Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital, is an enthralling historical city and the gateway to India’s most flamboyant state.
The city’s colourful, chaotic streets ebb and flow with a heady brew of old and new. Careering buses dodge dawdling camels, leisurely cycle-rickshaws frustrate swarms of motorbikes, and everywhere buzzing autorickshaws watch for easy prey. In the midst of this mayhem, the splendours of Jaipur’s majestic past are islands of relative calm evoking a different pace and another world.
At the city’s heart, the City Palace continues to house the former royal family; the Jantar Mantar, the royal observatory, maintains a heavenly aspect; and the honeycomb Hawa Mahal gazes on the bazaar below. And just out of sight, in the arid hill country surrounding the city, is the fairy-tale grandeur of Amber Fort, Jaipur’s star attraction. Our 72 hours we spent loving this city like no other, memorised by the city charm & the hospitality.
Our Itinerary Included:
* Jantar Mantar (observatory)
* City Palace (museum and current residence of the royal family)
* City Wall of Jaipur
* Lunch at LMB hotel (Located close to Hawa Mahal)
* Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds)
*Sangeer Block Printing Market or Local Block Printing Factory
*Visit to Choki Dhani (Rajasthani village themed resort) which includes delicious dinner.
*Amber Fort (Including elephant Ride)
* Hati Gaon (Elephant Village) – ELEday this included 30 min ride, Painting on elephant and bathing them as well also feeding them. Get up close and personal.
* Jaigarh Fort
* Nahargarh Fort (Tiger Fort) for city views
* Jal Mahal (Hotel in the Lake)
* Birla Temple
1. Hawa Mahal (Palace of Wind):
Jaipur’s most distinctive landmark, the Hawa Mahal is an extraordinary, fairy-tale, pink sandstone, delicately honeycombed hive that rises a dizzying five storeys. It was constructed in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh to enable ladies of the royal household to watch the life and processions of the city. The top offers stunning views over Jantar Mantar and the City Palace one way, and over Siredeori Bazaar the other.
There’s a small museum (Saturday to Thursday), with miniature paintings and some rich relics, such as ceremonial armour, which help evoke the royal past.Claustrophobics should be aware that the narrow corridors can sometimes get extremely cramped and crowded inside the Hawa Mahal.
Tip: Cross the road (be careful don’t get killed) there are stairs, go up the stairs and to the right are more stairs that will take you to the roof of the building across the street. Take your phonographs from there!
2. Lunch at LMB Hotel:
Laxmi Misthan Bhandar is one of the oldest shop of sweets in very old time and later converted in the Restaurant and then Hotel. The owner who started this are no more now but earned the goodwill to make its name world wide.
The place is situated in the heart of city and easily approachable. The preparation is good and tasty done in Deshi Ghee but priced at a bit higher. Having various dishes with comfortable sitting space fully air conditioned.
The place is good and worth to grab traditional Rajasthani Thali.
3. Amber Fort
This magnificent fort is largely made up of a royal palace, built from pale yellow and pink sandstone and white marble, and divided into four main sections, each with its own courtyard. You can trudge up to the fort from the road in about 10 minutes, but riding up on elephant back is very popular. Foreigner ticket cost ₹500 whereas local is₹100.
Whether you walk or ride an elephant, you will enter Amber Fort through Suraj Pol (Sun Gate), which leads to the Jaleb Chowk (Main Courtyard), where returning armies would display their war booty to the populace – women could view this area from the veiled windows of the palace. The ticket office is directly across the courtyard from Suraj Pol. If you arrive by car you will enter through Chand Pol (Moon Gate) on the opposite side of Jaleb Chowk. Hiring a guide or grabbing an audio guide is highly recommended as there are very few signs and many blind alleys.
From Jaleb Chowk, an imposing stairway leads up to the main palace, but first it’s worth taking the steps just to the right, which lead to the small Siladevi Temple , with its gorgeous silver doors featuring repoussé (raised relief) work.
Heading back to the main stairway will take you up to the second courtyard and the Diwan-i-Am (Hall of Public Audience), which has a double row of columns, each topped by a capital in the shape of an elephant, and latticed galleries above.
The maharaja’s apartments are located around the third courtyard – you enter through the fabulous Ganesh Pol , decorated with beautiful frescoed arches. The Jai Mandir (Hall of Victory) is noted for its inlaid panels and multi mirrored ceiling. Carved marble relief panels around the hall are fascinatingly delicate and quirky, depicting cartoon like insects and sinuous flowers. Opposite the Jai Mandir is the Sukh Niwas (Hall of Pleasure), with an ivory-inlaid sandalwood door and a channel that once carried cooling water right through the room. From the Jai Mandir you can enjoy fine views from the palace ramparts over picturesque Maota Lake below.
The zenana (secluded women’s quarters) surrounds the fourth courtyard. The rooms were designed so that the maharaja could embark on his nocturnal visits to his wives’ and concubines’ respective chambers without the others knowing, as the chambers are independent but open onto a common corridor.
