ( I would suggest skipping this if you are on a time crunch)
3. Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds)
The red & pink sandstone structure was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. This honeycomb-like structure is easily the most recognisable icon of Jaipur. If you are on a time crunch, you can skip the interiors of the Hawa Mahal, as the facade is far more impressive. Most pictures of the palace that you would have seen are taken from the cafe opposite it, so take a break from the sightseeing with a cup of coffee and an unbeatable view!
4. Albert Hall Museum
The Albert Hall Museum is the oldest museum in Rajastan. It makes the perfect backdrop for some pretty pictures as the beautiful building is always surrounded by hundreds of pigeons.
5. Patrika Gate & Jawahar Circle
The now Insta famous Patrika gate is a must visit for a photo at the colourful arches.
6. Amber/Amer Fort
This impressive palace featured in one too many Bollywood movies, is a must visit even if you know nothing about Bollywood. My favourite part of the palace is the beautiful mirror work and the intricate pastel coloured designs on the walls.
7. Nahargarh Fort
The fort offers unbeatable views of Jaipur city and is a great place to enjoy a beautiful Rajastani sunset! It now houses some beautiful art installations which keep changing from time to time, so don’t be surprised if you see some avant-garde pieces smack in the middle of the courtyard. The rooftop of the fort is breathtaking with the many symmetrical domes, and makes the trip here worthwhile!
8. Jaigarh Fort
Overlooking the Amer Palace, the Jaigarh Fort was built to protect it during times of war. It houses one of the largest canons on wheels. The canon is all there is to see here, so if you are on a time crunch you can skip it.
9. Panna Meena Ka Kund
Another rather Insta famous spot is this beautiful historic step well. The security personnel may not allow you to go down the steps, but it is still a great spot for photographs.
10. Jal Mahal
It is in the middle of the artificial lake- Man Sagar Lake. It isn’t possible to visit the palace, but on a cool evening, it is a great place to stop and take a break from the sightseeing. The area around the lake is a popular spot for street sellers, so even if you aren’t in the mood to shop, be prepared to be followed around by a few of them trying to sell you their wares. Since access to the building is not possible, this attraction will take as little as 5 minutes, to however long you want to take.
11. Anokhi Museum
If you like the hand block printing technique, and would like to know more about it and see how it is done, you should visit this museum. There are artisans at the museum who will demonstrate the process of creating the wooden blocks with the intricate designs, and printing the multicoloured designs on cloth.
1, 2, 3, 4 are in the same area, so try to cover those one after the other on the same day.
6, 7, 8,9,10,11 are near each other and far from the Hawa Mahal area, so cover these together.
Hope you have a fabulous time in Jaipur!