The vibrant capital of Rajasthan is a flamboyant showcase of Rajasthani architecture and a firm favourite on tourist itineraries as the third corner of India’s Golden Triangle alongside Delhi and Agra. Popularly known as the ‘Pink City’, in 1876 Maharaja Ram Singh had the whole city painted pink, traditionally a colour associated with hospitality, to welcome the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII).Read More
Jaipur was chosen by Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743) for his capital. A skilled astronomer and visionary, he worked with superb Bengali architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya to complete design and construction of Jaipur in less than eight years and the 18th century UNESCO-listed Jantar Mantar is the largest and best preserved of five observatories built by the astronomer prince. The observatory complex is fascinating with giant stone structures that Jai Singh II had built to measure time, chart the declination of celestial bodies and predict eclipses.
Other must-sees within the city include the City Palace Complex. The palace is a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. The son of the last Maharaja and his family still reside in a wing of the palace. Also of interest is the Palace of the Winds (known as Hawa Mahal), whose facade is adorned with elaborate, perforated screens. The Old City, the actual Pink City, is a great place to wander around with ancient walls encircling bustling bazaars selling beautiful textiles and jewellery. For many visitors a highlight is the magnificent Amber Fort, a striking vision in yellow and pink sandstone with a royal palace and numerous courtyards.
Here are some popular itineraries that include a visit to Jaipur
Best sites to visit in Jaipur
Amber FortView on map
The spectacular Amber Fort located 11km north of Jaipur is high on any visitor's list thanks largely to its impressive setting on a rocky ridge overlooking a stretch of water that on a clear day reflects a perfect symmetrical image of the sandstone ramparts. The palace is reached via a cobbled road which brings you to the Suraj Pol (Sun Gate) and the large Jaleb Chowk courtyard. Many visitors opt to take an elephant ride instead of the 10 minute climb and combine a visit to Amber Fort with nearby Jaigarh Fort.
City PalaceView on map
Enclosed by a high wall with attractive gardens and courtyards, the magnificent City Palace dates back to the early 18th century and is today open to the public as the Sawai Man Singh Museum. The majority of the complex is still used as a royal residence but tickets gain entry to a number of areas within the City Palace including the fine collection of weapons held in the Armoury, the stately Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience) and the striking painted doorways of Pritam Niwas Chowk (Peacock Courtyard).
Jantar MantarView on map
A stone's throw from the City Palace is the remarkable observatory of Jantar Mantar. The giant stone structures enclosed within the complex were designed as astronomical devices to measure the heavens in order to predict the movements of the known planets and stars. Declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, Jaipur's Jantar Mantar is India's most important historic observatory with many of the instruments in a superb state of preservation. Local guides are highly recommended as they are able to explain how each device works.
Hawa MahalView on map
The pink sandstone facade of Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds is Jaipur's most iconic sight. Built in 1799 to allow women of the court to remain screened from view while watching processions held in the streets below, Hawa Mahal rises five stories tall with superb views across neighbouring Jantar Mantar and the City Palace from the top. Surprisingly, Hawa Mahal is only one room deep with narrow corridors and a small museum containing miniature paintings and ceremonial armour.
Raj Mandir Heritage CinemaView on map
For lovers of Bollywood this is a must do! Raj Mandir Cinema is a heritage listed building with 1970’s decor galore. If you have a spare evening on your visit to Jaipur, consider heading out to watch a Bollywood flick with the locals in classical cinema surroundings. It's certainly a unique experience and one you're bound to remember.
Pink City BazaarsView on map
The old Pink City teems with exotic bazaars selling everything from textiles, jewellery and carpets to pottery, leather shoes and metal work. A number of bazaars will specialise in one particular item with Badi Chaupad and Johari Bazaar serving as the main bazaar areas within the city. Here you can see craftsmen and women at work, using artistic traditions that date back centuries. Used almost entirely by the locals, these markets are India as its bustling best.
Nahargarh FortView on map
Situated on the steep hills overlooking the city to the north, the imposing stone walls of Nahargarh Fort run for almost a kilometre and offer incredible views across Jaipur city. Dating back to the 18th century the surviving palace apartments are open to the public, a maze of corridors, stairwells and rooms that almost perfectly mimic one another.
Recommended things to do in and around Jaipur
Hot Air BallooningView on map
One of our top picks for Jaipur is a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Sail within a breath of lofty hilltop forts and fine regal palaces, look down upon sleepy villages waking to the early morning sun and drift past expansive waterside manors and intricately stone carved temples on this magical adventure.
Dera Amer SafariView on map
Enjoy a safari by elephant from Dera Amer rural estate through the Aravalli foothills situated behind the Amber Fort. Passing through wonderful rural scenery and a pretty lake, you'll spot antelopes and jackals which are in abundance in the area. The safari concludes with a delicious dinner served in a beautiful rural setting exclusively for you.
