Jaipur - land of the Rajputs, is an exuberance of colour, dance and traditional arts and crafts. Known, as the 'Pink City', Jaipur is home to a wonderful selection of ancient forts and palaces. One of India's most well planned cities, Jaipur is built in 9 rectangular sectors symbolising 9 divisions of the universe, as per Indian cosmology!
The City Palace is a wonderful blend of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. The walls, ceilings and floors of the palace are richly carved and decorated. A huge building, City Palace occupies total one seventh of Jaipur's area. The palace also houses a museum having an impressive collection of costumes and armoury belonging to both Mughals and Rajputs.
Encircled by the clear blue water Man Sagar lake, Jal Mahal is one of the most fascinating buildings of Jaipur. The palace was built by Sawai Pratap Singh for royal duck shooting parties. It is interesting to note that many varieties of migratory birds still come to the lake in the winter season. The palace is built in red sandstone.
Perched on top of a cliff on the outskirts of Jaipur city, Jaigarh Fort is regarded as one of the best examples of medieval period military structures. The main attraction of this rugged military structure is Jai-Ban, believed to be the largest cannon on wheels in the world. The fort also houses a museum where a large collection of weapons and cannons used by the Rajputs have been kept for display.
Built in red sandstone and marble, Amber Fort is one of the most attractive forts of Rajasthan. Essentially a military structure, an element of luxury is also associated with the fort. The construction of this fort was initiated by Raja Man Singh in the 17th century but could only be finished by Sawai Jai Singh in the eighteenth century. Influences of Hindu and Mughal forms can be seen in the architecture of this fort.
More popularly known as the Birla temple, this temple was constructed by the Birla family. Located on top of a hill surrounded by lush green gardens, the exteriors and interiors of this white marble temple has many exquisite carvings showing various mythological themes and images of saints.
Built in the 18th century, this palace with its innumerable windows and screened balconies was especially built for the royal women to view the city and processions. Hawa Mahal is famously known as a palace, but it is actually a royal curtain or a see through wall, from where women of royalty could see the outside world, without being noticed.
An astronomical observatory with masonry instruments, Jantar Mantar is a collection of salmon-coloured instruments including a sundial and others that plot the course of planets and determine the time based on the direction of the sun. This observatory in Jaipur is more popular than its counterpart in New Delhi
Situated atop the Aravalis, Nahargarh Fort offers a spectacular view of the city of Jaipur. ‘Nahargarh’ means ‘the Abode of Tigers’, so this fort is also known as the Tiger Fort. The fort was constructed in the 18th century with additions being made by successive rulers till the 19th century. The geometrically designed Nahargarh Fort forms a remarkable backdrop of Jaipur and offers glittering views of the city.
A small village, close to Jaipur, Sanganer is renowned for its local crafts such as block printed textiles and hand made paper. Sanganer block printing technique uses wooden blocks with carved designs to make colourful motif’s on fabrics. Sanganer gives you an opportunity to see the traditional printing and paper making process first hand and even interact with local artisans and villagers. The village of Sanganer is also known for its Jain temples featuring meticulous carvings and polished marble idols.
For a birds eye view of Rajasthan’s capital city, why not catch a hot air balloon flight and fly over the pink city? The experience of floating over forts and palaces and the surrounding villages is often described as ‘magical’ by guests. The sunrise balloon flights normally last an hour. Sometimes, balloons land in village areas, attracting hoards of villagers - guests find this experience and connection with the local community very fascinating and unique. The village safari through local villages back to base is also intriguing. A choice of hot and cold beverages is served with cookies at the launch site. Mineral water is available during the flight.
Catch a Bollywood blockbuster, at Raj Mandir, Jaipur's Art Moderne, offering one of the best cinema experiences in India. Raj Mandir is the only cinema in the world, listed as a tourist destination. The exterior of the building is made of various asymetrical shapes, zig-zags, curves and even stars set into the facade, all lit at night by concealed lighting. Inside the cinema, lighting changes colours adding the much appreciated special effects! Hang out with local Jaipuri’s here and feel free to whistle aloud or do a little jig during the film!
