Asia India

Once Upon a Time in Jaipur

By Anjali Chawla  

If I have to define Jaipur in one phrase, I’d say “Everything Regal!”

Jaipur truly is a fine portrayal of royalty. The city has treasured its elegance and royalty for decades now. In 1876, Prince of Wales was welcomed by painting the entire city Pink and since then it’s called the “Pink City.”

Pink city, as a matter of fact, seems like a color spectrum or rainbow.

Quintessential forts, beautiful castles and palaces, religious shrines, iconic museums, lively and artsy bazaars, heritage hotels, traditional Rajasthani cuisine, intriguing festivals, and metropolitan culture cite impeccable juxtaposition of old and new that makes Jaipur the decisively perfect place to visit.

The history, architecture, and glory of Jaipur have been an inspiration for many artists and historians all around the world. A journey through the history and culture of Jaipur is like being entangled in a time warp. I was intrigued by the vitality and charisma of the places. It’s a delight to understand the pertinence of historical and architectural marvels while entangled in the sorcery in everyday life.

Jaipur unfolds pulsating with hustle and chaos. Walking on the streets of Jaipur is the test of perseverance as you dodge the cow dung, struggle for space with street animals, pass over the streets chock-full with vendors and maneuver your way through traffic. You’ll realize the meaning of the saying, “No pain no gain” when you endure this chaos and confusion to discover the hidden gems of Jaipur echoing its splendid past in the midst of harum-scarum streets.

The culturally vibrant capital of Rajasthan needs you to slow down to savor its different flavors, to capture the timeless charm of the city and enjoy the authentic soulful experience.

A stairway from Jaleb Chowk leads you to an exhaustively painted Ganesh Pol. Mughal and Persian art motifs adorn the gate dedicated to Ganesha.

Built over five centuries, by one of the navratnas (nine gems) in Akbar’s court, Raja Man Singh, Amber Fort (Amer) is a fine blend of Mughal and Rajput style of architecture. Colossal courtyards, elaborately chiseled jharokas, beautifully adorned ceilings and walls, serene gardens make Amber Fort a jewel of Jaipur. Series of doorways (Chand pol, Singh pol, Suraj pol, and Ganesh pol) each with a unique architecture are bound to amaze the visitors.

The musician outside Amer Fort posed happily while playing ravanahatha 🙂

A walk through Diwan-e-Aam (Hall of Public Audience), Sukh Mandir (relaxation spot for kings and queens), Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace) and Kesar Kyaari (Saffron Garden) gives you a glimpse of the sumptuousness of the lifestyle Rajput dynasty led. Siladevi Temple inside the fort houses the idol of Durga recovered from the ocean and brought by Raja Man Singh I from eastern Bengal. Ride on the lavishly decorated elephants is a stately affair which makes you feel like a king/queen for some time.

Captivating light and sound show at Amber Palace

The amazing light show at Amber Palace is the treat for the senses. The show runs for 50 minutes in both English and Hindi.  The glittering dancing lights, soulful music, and stories of pride, history, and traditions of Amber narrated by Amitabh Bachchan in his deep and baritone voice leave the spectators spellbound.

No matter where you look below, you get fabulous views of the valley. That’s the beauty of Jaigarh Fort!

Jaigarh Fort (Fort of Victory) was built at the top of Aravalli ranges for the safety of Amber (Jaipur) from the rivals. It was constructed for the extra protection and there’s a tunnel that leads to Amber Palace. The hill on which it is built is known as the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles), and you really get an eagle’s eye view of the encircling area from the fort! The fort provides a breathtaking view of the Amer, Sagar Lake, and Aravali hills. Weaponry has been painstakingly preserved and displayed in the fort museum. It houses a cannon foundry too. World’s largest cannon on the wheel called Jaivana is displayed at the fort. Few of the areas like Kitchen area, dining hall and summer suites of king and queens are closed recently for the public visit because some thoughtless tourist and/or citizens have done enough damage to our glorious heritage. Guide told us that people still write on walls and peel the paintings and carvings even when there’s a huge fine. I feel sorry to see the eroding parts of the fort or instead history.

Beautiful terrace of Madhvendra Palace at Nahargarh Fort – Many movies have been shot here.

Of the three forts, the one which enticed me most was Nahargarh Fort (Abode of Tigers). Its simplicity, charisma, minimum human presence made me just adore the place. The exquisitely designed terrace, secret passageway and the amphitheater at Nahargarh Fort attracts attention after the shooting of the Bollywood movie ‘Rang De Basanti’ here. King’s suit has been converted into a fine dining Indian restaurant for visitors to eat and relax. Glass Palace and Wax museum are some of the significant aspects of Nahargarh Fort.