4. Nahargarh and Jaigarh Fort
Built in 1734 and extended in 1868, this sturdy fort overlooks the city from a sheer ridge to the north. The story goes that the fort was named after Nahar Singh, a dead prince whose restless spirit was disrupting construction. Whatever was built in the day crumbled in the night. The prince agreed to leave on condition that the fort was named for him. The views are glorious here and it’s a great sunset spot; there’s a restaurant that’s perfect for a beer.
The best way to visit is to walk or take a cycle-rickshaw (₹50 from MI Rd) to the end of Nahargarh Fort Rd, then climb the 2km steep, winding path to the top. To drive, you have to detour via the Amber area in a circuitous 8km round trip.
Photo credits: Darren Haynes
5. Jal Mahal Palace (“Water Palace”)
Located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake, the Palace has got an eye-popping makeover. Traditional boat-makers from Vrindavan have crafted the Rajput style wooden boats. A gentle splashing of oars on the clear lake waters takes you to Jal Mahal.
You move past decorated hallways and chambers on the first floor to climb all the way up to the fragrant Chameli Bagh. Across the lake, you can view the hills, dotted with temples and ancient forts, and on the other side, bustling Jaipur. The most remarkable change is in the lake itself. The drains were diverted, two million tonnes of toxic silt were dredged from the bottom, increasing its depth by over a metre, a water treatment system was developed, local vegetation and fish reintroduced, the surrounding wetlands regenerated and five nesting islands created to attract migratory birds. This is currently closed to visit to public and sadly we had to take pictures away from the other side.
6. Choki Dhani
Chokhi Dhani literally means a “fine hamlet” i.e. a quintessential village that offers an ideal pastoral experience. Spread on more than 18 acres of land, Chokhi Dhani is synonymous with Rajasthani Culture since 1989. Capturing the spirit of Rajasthan and ensuring the perfect Rajasthani experience is Chokhi Dhani.
Built on typical Rajasthani theme, embedded with its rich heritage and lifestyle, it is a place where festivity never ends. Every day thousands of Inbound and Domestic Tourists and corporate clients congregate for a memorable experience.
Ride on the back of the ship of the desert that is camel, the magnificent elephant and a horse drawn Tonga. Experience the raving excitement and adventure of riding on these majestic creatures. Have a round of whole village in style, savoring the sights and sounds at a leisurely pace. It is hard to resist taking a ride on all or any one of these.
Chokhi Dhani now has a National Museum as well which is worth a visit. The National Museum at Chokhi Dhani is a unique and sincere effort at depicting Indian states in all their glory. At the National Museum, you can experience every state’s unique culture, tradition and be welcomed by a person of that State! We have created a mini India right here at Chokhi Dhani. You can now sample all the richness of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala, West Bengal, Sikkim, and Jammu & Kashmir at Chokhi Dhani National Museum.
7. Eleday – (Elephant Village)
If you are looking to get up close and personal with elephants, This is your opportunity at Mansoori Farm in a rural part of Jaipur.
Eleday is part of the elephant village where the elephants used for the ride up to the Amber Fort. Getting on the elephant is easy, just climb up the stairs to a platform that is level with the “howdah” which is the place you sit atop the elephant’s back and climb on and you are off for a leisurely ride along the rural roads near the farm. After the 30 min ride back to the farm for some elephant painting.
Not easy with a stick as a paintbrush and elephants who naturally didn’t hold still, but we did get some good designs. Right after that, the plan was to wash the elephant in an elephant sized “swimming pool” with very murky looking water.
Last, we fed the two elephants bananas. Probably about five or ten pounds of bananas, which to elephants, are like candy. Needless to say they don’t peel the bananas, and even ate the stems. Cost of each person was INR 1200
8. Our Hotel (Jai Mahal Palace Hotel) – Recommended
Jai Mahal Place is of Taj Hotel property – one of the best hotels I have stayed so far.
Built in 1745, It is a stunning piece of Rajasthan’s heritage, a great example of Indo-Saracenic architecture set amidst 18 acres of landscaped Mughal gardens. It has been the residence of three Prime Ministers of the princely state of Jaipur. Painstakingly restored and recently refurbished, it is now a luxury five-star Taj heritage hotel equipped with all modern-day comforts.
Perfectly located downtown in the heart of the Pink City in Civil Lines, you are close to the main shopping areas and prime historical sites such as Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal and City Palace. The Jaipur International Airport is a mere 25 minutes away only.
While the palace hotel gives you a taste of the best of Rajasthani heritage and culture, you also savour the best flavours in the city at our two specialty restaurants. Cinnamon serves the most authentic Royal Indian cuisines from four princely states, while Giardino is Jaipur’s finest and only contemporary al fresco Italian restaurant. While Marble Arch offers a medley of flavours; and the fashionable and trendy Marigold Bar houses a selection of single malts and cigars alongside innovative cocktails.
Walk around the city & explore. There is so much to see and so much to discover.
Visa: This is how India’s ETA works – A tourist should apply for a visa online at least three days in advance, pay the fee, and carry a print of the travel authorisation to get the necessary stamp at the immigration checkpoint to enter the country. Right now, 134 countries can avail of a visa through ETA.