Jaipur is among the most beloved cities in India for first-time travelers and even more seasoned India travel veterans, and it’s easy to see why. Home to impressive palaces, historic homes, colorful temples, multiple forts with impressive views, and even some of India’s best bazaars, Jaipur is a unique and beautiful city that has to be experienced to be believed.
This ultimate travel guide to Jaipur, India covers everything you’ll need for your trip to the Pink City. With recommendations for the best things to do in Jaipur, where to stay and where to eat (street food and formal restaurants alike!), and even the best bazaars to explore, this guide will help you plan your ultimate trip to this unforgettable capital.
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The capital of the state of Rajasthan, Jaipur is a bustling city packed to the brim with things to do, sights to see, and foods to taste. If you’re headed to Jaipur from Delhi, you’ll notice the difference immediately. Jaipur’s beautiful and historic architecture is enchanting; despite it being a large city, the city’s historic architecture gives it a refined quality.
Jaipur is a part of India’s Golden Triangle – New Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur – a popular travelers’ circuit for visitors looking to explore some of India’s most well-known destinations. While there is still so much beyond the Golden Triangle to explore in Rajasthan, its top-three status is well deserved.
Highlights of a trip to Jaipur include shopping in the city’s markets, exploring ornate palaces, staying overnight in a historic haveli, and exploring fortresses clinging perilously to the side of mountains. Get ready to taste India’s history in Jaipur, with as much adventure and spice as you’d like.
What is Jaipur Known For?
Known as the Pink City, Jaipur is famous for its beautiful and historic architecture, much of it painted the light-pink terracotta hue the city is known for. With impressive palaces like City Palace and Hawa Mahal, forts like Amer Fort and Nahargarh Fort, and countless temples, markets, and ornate city gates, the city is packed with beautiful attractions to fill your itinerary.
Jaipur is also known for its incredible shopping. With countless markets bursting at the seams with every kind of textile, trinket, and handicraft imaginable, you’ll need to buy an additional suitcase to take all of these beautiful treasures home with you.
Is Jaipur Worth Visiting?
Jaipur is definitely worth visiting! In fact, it should be a central part of your northern India itinerary. For many travelers, Jaipur is a favorite destination in India. With its beautiful architecture, an abundance of historical monuments, great food, and incredible shopping, it’s easy to see why Jaipur is such a hit with travelers.
When we traveled throughout Rajasthan for a month on our honeymoon, Jaipur was certainly a highlight for us. Though we enjoyed visiting so many different spots on our trip, we would have extended our stay in Jaipur if we could have, as we loved our stay at the historic Alsisar Haveli and its proximity to the best of the city.
Read More: Where to Stay in Jaipur + Best Jaipur Hotels
Things To Do in Jaipur
Explore City Palace
One of India’s most impressive palaces, Jaipur’s City Palace is a beautiful labyrinth of gardens, courtyards, museums, staterooms, and more. Its impressive architecture, engaging exhibits, and historical importance make it one of the must-see attractions in Jaipur.
Admission to City Palace is divided into two tiers, so make sure you understand pricing before purchasing your ticket. Paying for the higher-priced ticket (4000 rupees, about 48 USD) allows you to access both the public and museum sections of the palace and the areas still occupied by Jaipur’s royal family.
The ticket price is steep, especially compared to the standard entrance (700 rupees, about 8.50 USD), but the royal residences are by far the most impressive of the palace, featuring brilliantly colored blue, white and red rooms dripping with ornate gold, gems, mirrored mosaics, and more.
Marvel at Hawa Mahal
Easily one of the most recognizable attractions in India, the impressive Hawa Mahal is a sight to be seen and one of the highlights of visiting the Pink City. Built in 1799 just on the edge of Jaipur’s City Palace, Hawa Mahal features nearly 1000 windows in its facade. More than just for beauty, these windows were used by the women of the palace to peak out towards the city while abiding by the strict modesty codes of the time.
Visitors can enjoy exploring the entire palace, though many simply marvel at the facade from the street below (or from the terrace of Wind View Cafe, directly facing the facade). If you’re “palaced out” after visiting the interior of City Palace, taking in the facade facing the street is fine; it’s by far the most impressive part of the palace.
Visit Jaipur’s Forts
Rajasthan is littered with imposing fortresses, and Jaipur is no different. Home to three unique fortresses around the city, Jaipur offers visitors their pick of fortresses to visit, each offering unique vistas and experiences.
The impressive Amer Fort (also known as Amber Fort or Amber Palace), with walls hugging the hillside and countless palace rooms, courtyards, and chambers to explore is by far Jaipur’s most impressive fort. In fact, after the Taj Mahal, Amer Fort is the second most visited destination in India.
It’s with good reason. While you could lose yourself in the palace’s countless chambers and halls, highlights include Diwan-e-Aam (or, the Hall of Public Audience) with its impressive columns and the mosaic Ganesh Pol leading to the Sheesh Mahal mirrored palace, the King’s private residences.