In the evening, make your way to Jal Mahal to catch the gorgeous sunset and the intense sight of Jal Mahal in the glimmering beautiful lake.

Jaipur’s idiosyncratic landmark, Hawa Mahal looks resplendent with its five-storey perforated semblance made of pink sandstone. It was built by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh in 1799 to empower the royal ladies to watch the festivities and performances, clandestinely.

Diwan-e-Aam at City Palace

City Palace is the abode of Jaipur’s royal family at present. Parts of it are open for public viewing. Mubarak Mahal in the City Palace complex houses a textile museum where you can have a look at the meticulously preserved royal wardrobe.  Friends of the Museum is a gallery that provides space to artisans and craftsmen to display their work of art. You can see the way they create artwork and buy something if you want to. Money goes directly to the artisans. Pritam Niwas Chowk is a square courtyard inside the City Palace. It has four exquisitely adorned gates representing the four seasons. The balconies above the gates were used by performing singers. The Royal family (current maharaja of Jaipur) resides at Chandra Mahal. It also encapsulates Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum. To witness this beautiful piece of architecture you need to pay 2500 Rs. separately along with the city palace tickets.

Jantar Mantar is an excellent blend of ancient architecture and history of astronomy in India. Guide narrated a lot about the way measurements are done using these instruments but he was somewhat right when he said that don’t try too hard because even he couldn’t understand so many things after spending 25 years here 🙂

Albert Hall Museum is the oldest museum of Rajasthan. Its Indo-Gothic architecture and rare collection of traditional Indian and international artwork and handicrafts attract people from all walks of life.

Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing in Amber is a must visit if you are a textile fan. You can witness the artisans performing the art of hand block printing and can try printing your own scarf or T-shirt.

Chokhi Dhani is a quintessential Rajasthani themed village which lets you savor the quirks of Rajasthan under one roof. Be it traditional Rajasthani folk dances (Ghoomar, Kalbeliya, and Chari), Puppet show, Camel, elephant and bullock cart rides, authentic Rajasthani food and shopping for handicrafts. The ticket (600 – Adults/ 350 – kids) includes food and cultural events.

Other places of interest are Birla Mandir, Rambagh Palace, Govind Dev Ji Temple, Ram Niwas Garden, Panna Meena ka Kund, Royal Gaitor Tumbas, Sisodia Rani Garden, Kanak Vrindavan, Raj mandir, Moti Dungri Ganesh Temple, Man Sagar Lake and the list continues!

Colors abound – Jaipur Bazaars

 

A trip to Jaipur is incomplete without relishing the authentic Rajasthani Food. Head to Rawat Mishtan Bhandar at Station road for the famous finger-licking pyaaz kachoris (a fried pastry filled with a spicy onion filling), dal-bati churma (Indian dish comprising lentils and hard wheat rolls), Rajasthani Thali and warm hospitality. Gopalji ka Rasta at Johri Bazaar is a perfect hole in the wall to try some sinfully oily street food. Little Italy at Prithaviraj Road is a nice option if you are looking for a break from traditional food.

Jaipur is famous for its traditional artistic jewelry, hand-printed textiles, beautiful Mandala tapestries, colorful turbans and no trip to the city is complete without buying one of these. Even if you are not a shopaholic, ambling in the colorful markets and streets of Jaipur is a treat in itself! Bapu Bazar is a perfect shopping destination. You can also buy souvenirs from here.

Despite the crowds, dust, and chaos, Jaipur retains its charm. It leaves you craving with so much to see and understand. Practically and cosmically, it’s not really possible to see each and everything; it’s wise not to quantify the experience because the quality is what matters and anyhow we take home beautiful memories.

Whenever we see the photographs, we feel happy that we made it! 🙂

Kids-friendly Attractions in Jaipur

Though I believe visiting historical monuments is a great way to make kids learn about the rich past and implant love for history in them. But I also believe that sometimes they need a break from all the learning. There are places in Jaipur you can take your kids to for their kinda fun.

Alice Garg National Seashell Museum with its colossal collection of seashells is a perfect and unique attraction for kids. Jhalana Nature Park is home to many animals and birds and also offers activities like elephant ride which makes it a fun place for young ones. Snow Planet can be the most thrilling experience for kids because of its astonishing rides and slides. Galtaji Temple is also called Monkey temple because it’s home to the clan of monkeys and children love monkeying around the temple. Elefantastic a day keeps the kids in yay! Elefantastic, India’s first elephant farm, attracts kids and adults both for its one of a kind elephant experience that gives you a chance to make friends with elephants. Kids love feeding and painting the elephants and soaking in the shower with elephants is a joyful experience.

Getting there

There are regular flights to Jaipur from all the metropolitans. Jaipur is also well connected by road, so taxi and car are great options because nothing beats the road journey.

