A perfect blend of tradition and modernism, Jaipur leaves you enchanted with its royal forts and palaces, modern neighborhoods and night life. While in Jaipur, there is so much to soak in of this great city with its famous history, architecture and tales of an era that still continues to make its presence felt, here are some of the best places to visit in Jaipur.
Famous for its architectural beauty, the Amer Fort is visited by thousands of tourists from across the world every year. It is one of the most prominent tourist spots of Rajasthan. Amer Fort is located in Amer and is at a distance of 11 kilometers from Jaipur. The Amer Fort was built by Raja Man Singh in 1592. It is made of red sandstone and marble and overlooks the Maota Lake. Various buildings of the Fort such as the “Diwan-e-Aam’, the ‘Sheesh Mahal’ and the ‘Sukh Mahal’ have had a prominent influence on both Hindu and Muslim architecture. It’s best to reach the fort early in the morning so that its history and architecture can be learned of in depth, and yes, don’t miss the royal elephant ride that happens there early morning.
Built in 1734 by the founder of Jaipur, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, this palace was a retreat in the Aravali Hills for the royal family. Built on Indo-European styles of architecture, this famous fort has many beautiful structures inside. It is famous for the temples dedicated to the deity of Jaipur rulers and to the Rathore prince, Nahar Singh Bhomia. The famous Bollywood song ‘Masti ki Pathshala’ (school of fun) from the movie Rang de Basanti has had many keen tourists visit this fort. This fort served as a strong defense to the city of Jaipur and also gave shelter to many Europeans. With the Aravalli Hills in its backdrop and overlooking the majestic Pink City, the Nahargarh Fort is a treat to the eyes and offers a panoramic view of the city.
Built by Sawai Man Singh II between 1729 and 1732 AD, the City Palace is where the Jaipur Majaraja reigned from. It is located in the heart of the beautiful city of Jaipur and is famous for its beautiful amalgamation of Mughal, Rajput and European styles of architecture. A major part of the City Palace has been turned into art galleries and museums which display the antique collection of costumes , carriages, armors belonging to the erstwhile royal family of Jaipur. What also attracts tourists to this beautiful palace are the 4 gateways or ‘pols’, which symbolize the 4 seasons and are ornately designed with intricate carvings, murals and floral designs that leave you spellbound.
Another prominent tourist attraction, the Hawa Mahal was built by the Kacchwaha Rajput ruler, Sawai Pratap Singh, who was the grandson of the Jaipur Maharaja, Sawai Singh II. It is believed that the main reason behind constructing this beautiful monument built of red and pink sandstone was the Purdah System (a custom) which didn’t allow the women of the royal family to appear in public. To give them a view of the daily life of the city, this palace was built which has numerous and very beautiful jharokhas (windows) that allowed the women to peep outside, without being seen by the common public. The main attraction of this five-story palace is its shape, which resembles the crown of Lord Krishna and the 953 jharokhas built for the women of the royal family.
Albert Museum Hall
Named after the then prince of England, Albert Edward, who laid the foundation stone of the museum in 1876, the museum, was made open to the public in 1887. It is the oldest museum in Rajasthan. With its beautifully carved arches and domes constructed in pink sandstone, the museum is a ‘must-visit’ for history buffs and explorers. The design of this museum resembles that of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The Albert Museum in Jaipur is home to a huge collection of artifacts like miniature paintings, jewelry, tribal costumes, clay sculptures, musical instruments and marble statues. What also attracts tourists are the display of Rajasthan’s henna artwork and puppet collections.
The Jantar Mantar is one of the largest observatories to be ever built. Every year, it attracts thousands of astronomers, historians, and explorers. It is a World Heritage Site and was built by Maharaj Sawai Jai Singh II, to study space. The Maharaj is known to be one of the best theorists of ancient India and had a keen interest in astronomy. The five astronomical instruments built for observing many astronomical positions. The monument has fourteen geometrical devices made of stone and brass and they measure time, predict eclipses, track the Earth’s movement around the sun and the location of stars. It is indeed a major tourist attraction and an experience of a lifetime. And yes, if you ever needed more convincing, it houses the world’s largest stone sundial.
The beautiful Jal Mahal, also known as the Water Palace, stands proudly in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake. Its architecture is inspired by Mughals as well as Rajput Jal Mahal has five stories, of which four got submerged when the lake is full. The scenic beauty of the Water Palace surrounded by the Aravalli Hills and Nahargarh fort, make it a favorite among photo lovers. For bird lovers, the palace has various spots that give opportunities to spot flamingos and various other species of migratory birds. The sight of the palace is equally breath-taking in evenings, when the reflection of thousands of flood lights on the water, illuminate the palace.
