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Travel Guide Asia India Rajasthan Jaipur

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Introduction

Palace guard

Palace guard

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The history and times of Jaipur (Rajasthan, India) are deeply entwined with the stories of royal princes and princesses, with grand Mughals and later with visiting dignitaries from the British Royal family or 20th century royalty like the US Presidential families. Modern Jaipur plays host to all of them and to many thousands of ordinary people who come here enchanted by all that the city has to offer.
Jaipur is undoubtedly a city of kings and queens and its distinctive architecture clearly emphasis’s this. Even so it has a timeless appeal, since many of the traditional crafts patronised by the 18th century rulers are still thriving. So, you have streets that are famous for jewellery, tie-and-dye, pottery, ‘meenakari’, leatherwork and stone carvings.

Tourists find it astonishing that the whole city was painted in autumn pink by the then sovereign of the city to welcome his distinguished guest, the Prince of Wales in 1876.

Horse Polo was very popular amongst the Maharajas, especially during the British Raj. Man Singh II was the finest and most dashing polo player in the world, whose polo team was champion in the European Polo circuit in the 1930s. The Polo victory cinema in Jaipur, built by his polo stick maker commemorated a world record in the Sport. The "Big Four' consisting of Maharaja Man Singh, Maharaja Prithvi Singh, Rao Raja Hanut Singh and Rao Raja Abhey Singh had won all the open tournaments a record which has never been equaled. Man Singh actually died playing the sport he loved, at a polo match in England in 1970. The royalty in Rajasthan is evident in the splendid forts and Palaces of Jaipur where again the cuisine is very special and exclusive to this region.

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Sights and activities

Hawa Mahal - Palace of the winds

Probably the most famous image of Jaipur is that of the Palace of the Winds or Hawa Mahal, a unique palace built in 1799, by Maharaja Sawai Pratap Singh. It is part of the City Palace complex, and has many small windows facing the street and forms an elaborate facade. The theory is it was designed to allow the royal ladies to view the processions and activities in the street below without being seen by passers by. The breeze blowing through the windows also keeps the palace cool, and gives Hawa Mahal its name. It has intricate over-hanging latticed balconies and is a really charming example of the Rajput architecture, which was strongly influenced by the Mughal style of architecture. Behind the dusky pink facade the rear of the building is quite a surprise as it is mostly plain corridors, pillars and passages.

Amber Fort

Amber Fort is another imposing sight in Jaipur, Rajasthan's pink capital city. It is also known as 'Amer' and pronounced 'Amer Fort'. Amber was the capital of the Kachwaha Rajput clan until 1727, but the first Rajput structure in this area, was started by Raja Kakil Dev when Amber became his capital in 1036 on the site of present day Jaigarh Fort. The Amber Fort is built in white marble and red sandstone and dates back to 1592 when its construction was started by Raja Man Singh I. However, the Fort took its present form during the reign of Raja Jai Singh I. To add to its dimensions it is reflected in the lake below. The outer appearance of the Fort is quite rugged and the mighty walls guarantee the protection of the Fort against any invasion and this contrasts with a very different and decorative interior. The interior decoration is influenced by both, the Hindu and Muslim style of ornamentation. There are paintings of hunting scenes on the walls depicting the lives of the Rajputs, who were adventurous warriors who also enjoyed some luxury too when at home! The intricate carvings on the walls and ceilings and fine detailed mirror work adds to the grand appearance and royal style within this great fort.

Shopping

Shopping in Jaipur is acknowledged as the Pink City is a shoppers' Elysium. This is a place of vivacious colours and can be genuinely observed more in the festive period. The markets of Jaipur are the perfect place to shop for the well-known articles like blue pottery, gemstone, Kundan, carpets, meena jewellery, precious metals, textiles, handicrafts etc. In Jaipur city Bapu Bazaar, Nehru Bazaar, Ajmeri Gate Market, Johri bazaar, Haldiyon ka Rasta and M I Road, are the renowned shopping centre of the exceptional pink city items. Jaipur markets delightfully decorated in the festival seasons like Diwali, the entire city is filled with the crackers and the light, markets feels the huge growth in the buyer's interest in this season.

