Jaipur sightseeing- The Pink City is adorned with all flavors – disparate elements of history, delectable cuisines, and beautifully chiseled handicrafts.
Jaipur ain’t a place that could be appreciated in a day, yet if you plan a weekend getaway to this royal city, we are here to share our experiences! Although we had only a day and a half to explore the nook and corner of the city, some cautious planning helped us to cover the places which shouldn’t be missed. Some of these tips would help you to plan an enjoyable trip within your budget. Here’s an itinerary for sightseeing in Jaipur.
Day 1: Travel to Jaipur
Starting off from Delhi, there are numerous travel options to choose from. There are regular trains that run between Delhi and the Pink City. Jaipur is around 260 kilometers from Delhi and you would be able to make it to your destination in around 5 hours.
If you wish to explore the roads of Rajasthan, then buses/Volvos are the best options to go for. The tickets would cost somewhere between Rs 500-800 per person. You could also travel by air, as Jaipur has an airport around 12 kilometers from the heart of the city.
We chose to travel by road. Arriving in Jaipur, we had a number of good hotel options. As Jaipur is a popular tourist spot, there are numerous lodging options in the city. However, if you are planning to pick a hotel somewhere in the center of the city, you need to reserve a spot a few days before. We chose Trimrooms Kings Palace, located around 5 minutes from the heart of the city and popular sightseeing areas. More than being within your budget, the hotel has decent rooms, good service and economical dining options. There are many restaurants near to the hotel, in case you choose not to dine in the hotel.
Day 2: Jaipur sightseeing
A weekend wasn’t enough to dive deep into the intriguing history of the city, yet meticulous planning gave us an edge! We had already started loving the city. Not only for its pink hues and elements of Indian heritage, but also for its cleanliness. Here are the spots we visited :
Built by Raja Jai Singh II of Amber, Jalmahal is a grand palace in the lap of Man Sagar Lake. It flaunts a beautiful Rajput style of architecture and was used as a place of residence by the royal family of Rajasthan. It has undergone various restoration works and is currently closed to visitors. But it is worth a glimpse, for some perfect clicks of the lake shining beneath the mountains.
View of Jalmahal
(Fun facts about Jalmahal: It is said that if you drop a block of ice on the surface of this palace, it won’t melt!)
The Amber Fort or Amer Fort is one of the best examples of the Rajput sense of style and architecture. Built by Raja Man Singh I, it is definitely worth a visit if you plan a trip to Jaipur. Entry fee is Rs 100 for normal visitors and Rs 10 for student visitors ( quite a good deal for students!)
We hired a guide (for Rs 200) and we didn’t regret having him on board. For he gave us some trivia facts and figures we weren’t aware of. You would get many options to choose a guide as soon as you enter the fort.
Entry to Amber fort
The guide showed us a temple at the entry of the fort. It was closed at that point of time, yet its sculpture and location gave it a tremendous presence of its own in the fort. This temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali. In the 16th century, a goat was sacrificed daily and offered as a part of religious traditions. This is being continued even today.
Further, we moved to the main area of the fort. This area has two gates: the Sun gate and the Moon gate. The Moon gate was used for entry by the royals, whereas commoners could enter only through the Sun gate. Beholding the view of the city , we could see the 21km stretch of fort boundary, which was occupied by soldiers in the sixteenth century, guarding the pride and heritage of the city.
View from the fort
This vast garden is not a just mere piece of beauty, it showcases light and sound shows in the evening for visitors, with information about the history of this fort. If you plan to stay longer in Jaipur, you could grab your seat and enjoy the colors! (Ticket price: Rs 250)
Looking at the Diwan-e-Aam ( where the king summoned commoners) and twelve courts (Kacheris), we realized that the architecture was more than just amazing. As our guide said, it was a culmination of Hindu and Muslim art.
Why? Because Jodha, the princess and wife and Mughal king Akbar, belonged to this village. She was the aunt of Raja Man Singh. If you remember the scene from Jodha Akbar, where cooking was being done in two large kadhais, it was captured in this fort itself.
Cooking area of the fort
We moved ahead to admire the different palaces of the king. A palace for each season: summer, winter and rainy.
The best of these are popularly known as Sheesh Mahal, which was the winter abode of the king. With torches bearing flames, these mirrors helped to keep the palace warm. They also reflected light vividly, giving an illusion of shining stars. Get some good clicks in the ‘sheeshas’ of Sheesh Mehal, before you leave.
The palace built for rainy season was equally a masterpiece. Its slanting dome allowed rainwater to collect, also delighting the royal ladies who enjoyed its coolness on their swings. The guide showed us various masterpieces of the king’s mind: a geyser in those days, small carts to give queens a ride from one place to another (done by eunuchs, as the king considered them trustworthy) and many more! We were pretty impressed by the king’s antics!
