Called the “Pink City” due to its many pastel buildings and temples, Jaipur is famous for picturesque hilltop forts and temples, grand palaces, lively shopping bazaars and festivals.
Established in 1727 by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, Jaipur is India’s first planned city. You’ll find major attractions in Old City, a bustling neighborhood of wide avenues surrounded by fortified walls. Explore on foot or travel between the major sights via low-cost rickshaws and taxis.
Visit Hawa Mahal, a multi-windowed palace built to let women of royal families observe city life. Its pink facade is typical of the city’s architecture. Go to the nearby Jantar Mantar observatory to discover a collection of 18th-century astronomical instruments. Several miles west, admire Rajasthani and Mughal architecture of the City Palace and explore its courtyards and gardens.
Old City presents an authentic Indian shopping experience, where you can practice your bargaining skills in the various bazaars. Shop for jewelry in Johari Bazaar and explore the grand mansions of cotton merchants. Browse for saris and fabrics in Bapu Bazaar and go to Kishanpole Bazaar for perfumes. Watch gemstones being cut in Pahar Ganj. Find excellent curries and vegetarian dishes across the city.
See a slice of history at the Central Museum, home to displays of decorative arts, musical instruments and tribal artifacts. Spot folk-art objects at the Museum of Indology.
Climb uphill to the Temple of the Sun God to see devotees bathing in pools. Here you can watch monkeys cavorting and enjoy views of Jaipur’s surrounding hills. Catch a rickshaw to Amber Fort, a 16th-century stronghold showcasing opulent Hindu and Mughal art and architecture.
For entertainment, enjoy a Bollywood movie. In January, marvel as the sky fills with kites of all shapes and colors during the annual Kite Festival. Watch elephant polo matches and parades at March’s Elephant Festival.
Jaipur forms part of northern India’s Golden Triangle, a popular tourist circuit including Agra and New Delhi. Visit in winter to avoid very hot and monsoon seasons.