Rajasthan is one state that is not just another state to travel for me as I am related to this state by blood. My ancestors were from Rajasthan and somewhere down the line, this fact made this trip a little more special. Everything I saw and heard while travelling in Rajasthan just made me feel more proud and increased my knowledge about my family’s history. I knew travelling in Rajasthan is going to be time-taking as there are many cities in the state that I want to see, and I didn’t want to skip anything because of time. Finally, I had enough time to make this trip happen, and I finally packed my bag after few lazy weeks in Delhi and decided to head to my first destination the capital of the state, Jaipur.
How to get to Jaipur:
About 260 kilometres from Delhi, there are regular buses from Delhi to Jaipur. Bus and trains connect Jaipur to Delhi, as it is one of the cities in the famous tourist trail “The Golden Triangle”. It’s a 6-hour journey either by bus or train. There are private and government buses available, and I personally recommend taking government buses (RSRTC) only because even if they may or may not be the most comfortable, but they are right on time. Trains are usually on time because most of the trains between these two cities are short-route trains and don’t get late very often.
Note: You need to be Indian to make an ID on the IRCTC website to book train tickets; foreign tourists can ask their hotel owner or local travel agents to book it for them at a small price.
Where to Stay in Jaipur:
Being a capital and a tourist hub, the city is flooded with all sort of hotels and hostels. From royal high-end hotels to cheap backpacking hostels, it is all easily available in the city of Jaipur. I stayed in hostels, and I did nothing new on this trip. I stayed in a hostel called “Doodle Rack”, which felt very homely as it was the owner’s personal apartment converted into a hostel. There are many other hostels in the city like Zostel Jaipur, Wanderer’s Nest, The Mellow, etc. Find more about hostels here.
Things to Do in Jaipur:
City of Forts:
Not only Jaipur, the whole of Rajasthan is full of beautiful forts belonging to different dynasties. Jaipur was just the beginning, and every city that followed had its own fort. Almost all the forts I visited had one pattern in common: the royal families who used to live in those forts have now moved to different places to live, and the forts are under government control and now open to tourists. Jaipur has three main forts: Amber Fort, Jaigarh Fort, and Nahargarh Fort. Amber fort is the most popular attraction in Jaipur and the most beautiful fort in Jaipur as well. It is ruled by the royal family of Jaipur led by Raja Man Singh. The fort is amazingly large and has seen different phases of history in its lifetime. The mix evidence of Hindu and Mughal dynasties can be found in the artwork of the fort at different places. The armoury is full of early 19th and 20th century British and European times. Beautiful courtyards, mirror palaces, specially designed defensive controls, etc. are just a few specialities of the fort.
Jaigarh Fort is located just above the Amber Fort on the hill called “Hill of Eagles”. Jaigarh Fort is a defence fort made for the army to stay and keep an eye on the enemy from the top and to protect the Amber Fort where the king lived. The world’s biggest cannon “Jaivana” crafted by Raja Jai Singh is located here as well. The fort also has an underground tunnel connected to Amber Fort that was made for the army to reach there within minutes in case of attack.
Not very far from Jaigarh, Nahargarh Fort stands strong on the Aravalli Hills overlooking the Pink City. The fort was part of the defence ring designed to protect the Amber Fort; however, the belief that the ghost of King Nahar Singh Bhomia is obstructing the construction of the fort left it unfinished.
All three forts are next to each other and can be visited in a day. Tickets for each fort are as follows: Amber Fort costs INR 550 for foreigners and INR 100 for Indians, and Jaigarh Fort costs INR 85 for foreigners and INR 35 for Indians.
The palace is located in the middle of Man Sagar Lake in the city of Jaipur. The Rajput architecture is one of the main attractions of the city. The bridge to the Palace is now destroyed, so it’s not possible to go there, but the view to the palace can be captured from the lakeside. The lakeside street and viewpoint have been converted into a small market for local handicrafts. While roaming around the market, you can appreciate the beautiful palace.
One of the most iconic and overrated buildings in Rajasthan is Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace). The palace has over 900 windows with the front wall of the building full of windows so that the royal women can see the festivals and events happening in the city. The tickets to Hawa Mahal are INR 50 for Indians and INR 200 for foreigners. The front wall of the palace is the most iconic part of the building, but because it is on the road, it is hard to get a proper view. The best way to enjoy the full view is from the rooftop restaurant in front of the palace called Wind View Café.
City Palace Museum:
As I mentioned before, the Royal Family of Jaipur left the Amber Fort and moved to City Palace and currently occupies a major part of it. One part of the City Palace has been converted into a museum that allows visitors to see the multiple courts and royal rooms of the palace. The courts in the City Palace are still used in many traditional rituals performed by the current 18-year-old king of the Jaipur royal family. I found City Palace very impressive and the colourful courtyards, gardens, and buildings are just there to make the museum even more interesting. The ticket for the City Palace is INR 500 for foreigners and INR 200 for Indians.
These are the things I managed to do in Jaipur in the three days that I was there. There are many other sights that you can include in your lists such as Monkey Temple, Birla Temple, and Jantar Mantar. If you know more about Jaipur and places to see in Jaipur, please feel free to drop it in the comments and I will be happy to update the list.