Jaipur is a colourful and vibrant amalgamation of the new and the old culture of India. It’s a smorgasbord of beautiful forts and palaces, while also featuring urban neighbourhoods and shopping areas complete with modern amenities. The seemingly endless points of interest offered by India’s Pink City of Jaipur provide a treasure trove for tourists from all across the globe. As you soak in the sights of the various forts, monuments, cafes and markets, you won’t even realize how time has flown. While you are in Jaipur, you can also enjoy a camel safari, experience Rajasthani culture at a village resort, shop for Rajasthani jootis and trinkets at the markets and feast on mouthwatering Lal Maas and Ghewar. While it’s tough to cover everything the magnificent city has to offer in one post, we will try to cover most of the things you need to see and do in order to have a memorable trip to Jaipur.
Best things to see and do in Jaipur
One of the most famous buildings in Jaipur, and arguably one of the most beautiful, is the Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of the Winds. This gorgeous, red and pink sandstone structure was designed by architect Lal Chand Ustad to match the colour palette of the remainder of the town. Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh commissioned the building’s construction in the year 1799. The style was directly inspired by Jhunjhunu’s Khetri Mahal.
Located on the edge of the City Palace, this unique palace’s architecture is somewhat reminiscent of a beehive, with 953 small windows that are decorated with complex latticework. The purpose of that was to allow the women of royalty to observe the streets of Jaipur without being seen by the public. Back then, it was against the law for royal women to be seen in public without their faces covered.
The Water Palace or Jal Mahal is a beautiful example of the amalgamation of the Mughal and Rajput architectural styles. This fort is sort of a jewel nestled among the Nahargarh hills and situated in the bosom of the Mansagar Lake. It was built as a summer resort for the royalty and used to serve as a host to duck-hunting parties.
Lohagarh Fort Resort
Staying at Lohagarh Fort Resort lets you experience the royalty of the Pink City with some elegant simplicity. This multiple award winning, eco-friendly theme resort resort is a superb weekend destination for honeymoon couples or families to enjoy some quality time away from the hustle and bustle of Jaipur. You choose from the following type of accommodation – Luxury Suites, Cottages, Private pool villas, Tree houses. Beach style pool area and beautiful green gardens are among the highlights of this excellent resort.
This imposing fort is situated on top of a hill and is a great example of the fusion of Indian and European architectural styles. According to local legend, Nahar Singh Bhomia was a Rathore prince who wasn’t proud of the development of this fort on his land and has haunted the place since his death. Jai Singh, who was building the fort then pacified his spirit by dedicating the fort in his name.
A stunning feature of this palace is the Madhavendra Bhawan with 12 identical suites for the queens. The suites were constructed in such a way that the Maharaja could visit any of the queen’s rooms without the others finding out. One of the best things to do in Jaipur is to explore this fort and then enjoy a fast bite at the Padao Open Bar/Restaurant on the terrace. The restaurant also offers great views of the city of Jaipur.
Jaipur Wax Museum
Jaipur Wax Museum is a museum inside the Nahargarh Fort in Jaipur. The museum holds wax and silicon statues of a multitude of famous personalities from the fields of art, literature, sports etc. The statues are displayed in the ‘Hall of Icons’ section and ‘Royal Darbar’ of the museum. It is a great place to check out at the fort. Aside than watching the beautiful sunset at the Nahargarh fort, this museum is another reason to visit the place.
If you’re seeking an authentic Rajasthani cultural experience, head on over to the Chokhi Dhani. It is definitely one of the most colourful and vibrant things to see in Jaipur. This village resort is almost magical. At Chokhi Dhani, you can enjoy elephant rides, camel rides, Rajasthani folk music, puppet shows and magic shows.
You can also try some mouthwatering Rajasthani cuisine at the open-air restaurants here. This provides a perfect break from the city life where you enjoy the natural surroundings and the rustic charms of rural life.
When planning your time in Jaipur, add an extra day to your itinerary and take a day trip, 45 minutes north to the nearby Samode Village. The Samode Palace, a gorgeous 16th-century fort that was converted into a palatial estate during the 19th century by a nobleman, is the highlight of the village.
The palace is a luxury hotel now, which is a great place to lay your head if you want to spend the night. Take a tour of the palace to view the fantastic accommodations and the glittering mirror room, and take a moment to have lunch in their phenomenal restaurant.