Other sights and activities

Abhaneri Stepwell

Abhaneri Stepwell

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  • Jaigarh fort
  • Rambagh Palace
  • City Palace
  • Jantar Mantar
  • Raj Palace
  • Jai Mahal Palace
  • Naharganj Fort
  • Albert Hall Museum
  • Maharaja Sawai Man Singh Museum
  • Chand Baori is a large stepwell located in the nearby village of Abhaneri.

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Events and Festivals

Jaipur is famous for a number of fairs and festivals. Some of the important ones are:

  • Elephant festival – is usually held in the month of March on the eve of Holi, the festival of colors. Elephants are colorfully decorated and prizes are given for the most beautifully decorated Elephant. Other events include Elephant race, polo match and a tug of war is held with the elephant on one side and around 20 men/women on the other side..
  • Gangaur festival – is the most important local festival and is observed throughout the state of Rajasthan. It is practiced by womenfolk, while unmarried women pray for being blessed with good partners, married women pray for happiness in the family and health and long life of their spouses.
  • Teej – marks the advent of the monsoon month of Shravan(August). Young girls and women dressed in green clothes sing songs to welcome the rains. An elaborate procession is taken out in Jaipur to mark this day.
  • Sheetla Mata Fair – is held in March-April on a nearby hillock where the temple of Sheetla Mata stands. A market comes up at the fair site and local materials are traded and sold. Cattle fair is also held in which bullocks, horse, etc so sold.

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Weather

Jaipur lies on the edge of the Thar desert, hence it experiences semi-arid climate. Summers (March-June) are very hot with temperatures crossing 40 °C on most of the occassions. Jaipur gets most of its annual rainfull in the moonsoon months of July to October. There are frequent thunderstooms but flooding is not common in these areas. Winter months of November to February have mild temperature in the range of 16-20 °C. The most convenient time to visit Jaipur is the period from November to February when temperatures are mild and there is hardly any rain.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max22.5 °C25.6 °C31.5 °C37.1 °C40.4 °C39.4 °C34.3 °C32.4 °C33.7 °C33.6 °C29.3 °C24.5 °C
Avg Min8.1 °C10.9 °C16.2 °C21.7 °C25.8 °C27.5 °C25.8 °C24.5 °C23.2 °C19.1 °C13.5 °C9.2 °C
Rainfall6.8 mm9.6 mm4.9 mm8.4 mm17.5 mm59.6 mm202.7 mm202.5 mm67.6 mm22.7 mm3.6 mm3.2 mm
Rain Days1.21.71.31.32.95.114.114.66.31.30.91

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Getting There

By Plane

Jaipur International Airport (Airport code JAI) is located around 13 kilometres from the city and has a number of flights linking the city to all the major cities of India. Recently the airport has been upgraded to an international airport and to begin with flights are available to Sharjah, Dubai and Muscat. Other destinations include Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Jammu and Srinagar. The airport can be easily reached from the city centre by taxis, autorickshaws and city buses.

By Train

Jaipur, being the capital of the princely state of Rajasthan, is a popular destination of most Indian tour itineraries. Jaipur’s image as a prominent tourist destination for cultural enthusiasts relates to a highly sophisticated system of Indian Railways network which connects it to the rest of the country. In other words, when it comes to train travel, the Jaipur junction hosts 30+ trains that ply through western and northern India. Jaipur is a particular favorite with luxury train journeys and prominent Indian luxury trains like the Maharaja Express, Palace on Wheels and Royal Rajasthan on Wheels feature Rajasthan’s capital as an important destination.

By Car

Jaipur is well connected by road to Delhi and Agra and other towns of the region.

Some of the indicative road distances are as below:

  • Jaipur-Agra - 232 kilometres.
  • Jaipur-Ajmer - 132 kilometres.
  • Jaipur-Delhi - 260 kilometres.
  • Jaipur-Swai Madhopur - 162 kilometres.
  • Jaipur-Bharatpur - 176 kilometres.
  • Jaipur-Udaipur - 400 kilometres.
  • Jaipur-Jodhpur - 340 kilometres.
  • Jaipur-Jaisalmer - 638 kilometres.

