Jaipur is the capital of the state of Rajasthan, India and a perfect place to regroup after an all too touristy stay in Agra for the Taj Mahal. Jaipur became known as the Pink City in 1876 when Maharaja Ram Singh painted the whole city pink to welcome Queen Victoria & the Prince of Wales. (Apparently pink is the color of hospitality and friendship, or the Maharaja just loved pink) When wandering around Jaipur you’ll see a modern buzz of a large Indian city but can easily head to the old quarter to explore the pink city.
Getting to Jaipur from Agra
I took the public bus from Agra to Jaipur for 300 INR
My friends reserved a sleeper class train for about 800 INR
Budget conscious travelers can brave the unreserved class for as low as 115 INR
There is a lot to do in Jaipur but you can easily see everything in a weekend or a few days. Many visitors just use Jaipur as a quick stop before heading further west into Rajasthan. I decided to stay for a few days and plan the next week or so of my trip through India. The first day I hung out with friends I made at the Holi Festival in Mathura, we explored Amber and the low valley beneath it. Walking or riding a tukutk around Jaipur you’ll see the usual cows but also camels and an occasional painted elephant. We spotted monkeys and lots of peacocks as well making it the first place in India I’ve really seen some wildlife!
What to with a Weekend in Jaipur
- Amber Fort
- Panna Meena ka Kund
- Sunset at Narhargarh Fort
- Hawa Mahal
- Walk through the Pink City
- Shop in Bapu Bazzar
- Go to the Monkey Temple
- Rent a motor bike
- Chand Bawri
- Eat delicious food!
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Places to See in Jaipur
Amber Fort is one of the most popular destinations in Jaipur but I found it overpriced. Go see the fort but I wouldn’t pay the 500 INR to enter! Bring a student ID and you can explore the fort for only 100 INR but otherwise the view from the outside is nice and head down into the village below to see Panna Meena ka Kund and other temples!
Panna Meena ka Kund
Panna Meena Ka Kund was one of my favorite spots in Jaipur. Although its small and you’ll only spend a few minutes there I found it very peaceful and beautiful. The stepwell is hundreds of years old but well maintained since tourists aren’t allowed to go down the steps. Its in a part of the old city beneath Amber Fort and free to enter. I even found a wonderful temple nearby with a welcoming priest who blessed me, told me a Hindu story and let me take plenty of photos.
Sunset at Narhargarh Fort
Sunset from Narhargarh Fort is supposed to be the best in the city but sadly I didn’t get to see a good one. We stopped by the fort just before sunset but there was so much dust on the horizon that the sun disappeared. That’s what happens in a city with over 3 million people I guess right? Instead of paying 200 INR to go in the fort and watch the haze we explored the outside wall. You can pay another 200 INR to enter Padao Restaurant for the best views at sunset.
Hawa Mahal is a beautiful palace smack in the middle of the Pink City and free to walk around. You can stroll around the inside of it but the best views and photos are from the main road. At night they light up Hawa Mahal with beautiful colors in all the windows of this towering structure. The palace was built with a thin, tall wall so that royal women could observe the street without being seen. When you head to Hawa Mahal you can grab a drink or a snack across the street for an even better view!
Walk through the Pink City
Jaipur was named the Pink City in 1876 and the old city still lives up to that name. You’ll find beautiful architecture, bazaars and more if you spend a few hours and wander around the Pink City.
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Shop in Bapu Bazaar
Bapu Bazaar was recommended by locals and a great place to buy authentic Indian clothes. Bartering is a must at the bazaar since the first quote can be as much as 4x the normal price! When shopping in the bazaar always let the merchant tell you the first price. Even if that price sounds good to you its likely incredibly inflated and will perpetuate them taking advantage of foreigners. To haggle you MUST walk away. Every single time that I bought something at the bazaar I told them my initial price and stuck with it. After a few minutes of and walking away one or 2 times they always gave me my asking price.
