Jaipur is celebrated for its history and royal culture. One shouldn’t miss Jaipur if you are hunting for India’s history.
Roads were busy with people walking in the middle of it and some were crossing the road without bothering the traffic signals, road construction happening on one side; cows eating their breakfast from the waste bins. My first impression about the historic city shattered me since this was not the pink city which I had in my imagination. One of the most crowded cities and I hate things when it’s too crowded. Our taxi headed forward like the lazy tortoise through the busy roads.
After some time we reached near a tall heavily built entrance gate and our driver told us that we are entering the pink city in his broken English. As we crossed the main entrance all the buildings in my eye’s vicinity turned to be in a pinkish peach shade.
Read the 7 places which changed my first impression on Jaipur:
1. Historical Amber Palace in Amer Fort:
Amber Palace in Amer fort was the previous residence of Jaipur Rajput kings. Red stone and marbles are used to construct this oldest surviving palace in India, which is one of its main attraction. Amber shade of red stone has gifted the name as Amber palace for this UNESCO world heritage centre. Amber Palace is believed to be the birthplace of princess Joddha who married the Mughal King Akbar, and this palace was the main shooting location of the historical movie Jodha Akbar.
Entrance fee: Indian/foreigner ₹100/500, night entry ₹100.
Visiting time: 8 a.m-6 p.m, last entry 5.30 p.m, night entry 7-9 p.m
How to reach: Amer fort is 14 kms from old Jaipur/pink city. There are buses, auto rickshaws, taxis and Uber online cabs available from Jaipur town. Public buses are available to Amer town from Ajmeri Gate and MI Road.
Best time to visit: Visit during weekdays when the crowd is less and get there as early as possible to find the place less of a crowd.
- Elephant rides are available(which I don’t prefer as it’s too hectic for the elephants) from the fort entrance to the palace entrance which is about 1-2 km. It starts from 7 a.m until 11:30 a.m. There used to also be afternoon rides, from 3.30 p.m until 5 p.m. It costs Rs.900 for 2 people.
- Light and sound show (which I highly prefer instead of elephant rides) where they narrate the glorious history of India and Amer Fort voiced by Amitabh Bachan. Show timings: October to February 6:30 p.m(English)/7:30 p.m(Hindi); March to April 7 p.m(English)/8 p.m(Hindi); May to September 7:30 p.m(English)/8:30 p.m(Hindi). It costs Rs. 295 per person.
2. Enjoy the local lifestyle at the stepwell, Panna Meena Ka Kund:
When you visit Amber Place make sure you don’t miss the Panna Meena Ka Kund which is next to it. This eight-story staircase pool built in the 16th century was used by ladies in olden days to collect water for their daily needs. Localites believe that one cannot use the same stairs to climb up and down because of its mysterious architecture.Even though there are many step wells in North India, Panna Meena Ka Kund is the least visited by tourists. So if you have enough time on your hand, then visit this place to see the local lifestyle of this place as this is highly engaged by the localites as their chit-chat and relaxing spot.
Note: This is open all the time and there is no entrance fee needed.
3. Historically haunted Nahargarh Fort:
A deserted road leads to Nahargarh Fort with dried leafless trees on both the sides and occasionally crossing vehicles. Nahargarh Fort is famous for its stunning view which is overlooking the beautiful Jaipur city. It also has a haunted exciting historical background. Nahargarh Fort was built by Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh II in 1734. While the construction was happening the spirit of Saint Nahar Singhji began haunting the construction site and disturbed the construction as it was his resting place. Later consulting with a spiritual leader, Maharaja Sawai Jaisingh built a temple inside the fort premises for the haunting spirit and changed the name of the Fort as Nahargarh Fort.
Entrance fee: Indian/foreigner ₹50/200
Visiting time: 10 a.m – 5:30 p.m
How to reach: Nahargarh fort is 17kms from old Jaipur/pink city. There are auto rickshaws, taxis and uber online cabs available from Jaipur town.
Best time to visit: Go there in the evening to see an unforgettable sunset.
Other activities: There is one-day Nahargarh Fort trekking activity conducted by several travel groups. Visit Jaipur wax museum which is inside the Nahargarh Fort and Jaigarh Fort which 7 km away from Nahargarh Fort.
4. Drench in the history of the Royal City Palace:
“Once upon a time, there was a king…” my thoughts started chasing the long gone tales of childhood when I heard about the City Palace, Jaipur. It was from Mysore palace I started my love for exploring palaces and cultures. City Palace Jaipur was on my long time list from the time I had seen the pictures of elegant rooms rolled in colours of blue and white.