By Bus

Ordinary and luxury buses operated by both private and government authorities connect the city to other towns of the region. Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation, a government agency has an extensive network of buses connceting the various cities of Rajasthan. E-ticket facility is also available for Air-conditioned buses operating on the Jaipur-Agra and Jaipur-Delhi route.

By Boat

No boat service is available as the city does not lie on a waterway.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

City buses are operated by Jaipur City Transport Services Limited (JCTSL). The service operates more than 300 regular and low-floor buses. The three major bus depots are Vaishali Nagar, Vidyadhar Nagar and Sanganer.
A rapid transit rail project by the name Jaipur Metro is under progress. It will provide means of faster commutation for the city residents. It is expected to be operational by June 2013.

Taxis, autorickshaws or cycle rickshaws can be hired for moving around the city.

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Sleep

Upscale

View our map of accommodation in Jaipur or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

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Keep Connected

Internet

There's good coverage over most of India for Internet cafes. However, following the recent terror attacks in Mumbai and some other cities, all internet cafes have been instructed by the authorities to maintain a register and note down the identification details of all persons using internet. Sify iWay is a reliable and cheap cafe with over 1,600 cafes over India. iWay also allows you to open a pre-paid account that you can use all over India. Whenever you have Internet access probably the best and cheapest way to call family and friends at home is software that allows users to make voice calls over the Internet such as Skype.

Wifi hotspots in India are, for most part, limited. The major airports and stations do offer paid wifi at around RS.60-100 an hour. Delhi, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai are the only cities with decent wifi coverage. At Mumbai airport, you get to use WiFi internet free, for an hour or so.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The country code for India is 91. To dial outside the country from India, prefix the country code with 00.

The general emergency number is 100 (emergency response police & fire), while for ambulance you should dial 102 or 112, though some regions have 108 for this emergency. 108 is used in in the Indian states of Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Goa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha,Assam, Meghalaya, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 108 can be called for medical, crime, fire, or any other emergency from any phone.

Local phone numbers can be anywhere from 5-8 digits long. But when the area code is included, all landline phone numbers in India are 10 digits long. Cellphone numbers usually start with '9', '8', or '7'. Toll-free numbers start with 1-800.

If staying longterm it is probably wise to think about investing in a mobile phone. You'll possibly need to provide a photocopy of your passport and itinerary, so come prepared. Make sure you arrange it upon arrival in a big city, as it can sometimes be difficult to organise with language barriers and such in more regional areas. You can buy a cheap nokia for about RS.1,200 with a pre-paid plan. Airtel is a good carrier to think about as they have great coverage, and constant offers for cheaper calling. To recharge, most shop vendors with phone carrier signs can do it via their own phone. You give them your mobile number, they put it in their phone and you'll both get messages as to whether or not the recharge has been successful. Also, if possible, buy the phone in the state where you do the most travelling as the charges are higher in the states where you did not originally buy the phone.

Over the entire country there are plenty of public phones, even in the middle of the countryside. Although most of the time these phones are not very well maintained and have horrible connections. Therefore remember when using one of these public phones one must be extremely patient.
For international calls from payphones, you'll have to visit a reputable internet cafe with a phone-booth. Mobile phones are usually a better and
cheaper option.

Post

India Post is the national postal service of India, and on their website you find details about prices to send postcards, letters and parcels, both domestically and internationally. For most postcards to send internationally, it is better to visit the post office before writing on the card as you may need quite a few stamps. Parcels must be taken to a tailor, he will then sew it up in white linen. Make sure he seals it with red wax, otherwise the post office may refuse to send it or try to get you to pay them to do it. Sewing up a parcel should only cost RS.50 to 200. In general, post offices are open from 10:00am to 1:00pm and 1:30pm to 4:30pm in most bigger towns and cities, though there are regional variations and some might keep longer hours or be open during (part of) the weekend as well. Ask around.

If you want to send bigger packages/parcels, it might be better, faster and sometimes even cheaper, to contact a private company like DHL, TNT or UPS.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 26.905109
  • Longitude: 75.801277

Accommodation in Jaipur

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