As the capital of Rajasthan that is, in Jaipur, there are dozens of places worth seeing and endless things to do. It is true that being one of the largest and most populated cities in northern India, at first sight, can be a little overwhelming, but given the opportunity, you learn to love it.
Throughout my travels, to India, I have visited Jaipur on more than twenty occasions, which has allowed me to explore it in-depth and discover corners that do not appear in travel guides. However, in this entry, I will focus on the essential: those places of Jaipur that no one should stop seeing in a stay of two days, which is the time that most people usually devote. Go for it!
Jaipur: gateway to the Pink City
1 – Bazaars
Just across the huge gates that give access to the ancient city, one is in the bazaars that have given so much fame to Jaipur, divided into guilds through streets and alleys.
My favourite route to get to know them almost all begins with entering the “Pink City” by the Chandpole door. There begins a long avenue whose first section is known as Chandpole Bazaar, where there are shops of spices, vegetables and food in general, although also Dominican businesses of all types. Next is Tripolia Bazaar, where most shops sell household items. When you reach the Manak Chowk roundabout you can make the first foray to the left to see the facade of the Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds), or turn right, entering Johari Bazaar, where jewellery is concentrated (Jaipur is especially famous for its precious and semi-precious stones) until you reach the gate Sangria Gate. Without leaving the city, a last turn to the right introduces us to Bapu Bazaar, full of fabric stores, saris, footwear and perfumes. How to get bored!
2 – The Palace of the city
Residence of the rulers of Jaipur since the first half of the 18th century, this complex of buildings and courtyards presents an exquisite fusion of Rajput and Mughal architecture. Unfortunately, for the most part, it is only possible to see the exterior spaces. Only the entrance to the interior of the Mubarak Mahal (the “guest house”) is allowed where there is currently a very interesting exhibition of royal family costumes and dresses, the armoury and the courtroom. The private palace (Chandra Mahal) is accessible only with a guided tour for which you have to pay a good supplement.
Jaipur Palace, India
I personally think that if we compare it with other great palaces and forts of Rajasthan, the Jaipur Palace is a slightly more loose visit (this is always my opinion, comparisons are odious!). The best for me: the Pritam Niwas Chowk or “Patio of Lovers”, beautiful with its four doors representing the four seasons of the year.
3 – Jantar Mantar
The largest of the five astronomical observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh II (the other four are found in Delhi, Ujjain, Mathura and Varanasi) is composed of 16 huge calculating instruments, some of which are still used to predict phenomena such as the date of arrival of the Monsoon.
The visit is very interesting, especially if you have a good guide that explains in detail the operation of each of the instruments. If not, you can also rent an audioguide. Of course, I advise you to wear a good cap: there is no shade and the sun hits hard. A very nice view of both Jantar Mantar and the Palace can be reached from the top of the Hawa Mahal, which I will talk about below.
5 – Cine Raj Mandir
Outside the walls of the old town, this cinema is in my opinion a really must visit in the city. In addition to the interior of the building, which is less picturesque (you have some bad photos at this entrance), for having the pleasure of watching a Bollywood movie in one of the most famous cinemas in the country.
The Raj Mandir cinema has only one room and the sessions are at 12:30, 15:30, 18:30 and 21:30. My recommendation is to get at least 20 minutes early to buy the entrance (as there may be queue) and get you over some time to see how they illuminate the hall.
6 – Fort Amber
Fort Amber is located about 10 kilometres from Jaipur, so you have to take a rickshaw to get to the base of the hill where you are. Once there, you can climb perfectly on foot in a 10-minute walk, although you will surely be pressured to do it by jeep or elephant. Do not do it! Elephants (who are actually elephants) live in conditions of slavery and suffer terrible ill-treatment from birth until they die for the entertainment of tourists. You have more information on how to avoid activities that involve animal abuse on the FAADA website.
Residence of the Kachhwaha until in 1727 moved the capital to present Jaipur, Amber is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful forts of Rajasthan. She has me in love!
My favourite zone is the harem. Do not forget to climb to the top floor to have a great view of the twelve apartments intended for the twelve main wives. If you have a good guide that tells your story well, you will enjoy the visit much more.