When traveling through the north of India, there is no way around Jaipur. Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan and one of the most famous destinations in India. The city is also known as Pink City and for good reason: the buildings in Jaipur’s old town all glow pink.
Jaipur is one of the youngest cities in India, but still very rich in history. Therefore, you will find some really very special and unusual sights in Jaipur. In this blog article we will show you what to expect in the Pink City. Of course, we will also leave you with our personal tips for your trip.
1- Jaipur: Rajasthan’s Capital at a Glance
Three million people live in Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan. So if you have romantic notions of the city often described as “fairytale-like”, you should throw them overboard immediately.
Jaipur is loud, smoggy, chaotic – a big Indian city. Poverty is (as unfortunately so often in India) omnipresent. Good to know: Jaipur is comparatively touristy. Or better said: As a tourist you won’t be noticed at all in Jaipur. But this also means that you can look forward to a quite good infrastructure (nice hotels and restaurants).
Jaipur’s appearance is very special. The house facades in the old town of Jaipur shine in a pink-orange color. There is a story behind this: In honor of the visit of the Prince of Wales, all buildings in Jaipur were painted pink at the end of the 19th century. Since then, the old town has been glowing in this special hue. The residents are even obliged to maintain the cityscape.
How many days should I stay in Jaipur?
We ourselves stayed two nights in Jaipur and honestly found this period a bit too short. We were able to see the main sights, but had to cut back.
Therefore, we rather recommend you to plan three nights for Jaipur. This way you have two full days for sightseeing. If you prefer to take it easy, you could stay even longer – there are plenty of sights to see. And apart from that, we also found it very exciting in Jaipur to just walk around a bit haphazardly and watch the hustle and bustle on the streets.
2- Sights in Jaipur
Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal)
Probably the most famous building in Jaipur and a landmark of the city is called the Palace of the Winds. Its architecture is unprecedented: the Palace of the Winds was built of red sandstone and extends over five floors. The curious thing about it is that, strictly speaking, the building is only a facade with stairways at the back.
There is, of course, a story behind the bizarre architecture: the many windows (953 in number) were once used to give the harem ladies a view of the public.
By the way, the Palace of the Winds is located directly on a busy street. As romantic and fairytale-like as it looks in the photos: In reality, unfortunately, the visit is accompanied by exhaust stench and engine noise. You can also visit the Palace of Winds inside, but most people just stop for a photo and then drive on.
Our tip: The best view of the Palace of the Winds is from the rooftop cafes across the street (Wind View Cafe, The Tattoo Cafe & Lounge). We wouldn’t go there for dinner, but the view is of course fantastic. Since you’re facing west here, you’ll also see the sunset from the cafes – perfect for capturing the Hawa Mahal on film!
This observatory dates back to the 18th century and impressed us quite a bit. It is the largest and best preserved of a total of five historical observatories in India and has therefore rightly been a UNESCO World Heritage Site for several years.
In total, you will find 14 buildings in this quite extensive area, all of which had different functions. And here is our tip: You should definitely visit the observatory in the company of an experienced guide. Without our guide, we wouldn’t have been half as excited about the whole thing.
Here you can book a guided tour: City tour Jaipur (incl. Jantar Mantar)
Info about the visit of the Jantar Mantar Observatory
Entrance fee: 200 Indian rupees
Opening hours: daily from 9 am to 5 pm
City Palace (City Palace of Jaipur)
The City Palace is a sprawling palace complex in the center of Jaipur. You walk here through countless courtyards and buildings. Exhibits include relics from the time of the Maharajas, such as weapons, paintings and clothing.
Personally, we think that the City Palace is one of those sights in Jaipur that you can skip if you don’t have enough time. Of course, the palace is worth seeing, but in our eyes it is not one of the major highlights.
Info about visiting the City Palace
Entrance fee: 700 Indian rupees
Opening hours: 9:30 am to 5 pm
A few kilometers outside the city center, Amber Fort sits majestically on a ridge. The gigantic fortress complex was built of sandstone and marble and is considered one of the most famous forts in Rajasthan.
The Amber Fort is terraced. From the bottom a path leads you in serpentines up to the entrance. At this point our request: Please do not let them take you up on the back of elephants. This is really not necessary!
On a tour of the Amber Fort you will walk through countless buildings, courtyards and gardens. The fort is quite extensive. So it is best to take enough time for your visit. The Amber Fort is especially crowded during the day (depending on the season). We therefore recommend you to come as early as possible.
By the way: On the way to the Amber Fort, it is worth stopping at the moated castle called Jal Mahal, which stands majestically on the lake. It cannot be visited, but is a great photo motif.
Info about visiting the Amber Fort
Entrance fee: 500 Indian rupees
Opening hours: 8 am to 5:30 pm
3- Our restaurant tip for Jaipur
Typically, we rarely visit restaurants more than once when traveling. Not so in Jaipur. We visited our favorite restaurant in town, Peacock Rooftop Restaurant, three times because we liked it so much and loved the ambiance.
As the name suggests, this restaurant is located on a rooftop terrace with a nice view. The best part, however, is the fantastic cuisine: all the dishes we ordered there were delicious. Especially the vegetarian thali is to die for. What’s more, they serve unusually good coffee.
If you want to come in the evening, you’d better make a reservation. During the day, you can usually find a place without a reservation. The best seats are on the top level of the roof terrace.
4- Hotel tip for Jaipur
If you want to stay in a typical heritage hotel on your trip to India, then the Pearl Palace Heritage – The Boutique Guesthouse is the right place for you. Heritage hotels usually have a very authentic, often even kitschy charm – this hotel is no exception.
The rooms at the Pearl Palace Heritage look like something out of an oriental fairy tale: Quite cluttered, quite kitschy, but really unique and furnished with great attention to detail. The furnishings and cleanliness are top notch. In addition, the staff is incredibly accommodating and friendly.
Breakfast is served at the aforementioned Peacock Rooftop Restaurant, which is a short tuk-tuk ride away. However, the free shuttle works without any problems. Our conclusion: All around recommendable!
5- Arrival and local transport
Arrival from Agra (Taj Mahal) or Delhi
You will probably travel to Jaipur either from Agra (Taj Mahal) or from Delhi. The most common way to travel is by train or with a private driver.
Train travel in India is cheap and quite an experience, which we highly recommend. From Agra to Jaipur, you’ll be on the train for about four hours. From Delhi, it takes just under five hours.
We ourselves traveled from Agra to Jaipur and were with a private driver for this leg, which is obviously the most comfortable option.
To book train tickets and also private transfers, we like to use the website 12go.asia Unfortunately, it is not so easy to book the train ticket for India from Europe, because you often need an Indian phone number for the booking. But with 12go.asia it works without any problems.
Getting around Jaipur
Within the old city of Jaipur you can reach many sights on foot. For longer distances we can recommend motorized rickshaws. We usually paid around 50 Indian rupees per ride – don’t forget to negotiate beforehand!