Getting around

Walking is the finest way to explore the city. Rickshaws and autos can be hired for longer distances. It’s wise to discuss the fare antecedently to avoid the hitch.

Where to stay and eat

Pearl Palace Heritage is the best budget-friendly bet. The rooms are artistically and tastefully decorated and the ambiance is great. Pearl Palace’s Peacock Rooftop Restaurant (a walk away or hotel can arrange an auto) is like a voyage that blends art, gastronomy, delightful ambiance and visual experience. Food is delectable and reasonably priced. Highly recommend their breakfast menu.

Our room at Hotel Pearl Palace

Rambagh Palace is for those who want to experience the regal and royal Rajasthani hospitality.

Best time to visit

Winter (October-February) is the best time to visit any part of Rajasthan. Summers are harsh. Days are usually warm and evenings are lovely during August and September.

Insider Tips

*Beware of buying goods at a shop inside Jaigarh fort even if a guide insists because you’ll end up paying above the odds.

*Take a physical guide at Jantar Mantar; audio tour fails to explain the complexities of the instruments.

*The most convenient way to travel the city is by local rickshaw, auto or taxi. It’s advisable to hire transport for a day as it saves a lot of money and exhaustion.

*Be cautious while buying jewelry or gemstones as fake jewelry and gem scams are common here. Shop at trusted outlets.

Some places absolutely have a soul. Jaipur is one of them. It’s not about its rich history, culture or stunning architecture but it’s about the life and ebullience Jaipur has. You would want to visit it again and again.

Are you planning a trip to Jaipur with family? Just leave a comment and I’d be the happiest to help you create the itinerary. 

A slightly different version of this post was published as a guest post on Shalzmojo.

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47 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathryne
    September 23, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    I have only seen Jaipur in photos and movies. It is on my must-travel list! Your insider tips are much appreciated. I’ll take note of the best months to travel!!!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 3, 2017 at 4:27 pm

      Thank you, Kathryne! I’m glad my post could be of some help to you 🙂

  • Reply
    Ithfifi
    September 23, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Amazing post. I think after reading this Jaipur is going on my destination wishlist, your photo’s are absolutely gorgeous, it looks so colourful and rich in history. I think the word regal fits it beautifully!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 3, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      Thank you so much 🙂 Hope you visit Jaipur soon!

  • Reply
    Cia Black
    September 23, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    You are not lying when you say everything looks regal because my goodness does it ever. Thanks for sharing so much that you did you really covered a lot of topics for anyone who may or is planning a visit. You took car of travel, things to food and kid friendly activities.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 3, 2017 at 4:36 pm

      Thanks for the appreciation, Cia 🙂 Jaipur certainly is the epitome of regal opulence.

  • Reply
    Depression No More!
    September 23, 2017 at 11:02 pm

    I love how you’ve captured this city! The pictures and descriptions are captivating. There’s a richness that can be seen through each photo. Thanks.

  • Reply
    mariamagdalenahusain (@invinitelearn)
    September 24, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Wow.. amazing place! Reading this article make me feel that I’m walking around Jaipur.

  • Reply
    Bea
    September 24, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Oh WOW Jaipur is indeed beautiful!! I am really impressed by the design & architecture of the building!! They are stunning!

  • Reply
    TeeShares
    September 25, 2017 at 6:20 am

    Wow, another place for me to visit! Beautiful and interesting! People are soo creative – love the architecture. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Reply
    Elinor Hill aka Beachhutcook
    September 25, 2017 at 9:42 am

    The beauty and magnificence of the buildings is amazing. What a stunning location.

  • Reply
    Kriti
    September 25, 2017 at 11:29 am

    My Place <3

    Poud to Be a part of such an amazing place.. !! Welcome You all <3.. Thanks for sharing !!

    http://www.techfern.com/

  • Reply
    Odette @osoinspired
    September 25, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I’ve never heard of Jaipur before, but it looks absolutely magically. The architecture on the buildings are beautiful.

  • Reply
    Acupofassamtea
    September 26, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    After reading your post, I traveled to Jaipur once again. You captured Jaipur so very well.

  • Reply
    Tiffany Yong
    September 27, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Wait, you said every thing Pink, but I only see them in shades of orange. Is that just me or is it not really pink except City Palace? I’ve never heard of Jaipur though~ Thanks for intro-ing

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 4:30 am

      I too had same thoughts the moment I entered the city of Jaipur. I thought it looks like any other city and there’s nothing pink about it. Later, I came to know that Pink color is only limited to Old Jaipur now. It’s still called the Pink City because it was entirely painted in pink to welcome the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria in 1876.

  • Reply
    liendewispelaereLien
    September 27, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    I had never heard of the instrument ravanahatha… What are the sounds like?

