Jaipur — the name conjures images of a beautiful city steeped in history, culture, art and architecture. And rightly so, for the land of Maharaja Jai Singh is without doubt one of the world’s greatest cities.
Jaipur has so much to offer that one often wonders how to make the most of it, especially when pressed for time. But worry not, with a little planning you can pack in a lot during your time in the pink city — from heritage to art, history to architecture, shopping to eating.
Here’s our guide to help you plan your brief trip to this World Heritage City.
Start with the old city
There is a reason why everyone who goes to Jaipur begins with the Old City, and you should too. The city centre, set in the shadows of the Amber Fort, is the quintessential Jaipur you have read about in books and seen in films. The streets are buzzing with activity, the markets are filled with locals and the stalls are always ready to serve you the most flavourful local delights — from phulki to lassi, pakodas to kulfi, ghewar to chaat. Visit Hawa Mahal, the most iconic of all Jaipur sights. After you’re done taking selfies (what’s a holiday without them?), walk towards Johari Bazaar. The kilometre-long avenue is where the pink city gets its name. A walk along the Bazaar reveals hidden architectural marvels and shops so old that they have no name. We highly recommend picking up pickles, junk jewellery and souvenirs from the shops here. On your way out, stop by M.I.Road for a hearty, albeit super sweet, lassi and some spicy kachori for brunch.
An afternoon for museums and design centres
Jaipur is a hub of art and design — both traditional and contemporary. Once you’ve covered the Old City, it is a good idea to visit the museums next. Among the most prominent are Anokhi Museum, Amrapali Museum and Jawahar Kala Kendra. Anokhi Museum, a charitable foundation that works to preserve Jaipur’s traditional block printing craft, is a striking sandstone haveli locally known as Chanwar Palkiwalaon ki Haveli. Check out traditional Jaipuri fabric and garments on display and maybe even enrol for one of the many workshops they organise regularly. Meanwhile, Jawahar Kala Kendra is a popular cultural destination that hosts several workshops, dance and music recitals, theatre shows and art exhibitions. It also stands out for its architecture and design which are based on the Navgraha theme. The Amrapali Museum is the grandest of all and displays silver and gold jewellery from every region of India.
Spend the evening at parks and temples
Jaipur witnesses the most beautiful evenings with mauve skies, soothing breeze and abundant birdsong. It is also an ideal time to visit the city’s many beautiful temples. The Digambar Jain Mandir in Sanganer, just outside the city, is a beautiful sandstone structure dedicated to Lord Adinath. The Birla Temple, made of white marble, stands majestically by the busy Jawahar Lal Nehru Road. Moti Dungri, a small Ganesha temple atop the Moti Doongri Hill, and very close to the Birla Temple, is revered by locals and tourists alike.
If temples are not your thing, the city is also home to beautiful public parks. Ram Niwas Garden was built by Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh and houses the popular Albert Hall Museum.It is a great place to see locals out and about in the city. Kanak Vrindavan, a little off the city, is a great picnic spot. Central Park, in the heart of the city, is a grand garden which also has a golf club, polo ground and the country’s highest flag post. End the day with a round of street treats outside any park or temple and you’ll feel like a local already.
Spend the morning at the forts
You cannot go to Jaipur and not visit the forts. The Amer Fort — what with its magnificent carvings, paintings, sheesh mahal, gardens and miniature paintings — is a sight to behold. Go early to skip the crowds and avoid traffic. The fort also offers the best view of the city glistening and gleaming in the shining sun. The Nahargarh Fort, a little away from the city, is another place you must not miss. Built in the 1730s, just north of downtown Jaipur, the fort keeps a watch on the city and boasts a large wall that can be spotted from far away. The most interesting part here however is the Sculpture Museum which exhibits contemporary arts and crafts and works of modern-day artists from across the world. A third, lesser-known fort, Jaigarh, is another promising place to visit. It offers a peek into the Persian influence on Jaipur through its art and architecture.
Shop at the design studios in the afternoon
Jaipur is as modern as it is traditional and as hip as it is classic. The city has as many bespoke design studios as it has bazaars. Shopping in Jaipur is a treat and after a busy morning of visiting forts, it can also be a relaxing activity. A visit to the design stores that dot Jaipur’s beautiful avenues, posh neighbourhoods and quaint streets is a great way to know the city and take a part of it home. The C-Scheme area is filled with design boutiques, big and small, that offer beautiful artefacts, garments, jewellery, homeware and ceramics. Jawahar Lal Nehru Road is a Mecca of quintessential Jaipuri fabrics and saris with the most premium stores lining the street. Suvasa, Vasansi, Soma, Anokhi and Amrapali are some of the many stores you can visit.
A royal evening in the palaces
End your visit to Jaipur royally by experiencing its grand palaces and residences. While there is City Palace, Hawa Mahal and Jal Mahal that you can visit as a tourist, it is the more personal palaces that showcase the real grandeur of Jaipur. After a quick walkthrough of City Palace, head to the grand Rambagh Palace for a memorable high tea. As the evening unfolds over this centuries-old palace, now a hotel, you can witness dozens of peacocks dancing on the sprawling lawns — a sight no other place can offer. A long, laid-back dinner at the picturesque Jai Mahal Palace is the perfect way to bring your perfect trip to Jaipur to a close.