Jaipur, capital city of Rajasthan, is an ideal touristy place for quick weekend getaway. The Pink City offers a right combination of adventure, history and culture for all age groups. Jaipur is part of golden triangle tour, popular among domestic and foreign travelers. Its easy connectivity with other tourist attractions makes it ideal tourist base. If you are planning to travel to Jaipur for weekend, read this post for practical itinerary.
History Of Jaipur
Jaipur is an old historic city founded by it ruler, Jai Singh in the early 18th century. Initially the city was located around Amber fort for strategic reasons. However, once population grew, the king Jai Singh started planning for an alternate location for the city. The king had keen interest in science, architecture and culture. Hence the city of Jaipur was planned using scientific approach to town planning. The lead architect was Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar of Bengal who planned the city incorporating principles of modern town planning making provision for roads, canals, parks, public spaces and palaces for nobles. The city was fortified with walls to defend from invaders. The original city had nine blocks out of that seven were used for residential purpose and other two blocks for palaces and state buildings.
A century later the city was painted in Pink color to welcome Prince of Wales who visited Jaipur in 1876. Slowly the city became center of art and commerce. In early 1900, it has a population of 160000 and boasted of gas lit paved boulevards. Most of the old city has survived and retains its original buildings and character. Currently Amber fort and Jantar Mantar are in the list of UN world heritage site and efforts are underway to enlist entire old city as world heritage site.
How To Reach Jaipur
Jaipur is well connected and there are several domestic and international flights, in addition to trains and buses offering excellent connectivity with rest of India and world. Currently there are direct flights from several UAE cities and Thailand. However, New Delhi IGI airport (250 Kilometers from Jaipur) is a practical gateway for most of the European travelers.
Trains: Jaipur has two major train station, Jaipur Junction (JP) and Gandhinagar (GADJ) both offers excellent connectivity with rest of India. Luxurious Palace on Wheels train makes a regular stop at Jaipur.
Road: There are regular air conditioned bus service connecting Jaipur to Delhi, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Ajmer and Agra. Expressway NH8 and NH 48 goes through Jaipur that offers high speed 8 lane controlled access highway. It is possible to rent a car from international chains
Before you arrive to Jaipur by bus, road, train or flight, download Uber or Ola taxi app. Traveller will not only save tons of money, they will avoid touts at the arrival point.Touristvlogs.com
Transportation In Jaipur
A taxi ride from airport to old city shall cost approximately $5 while ride from train station will be $1, depending on time of the day. In any case, app based taxi fare will be transparent and cashless.
Although app based taxi locations are clearly marked in the train station as well as airport, I have included location pictures for easy recall.
It is better to download google offline map of Jaipur so that same can be used without use of internet data plans. However, India offers one of the cheapest mobile data plan.
Jaipur Travel Itinerary Covering Major Tourist Attractions
One needs a week to see all tourist sights of Jaipur. However if you have limited time, major tourist attractions can be seen in two days with proper planning. There are few major attractions that are located in old walled city or at a short distance from the walled city.
Composite ticket to tourist attraction that is valid for two days and allow entry to major attractions without wasting time in queue at the ticket counter. The price for foreigners is Rs 1000 (USD 15) and for Indian nationals is Rs 300. Students with valid ID may get discount.Money Saving Tips
Jaipur Travel Itinerary – Day 1: Morning
If you love photography or a travel blogger, you may start your day by taking amazing time-lapse video of Hawa Mahal from cafe located opposite to the monument. The pink stone palace will reflect golden rays of morning sun through its hundreds of windows and mirrors creating a beautiful image.
There after you can proceed to Albert Hall. Here lots of people visit to capture videos of flying pigeons. You may also find people taking pre-wedding photographs in the background of this beautiful colonial building.
9:00 am Albert Hall Museum
The museum opens it door to visitors at 9 am. It is better to buy composite ticket and visit the museum. Unless you are a history/museum aficionado, the entire place shall not take more than 90 minutes. There is a coffee shop next to museum serving decent coffee and limited breakfast items. Take Uber to Hawa Mahal for $1.
11:00 am The Hawa Mahal
Palace of wind is 15 meter, five storied tall building that is shaped as a crown of Lord Krishna, and has hundreds of windows. The building was a part of city palace and has no entrance from the main road. The ground floor known as Sharad Mahal is place where annual autumn festival was held. The top three floors has no stairs as royal ladies used palanquin.
