Jaipur is the capital and largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan. Generally, the last (or first) stop in what we call the “Golden Triangle” and probably the most picturesque city of the three. Jaipur, known as the pink city or the old city, has so much to offer. UNESCO World Heritage Committee inscribed Jaipur “the Pink City of India” amongst one other UNESCO sites in Jaipur- Amber Fort. The best time to visit Jaipur is during the Winter months, from early November through February. The Summers are extremely hot and they have an intense monsoon season during the month of July. I visited during the beginning of March, it was perfect because it was the end of tourist season and the weather fairly cool in the morning when we were shooting and it would warm up during the day. Most of my India tips are linked here, however when visiting Jaipur be cognizant of monkeys because they WILL take your stuff, like anywhere in India don’t eat just anywhere, and be careful with what taxi services you use because you can get ripped off. Jaipur is a delightful and charming blend of lively culture, rich history, stunning palaces, wonderful art, and delicious cuisine. The city is filled with some of the nicest people and one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been, these were some of my favorite things to do whilst visiting the Pink City.
1. Watch the Sun Rise at Amber Fort
The wall surrounding Amber Fort is the third longest in the world, a hike uphill will take about thirty minutes to an hour depending on your fitness level and it’s completely free. The hike isn’t hard but the stairs are fairly tall, you’ll want to make sure you wear tennis shoes and comfortable clothing.
2. Visit Hawa Mahal
Hawa Mahal is a palace made with red and pink sandstone, it sits on the edge of the City Palace and extends to the Zenana. It’s possible to go inside the Hawa Mahal from the entrance around the back but if you want a good photo, you’ll have to go to the cafe across the street and purchase something. Government tickets, cost 300 rupees for Indians and 1,000 rupees (about 10USD) for foreigners, tickets are available from Rajasthan’s Department of Archaeology & Museums. These tickets are valid for two days and also include Amber Fort, Nahargarh Fort, Jantar Mantar observatory, and Albert Hall Museum. Otherwise, the entry fee is 50 rupees for Indians and 200 rupees for foreigners. The Hawa Mahal is open daily from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m
3. Explore the City Palace
Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II built the City Palace as part of his new capital in Jaipur. It was completed in 1732 and has an expansive complex of courtyards. The royal family still lives there, in the graceful Chandra Mahal. Various parts of the palace are open to the public according to the types of tickets purchased at the front gates. Standard City Palace tickets cost 300 rupees for Indians and 700 rupees (about 10USD) for foreigners. These provide access to palace courtyards, galleries, Jaigarh fort, and the royal cenotaphs. A highlight is the palace’s Pritam Niwas Chowk with its colorful painted doorways representing the different seasons, the most infamous being the doorway with the peacock. Other attractions include displays of royal costumes, old Indian weapons, paintings and photographs. Special tickets provide access (with a guide) to the royal family’s private quarters and the “blue” room, and start from 1,500 rupees for Indians and 2,000 rupees for foreigners which is about 28 USD. The City Palace is situated in the Old City and is open daily from 9.30 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. It reopens from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the evenings for a sound and light show, plus night viewing. Tickets for this cost 500 rupees for Indians and 1,000 rupees for foreigners. The City Palace has a Baradari restaurant also with a bar if you’re looking for a break between exploring. If you’re looking to take photos without people in them, going in the morning when they open or at night when they’re closing would be beneficial, however- if you purchase the more expensive ticket then the blue room rarely ever has people in it.
4. Explore Amber Fort
Amber Fort sits on top of a hill overlooking Maotq Lake. They have elephants that can take you to the top but I believe it’s really cruel to the animals, you can walk or park close to the top without having to ride an elephant. Maharaja Man Singh I, who led Mughal Emperor Akbar’s army, commenced constructing the fort in 1592. It was the home of Kachwaha Rajput rulers until Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II relocated their capital to Jaipur City in 1727. Inside the Fort is the infamous Ganesh Pole, the royal door of the Amber Fort and the old latrines have become a very popular photo spot. The fort is open daily from 0800 until 1730, most people love to watch the light show in the evening which brings life to the forts night views and history. The fort reopens at night from 1830 till 2115 with the option of eating at the restaurant inside. The entry fee is 100 rupees for Indians and 500 rupees for foreigners, which is about 7 USD. If you want to take photos without tourists, I’d go right when they open or towards the end of the day. Otherwise, it’s a struggle to get photos without people in them.
5. Tour the city with a local
I was lucky and talked with Apoorv before I made it to Jaipur. I found him on Instagram because I wanted pictures whilst touring the city. The best part of hanging out with a photographer all day is you’ll get amazing photos and a local tour guide in one! It’s probably the best thing I did and was really fun, whether you’re looking for the best food or the best photos a local is the best person to show you around the Pink City. If you’re headed to Jaipur, I linked his Insta on his name if you’re looking for a photographer.
6. Pose for photos inside Patrika Gate
Jaipur is well known for their palaces and gates, and Patrika Gate is no different. Jaipur’s ninth and most colorful gate, filled with so much life. The entrance to the gate is free and you can go at any time and get a photo with no one in it! The Patrika Gate is the entrance to the Jawahar Circle Garden and only about five minutes from the airport.
I only had one day in Jaipur, we visited some of what I think are the “most instagramable” spots versus visiting all the different forts. If I had more time in Jaipur some things I would have liked to do include watching the sunset at Nahargarh Fort, do a cultural tour of the Old City and visit the Jantar Mantar. I only had one full day in Jaipur before I had to fly to Goa, but I personally think two to three days is needed if you want to really explore and visit everything. Overall, I really believe Jaipur is the most picturesque city in the Golden Triangle and the people are so friendly. It was definitely my favorite city whilst visiting India, if you’re planning a trip to India make sure to check out my Delhi and the most instagramable spots of the Taj Mahal blogs to help you plan the perfect Golden Triangle trip! Until my next post, Inshalla.