King’s palace during the rainy season
Raja Man Singh had twelve wives, and corridors connected each one of the twelve palaces. However, legend says that the queens were not allowed to talk to each other in the absence of the Highness. The king had the freedom to reach any of the palaces through secret tunnels.
Palaces of the queens
Last but not the least, we had a look at the handicrafts and Jaipuri rajais before leaving ( pretty expensive though!). There’s a small Cafe Coffee Day constructed within the fort to give you some respite from the heat.
Eyeing small toy cars, we landed down the fort using these colorful rides available at the exit. It was quite a treat!
Before moving to the next spot on our sightseeing bucket list, we halted for lunch in the heart of the city. There are various restaurants to explore near Rajmandir. For those unaware, Rajmandir is the oldest and most popular theatre in Jaipur. It screens latest movies and attracts people for its beautiful architecture.
Our next spot was Birla Mandir, just 5 minutes away from Rajmandir. Birla Mandir or Laxmi Narayan temple is located at the base of Moti Dungri hill. With carvings of deities, the idol of Laxmi Narayan and Lord Ganesha, this temple is quite a serene place to be in. It is believed that The Birlas constructed this temple in 1988 and the Maharaja gave this land at a price of Re.1.
The three domes of the temple show the three different aspects of religion. Lying beneath the Mount Dungri fort, this area is covered with beautiful flowers and well-kept grass. No doubt, tourists visit this peaceful place to seek the blessings of God.
We spent some time in this serene environment and sought the blessings of God.
Views from the Birla Mandir
Albert Hall Museum
Just near to the temple is Albert Museum. We needed to rush as the museum closes at 5 p.m.
The foundation of Albert Hall museum was laid during the visit of Prince of Wales in the year 1876. It is also considered to be the Government Central Museum. It showcases the history and culture of India in a way you would love. From artilleries to artifacts to statues to Mummys, the preservation of historical facts deserves an applause. Give an hour of your time to this museum in the evening of your tour.
Artifacts at Albert Museum
Being shopaholics, we were not going to leave aside any chance of shopping. So we landed up in Bapu Bazar, the pink pillars of the market gleaming from one end of the street to the other. The market had an exotic collection of handicrafts, Bandhanis, Dupattas, spices and herbs, accessories for women..the list is endless. Do visit this market for some traditional budget shopping!
Chokhi Dhani, you better call it Mini Rajasthan! Located on the outskirts of the city, it spans over acres of area. It is structured for visitors to enjoy local culture and relishing food.
The entry to Chokhi Dhani was buzzing with activity. Tourists were being welcomed to the main arena. From among several entry packages, we chose the one at a deal of Rs 700 per person. So how is it different from a package costing Rs 900 per person? All this became clear as we entered the vast grounds of Chokhi Dhani. From Mehandi to playing tricks with fire to traditional Rajasthani dance, there were colors of festivity all around. Mahouts called for elephant rides and astrologers offered services to predict future!
Entry to Chokhi Dhani
We further realized that guests with a plan of Rs 900 per person were entitled to a grand seating arrangement inside a royal restaurant. There were two options: we could comfortably seat ourselves in the eating arena and wait for the hosts to serve, or we could go for a buffet (self-service). Due to time constraints ( and a waiting time of 40 minutes), we decided to opt for the buffet.
Well, the food was mouth watering and finger licking, leaving no repent. Daal Bhaati Churma, the traditional dish of Rajasthan was worth the name. The local chutneys, Malpua, Kadhi, Pakoris etc. were equally a delight to the taste buds.
I wish we had a little more time to appreciate the traditional dances and artifacts showcased in various small shops. However,missing Chokhi Dhani could never have been in the itinery.
Day 3: The Final Venture
Before leaving back for Delhi, we had two hours and two forts to cover; Nahargarh and Jaigarh. We decided to go for Nahargarh fort, as per suggestions.
The huge fort is nothing as compared to Amber Fort, yet it is pristine in its own way. The fort was built by Raja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1734, for the purpose of the retreat. This fort was later extended by Sawai Ram Singh II. It has small suites built specially for the queens. These suites were given different names and each queen had a bedroom, kitchen of her own. There are 9 such palaces in this fort, each connected by a corridor. The terrace of the fort gives an avid glimpse of Jaipur. The old architecture of this fort has been retained, with restoration works in some parts to retain the glory of the past.
There are some eateries and shops near the fort that you could explore, but the fort is not worth spending a lot of your time.
Bidding goodbye to the last venture of our trip, we set off from Jaipur- the city which had won our hearts in such a short span of time.
(Fun facts: Bollywood movies like Rang De Basanti and Shudh Desi Romance have been shot here)
Other budget hotel options:
Hotel Regenta Central
Hotel Surya Vilas
Fab hotel Pink Dior
Hotel Wall Street
The overall budget needed for the weekend trip: Rs 5000 – Rs 10000 per person (in a group of five to six).