Ram Bagh Palace
Former residence of the erstwhile royal family of Jaipur, the Ram Bagh Palace is now one of the best heritage hotels around the world. The palace was initially a garden house for the wet nurse of Prince Ram Singh of Jaipur. The palace was then converted to a hunting abode for the Maharajas and their royal guests in the year 1987. Additional rooms were then constructed and the palace was made the primary residence of the Jaipur royal family during the 20th Later, in 1957, the place was run by Taj Group of Hotels as an exquisite five-star hotel.
Elephantastic is a unique, one of its kind farm, for the well-being of the mighty elephant. Run by a small family near Amer who have been in the elephant riding business since the 16th century, this elephant farm lets you get close to these gigantic yet soft-at-heart animals. You can take a jungle tour, paint them with colours, feed them with their favourite food, indulge the animals in a shower play; the experience is inimitable and loads of fun. Not only do you get to experience these animals closely, at the end, you can relish delicious home-made local food by the family that runs this elephant farm.
This beautiful garden is situated in a valley surrounded by the Aravalli Hills, at the bottom of Nahargarh hills, on way to the Amer Fort. The garden was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh, 275 years back. It got its name, as this garden resembles the stunning Vrindavan Gardens near Mathura, the birth place of Lord Krishna. Its lush green, perfectly manicured gardens, statues of Lord Krishna and Radha, dancing away with their ‘gopis’ (cow herding girl) and beautiful carvings make this garden incredibly beautiful and can leave you to spell bound. The famous Bollywood movie, Lamhe, was shot here and ideally so.
Built by Maharaj Sawai Jai Singh II in 1726, the Jaigarh Fort stands tall on the ‘Cheel ka Teela’ (the Hill of Eagles), overlooking the Amber Fort and Maota Lake. The fort is also called the ‘Fort of Victory’, as it was built as a shield to protect the city against invaders and stood true to its purpose, never witnessing any defeat. Made of red sandstone, this fort runs 3km and its temples, water reservoirs, and residential complexes are well-preserved. The fort is home to the world’s biggest cannon, the ‘Jaivana Cannon’. The cannon tips the scales at 50 tons and needed 100 kgs of gunpowder to fire a cannon ball that weighed 50 kgs. This majestic fort is an absolute must visit when in Jaipur.
The concept of step wells has been an important part of Indian architecture to fight the scarcity of water in various towns and villages. Situated at a distance of 95kms from Jaipur, in the Abhaneri Village, Chand Baori is among one of the deepest step wells in the country. With 3500 carved steps arranged in such a perfect manner of geometrical symmetry, Chand Baori is one of the most beautiful step wells in Rajasthan. The village of Abhaneri might be in ruins today, but the step well attracts scores of tourists to this place.
The Laxmi Narayan temple, popularly known as the Birla Mandir, after its builders, the Birla family, is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. The entire temple is made of pure white marble and the main attraction is the images of Lord Vishnu (the preserver and restorer) and Goddess Laxmi (the goddess of wealth), carved out a single marble piece and the walls of the temple with beautiful carvings that adorn quotes and scenes of Indian mythology. This is probably the only Hindu temple that adorns statues of Jesus, Socrates, and Buddha. Many visitors’ – locals and avid travelers, visit this temple and have experienced peace and serenity, even amidst huge crowds.
The Central Park is the best place to enjoy the beauty of nature and a paradise for bird watchers. The plush garden with a 5 km’s walking and jogging track is one of the largest and most colorful gardens of Jaipur. Plant lovers to get their due with a modern nursery that houses various plants. The park boasts of a monumental National Flag, the largest in the country, at a height of 206 feet. The park has witnessed thousands of locals who visit it regularly to unwind after a tiring day.
A trip to Jaipur is incomplete without a visit to some of the famous bazaars of the city, which locals and tourists throng alike. Some of the famous markets where you can shop to your heart’s content, all things traditional, like juttis, Sanganeri printed quilts and bed-sheets, precious gems and stones, timeless jewelry, handicrafts and exquisite sarees, are Johri Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar. Jaipur has one of the largest camel leather markets in the world and is home to some of the finest leather goods like mojris, belts, wallets, bags and more.