Jaipur or the Pink City was the place I was most excited about getting to! It is know for it shopping, jewellers and handicraft!
We arrive late Sunday afternoon and had 2 full days before leaving for Agra early Wednesday morning. I would say 2-3 full days in Jaipur is enough time.
WHERE WE STAYED?
In Jaipur we stayed at the Royal Orchid Central. The hotel was really nice, had a restaurant and a roof top bar which you could also order food at. The swimming pool was tiny and freezing but we didn’t really have time for swimming so that was fine. However, be aware the booking.com pins in India aren’t very accurate. It shows the hotel as much closer (walking distance) to the Pink City than it really is. Next time we visit we will be staying much closer as I would have liked to walk around more as apposed to driving everywhere.
THE PINK CITY
Veejay our Driver arranged a guide for us the lovely Jai. If you are planning a trip to Jaipur get in touch with Jai, he was so knowledgeable and really looked out for us making sure we saw the best of Jaipur as well as doubling as a photographer!
We headed straight to the Pink City to the Hawa Mahal-the palace of wind. You will all have seen this gorgeous building on Instagram. It was built in a honeycomb pattern to allow the royal ladies to observe daily life without being seen by the public. I was quiet interested to find it was right on the street, I imagined it would have beautiful gardens or a courtyard in front of it but it doesn’t.
We went for a tour through the City Palace, if I remember right tickets are about £5. I’m so grateful that we had Jai with us, there were so many things that we wouldn’t have seen had he not been leading us through.
We learnt how to tell the time on a sundial which was minute perfect! Saw the instruments used to measure longitude and latitude and the astrology instruments (the Jantur Mantar) were also fascinating particularly if you are interested in astrology.
We toured through the museums and saw the gorgeous textiles and the clothing that had been made for the royal families and got to watch some artists painting with single strand paint brushes. It was mesmerising, I could have watched all day!
The guards in the City Palace were all dresses so beautifully and are more than happy for you to take pictures with them for a small tip.
The Pink City is picture perfect, every archway, door and window is frame worthy.
Whilst walking around I mentioned to Jai that I’m a printer and he asked if I wanted to try block printing which I most definitely did! We headed to a textile warehouse that was filled to the brim with every kind of fabric you could imagine! Greig knew straight away we weren’t leaving empty handed. We tried the printing which was sooooo hard! I’ll stick to screens and vinyl, they made it look so easy.
I did snap up a few gorgeous pashmenas, cushion covers and a beautiful mandala.
We also went to a jewellers where we got to go into the workshop and see them working on the rough stone and the jewellery come to life. If you are in the market for a special piece Jaipur is your place to get it. I snagged a gorgeous turquoise and coral ring!
Jai then took us to a traditional restaurant for lunch which was delicious before we headed off to Amer Fort.
Amer Fort was around a 20 min drive outside of Jaipur. You can see the huge fort sat on top of the hill as you approach.
Just before getting to the fort we stopped at a small step well which was beautiful! Step wells were a source of water in drought (Rajistan is a dessert) and also a place for women to come and socialise.
We then continues up to the fort which was far more beautiful than I was expecting! The views went on forever and the level of craftsman ship in the buildings is unbelievable. The Mirror Palace is one of my favourite things we saw in India!
Just a side note, wear comfortable shoes. There are a lot of stairs and cobbles.
THE ELEPHANT SANCTUARY
About 10mins from Amer Fort we went to an Elephant Sanctuary. We had been warned not to see the Elephants at Amer Fort as they are treated badly and just used to carry tourists up the steep sloped to the fort.
The elephants at the sanctuary looked to be cared for well, we got to feed them, go for a short ride and have lots of kisses.
The owner told us they travel around India rescuing elephants and bring them back to the sanctuary for a nice, quiet life.
Maria and Rhani were absolutely beautiful and one of the highlights of our trip.
JAL MAHAL-WATER PALACE
Jal Mahal , also known as the water palace is quiet simply a palace in the middle of a huge lake! You will pass it as you come back into the city from Amer Fort.
You can’t get to it, the Indian government are currently looking at development opportunities for it but ultimately as far as a tourist goes it’s kind of just a pull over take a snap and keep going!
PUSHKAR-THE HOLY VILLAGE
On day 2 VeeJay was waiting for us bright and early so that we could get on the road out to Pushkar. Pushkar is a holy village that many Hindus and Sikhs make pilgrimages to. It’s located a couple of hours outside of Jaipur in the dessert.
Pushkar was like a different world, were as the rest of India was in a rush and blowing there horns Pushkar was calm and quiet. We visited some lovely temples (there are hundreds of them!) and went down to the lake where the India people bath in the holy water.
If you want to shop and not be hassled this is the place. The markets were really calm and none of the shop keepers tried to sell you the earth! If you were following along on Instagram you would have heard me talk about the marble chopping board I bought that Greig then had to carry for the rest of the trip! Well I got it here and I honestly look at it everyday and LOVE it!
Once we had a good look around we headed to the cable car which took you up above Pushkar to a temple on top of the mountain. I have to admit it wasn’t the sturdiest thing I’ve ever travelled in but it was fine! If your not great with heights and wobbling on a thin cable I would say miss this one out! However the view from the top and the many monkeys made it super worth while!
TEA, SPICES AND TEMPLES
We headed back to Jaipur mid afternoon where VeeJay had arranged for us to go visit a tea and spices store.
As soon as you walked in your were overcome with gorgeous smells. We tasted so many teas and learnt about all there benefits. As well as smelling all the amazing spices. Needless to say we didn’t leave empty handed!
After the spice store we visited another temple which was the burial ground for many generations of the Royal family. The lovely care taker showed us around and explained that his grandfather and father had both been care taker before him.
The craftsmanship in these temples are just amazing!
THE MONKEY TEMPLE
Day 3 was a travel day from Jaipur to Agra. We waved good bye to the Pink City and headed in search of monkeys at the Monkey Temple about 30 minutes outside of Jaipur.
The Monkey Temple is free to enter and they charge 100R per camera or phone. As soon as you walk in there are monkeys everywhere and they are lovely and friendly.
I would recommend getting a guide. There are local guide at the entrance who will show you around, tell you the history of the temple and make sure you have plenty of interaction with monkeys.
Our lovely guide seemed to have a little gang of his favourite monkeys who obviously knew that he had pockets full of nuts! Honestly this was one of the best experiences of my life. I had a monkey on my head whilst another crawled up my back, they pulled my hair out of its bun, knocked my glasses off my face and were just generally really cheeky monkeys!
This is 100% not a place to be missed!
THINGS NOT TO BE MISSED IN JAIPUR
- The City Museum
- Amer Fort
- The Elephant Sanctuary
- The Monkey Temple (Just outside Jaipur)
- The shopping! If you want textiles, jewels and more this is your place to get it!