Jaipur, Hauntingly Pink
Pink, sunny and exotic! Jaipur is the pinnacle of Rajasthan with its glamorous palaces and striking architecture. The capital has managed to preserve its cultural identity so well despite attempts to turn it into a bustling metropolis that even within the heart of the city the flavour of grandeur will capture your soul.
Foreign or Indian, Jaipur offers an array of heritage to anyone who walks through its doors. No matter how much you’ve travelled previously, the city will still manage to sweep you off your feet and surprise you at every turn.
Most people confine the city’s wonders to its tourist attractions and astonishingly well preserved construction, but it has so much more to offer! From the great cuisine to their own form of handicrafts and even most spectacular jewellery of all time.
Jaipur has a way to making you feel welcome at all times of the day, no matter where you’re from.
- Currency – Indian Rupees
- Type of location – Semi desert with humid subtropical climate
- Neighbouring cities – 250kms from Delhi and 240kms from Agra, the three cities together form the “Golden Triangle.” Sikar and Alwar share the Northern border of Jaipur, with Tonk and Ajmer in the south, Ajmer and Naguar to the west and Bharatpur and Dausa to the east.
Climate conditions and best time to plan your trip
Since Jaipur is located within the semi-deserts of Rajasthan, it’s best to visit during the cooler months of the year. Most people, who’ve been there, recommend the months of October to March for the ideal experience. If you want to avoid the peak season, then your next best option is April. If you happen to visit during the summer months be sure to pack plenty of deodorant, sun screen, at least one hat, a pair of glares and maybe even an umbrella to fend off the sun.
October through March the temperature stays in between 22oC and 5oC. Once the summer kicks in, the temperature can shoot up as high as 45oC. So pack your bags accordingly.
Top Spots to Visit
If you’re planning a short excursion the City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort and Palace, Jantar Mantar, and the Abhaneri Step Well are absolute musts! Any trip to Jaipur would be incomplete if you don’t stop and take in the splendour that these places have to offer! While you’re there you might as well pick up a few trinkets from wide variety of shops that give the city it’s very own personality.
- City Palace – This should be the first stop on your to do list! The city palace embodies the true essence of Jaipur. You could spend hours at a time just marvelling over the heritage and culture of the past Rajput Kings. Their lavish and luxurious lifestyle will take your breath away, not the mention that the all the different exhibits offer a unique perspective into the history of this glamorous city.
- Opening hours – 9.30 am to 5.00pm daily
- Entry cost – For Indians, Rs.35 per head and an additional Rs.50 for a still camera and Rs.150 for a video camera. For foreigners, Rs.150 per head and the same costs for taking in cameras as Indians.
- Location – Chokri Shahad, Old City, Jaipur
- Time required – Half a day to cover the expansive area and embrace all the different locations within the premises.
- Hawa Mahal – When translated into English, it means Palace of the Winds. This location is meant for the traveller who can truly appreciate good architecture. It won’t take up much of your day, but taking a trip to the top is well worth the view that it has to offer. A lot of people complain about the excessive traffic that seems to surround the location, but in actuality, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. The women of the royal family used to exploit the many windows to look out onto the city without exposing themselves.
- Opening hours – 9.00 am to 4.30 pm daily
- Entry cost – Rs.5 for Indians and Foreigners per head. The former has to pay Rs.10 to take in a still camera and Rs.20 for video, while the latter has to pay Rs.30 and Rs.70 respectively.
- Location – Adjacent to the City Palace, the entrance is from the rear of the building.
- Time Required – One hour at most, depending on how fast you can climb the stairs.
- Amber Fort and Palace – This little gem is on the outskirts of town, but the whole location is so majestic that you’ll want to make the trip! Built in the early 1700’s and nestled in the womb of the valley, the palace transports you back in time as soon as you step foot inside. Everyone adores the Sheesh Mahal, but what they fail to mention is the tranquil lake at the entrance and the sprawling gardens that make you feel like a Rajput spirit yourself.
- Opening Hours – 9.00 am to 4.30 pm daily
- Entry Cost – Rs.50 for foreigners, with an additional Rs.70 for a still camera and Rs.150 for a video camera. Rs.10 for Indians, with an additional Rs.50 for a still camera and Rs.100 for a video camera.
- Location – North of Jaipur. Buses run on a regular frequency to and from the Hawa Mahal. You can book a taxi as well.
- Time Required –Half a day would be enough, but it’s best to invest the whole day.
- Jantar Mantar – A true monument to scientific history, this monument was one of the first ways to measure time. If you’re going just to admire equipment then it doesn’t matter whether you go with a guide or not, but you’re looking to gain extensive knowledge about how the place works, it’s probably best to hire someone who can explain how the layout works.