You’ll find elephants donned in colorful fabrics and body paint waiting to carry visitors from the entrance of the fortress walls to the palace entrance, making for an impressive site whether you take a ride or not. Don’t let the elephants fool you; the walk up the gently-sloping path to the palace gates is quite easy, even in the afternoon sun.
Built in 1734 as a summer retreat for the Maharaja it’s no wonder that Nahargarh Fort boasts some of the most spectacular architecture in Jaipur. Though the focus on Amer Fort left some spaces within Nahargarh Fort in disrepair, recent renovations have brought historic salons, courtyards, and incredible frescos back to life.
Nahargarh Fort also offers something Amer Fort lacks – impressive views over Jaipur, perhaps one of the most memorable features of the entire complex. Try to plan your visit for the late afternoon, as the western walls of the fort offer one of the most memorable spots for taking in the sunset anywhere in the city.
Though connected to Amer Fort via an underground passage, Jaigarh Fort is Jaipur’s least-visited fort though with plenty to offer for visitors that make it. While Jaigarh Fort lacks much of Amer Fort’s splendor – it’s much more a true fort than a palace – its impressive fortifications make for a memorable visit, with great views of Amer Fort and the lake below.
Shop in Jaipur’s Markets
Jaipur is a shopper’s paradise for Indians and foreign visitors alike. With dozens of unique markets selling everything from home goods and shoes to textiles and trinkets, it’s hard to spend a day exploring Jaipur without coming home with a few special keepsakes.
Most of Jaipur’s best markets are within close walking distance of Old City attractions like Hawa Mahal and the City Palace, making it quite easy to spend an afternoon shopping and exploring after taking in the city’s sites. These are some of the markets you can’t miss.
With its beautiful pink facades and amazing array of shops offering everything under the sun, Bapu Bazaar is our top recommendation for markets in Jaipur, especially if you have time to visit just one.
While you’ll find a mix of products in Bapu Bazaar, it’s most famous for its textiles like sarees, an array of unique prints and patterns, quilts, and even traditional wedding clothes. Brides come from near and far to purchase their wedding attire here – you’ll see entire families crammed into shops in preparation for the big day.
Opposite Hawa Mahal Road from Bapu Bazaar, Johari Bazaar is another must-visit, with similar beautiful architecture and impressive options you’ll find across the street. Johari Bazaar is best known for its incredible jewelry shops, offering everything from costume jewelry to fine gold, silver, and gems.
While you’ll have no difficulty finding bangles anywhere you look in Jaipur, you’ll find the best selection of bangles in Tripolia Bazaar. One of the oldest markets in the city, you’ll love exploring its narrow alleys and endless shopfronts.
See Jaipur’s Stepwells
Stepwells – large, deep wells or ponds used for collecting drinking water – are important feats of in from India’s past and popular destinations for visitors today. These enchanting geometric spots with their terraces of steps can be found all around India, though Jaipur has a number of particularly beautiful and remarkable stepwells.
Just north of Amer Fort is the Amer Stepwell. Also known as Panna Meena Ka Kund, it is about a 10-minute walk from Amer Fort, and is perhaps the most visited of Jaipur’s stepwells. While not an extremely large or deep stepwell, it’s impressive nonetheless, with beautiful mountain vistas and ornate buildings surrounding it.
Alternatively, head about an hour and a half outside of Jaipur to visit Chand Baori. This incredible stepwell extends nearly 100 feet (30 meters) into the ground, making it one of the deepest stepwells in India, and certainly one of the most impressive.
Visit the Monkey Temple
Looking for a unique half-day excursion from Jaipur? How about a visit to a temple populated by hundreds of monkeys?
While you’ll see monkeys no matter where you visit in Rajasthan, Jaipur’s famous “Monkey Temple,” actually a Hindu temple known as Galta Ji, is home to a huge colony of monkeys, making it an easy place to spot them playing, eating, lounging – you name it. Just 10 km outside of Jaipur, a visit to the Monkey Temple is a fun, quick trip. The temples at the site are beautiful, as are the views of Jaipur in the distance.
Just make sure you don’t feed the monkeys and keep your distance. They’re used to visitors but might mob you if they think you have food!
Where To Stay in Jaipur
If you’re a seasoned traveler in India, you certainly know the importance of finding a calming, “retreat-like” place to stay after a long day of exploring busy, bustling streets. This is especially true in a busy, sprawling city like Jaipur. These are some recommendations for the best places to stay for your trip to Jaipur.
Looking for even more recommendations? Check out our guide to where to stay in Jaipur, where we cover the best neighborhoods in the city and the best hotels in Jaipur at every price point.
Zostel Jaipur ($)
One of the most beloved hostels in Jaipur, Zostel Jaipur is located in the middle of the Old City, less than a five-minute walk from attractions like City Palace and Hawa Mahal. For a backpacker looking to explore Jaipur on a budget, you can’t get any better than that. Steps away you’ll find some of the city’s biggest markets, a great place for delicious street food.