Read more about this: 15 photos through the royal lifestyle of Rajputs: City Palace, Jaipur
5.Have a glimpse of King’s summer retreat, Jal Mahal:
How is the thought of living in a palace which is half submerged in water? Beautiful isn’t it? Then that is Jal Mahal. A 5 storeyed palace which is in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake In Jaipur city. To know the greatness of this construction one just need to know that this palace was constructed in the year 1799. King has used this palace as his summer retreat to escape the heat. Four floors of the palace will be below the water when the dam is full, showcasing only the top floor. Jal Mahal turns like a beautifully dressed princess at night when it is fully illuminated with yellow lights and showing its reflection on the riffled lake water.
Best time to visit: Either visit early morning to catch the sunrise or have a walk in the night to see the reflection in the water of warmly lit Jal Mahal.
Note: You can visit Jal Mahal only from a distance. There are no facilities made to enter inside Jal Mahal.
6. Sip a coffee and enjoy the beauty of Hawa Mahal:
Hawa Mahal(wind palace) might be the most photographed building in Jaipur and I had saved it on my Instagram wishlist the moment we planned the trip to Jaipur. I was expecting it to be a proper tourist spot with people waiting in the queue to hand their tickets. Contrary to my belief tourists were sipping a coffee in a cafe with their backs relaxed and snapping the pink honeycombed similar architectural marvel, Hawa Mahal. You can visit Hawa Mahal by taking tickets and walking inside the palace. But to get the glimpse of the full wind palace you need to grab a chair on one of the opposite cafes of Hawa Mahal. Hawa Mahal was built for the queen and the ladies in the palace to enjoy the festival celebrations happening in the street since they were not allowed to show their face to another man other than their husband and were restricted to appear in public. When I walked into the palace I got a glimpse of the street outside through the small windows of how the ladies were seeing the festival celebrations which was happening on the streets.
Entrance fee: Indian/foreigner ₹50/200
Visiting time: 10 a.m – 5:30 p.m
How to reach: This is in the middle of Old Jaipur/Pink city. Once you enter the pink city there are many cabs, auto-rickshaws available as its one of the main tourist spot.
Best time to visit: Evening to have a coffee and see the sunset.
The best place to capture a perfect shot of Hawa Mahal: Wind view Cafe, The tattoo cafe.
Other attractions: Jantar Mandir, City Place
7. Roam around the Pink city:
My most favourite part of travelling is to roam the streets by socking in its aura. Pink painted buildings stand tall shouting out its history and as a monument of respect by its people who still preserve their history as their personal pride. As I walked on the streets, shopkeepers were calling me to have a look at their shop which was hardly a room with space for one or two to stand; some even with a small sheet which is turned to a shop on the pedestrian walk with colourful Rajasthani artefacts.
Are you a street photographer then this is the place for you. Are you a shopping freak, then you can’t afford to miss this place. Visit Johari Bazar for jewellery, Tripolia Bazar for beautiful varieties of bangles, Chandpole Bazar for handicrafts, Kishanpole for wooden sculptures and souvenirs, Nehru Bazar for traditional jootis, Sireh Deori Bazar for camel leather products which are only available in Rajasthan in India, Bapu Bazar for textile goods, MI road for pottery.
How did the disorganized crowded pink city turn to be a place which I would like to go back someday?
When I first reached, Jaipur seemed to be a very crowded disorganized historical city and I wondered why people still come here. But it took time for me to realize why this is a paradise for tourists. Till now travelling was more like exploring places for me. But this city changed my beliefs about travelling. It taught me travelling is more about accepting the world in a way how it is. Jaipur is a place where people living by still embracing their history and culture when all the world is running behind globalization. Their pride in their history and culture makes it chaotic and disorganized. The moment I started to accept their old pink city in their way of attitude, Jaipur turned to be a place which I would like to go back someday.
General tourist information:
- How to reach: Jaipur is well connected via rail, air and road.
- Accommodation: There are many budget hotels, luxurious hotels and hostels available for backpackers.
- Best time to visit: November to February.
- One need not have to book a trip beforehand as this is one of the most famous tourist spots. There are many tour agencies available for a rate of Rs.1500 – 2500 per day according to the vehicle you choose to travel. And they include almost all the famous tourist spots. You can inquire at your hotel or there will be many tourist agents waiting at the railway station, bus stands and airport. You can even hire them.
- It is a better choice to hire a tour guide when you visit historical places like Nahargarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort, Amber Palace etc as they explain the history of the place well and it makes the travel worth enough rather than just visiting so many monuments without knowing its significance.
- There are high chances for tour agencies and tour guides to take you to the shops where they will be getting a commission. So if you are not interested, then tell them before you fixing the deal.
- There are Uber and Ola cabs available in Jaipur.
Thanks, for reading! Have you got irritated of visiting any places like this, which is all disorganized and messy? Then share your experience with me.
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