For travelers seeking a number of the finer things Jaipur has got to offer, a visit to Johri Bazaar is indispensable. This lively and crowded shopping market is extremely well-known for the exquisite Rajasthani jewelry and ornaments that can be bought from many of the vendors who work the colorful stalls along its labyrinthine alleyways.
Deep within the market’s old and narrow lanes are the jeweler workstations, where you can watch trained craftsmen create intricate jewelry with semi-precious stones and gems including emeralds, topaz, sapphires, and even diamonds. If you’re on a tighter budget, you can also find vendors selling cheaper items like silver bangles and wood-carved souvenirs.
Ranthambore National Park
Ranthambore National Park is a wildlife lover’s delight where there is a myriad range of greenery and fauna. This was a former hunting ground of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Go on a tiger trail at Bakula, hike up to the Ranthambore Fort, spot sloth bears at Kachida Valley, buy handicrafts at Dastkar Craft Centre and continue bird watching tours here.
Species of animals at the Ranthambore National Park : Leopards, Tigers, Hyenas, Jungle cats, Jackals, Indian Foxes and a wide range of birds like Pelicans, Ibis, Flamingos, Egrets, Parakeets. You can also soar high in the sky in a hot air balloon for some spectacular views of the National Park
Established by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the city Palace was the administrative and ceremonial seat of the royal family. Located in the heart of Jaipur, the palace is now a popular museum. The complex has two main palaces, Mubarak Mahal and Chandra Mahal. The complex also has gorgeous gardens, beautiful temples and sprawling courtyards. The descendants of the royal family still reside in the Chandra Mahal. City Palace is built with the pink and red sandstone, the signature architectural style of old Jaipur.
Built in the 18th century by the scholar Sawai Jai Singh, Jantar Mantar in Jaipur features the world’s largest stone sundial. This is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This observatory structure uses the principles of sun and shadow to indicate time. Apart from telling the time, Jantar Mantar can predict the position of the major stars and eclipses as well.
Amber (Amer) Fort
It is one of Jaipur’s most iconic tourist attractions. Located on a hill in Amber, the fort covers an area of 4 sq. km. The massive fort features a fusion of Indian and Mughal architecture. It is so beautiful that even the invaders couldn’t get themselves to destroy it. During its golden years, Amber Fort formed a robust defensive ring around the city of Jaipur. If you are visiting this fort, you must surely see the Light and Sound show that displays the glorious history of this fort and the city. If you visit Jaipur, you can’t miss this.
Bhuteshwar Nath Mahadev Trek
The trek starts and ends at the Sagar lake in Amer. The trails take you through the world’s oldest mountain ranges, the Aravali. This whole journey is an incredible combination of an adventurous and spiritual experience. If you opt for a guided tour, you will also be provided refreshments in this 5 hour long trek.
Elefantastic Elephant Farm
This is one of the newest and most unusual things to do in Jaipur. Elephants have always been an inseparable part of the culture of Rajasthan. Started in 2012, Elefantastic Elephant Farm also serves as a sanctuary for shielding Asian elephants. The farm offers an in depth experience with these gentle giants, which incorporates feeding, walking and bathing the elephants. You can spend a whole day at the farm, and bond with these beautiful beasts.
Hathni Kund Trek
If you want to enjoy trekking in Jaipur, then you will find plenty of opportunities. Hike all the way up to the Hathni Kund and soak in the views of the gorgeous valley, waterfalls, and old temples. The activity is best enjoyed during the monsoon season or in winters. Avoid summers as the hot sun will probably give you a heat stroke.
Elephant Polo was a princely game played by the royals back their heydays. Today, it stands as one of the most elite things to do in Jaipur. All the who’s who of town are invited to such games when someone from the royal family hosts an elephant polo event. The games are usually held at Dera Amer, close to the Amer Fort.
Located on the foot of the Moti Dongari Hill, the Birla Mandir is a gorgeous hindu temple. The whole temple is constructed in white marble which kind of glows in the dark, creating a mesmerizing sight. Stories from Hindu scriptures are visible on the glass window panes. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Vishnu and Goddess Laxmi. But an interesting feature of Birla Mandir is that the exteriors have figures of gods and goddesses of all faiths such as Jesus Christ, Buddha, Confucius etc. The temple complex also features a verdant and luscious garden.