Zostel Jaipur‘s rooms are basic but comfortable, including big lockers for personal belongings and clean bathrooms. You’ll love the shared kitchen access and common spaces filled with books, instruments, board games, and space to connect with fellow travelers.
Bloom Boutique – Chelon Haveli ($ – $$)
Less than a 5-minute walk from Jaipur’s favorite attractions like City Palace, Hawa Mahal, and Jantar Mantar, Bloom Boutique – Chelon Haveli offers the best of the Old City at your fingertips.
After a recent renovation, the historic Chelon Haveli building offers a mix of modern and historic, perfectly comfortable, and one of the best options in the city for travelers looking for a budget-friendly and convenient stay in the heart of charming Jaipur.
Alsisar Haveli ($$)
One of the best historic haveli hotels in Jaipur is Alsisar Haveli a 19th-century historic palace with terraces and balconies for morning coffee, relaxing gardens, and ornate interiors ready to wow you. The rooms are beautifully decorated and expansive – we stayed at Alsisar Haveli during our honeymoon for several days and had a wonderful time here!
Located just a bit outside the center of the Old City, Alsisar Haveli is just a short tuk-tuk ride away from the action, yet close to restaurants, shops, and plenty to see and do. Highly recommended!
The Oberoi Rajvilas ($$$)
If you’re looking for a lush and luxurious oasis from the hustle and bustle of Jaipur, look no further than The Oberoi Rajvilas Jaipur. The hotel is set on an impressive 32-acre estate just outside of Jaipur – just exploring the grounds, tasting the gourmet food from the on-site restaurant, and enjoying treatments at the spa are enough to fill any itinerary!
The rooms at the Oberoi Rajvilas are cozy and comfortable while offering every amenity imaginable. Choose from a room inside the main hotel or unique yet equally luxurious tented rooms among the estate’s beautiful gardens. Or, select a villa complete in-ground marble bathtub with views of your own private gardens and swimming pool for a true escape.
Where To Eat in Jaipur
You’ll have no trouble finding an abundance of places to enjoy both Indian and international cuisine while visiting Jaipur. Whether you’re looking for the city’s best street food or more refined dining, Jaipur is packed with incredible options to enjoy the best cuisines in India. These are just a few of our favorites.
Looking for the best street food in Jaipur without getting lost in the markets? Visit Masala Chowk in the heart of the Old City. This plaza features an array of street food vendors, surrounding a large area with tables with umbrellas where you can enjoy your food – it’s the best spot in Jaipur to enjoy some of India’s classic dishes.
The vendor Shankar Samosa is famous, though you can’t go wrong with any of the 25+ vendors you’ll find at Masala Chowk.
The Rajput Room
If you’re looking for the royal treatment in Jaipur, look no further than The Rajput Room at the Rambagh Palace, one of Jaipur’s finest hotels and the former estate of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. Choose from delicious Indian cuisine or international dishes while enjoying the beautiful and historic dining room fit for a king.
While The Rajput Room is open from breakfast through dinner, a highlight of a visit is enjoying a full afternoon tea service. Featuring an array of sweet and savory bites and an incredible selection of teas, it’s one to remember.
Wind View Cafe
Looking to get up close and personal with Hawa Mahal? Climb the steps to Wind View Cafe, directly facing the famous monument, and enjoy a coffee and pastry or a lassi on the cafe’s spacious patio for a jaw-dropping view.
While the food at Wind View Cafe isn’t overwhelmingly special, it’s tasty and affordable. After all, the real draw here is the spectacular view of Hawa Mahal.
Getting To Jaipur
As the capital and the largest city in the state of Rajasthan, Jaipur is well connected to the rest of the region – and country – by various forms of transportation. Jaipur has an airport (Jaipur International Airport) about 12 km outside of the city, which is well-served by frequent domestic and international flights.
You’ll also find frequent bus and train services to Jaipur from across the country. While nicer trains can be a bit more expensive than buses, both are popular and inexpensive options, and you’ll find plenty of times convenient to you if you’re traveling to any other Rajasthan destinations like New Delhi, Agra, Jodhpur, Jaiselmer, or Udaipur.
Time spent traveling on trains can vary by train route and company, though reaching Jaipur from either New Delhi or Agra by car or bus takes around 5 or 5 ½ hours.
Of course, you can always hire a car or arrange a private driver ahead of time with your hotel. From Jaipur to New Delhi or Agra, expect to pay around $35 for a private driver, which is not too bad, especially if you’re traveling with friends or family.
Carley Rojas Avila is a bilingual New York-based travel writer, editor, content marketer, and the founder of the digital travel publications Explorers Away and Home to Havana. Carley is an expert on all things Latin America, the Caribbean, and Cuba, having lived and worked in four different countries in the region. Her writing has appeared on the Associated Press wires and in Travel + Leisure, Yahoo, MSN, Euronews, The Weather Channel, and more. When she's not writing about her travels, find her front row at a Bad Bunny concert, befriending street cats, and taste-testing every pizza in Havana.