SanganerView on map
Located 12km south of Jaipur the busy textile centre of Sanganer is the perfect place to watch traditional crafts people in action with handmade paper, block-printing and pottery painting forming the basis of the town's cottage industries. The workshops along the main road make for interesting photographic subject matter along with the colourful fabrics left to dry on the banks of the river. Sanganer is also home to a collection of elegant Jain temples and a ruined palace.
TonkView on map
If you have a spare morning or afternoon, head out of the city to visit the small town of Tonk. This little town bursting at the seams with Old Havelis (mansions) Palaces and Mosques is sometimes overlooked and a real hidden gem. A particular highlight is Sunehri Kothi which is one of the best preserved Havelis in the country.
GaltaView on map
To the east of Jaipur in a deep valley sits the ancient Hindu pilgrimage site of Galta, also known as the 'Monkey Palace' for the hundreds of langurs and macaques that reside here and bathe in the water tanks. The narrow rocky riverine provides an impressive backdrop to the 250-year-old temples that feature pink sandstone pavilions, carved pillars, painted walls and assortment of shrines. Further up the ridge is the quiet Surya Mandir temple which affords incredible views of Jaipur.
Bishnoi VillageView on map
Enjoy an afternoon safari in a vintage jeep out to a traditional Bishnoi Village. The Bishnoi are an environmentally-friendly sect of the Hindu religion, a community unique to Rajasthan that's renowned for their rich culture and true love for nature and animals. Meeting with the Bishnoi and getting a glimpse into their way of life and is fascinating experience and highly recommended trip from Jaipur.
Transport links in Jaipur
Flying inView on map
The main airport for Jaipur and the surrounding areas is Jaipur International Airport. There are plenty of flights from Jaipur to Delhi daily, run by proper scheduled carriers and it's a quick flight at under an hour. There are also regular flights to main metro cities in India like Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bangalore. The airport is around 8 miles south of Jaipur, and is around a 30 minute drive to the city centre, though this varies greatly by time of day.
Railway ServicesView on map
The largest station in Jaipur is Jaipur Junction station which is located in the centre of the city. From Jaipur Junction you will be able to jump on a direct train to a number of other of Rajasthan's draw cards like Jodhpur and Udaipur. There is also the speedy Shatabdi Express from Jaipur to Delhi which is very convenient and cheaper option that flying. If you were considering a journey on the luxury Palace on Wheels train in North India, one of the stops made is in Jaipur Junction too.
By RoadView on map
If you're calling in on Jaipur, you're likely to be visiting the sites of India's Golden Triangle (Delhi and Agra) too, which is often travelled by road. There's a relatively new road between Agra and Jaipur and the 250km drive takes around 5 hours. The highway between Jaipur and Delhi is around 250km. It's currently being expanded, so it's a long drive at around 6 hours.
The best time to visit Jaipur
Being in Rajasthan, Jaipur can get extremely hot in the (Northern Hemisphere) summer months, so we recommend visiting during India's main season for travellers - from late September through mid-April. It's a dry heat however, so it's not overly uncomfortable in the summer, subject to have a pool to cool off at occasionally!
If you are planning a Jaipur holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:
Alsisar Haveli Jaipur
A former nobleman’s house built in 1892, the Alsisar Haveli oozes Rajasthani charm with large courtyards, corridors and arched pillars. Rooms are furnished in a traditional style with four poster beds and luxurious marble flooring, replicating those used by the royals of Alsisar. An evening walk around the magnificent grounds is a great way to end the day. Benefitting from a central downtown location, the hotel is just a short drive from Jaipur’s beautiful Palace of the Winds.
Naila Bagh Palace Jaipur
Naila Bagh Palace is an opulent heritage hotel with grand furnishings and unique rooms, traditional in style - a truly beautiful place to stay. Dating back to 1872 the building still retains many traditional features including balconies attached to each room, delicate frescoes and old Victorian furniture. The property also has an open area pool set in lush gardens, a spacious billiard room and a restaurant serving Indian cuisine.
Oberoi Rajvilas Jaipur
Grand and luxurious, the heritage style Oberoi Rajvilasis one of the most preferred luxury hotels in the world. Guestrooms are complete with large four poster beds, beautiful sunken marble baths and a wonderful view overlooking the private walled gardens. The Rajwada Library Bar hosts informative discussion groups three times a week with an acclaimed local historian – a great way to learn more about fascinating Jaipur. The hotel is set in beautiful landscaped gardens with courtyards and private pools and is close to the centre of Jaipur.
Samode Haveli Jaipur
Once a nobleman's home that has been beautifully restored, Samode Haveli is a charming heritage hotel that oozes Rajput era style and charm. The property is lavishly decorated and has a delightful central courtyard. Samode Havelia has stunning rooms with classic wooden furnishings and cool marble flooring. Dinner in the gorgeous dining hall bedecked with colourful hand-painted murals is a definite must, Well located in the heart of the walled city of Jaipur.
Jaipur Tailor made suggestions
Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to Jaipur.