Love art, architecture, crafts and shopping? Then bustling Jaipur is for you. The city in Rajasthan is dotted with palaces, forts, slick new shopping malls as well as streets lined with souvenir shops. Whatever your whim, there’s a way to explore Jaipur the way you want.
Begin your day by visiting Nahargarh Fort, one of the most recognizable sites in the city. The fort, which means ‘Abode of the Tigers,’ was built to protect the city. The panorama from the top provides the perfect Instagrammable moment.
Next, head over to Amber Fort, overlooking the Matoa Lake. Its main draw is the Sheesh Mahal or ‘Palace of Mirrors.’ As the name suggests, the walls and ceiling are adorned with mirrors. Enjoy a sunset and maybe the evening son et lumiere (sound and light show). Wrap up the experience with a steaming hot cup of masala chai.
Head to City Palace, an 18th century royal palace that shows a grandioise amalgamation of Rajput, Mughal and European architecture. Wander its rooms examining priceless art and artifacts.
Don’t skip Hawa Mahal or the ‘Palace of Winds.’ It is a five-storied building made of pink sandstone and has 356 charming jharokhas or latticed windows. An architectural delight, it is a fine blend of Hindu and Islamic architecture and was built in 1799. Consider taking a Heritage Walk combined with an audio tour.
Allot time to explore the area around Hawa Mahal for a shopping adventure at Bapu Bazaar and Johri Bazaar. You’ll find everything from textiles and blue pottery to sequined footwear, embroidered bags, stoles and jewellery. Getting lost in the colorful bazaars of Jaipur has its own charm so we suggest you don’t stick to a timetable – this one time.
Don’t forget to stop at shop number 120, where you will find Tikam Chand. Get a sepia or black and white portrait taken with his 150-year-old Carl Zeiss camera, a gift from the Maharaja of Jaipur to his grandfather. No Instagram filter can match his stunning pictures.
Do find time to visit the Albert Hall Museum. Built in 1876, it was reportedly modelled after London’s Victoria and Albert museum. Jal Mahal, Jantar Mantar and Birla Mandir are other attractions that you could visit depending on how long you have to stay in Jaipur.
Textiles and block printing lovers shouldn’t miss the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. Situated in a beautiful haveli, it is merely a 5-minute walk from Amber market place. See intricate wooden blocks being carved by hand.
Not content with just seeing a block-printing demonstration? Visit Kaladera workshop run by Damodar Nama, and book a block-printing table for a few hours and give it a go yourself.
Traveling with children? Visit Clay Botik and do a workshop on wheel and hand pottery with the talented Deeksha Gupta. If you go at the beginning of the trip, she will even fire your creations and pack them carefully in bubble wrap so you can take them home.
Animal lover? Visit the elephant village at Subhash Chowk. Here you can bond with the jumbos, feed them bananas and sugar cane, help give them a bath and even enjoy bareback riding.
Pick up luxurious cotton clothes at everyone’s favorite retailer, Anokhi. Stop by their organic cafe for a light salad and herbal tea. Pick up hand-crafted textiles, luxurious cotton quilts and rugs at Fab India.
For baubles, visit the Gem Palace, run by Kasliwals, who were once the court jewelers for Mughal royalty. Another store worth visiting is Amrapali, with its exquisite, hand-crafted jewelry.
Why not try your hand at traditional Rajasthani cooking? Arrange for a class at the picturesque heritage hotel Diggi Palace.
Jaipur is a foodie haven. Sip sweetened lassis, eat a kachori, bite into peppery poppadum, taste Pandit ji’s kulfi at Hawa Mahal bazaar or indulge in hot gulab jamuns. Head to Laxmi Misthan Bhandar or LMB for a traditional Rajasthani thali meal.
Spend an entire day gorging on sumptuous Rajasthani food and immerse yourself in a traditional cultural experience at Chokhi Dhani, near Sanganer.
There’s plenty to do in Jaipur – whether you’re on a tight budget or go overboard, and stay at a high-end luxury resort. Jaipur is a comfortable 45-minute flight away from India’s capital New Delhi and easily accessible from Mumbai as well.
For more information about Jaipur, please visit the website www.tourism.rajasthan.gov.in.