- Opening Hours – 9.30 am to 4.30 pm daily
- Entry Cost – Rs.10 for Indians and Foreigners per head. The former has to pay Rs.20 to take in a still camera and Rs.50 for video, while the latter has to pay Rs.50 and Rs.100 respectively.
- Location –Next to the City Palace.
- Time Required – An hour or two at most.
- Abhaneri Step Well – This is one of the deepest and largest step wells in the entire world. People flock from around the globe to marvel at its imposing structure and the myths surrounding its existence. Some say there might be gold deep down, others say that it’s haunted by the ghosts of its past. Despite the enormity of its size the intricate designs and cravings show how the extensive the craftsmen of that time were for detail.
- Opening Hours – 10.00 am to 5.00 pm daily
- Entry Cost – Free
- Location – Two hour drive from Jaipur in Abhaneri Village on the Jaipur-Agra Road.
- Time Required – An hour or two at most.
Jaipur has a lot more to offer depending on your personal interests. Palaces and forts are in abundance for the photography enthusiast and lover of culture. Even the offbeat traveller would enjoy the Galta Monkey Temple which has hoards of monkeys bathing in its pools. If you’re looking to do something unique then there are a few options in terms of bathing and swimming with elephants. These endangered species are one of friendliest wild animals to get to know.
The Pink City has something for each and every person. It truly deserves as much time as you can afford to spare!
Rajasthan offers a lot of dishes that are as unique as its culture. Some of the things that you absolutely must try and always been a hit are Dal BattiChurma, MawaKachori, Ghewar, MirchiBada and RajasthaniSubji.
Dal BattiChurma is the combination of three different things. Dal, or lentils, is served with Battis which are flaky round breads. There are a lot of varieties of Battis with differences in the way that they’re cooked and alterations in the ingredients used in the batter. For a bland taste you can opt for the plain Batti, but if you’re looking for something a little more exotic, you could order the masala Batti or missiBatti. Even the Churma, a mixture of crushed Battis and jiggery, is available in a million different varieties. No Rajasthani festival is complete without this particular dish!
MawaKachori and Ghewar are meant for avid sweet tooth. These mouth-watering dishes are the most popular sweets of the region. MirchiBada and RajasthaniSubji are for the experimental foodie. They’re two of the most common things to be found in everyday local meals, and are delicious if you don’t mind something that’s a little spicy!
Why Jaipur is Amazing!
The people will welcome you with open arms. They are nothing if not accommodating and kind. The best part about Jaipur is that if you feel as though the heat is getting to you, you can always pick a pair of Indian clothing to fend of the summer glare! They may look bulky but they keep your body cool and comfortable.
One of the best perks about Jaipur is the cuisine. The city provides food for every kind of taste buds, from spicy to tangy, and from bland to exotic. You can pick and choose which ever suits you best!
Language can be a huge issue. Though most of the well-educated public will be able to communicate and help you out, transportation has be an issue if you don’t have someone to guide you around town. You can either hire a guide or do extensive research as to where you’re going to be going and how much it should cost you. If you ever have any doubts just ask the hotel to help you out!
Obviously all the basic rules of travelling apply in Jaipur as they do anywhere else. Keep your valuables safe at all times! Save the emergency numbers for calling the police on your phone. Since it’s a city of culture, you should probably avoid dressing too provocatively. Since you’re in India, you’re going to see a lot of stray animals on the street. Leave them alone! They won’t bother you unless you go ahead and bother them first.
Planning your Budget
- Sightseeing – A two day composite ticket consisting of five monuments will foreigners Rs.300, but students can get them for Rs.150. The City Palace and Jaigarh Fort share a ticket which is valid for one whole week, costing Rs.300. If you want to plan a customized tour then all the prices can be found on the official government tourism website for Jaipur.
- Accommodation – Varying on your level of luxury, the most basic of hotel can be found for as cheap as Rs.350 a night, to as expensive as you want it to be. Most reasonably safe and sanitary hotels will cost you around Rs.1000-2000 a night.
- Food – The food is cheap. If you’re eating in luxury it can cost you as much as Rs.500 per head but if you’re on a budget you can get away with Rs.50 per head at the some of the local eateries.
- Transportation – Buses, rickshaws and taxis are public modes of transportation available. Unless there’s a pre-paid booth around, they normally over charge foreigners and a lot of haggling is involved. Don’t fall for any of the excuses that rickshaw drivers may make, and only pay the initial amount that was decided.
- Shopping – Bargain, bargain and bargain. Every tourist shop has the items over priced by 60% trying to rip you of your money. Walk away from the sale if you don’t think the price is right because either the salesman will call you back or you will eventually find the identical item at another shop and you can re-strategize your plan.
All in all, your experience in Rajasthan will be an all-around journey for every one of your senses! Treat your eyes, lavish your taste buds, absorb to sounds, comprehend all the different scents, and let the textures of your surroundings take over to guide you on this magical journey!