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 4:38 am

      Ravanahatha (Ravana’s hand) is an ancient violin which is played with a bow. It is known to be world’s first violin. You can listen to the sound here 🙂

  • Reply
    Claudia
    September 27, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    I haven´t been to Jaipur but It seem to be an amazing travel destination. I really like your insider tips. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 4:40 am

      You should definitely plan to visit Jaipur. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to show appreciation 🙂

  • Reply
    JC
    September 28, 2017 at 12:34 am

    I love the bright colors and lavishness of Jaipur. Everything seems so brilliantly designed. Reading this post almost felt like doing a walking door of the city; definitely pinning for later!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 4:41 am

      Thank you so much 🙂 Jaipur truly is a must-visit destination in India.

  • Reply
    lucicoo
    September 28, 2017 at 12:53 am

    I’ve never heard of Jaipur before but it looks like a really beautiful place. Love the little history that you gave in the beginning of your post.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 4:45 am

      Thanks 🙂 Jaipur certainly is an exquisite place with all its magnificence.

  • Reply
    chikonahoka
    September 28, 2017 at 2:26 am

    I postponed Rajasthan rather than merging it with my Uttar Pradesh trip precisely because I thought I might want to have lottttts of time for this region. 🙂 I think it was the right call.

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 5:39 am

      Bingo! You made the right call 🙂 Rajasthan, a regal capital of India has so much to see and experience that it needs a lot of time.

  • Reply
    Julia Guerra | Travel Lightly
    September 28, 2017 at 2:27 am

    I love visiting cities that are full of culture and heritage. I’ll have to go to Jaipur someday!

  • Reply
    scriptingspaces
    September 28, 2017 at 5:36 am

    Jaipur is so close to Singapore but I’ve never gotten down to visiting! Thanks for sharing, I never knew that there were forts on top of hill! I love climbing and walking so that would be such a fun experience. Gonna add that to my list now! 🙂

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 5:40 am

      Hope you visit Jaipur soon 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    Jackie
    September 28, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I’ve wanted to visit Jaipur just based off of photos I’ve seen on Instagram but you’ve completely sold me! Can we talk about your room at Pearl Palace? I feel like ‘regal’ doesn’t even touch the surface! These photos are gorgeous and have totally sold me on visiting!!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 3, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Thank you so much, Jackie 🙂 I’m humbled. Words of appreciation like these keep me going. Sure, It’ll be a pleasure to assist you. I’ll send you the details about our regal room at Pearl Palace soon 🙂

  • Reply
    Ana - JauntingTrips.com
    September 28, 2017 at 11:35 am

    When ever I read a post from that part of the world makes me thing that it’s actually out of this world. I think to get a proper grasp of the culture and the country as a whole, one would need months of traveling. It’s so intricate, complex and beautiful. Loved the post, wished you posted more photos 🙂

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 3, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      Thank you so much, Ana! You actually need a lifetime to experience and understand India in all its diversity 🙂 I wish I could add all the pics I clicked 🙂 I’ll be posting some on my facebook page though.

  • Reply
    shelbibritton
    September 28, 2017 at 1:27 pm

    I honestly would have never had this on my list of places to visit because it was never on my radar. But those buildings and design elements are amazing! My camera is dying to visit!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 5:41 am

      Jaipur never ceases to amaze the travelers and photographers 🙂

  • Reply
    journeywithchloe
    September 28, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Jaipur seems like it has so much soul and colour! All those forts and palaces look so beautiful, the designs are just exquisite. I’ve always wanted to travel to India but never heard of Jaipur until now so I’ll add that to my list and keep this guide for when I go! Great detail!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 3, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Thank you so much, Chloe! I’m glad I could be of some help to you through my article. You should plan to visit Incredible India pretty soon 🙂 Uniqueness is the essence of India.

  • Reply
    tatumskipper
    September 29, 2017 at 2:45 am

    The patterns on the architecture look like optical illusions, kind of makes me dizzy haha but nonetheless, very beautiful. I would DIE to stay in that palace! A true room fit for a queen!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 5:45 am

      Staying at Pearl Palace was truly a memorable experience for us 🙂

  • Reply
    Elizabeth O
    October 3, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I have never been there in Jaipur. and it looks like a great place to visit. The architecture look so stunning. Wanna visit this place someday.

  • Reply
    In and Out of Vegas
    October 3, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Such incredible history and architecture! I was very intrigued about the entire city being painted pink! I looked it up and found out pink is the color of hospitality which is why it was done for the royal visit!

    • Reply
      Anjali Chawla
      October 7, 2017 at 5:56 am

      Wow! You actually searched for it 🙂 and you know even today the city is painted pink on every Diwali (Indian Festival of lights) so it could live upto its name.

  • Reply
    Syam
    November 28, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Jaipur is amazing and you narrated very well!

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