Jaipur was definitely one of my favourite places we visited on our two week trip through India. With so much culture and history to soak up, along with the vibrancy of the city, I instantly fell in love with it. We spent three days there, exploring the busy bustling streets, taking in all the diverse sights, sounds and flavours. What I loved about the Pink City was how much there was to do there – you could never get bored. Here are some of the things we did and places we visited.
This is probably the most distinct landmark of the Pink City, built in 1799 to allow women of the royal household to watch parades and festivities on the streets down below. It wasn’t the done thing back then for women to be seen in public without a husband, so they had to hide to be able to enjoy the festivals, can you imagine! Translated to English as “Palace of the Winds”, its unique honeycomb-like design (it has over 900 windows) means it allows for a nice breeze to go through the building, especially on hot summer days.
It cost about 200 rupees (£2) to go inside, something I’d definitely recommend doing – the views from the fifth storey are amazing. Walking up the narrow staircases and corridors to the top could be a bit claustrophobic, but the view from the top, peering out through the tiny windows, was worth it. And at night, when the facade of the palace is all lit up beautifully, it’s also worth a visit.
Located at the very top of the hill behind the city, this fort had unreal views for as far as the eye could see. We almost didn’t go as we only had a few hours before we had to catch a train to the next destination, but I’m so glad we squeezed it in. It took about an hour to walk around, taking in the incredible panoramic views all around the city, and getting asked for selfies by some locals, something we were pretty used to by that point!
This wasn’t my favourite thing in Jaipur, mainly because it was about 45 degrees celsius and had to walk uphill, but it was still impressive. We just walked to the top and had a quick look around – you can pay about 200 rupees to go inside but we were way too hot and needed to get into some air con! Being one of India’s most well-known forts, we decided we may as well see it, even if we only spent 15 minutes there. It’s about a ten minute drive out of the city, so we got our trusty taxi driver Babloo (he’d driven us between other places before) to take us there.
Hawk View restaurant
Of the many highly rated restaurants in Jaipur, this was by far my favourite – although we didn’t end up going to many others because this one was so good and inexpensive. We stumbled upon it on our first night because it was right around the corner from our hostel (Zostel – also highly recommend to stay there). It was slightly out of the hustle and bustle of the city, which could get a bit overwhelming at times, so it was a lovely little place to escape to. It had a nice rooftop seating area, outdoors and indoors, so we still went when it rained. The views over the city and back over to Nahargarh Fort were what sold it to us, and then everything else was perfect too – modest decor, friendly staff, delicious food (butter chicken was unreal) and cheap booze (vodka Diet Coke was about £1). We ended up going to Hawk View at least once or twice a day every day.
Walking the streets of the city
Something that never failed to entertain us was simply walking around the city, taking in all the bizarre and unusual sights of everyday life…
Albert Hall Museum
A fascinating building just outside the city walls, this is Rajasthan’s oldest museum opened in 1887, originally built as a concert hall based off of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. It holds many pieces of art and artefacts of Jaipur, so if you’re into art or history definitely check this out! Even if you’re not, it’s a pretty cool building architecturally to take a look at. Also at night it’s beautifully lit up with many different colour-changing lights!
One of the many markets in Jaipur, Bapu Bazar is well-known for selling Jaipuri items, such as scarves, clothes and textiles. This is the perfect shopping destination to get gifts and souvenirs, but be ready to haggle! Sellers will always start at a ridiculously high price, but you can usually get it down by quite a lot. Our technique was to walk away and pretend to go to another stall, then they’d drop the price. This is one of the more likely places you’ll get ripped off at if you’re not careful. Definitely worth a visit to experience what it’s like to shop and bargain in a busy, vibrant bazaar.
Although we didn’t see any leopards due to the rainy weather, this was still an interesting experience, and something I’d recommend doing at another time of year (not right before monsoon season). It was a very well run organisation, we were picked up on time outside our hostel in a cool open-top jeep and driven through the city to Jhalana Safari Park. We got our own private jeep for about three hours with a driver and a guide, who was very knowledgeable- we definitely learnt a lot even if all we saw was some deer, peacocks, and a tortoise.
I hope you enjoyed reading about our time in the beautiful, fascinating Pink City, and I inspired you to visit (once this crazy pandemic is over)!