Go to the Monkey Temple
Sadly I didn’t make it to the Hanuman Temple in Jaipur but I hear its another great spot for a sunset view of the city. We tried to stop by after renting motor bikes but couldn’t find it in time and decided to skip it. I heard very mixed reviews on the monkey temple in jaipur with some friends saying it was the best thing in Jaipur and others telling me to skip it. If you go please comment below and let me know what you think!
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Water Palace (Jal Mahal)
Jal Mahal literally means “Water Palace” and can be found in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. Whether its for a unique afternoon photo or to hang out with some locals and shop at night the Water Palace is worth visiting. You’ll drive by on the way to Panna Meena ka Kund and the Amber Fort so just ask your driver to stop for a photo! You can’t actually enter the palace but you will likely see camels and elephants among the usual cows and dogs that roam the streets.
Rent a motor bike
To rent a motor bike in India you will need some kind of driver’s license. I HIGHLY recommend taking a trip out of Jaipur on motorbike or scooter IF you are comfortable on a bike. India is NOT the place to learn how to ride because the traffic is insane. Tuktuks, motorcycles, cars, buses and trucks all share the road in a chaotic symphony. The horn is second most important (brakes are the first) and will be used constantly! I met Jon, a Norweigian photographer at my hostel and he was keen on joining me for a bike trip. Together we rented from Rajasthan Bikes and they were very friendly. The bikes were in great condition and had reasonable prices. You can find out more about them on their website but it should be noted that rentals come with 15km of distance per hour rental and you’ll pay 5 INR per km extra. A 7 hour rental with 200km of driving worked out to be about 800 INR.
Getting out of the city will give you a chance to meet locals in tiny villages and see what life is like for so many Indians in this wonderful country. Be wary of giving anything to beggars on your trip but if you stumble upon a small village like we did you can easily hand out healthy snacks like fruit or nuts to the whole village. Drive slowly, stop often for water and be careful if you’re renting a motorbike in India!
Chand Bawri was on my Indian Bucketlist before I came to India. It is one of the oldest and deepest stepwells in the world and full of beauty. At about 100km outside of Jaipur the best way to get here is by motorbike. Near Chand Bawri you’ll find an ancient temple and a few small villages. You can pay a local 150 INR as a guide and bring extra small change as a thank you donation for a blessing.
Where to Eat in Jaipur
I ate a lot of street food in my first week in India. I know that’s asking for a “Delhi belly” as my Norwegian friend Jon calls it but my god the food is delicious! You can grab just about anything off the street and love it but if you don’t have an iron stomach make sure you’ve got some antibiotics nearby. If you prefer restaurants then check out these two suggestions! Both were filled with locals, extremely affordable and positively delicious!
Mohan Restaurant near the pink city & Bapu Bazzar has cheap local Thali. You’ll get a set of curries and some kind of roti or naan for about 150 ruppees.
Hotel Tiwari & Restaurant serves the BEST curries I’ve ever tasted. Go there and you’ll be blown away! We tasted an assortment and my favorite was the paneer korma but the malai kofta and butter masala were great too!
Where to stay in Jaipur
Go to Jaipur for a weekend, a few days or stay for a week. Whatever you decide you’re sure to love your time in the pink city. I’d recommend heading out after a few days to go see what Rajasthan has to offer outside of the big city. I’m on my way to Pushkar, Jodhipur and Jaisalmer in the next few weeks and will let you know how they are but until then check out these places to stay in Jaipur!
There are dozens of hostels, guesthouses and hotels to choose from starting at $3/night. If you are traveling alone or in a small group like I was I highly recommend staying in a hostel. I stayed at Backpacker Panda for $5/night. The rooms had a hot shower and the staff was very helpful.
Getting around Jaipur
Jaipur is the largest city in Rajasthan which means there are plenty of ways to get around. You can find public buses that will take you almost anywhere you want to go for about 15 INR or jump in a tuktuk and pay between 80-250 INR for most places. Offer a few hundred and they’ll stay with you for the day but wherever you go it’ll be easy to find a tuktuk to take you back.
I met a great driver named Irfan who spoke very good English and has plenty of reviews on Tripadvisor. Check him out at www.tuktukjaipur.com or by calling 894-789-1443 from an Indian phone to go on a Tuktuk Safari!
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