If India is on your bucket list (and it should be!), let me take a guess and say Jaipur is very high on it?? – I thought so. The Pink City of India is one of the most picturesque, historic, and tourist-friendly in the country. Part of the Golden Triangle (check out the full route here!), this beautiful city and the greater state of Rajasthan have got to be at the top of your list – it mixes desert landscapes, camel rides, elephant sightings, colourful shopping streets and stunningly historic architecture from monarchies that shaped India’s culture as it exists today – basically, the perfect package!
I’d give yourself a week to explore the entire state, but I think you can definitely accomplish Jaipur’s highlights in 3-4 days. Quick tip for the first-timers unacquainted with India and its seasons – November to March are the best times to visit Rajasthan. Winters are pleasant and quite warm during the day. Summers are a complete no-no, you will positively melt!
One of the oldest and most magnificent forts in the country, this place is a legacy of the old Mughal empire in India – one of the country’s foundational dynasties – and still maintains the grandeur of it’s golden days. Get a ticket that gives you entry to the fort and the colourful fountain show in the evening (if you’ve never done one of these in India, it’s worth doing it once). Your hotel driver will likely also know where to take you for elephant sightings, as the animals are housed in the side streets off the fort!
This is one of the better Instagram spots in the city, with some of Jaipur’s best views!
The home of the reigning monarch of the city, this expansive palace houses a beautiful courtyard and a museum that stands as a testament to the strength of monarchical traditions in India.
A quick stop away from City Palace is this geometric gem! Trying to figure out where your star sign lies in the astronomical spectrum? Lose yourself in Jantar Mantar and you’ll find out!
This beautiful masterpiece in the middle of one of the city’s busiest markets has an incredible history behind it – in the good old days, women from the royal family would watch street festivals and their husbands’ parades through the city from the tiny windows carved into the structure, as they weren’t allowed to show themselves in public. Catch this place at golden hour and you’ve got one of the best Instagram shots in the city!
MI Road Lassiwala
Unconventional? Yes. Vital? YES.
You absolutely cannot go to Jaipur and not grab a thick buttermilk concoction from this side street gem – any taxi or rickshaw driver will know this joint and it is impossible to miss. Be warned, it is heavy on the stomach so make sure you’re ready to handle it, but your sweet tooth will never be satiated the same.
Rajasthani Handicrafts + Sarees + Bangles – Did Someone Say Shopping?
Yes, I’ve put this on your list here ladies, and you will love it. For some of the best deals, visit the Rajasthali Handicrafts Emporium for everything handmade and truly Rajasthani – some of my favourites are their handmade block print duvet covers (say INR2,000, give or take).
Some of my favourite markets for bangles, sarees (the Rajasthani bandini print is a must-buy), and classic old-Indian jewelery are Tripolia Bazaar, Johri Bazaar, Chaura Rasta, and Sireh Deori Bazaar. Your hotel and cab drivers will definitely know these and have their own suggestions to make!
Where to stay :
What you need to know :
– Always use a car and driver from your hotel, and only use rickshaws where recommended
– Check with your hotel before shopping to know what you should be paying
– DON’T carry too much cash or your passport when hitting the forts – they’re full of pickpockets!