Jaipur is the capital and the largest city of Rajasthan. It is a very popular tourist destination and is also known as “Pink City” due to the presence of a huge number of pink colored buildings. Jaipur is well connected as it has an international airport, train and bus station, so reaching there is not a problem. There are numerous forts, palaces, old heritage buildings, temples etc scattered around the city and it is difficult to visit all of them if you have less time. However, I managed to visit few important sightseeing destinations which you can see below.
Jaipur is called the “Pink City” of India, however it does not mean all the buildings are pink in color, although I feel the color is orange, rather than pink. These colorful buildings and houses are present in old part of the city. If you visit the Hawa Mahal and walk the surrounding areas you can see all the buildings are pink in color. Several walking tours are also conducted in these parts, which you may take if you are uncomfortable in walking alone.
Hawa Mahal or “Palace of Winds” is a large monument made of red and pink sandstone. It is located in the middle of the city and is easily accessible. It was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. It is a five storey building and its exterior structure looks like a honeycomb of a beehive with 953 small windows, which are called jharokhas. The entry is through the back side and you can see how it looks like in the picture below. The front side of the Hawa Mahal which is usually seen in pictures all over the internet is taken from across the street.
Jaigarh fort was built in 1736 for defense purposes by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. It is built on a hill called Cheel ka Teela or Hill of Eagles and overlooks the Amer fort. One of the attractions of the fort is that it houses the ‘Jaivana cannon’ which at at the time of its manufacture in 1720, was the largest cannon in the world. It is located around 15kms from the centre of Jaipur and it is better to hire a cab or tuk-tuk to reach there.
Amer or Amber fort
Amer fort is located about 11 kms from Jaipur in a small town named Amer. It is located on top of a hill, the exterior of the entire fort is yellow in color. It is visited by huge number of tourists everyday. Amer fort is quite big and will take almost 2 hours to visit the entire fort. There is a road connecting the Jaigarh fort to Amer fort, ask the local guards there if you have any difficulty locating it. So, it is better to visit Jaigarh first and then walk downhill for 15 minutes and reach Amer fort.
Nahargarh fort is around 6km from Jaipur and lies on the edge of Aravalli hills. It was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1734. The whole city of Jaipur can be viewed from the fort. The word Nahargarh means means ‘abode of tigers’. It is named after Nahar Singh Bhomia, whose spirit used to haunt the area. There are two ways of reaching the fort – you can directly hire a cab or tuk-tuk and reach there or if you are adventurous you can walk a steep uphill climb for around 2kms to the top, although I will not recommend the walk for older people. You can find a picture below of a man walking through the path that leads to the top.
There are no entry fees for visiting these check posts, you only pay when you go inside the fort. These check posts keep on going far and beyond and they are not monitored, so be careful while exploring all of them there are a lot of deserted posts, where unscrupulous elements may live and take advantage of tourists. Recently, a guy committed suicide in one of these many check posts.
Patrika gate is called the ninth gate of Jaipur city and is located in Jawahar Circle. The interior art is a sight to behold and is by far the beautiful artwork I have seen. Very few tourists know about it and visit it. There are no entry fees, there is a security guard and a small garden there. You can hire a tuk-tuk or get in a public bus to reach there.
There are shared e-rickshaws available in the city, they usually charge 10 rupees, which you use to visit sightseeing spots within city limits like Hawa Mahal, City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall etc. If you want to visit the forts, you have to hire a tuk-tuk or you can book Ola or Uber, as they are far away from the city and located on top of a hill.
When to visit
Jaipur becomes extremely hot during summer, so it is advisable to visit during winter – November to February.