Jaipur – the capital city of the state of Rajasthan in India is a destination to explore at least once in a lifetime ! Legend has it that in the 1800’s, the Prince of Wales and Queen Victoria were on a tour to India and with pink denoting the colour of hospitality, Maharaja Ram Singh of Jaipur painted the city pink in colour to welcome the guests. This led to ‘Pink City‘ term being coined. Today, though its a much modern city, the old Jaipur area is decked up in the best of pink and that is where most of the attractions are as well. And so, it was destination Jaipur for a 3 day exploration trip from Bangalore. Well connected by Rail, Road and Air from major cities in India, we took a flight out to save travel time which meant more time to explore ! Here are my Top picks of Eateries, Hotels and Things to do when in Jaipur.
Places to Visit
First thing we did after landing and checking in into our hotel was to head to the City Palace. We were greeted by rain which though kept the temperature down was a spoiler for us as moving around the palace meant we had open areas to cross through but that did not let us dampen our spirit and the beauty of the palace kept us engaged.
It’s more of a Palace complex with different palace buildings. The architecture, the majestic appearance, the different entry gates and every corner was interesting.
The Picture Frames were reminiscent of the historical period. This palace was the seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur. The chandeliers are awesome and there is both a modern and historical touch to the palace with renovations keeping the heritage alive. We did not opt for a guide and so we could not link what each section of the complex represents but it was a visual treat indeed. The Palace is open for visitors till 5 pm and has an entry fee which is different for Indians and Foreigners.
Amer or Amber Fort is like the soul of Jaipur. A must visit when in the city and make sure you leave at-least half a day free to explore. There is lots to write on this which meant I had to do justice by writing a separate article. For all the details check out – Amber Fort – The Soul of Jaipur
The elegance of the place comes into light as you walk towards it. Not very visible from the main entrance and as one walks through the beautiful gardens and plantation around, the stunning white structure is a pleasing sight to watch. That’s as much as you can capture with your camera as photography is banned inside the temple. The inside of the temple is as magnificent as outside. We were here in the evening and I’ve heard that with lights on in the night, the experience is bliss. We couldn’t stay longer and so missed the lighting but if you do go in the evening stay around for the lights to come on. The atmosphere inside is peaceful , bliss and as spiritual as it can get. No entrance fee here and parking is available.
Moti Dungari is a Lord Ganesh Temple and is right next to the Birla Mandir. Though a small temple but equally impressive in appearance as the Birla one. The idol is adorned beautifully and prayers are performed with utmost faith. No Entrance fee here. There is another temple right opposite to it and do make it point to visit the same as well.
Now I know I mentioned my top picks but this is just for awareness and it isn’t on my top places to visit. It’s a palace in the middle of Man Sagar lake and is not open/accessible to general public. It’s a nice view from a bridge and that’s pretty much about it. Having seen pics of the Jal Mahal , I was of the impression that it would look at its glittery best in the night with all the lighting and so in-spite of locals warning us that there is nothing to see , that images on the net and magazines made me head here and it was a decision I still regret to this day because below is what we got to see !!!!! My suggestion would be to avoid but you will come across this when you travel to Amber Fort from the city as one will have to cross this bridge. You could stop for a min for a pic or two but of course during day time.
Best example of Pink in the Pink City. This Palace is constructed of red and pink standstone and is a resemblance to the old times. The below is the view from the road and it was built so that the women of the Royal Household can watch the processions of the city and is the extension of the main City Palace. We did not go inside but this outside view is the landmark everyone goes for. Note that its in a crowded area surrounded by streets that are a shoppers paradise.
Since I mentioned Shopping, let me as well give you more details. The streets surrounding the Hawa Mahal have markets that will have shoppers spoilt for choices. There are malls in the city but if you want to go local and buy things that represent Rajasthan , these are your markets. Some of them if I can name them are Johari Bazaar – Johari meaning jewellery and one can get all type of jewellery and precious stones in this market. There is also Tripoli Bazaar, Bapu Bazaar, Nehru Bazaar where you get everything from textiles, shoes, cosmetics and fancy items that represent Jaipur. There are a few more that I may have missed but these are your shopping areas and be prepared to do some bargaining.
Where to Eat
Lets get to the hogging part now shall we ? I had a few things in mind to try for which the Pink City is famous for – Lal Maas, Ghewar, Dal Baati Churma where some on my list. Here is where I grabbed em –
Had heard about this place even before visiting Jaipur that they’ve got the one of the best Lal Maas dish in the city , so I had to go here. This is part of the Hari Bhawan hotel and has the perfect ambience for a hearty meal. They have both indoor and outdoor seating , I believe outdoor is only during the night, anyways it was raining when we reached so indoors it was. Must say their Lal Maas dish does stand out and is high on taste and texture. Lal Maas which means red mutton is an obvious mutton curry cooked with loads of local spices and red chillies. The meat was falling off the bone which meant it was really cooked well. Also tried the Tandoori Chicken which had all the flavour profile it needs.
Rawat Mishtan Bandar
One destination for the best in sweets and snacks. My purpose of going here was Ghewar and Pyaaz (Onion) Pakoda. I did not know there were various option for Ghewar too when we reached here but Rabdi Ghewar was too tempting to avoid whereas plain Ghewar was safely tucked away in my luggage to hog it for the next few weeks. Rabdi Ghewar is best consumed the same day or next and I was impressed ! Couldn’t get enough of it. Kachori, Pyaaz Pakoda and Chilli Pakoda were the perfect accompaniments to the Ghewar – some savoury stuff after the sweetness ! Perfect !
The Great Kebab Factory
Truly a Kebab Factory. Some delectable kebabs and a good variety of them too. This hotel is part of the Radisson Jaipur City Centre which was also one of the places where we were staying. More details a bit below when we detail out places to stay
This is part of the Taj Jai Mahal Palace hotel. A Luxury fine dining experience to cherish. Elegant, contemporary and Traditional. Gatte Ki Kadhi was the most impressive for me here. The fine collection of mocktails was another plus. The Menu has everything you need to try from the land of Rajasthan. The Taj Jai Mahal Palace was where we stayed for a night as well and this experience stems from there.
Where to Stay
And now for the places to stay. There were 2 hotels that we decided to try out during our visit to Jaipur. The Radisson Jaipur City Center and the Taj Jai Mahal Palace and the details for them are out there in the below links.
And it’s a wrap ! Great city to visit and there is much more to see and experience. I’ve shared my experiences and hope it helps folks visiting the Pink City !