Top 10 Places to Visit in Jaipur, the Pink City of India, is an exotic destination, to say the least. From royal palaces to peppy pubs and from regal forts to plush restaurants, the city offers a fascinating mix of attractions for an avid traveler. And let’s not forget the welcoming vibe of the city, a quality that’s inherent to Rajasthan’s imperial culture and heritage. Even the hotels in Jaipur extend warm hospitality to their guests. When you are in such a warm and vibrant setting, there’s just one thing you should do – soak in the splendor of the city to the hilt.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Jantar Mantaris amongst the top places for sightseeing in Jaipur. A paradise for science enthusiasts, Jantar Mantar is an observatory with 19 architectural astronomical instruments. It was built under Jai Singh II by 1734 to correct the then zij (Islamic astronomical table). The observatory has instruments that operate in all the three basic classical celestial coordinate systems. Vrihat Samrat Yantra consists the world’s biggest stone sundial. One of the world’s largest astrolabe is found at Yantra Raj Yantra.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Amer Fort is an ancient royal fortification spread across a hilltop in the Aravalli range. Made of red sandstone and marble, it is built in Rajput and Mughal architectural style. The fort was originally built under Man Singh I around 1592 AD and later developed by successive Kachwaha rulers. Famous attractions here include the Sun Gate, Jalebi Chowk, Ganesh Pol gate, Tripolia gate, Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience), Diwan-i-Aam (Hall of Public Audience) – all popular for their architectural grandeur. The Sila Devi temple is known for its Durga idol. Charbagh is a Mughal-style garden centered in the courtyard through which water flows in an open crisscrossing channel. The adjacent room, Sukh Niwas (Hall of Pleasure) has a sandalwood door and cool environment. The palace of Man Singh I is the oldest part of the fort. An island garden called Kesar Kyari (Saffron) sits in the middle of Maota Lake flowing at the base of the fort.
The palatial City Palace is a complex of palaces built between 1729 and 1732. It was once the seat of the king of Jaipur. The design incorporates Shilpa-Shastra of Indian architecture influenced by Rajput and Mughal styles. Mubarak Mahal (Auspicious Palace) was a as reception center of the royals. Today, it is a museum showcasing a range of textiles like the royal attire, Kashmiri pashminas, and sanganeri block prints. Chandra Mahal, a seven-storied building, is the most commanding palace in the complex. The flag of the royal family is hoisted atop the palace where some royal descendants continue to reside. The Diwan-i-Am ceiling is engraved with original handwritten manuscripts of Hindu scriptures. The Diwan-I-Khas houses the world’s biggest sterling silver vessels. Baggi Khana is a museum with a rich collection of antique carriages and palanquins. The Victoria baggi (horse-carriage), a gift for the Maharaja from Prince of Wales, is a popular attraction.
Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds) is a palace built in 1799 on the corner of City Palace. The magnificent exterior of this five-storey monument resembles a beehive honeycomb – 953 tiny jharokhas (windows) carved with delicate latticework. This architectural design creates the Venturi effect (doctor breeze) – cool air passes through the entire structure. Built in red and pink sandstone, its architecture reflects a blend of Hindu Rajput and Islamic Mughal style.
Also known as Victory Fort, the Jaigarh Fort is situated on the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of Eagles) in the Aravalli range. Made of red sandstone, Jaigarh fort has a similar architectural style as Amer fort. Both the forts are connected by a subterranean passage and considered a single complex. Jaigarh fort was the hub for artillery production of Rajputs. A prominent feature of the fort is the Jaivana – manufactured in 1720, it was then the world’s biggest cannon on wheels. The grand Awani Darwaza (Earthly Door) gives a spectacular view of the serene Sagar Lake. An armory chamber exhibits a wide range of guns, swords, muskets and shields.
Nahargarh, meaning ‘abode of tigers’, is a historical monument on the edge of Aravalli hills. Built as a retreat by Maharaja Jai Singh in 1734, it features an Indo-European architectural style. The fort witnessed historical events like signing treaties with the Maratha rulers who fought against Jaipur in the 18th century. During the Indian Revolt of 1857, Nahargrah Fort was used as a hiding place for British officials. The majestic ‘Madhavendra Bhawan’ consists of suites for the king and his twelve queens. Nahargarh fort has several other places for sightseeing in proximity.
Jal Mahal (Water Palace) is situated in the center of the tranquil Man Sagar Lake with Nahargarh hills in the backdrop. Made of red sandstone, the architecture of the palace flaunts a mix of Rajput and Mughal style, with a Bengali style rectangular chhatri (memorial) on the roof. This site was renovated by Jai Singh II in the 18th century. Today, it is not open to visitors, but can be viewed during a visit to the Amer Fort.
Gaitor Ki Chhatriyan
Gaitor houses a complex of tombs and temples as a royal crematorium of the rulers (Maharajas) of Rajasthan. Beautifully carved cenotaphs dedicated to famous kings are the main attraction. The cenotaphs are umbrella (chhatri) shaped, giving the place its name Gaitor Ki Chhatriyan.
Galtaji is an ancient pilgrimage site housing a complex of temples in a narrow crevice of Aravalli hills. A natural spring flows from atop the hill into a series of kunds (reservoirs) where pilgrims bathe. It is amongst a significant retreat center for the Ramanuja sect. The complex of Sita Ramji temple is colloquially called the Monkey temple (Galwar Bagh) – famous for its gathering of monkeys.
Albert Hall Museum
Palaces and forts are not the only historical places to visit in Jaipur. Albert Hall Museum, the oldest museum in Rajasthan, is a treasure trove of artifacts that give you a glimpse into the region’s rich history and heritage. Named after the Prince of Wales, Albert Edward, this museum has a rich collection of jewelry, paintings, ivory items, sculptures, crystal works, carpets, and metal artifacts. An Egyptian mummy housed here counts among its main attractions.