Jaipur: Chaotic Bazaars, Lake Views & Forts Galore

Enjoy sunset lake views from ancient hilltop palaces, see crumbling pink old quarter, where elephants walk side by side with rush hour traffic, and visit the chaotic bazaars of Jaipur with our local insider, Natasha.

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Once the heart of Indian royalty and named after Maharaja Jai Singh II, today we can take a walk through history with many forts, rewarding culinary experiences, and the right mix of culture and chaos in Jaipur’s bazaars.

Tordi Garh

Experience the royal lifestyle at Tordi Garh, an 18th century residential property in Tordi village – part of which has been converted to a hotel.

The lime and mortar architecture, spacious courtyards, and verandahs are typical of palaces in the 1800s, and each of the 23 ensuite rooms comes with traditional décor and modern facilities.

Feel free to step into the kitchen to learn secrets of Rajasthani cooking, wander into the stable to pet the horses, or feed the chickens. Ride the sand dunes on a camel, hike up to the old fortress, or tour surrounding hamlets.

Temples

Inside the Galta-Ji Temple complex are several shrines dedicated to Hindu deities. The natural springs here are believed to be holy – as are the seven kunds (water tanks) in which pilgrims take a dip.

The Govind Dev-Ji Temple houses an image of Lord Krishna that is believed to be the most accurate depiction of his incarnation on earth.

The Shila Devi Temple houses the idol of goddess Durga, brought by the Maharaja of Amber from Bangladesh in the 17th century.

Palaces and Forts

Hawa Mahal 

Hawa Mahal. Photo credit: iStock

Photograph the impressive pink sandstone façade of the Hawa Mahal, and head inside to peer onto the busy street below, like the Rajput women of the royal household once did.

It was built in 1799 to offer them privacy as they watched daily life through the 953 beautiful jharokas (windows).

City Palace & Jantar Mantar

Walk around the 18th century City Palace admiring the Rajasthani and Mughal architecture, impressive entrance gates, elaborate arches, and sandstone walls adorned with fine designs and murals.

Visit neighboring Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory and now UNESCO Heritage Site, full of massive fascinating instruments.

Amber Fort & Palace

Amber Fort. Photo credit: iStock

Take in the grandeur of the 16th century Amber Fort and Palace, located on a hill overlooking the Maota Lake.

Admire the impossibly intricate glass mosaics of Sheesh Mahal, manicured royal gardens, and colorful murals on Amber Gate.

Jaigarh Fort

Explore the watchtowers of Jaigarh Fort, a military fortress built in 1726 to protect all of Jaipur.

Jai Ban, the world’s largest cannon on wheels, stands here but was never fired, as the fort was never attacked.

Markets & Bazaars in Jaipur

Bring your best haggling game while shopping in Jaipur.

The Small Cottage Industries Showroom in Amer is a great place to buy block-printed saris and Jaipur razais (quilts).

Head to Johari Bazaar to buy textiles, semi-precious gems, gold jewelry, and pieces with beautiful minakari (enamel) work.

At Chandpol Bazaar, you’ll find handicrafts, marble sculptures, traditional jutis (shoes), and great gifts and souvenirs.

Rajasthani Cuisine

A rewarding part of any Jaipur trip is the rich and flavorsome cuisine. Think slow-cooked succulent meats, creamy gravies garnished with dried-fruits, and deep-fried desserts.

Whether it’s at a fancy restaurant like Surya Mahal or the no-frills Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar, be sure to try a traditional thali (a big meal of appetizers, assorted curries, bread, rice, and dessert), and local favorites like dal batti churma.

Sunset Views

For a spectacular view over Jaipur and the surrounding Aravallis, take a 60-minute hot air balloon ride around sunset launching off from one of the forts such as Amber Fort.

Off the Beaten Path

Walk through the cobbled lanes of Amber village, and visit the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing to learn about traditional block-printing techniques and see related exhibits. 

For art and photography exhibitions, music, dance, and theatre, check the events schedule at the recently refurbished Jawahar Kala Kendra.

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