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Exploring Jaipur

The 300-year-old Rajasthani city of Jaipur is known as the Pink City of India for the glowing rose-pink paint applied to all its buildings in 1876 and still evident today along several of its wide avenues. Originally a massive walled compound with seven gates, it contains palaces, forts and imposing state buildings and is one of India’s favourite tourist destinations. As India’s first planned city, Jaipur’s wide boulevards divide nine districts, making orientation and getting around its ancient central area far easier than in most Indian conurbations.

Jaipur is a city of temples and grand monuments, with the Govind Devji Temple the second most important Vaishnavite temple in the world. Set on a hill at the city’s heart is Moti Doongari Temple, devoted to Lord Ganesha and built to protect the city. Galwh Bagh, the Monkey Temple, located on Jaipur’s eastern edge, is a tourist favourite for its troupes of monkeys. The fascinating landmark of Jantar Mantar, set close to the City Palace and the Alsisar Haveli Hotel, is a UNESCO World Heritage site constructed as an observatory between 1727 and 1734. The lovely, 200-year-old Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Breezes) is an extension of the City Palace built to allow the Raja’s wives and concubines to view the city streets unseen.

Sights nearby

Jaipur’s massive forts and magnificent royal palaces are the major landmarks here, along with the teeming streets, fascinating local markets and museums displaying the city’s long heritage.

Amber Fort
Massive Amber Fort dates from the early 17th century and began life as a royal palace complex. The Sheesh Mahal with literally thousands of mirror tiles lining its walls and ceiling is the main sight here, and the complex can be accessed by an elephant ride.

Jaigarh Fort
The strongest of Jaipur’s three fortifications, Jaigarh Fort was never conquered and is home to the world’s largest cannon, legendarily only fired once as an experiment which proved its range of 35kms.

Madhavendra Palace
Set in the smallest of the three forts, Nahagarh Fort, the fading splendours of this charming smaller palace are well worth a visit.

Jah Mahal Palace
Stunningly set in the centre of a lake covered in summer water hyacinth, romantic Jah Mahal Palace was built in the Rajput style.

City Palace
The splendid City Palace is the home of the Maharaja of Jaipur, and its vast complex covers almost a seventh of the city area. The Chandra Mahal is the Maharaja’s residence, with other palatial structures home to a textile museum and two massive silver vessels.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Jaipur’s gastronomy is famed for its use of spices, using recipes based on its long history as a royal city. Dried fruits, curds and ghee are essential ingredients, and the city’s eateries also offer Indian regional cuisines and international menus. Food options are everywhere, from street vendors to local eateries and specialist restaurants in hotels such as the Bissau Palace Jaipur. Due to Jaipur’s popularity as an international tourism destination, visitors unused to highly-spiced food can easily find Mexican, Italian, Thai and Chinese eateries. The city is a shopaholic’s delight for its variety of things to buy and places in which to splurge. Textiles, saris, intricate gold jewellery, leather goods, wood and marble carvings, metalwork and much more are found in buzzing bazaars, and Mirza Ismail Road is a hub for fashion, antiques and traditional Jaipuri clothes. For conventional shopping, try Ganpati Plaza’s upscale mall close by the Hotel Mansingh.

Public transport

Jaipur’s airport is located outside the city at nearby Sanganer town and hosts scheduled services to Bangkok and Singapore via Delhi. A direct flight runs to Dubai, and domestic routes to Mumbai, Chennai and several other Indian cities give a choice of routes for visitors. Getting around the city is by bus, auto-rickshaw or the RTDC tourist bus operated by the city’s tourism authority. Taxis are safer than auto-rickshaws although twice the price, and are best booked by phone.

Jaipur travel guides

Jaipur travel guides