Learn more about local lifestyle and culture of India with dinner at an Indian home. Spend time talking to your hosts and learn about their way of life. You also get a unique opportunity to step inside an Indian kitchen and learn the age old art of Indian culinary delights. Indian cooking is a form of art that has flourished through generations purely by word of mouth. Your hosts will be happy to share their secret recipes and give you some handy tips, whilst you observe them cook. For quick learners, you may also take a shot at making your own chapatti!
A must-not-miss experience of Jaipur is to watch a polo match at the famous Rambagh Polo Ground. Even if there are no tournaments on, exhibition matches as well as practice sessions are usually on most days. However, the grounds remain quiet in the summer, owing to the desert heat of Rajasthan.
Visit Dera Amer, for a unique experience of watching a match of elephant polo. If a match is on, you get to see riders on elephant backs playing the royal game of elephant polo. You may also opt for an elephant safari in the forests around Amer Fort.
Renowned for its precious and semi-precious stones and jewellery artefacts, ‘Jauhari Bazaar’ meaning the ‘jewellers market’ is the central hub for Rajasthani jewels. Specialising in silver jewels with studded stones, this is the place to be if you are a jewel freak. If you don’t wish to lash out, there are enough options for cheap chunky jewellery as well, you just need look around! Watch out, as every pedestrian on the street could potentially be a jewel trader carrying rocks worth a fortune in their pockets! is the hub of meenakari and jadau jewellery.
One of the most popular roads of Jaipur, M.I. Road houses a large number of emporia selling a variety of goods ranging from jewellery, brass work, textiles, blue pottery, carpets, cotton rugs, colourful cotton wraps and dresses, woodwork etc. An ideal place to visit if you want to see all of Jaipurs specialities at one place! A hotspot with tourists for souvenir shopping, here you can shop with the confidence of buying best quality products.
Renowned for textiles, utensils, ironware and trinkets, if you want to see the artisans at work, step into the side lanes here and see for yourself. Visit ‘Maniharon Ka Rasta’ for beautiful colourful bangles.
Looking for the popular 'Mojri' footwear? Made from soft camel leather and artistically embroidered, the footwear is available in vibrant colors and low prices at Bapu Bazaar or Nehru Bazaar. Locally called 'Juti', the footwear is known for comfort and durability. Apart from this, both bazaars offer a range of colourful Jaipuri fabrics and a variety of leather ware and jewels.
If you are keen to dress like a Rajasthani Indian, head straight to Kishanpol bazaar, the famous market known for its colourful Bandhani textiles. Bandhani or tie & dye is a skillful art, where fabrics are tied into small knots using threads and are dipped into an array of beautiful colors. After dyeing these knotted parts remain uncolored creating different designs and patterns. The popular patterns are mothda, the chequered design, lahariya, the diagonal strips, shakari, the human and animal figures and ekdali, the design of small circles and squares. If you are intrigued to see the making of Bandhani, look for ‘Rangwalon Ki Gali’ i.e. ‘the lane of colourful people’, a tiny lane where local art of ‘tie–and–dye’ is at display.
Multi Cuisine : Copper Chimney, Peacock Restaurant (Pearl Palace), Samode Haveli, Spice Court, Surabhi Restaurant, Nero’s, Hari Mahal Palace.
Lassi (yogurt based Indian breezer) : Lassiwala
Rajasthani Cuisine : Handi, Chowki Dhani (for typical Rajasthani food served in ethnic traditional setting), Laxmi Misthan Bhandar (try Rajasthani Thali for the local vegetarian flavour).
Palatial Experiences : Don’t drive away from Jaipur without visiting.
- Polo Bar, Rambagh Palace – for snacks, cigars, cocktails and signature drinks.
- The Terrace, Jai Mahal Palace – enjoy a cuppa, amidst the beautiful palatial backdrop.
- Swapna Mahal, Hotel Raj Palace – for a Maharaja experience of luxury and grandeur, enjoy fine Indian cuisine at the beautiful Swapna Mahal.