The original purpose of those honeycomb, lattice windows was to offer privacy for female household of royal family so that can observe city life in privacy. Interiors are simple and nothing compared to opulence of exterior. Hawa Mahal, in my opinion, looks better from outside than inside.
12:00 pm Jantar Mantar
Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observation site build in early 18th century by King Jai Singh II. This UNESCO World Heritage site has 20 fixed measuring instruments designed for observation by naked eye is an example of tradition of Ptolemaic positional astronomy.
1:30 pm Isarlat Swargasuli Tower
Isarlat is seven storied tower located in Tripolia Bazaar within walking distance of Hawa Mahal. It is the tallest structure in the old city and great place for taking aerial pictures or time lapse videos of the old walled city.
This beautiful tower was constructed in the mid eighteenth century as a symbol of victory. The place is less frequented by tourist possibly due to narrow staircase with steep steps leading to the top of the minaret.
Places To Eat In Jaipur
- Hawk View Restaurant & Bar – Good view, moderate price, in walled city
- Peacock Rooftop Restaurant – Atmosphere & food. Reservation recommended.
- Masala Chowk – Informal food court, cheap prices
- Niros – Established in 1949. Reservation recommended.
Jaipur Travel Itinerary – Day 1: Evening
3:30 City Palace
City Palace is located in walled city complex and in walking distance to Hawa Mahal. The palace belongs to erstwhile rulers of Jaipur and a part of it is used by them as private residence. The other part is open to public however, a separate ticket is needed to gain access. It is better to buy museum at night ticket that allows ample to time to explore the palace and watch light and sound show.
Jaipur In Two Days – Day 2: Morning
It is better to hire a cab for full day (12 hours) as there will be lots of places to be covered where public transportation is limited. Ola cabs offers convenient rental packages with transparent pricing. The first point of interest is sun sample with amazing sunrise view.
Early Morning Sun Temple
It is a 300 years old temple perched on a small hill. The back side of the temple offers commanding view of entire Jaipur. Nothing much to see except sunrise and city view. There are monkeys on the way to temple but most of them are docile in nature. They can eat from your hand if you bring some food.
9:00 am Walk Around Walled City
The walled city is 300 years old and beautifully preserved. People still carry on their daily lives in those old buildings and bazaars. Just stroll around the city watching its dwellers start their day. It is also a great place to buy tea, souvenirs or block printed textile. Enjoy walking the narrow alleys, exploring its all seven majestic gates or busting bazaars. The entire walled city is next proposed site for UNESCO World Heritage recognition.
2:30 pm Amber Fort
Amber fort is about 30 minutes drive from the old city. The fort is open until 5:30 pm so it is better to reach by 2 pm giving yourself at least couple of hours to see the fort. The car can go up to parking lot located near Suraj pol so there not much of walking. Some people enjoy taking elephant ride to the top of the fort but we consider it as a form of cruelty towards animals.
The most important parts worth seeing are:
Diwan-e-Khas or Hall of Private Audiences. Enjoy watching intricate mirror work, using glass imported from Belgium. It is also known as Sheesh Mahal (Hall of Mirrors)
Sukh Niwas: Palace of pleasures where king used to consort queens and concubines. It has ivory-inlaid sandalwood door and water channel system that cooled the hall during hot summer evenings.
Jai Mandir aka Hall of Victory for great views of ramparts and overlooking lake.
Zenana (women’s quarters) has nothing much to see. All rooms are small and bare opening in the courtyard. In old days, king used to have many wives and concubines. The rooms are designed in a way that king can visit any room in discreet way without the knowledge of other queens or concubines.
4:30 pm Nahargarh Fort
Nahargarh Fort: This fort was built for military purpose so it lacks the splendors of Amber fort. Fort closes at 5:30 or sunset so one needs to get inside by 5 pm. The fort itself has not much to offer except for the beautiful sunset. There is a House of wax and House of Mirrors for that separate entry ticket needs to be purchased.
The best way to enjoy fort would be to walk around its court yard and take pictures of setting Sun from the top followed by dinner or drink in Once Upon A Time restaurant located within the fort.
Late Evening Jal Mahal
Jal Mahal is located inside Man Singh Lake and currently not open to visitors. However, the palace is lit at night. It is on Amber-Jaipur road and most people stop by to take few pictures before going to the city.
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