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5 Best things to see & do in Jaipur

  • Agra, Rajasthan, India

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: Amar Grover
  • Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Amber Fort

Bucket List Experience

Amber Fort

Pre-Independence Rajasthan, or ‘Land of the Princes’, comprised an intricate patchwork of princely states. Numerous maharajas’ palaces and forts still dot the landscape and among the most famous is 16th-century Amber (also known as Amer), a huge fortress-palace cresting a stark ridge above Amer village near Jaipur.

Enclosed by kilometres of walls snaking across the surrounding hills, at its heart the huge complex comprises audience halls, pavilions, royal ‘apartments’ and courtyards that collectively blend Hindu and Mughal motifs and architecture. Part-marble interiors boast decorative paintings, mirrored-glass mosaics and coloured glass. It’s a great place to wander and explore.

Good for age: 13+

  • Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

City Palace

Bucket List Experience

City Palace

When Maharaja Jai Singh II shifted his capital from Amber in around 1727, he laid the foundations for a meticulously planned city – Jaipur. City Palace lies at the heart of the Old City, a stirring complex of palaces, halls, courtyards and pavilions embodying the power and stature of one of Rajasthan’s leading royal families.

The glitz and glamour are tempered by various displays, from a quirky collection of carriages and palanquins to an astonishing armoury.

Adult price: £2

Good for age: 13+

  • Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Palace of the Winds

Bucket List Experience

Palace of the Winds

The intricate lattice-screened and salmon-pink facade of the Hawa Mahal, or the ‘Palace of Winds’, is probably the most iconic image of Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital.

Constructed in 1799 as an extension of the maharaja’s City Palace, it was designed to permit ladies of the royal court to see the comings and goings of the outside world without themselves being seen by strangers. This tradition of purdah – essentially female seclusion – was strictly observed by the royals.

Its hundreds of tiny arched windows and niches with decorative dome-like mouldings and balcony-like brackets are rather fetching. The entire mahal is reputedly shaped like the god Krishna’s crown. Surprisingly, there’s not much to see behind the facade.

 

Adult price: £1

Good for age: 13+

  • Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Johari Bazaar

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Johari Bazaar

When Maharaja Jai Singh founded his new capital in the 1720s, its grid plan helped make it a commercial centre, too, with particular trades congregating in their own little enclaves.

In downtown Jaipur, stretching from Sanganeri Gate towards the Palace of the Winds, Johari is its principal gem and jewellery centre. For all its multifarious arts and crafts, the city is renowned above all for its jewellery industry and the arcaded shop-fronts that line the busy main thoroughfare are largely given over to it.

Filled with hole-in-the-wall workshops and industrious craftsmen perched on their haunches with braziers, burrs and sanding files, its side streets and lanes are even more interesting.

Good for age: 13+

  • Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Raj Mandir Cinema

Bucket List Experience

Raj Mandir Cinema

Commonly referred to as ‘Bollywood’ and mainly centred on Mumbai, the Indian film industry is huge and probably the world’s largest. Its staple themes of romance and melodrama are famed above all for their elaborate, frequently surreal, song-and-dance sequences. In this ever-popular genre, reality and pure escapism live side by side, one blending into the other. Seeing a Bollywood movie is thus an authentically ‘Indian’ experience.

If you only venture into one Indian cinema, this should be it. Opened in 1976, it immediately became a landmark for its size and design – a flamboyant confection of late art deco style with lobby chandeliers, ornamental ceilings and floral scent piped through the air-conditioning. Seating is divided into Pearl, Ruby, Emerald and Diamond zones reflecting its owners’ gem dealing business which helped fund its construction.

Although movies are not in English, Bollywood stories are usually very easy to follow, and simply sitting among an all-Indian audience, who tend to clap, cheer and sing their way through movies, is an experience in itself.

Adult price: £1

Good for age: 18+

Duration: 90+ minutes

When: 4x Daily

Freq: daily