The capital of Rajasthan and its largest city, Jaipur is at once the state’s commercial hub and one of its most fascinating cultural destinations. The pace of life here is fast, but take your time and in this somewhat frantic city you’ll find some of India’s most majestic palaces and atmospheric relics.
Jaipur is often referred to as the Pink City. In anticipation of Prince Albert’s tour of India in 1876, the Maharaja ordered all buildings in the city to be painted pink, a colour that represented hospitality. It is said that his favourite wife liked the colour scheme so much, a law was passed to ensure all buildings in the city centre were painted the same shade of terracotta pink.
There are plenty of architecture gems scattered throughout the city, including the striking Hawa Mahal. At the time it was built, Rajput royal women did not appear in public but that wasn’t to say they weren’t interested in what was going on in the streets down below. To satisfy their curiosity, this monumental palace with 953 windows was constructed to allow them to observe the goings on of everyday life without having to step outside. Also nestled in the old town is the City Palace, still the home of the Jaipur royal family.
Step outside the city and yet more wonders await. On the outskirts of Jaipur lie a magnificent trio of forts – Amer, Jaiarg and Nahargarh – that once formed the city’s defence. Also drawing visitors out of the city is the royal cremation ground of Gaitore with its cenotaphs dedicated to the legendary kings who ruled Jaipur, and Galtaji, a Hindu pilgrimage site famous for its tribes of monkeys that come to bathe in the holy water tanks.
As well as a plethora of beautiful and historical buildings, Jaipur is also one of the best places to pick up handicrafts, its bazaars filled with colourful textiles and jewellery.
India’s very own pink city. Jaipur seduces visitors with energetic bazaars, fantastic shopping and coral washed walls. A must-see in any and every trip to India.
What to do
- Gaze up at the 953 windows of the Hawa Mahal, also know as the Palace of the Winds
- Stock up on Jaipur's famous textiles and handicrafts in the vibrant bazaars
- Visit the vast Jantar Mantar observatory and the impressive City Palace
- Explore the Galtaji temple complex 10km east of Jaipur. The site is also home to tribes monkeys who come to bathe in the waters and play on the temples
- Head out of the city to the magnificent Amber and Nahargarh forts
When to go
The best time to visit Jaipur is between October and March. September and April are considered the shoulder months when it is very hot in the middle of the day but mornings and late afternoons are lovely. From the end of December until the middle of January, mornings and evenings can be foggy and nights cold, but during the day the weather is great for sightseeing.