What to see in India
One of the three famous Golden Triangle cities, Jaipur is the magical capital of Rajasthan, known for the pink stone hues of its facades and for its show-stopping Hawa Mahal Palace, commonly known as the Palace of the Winds. Bursting with historic buildings, flamboyant bazaars, temples, palaces and museums, Jaipur is a highlight of any Golden Triangle tour.
Founded in 1727, by Rajput ruler Jai Singh II, the city became the capital of Jaipur state during the era of British rule and, after independence, the capital of the newly-formed state of Rajasthan. Since 2019 the entire ‘pink city’ of Jaipur has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, including its major sights such as the Amber Fort.
Jaipur’s bustling streets, laden with rickshaws and camels, evokes an old-world charm, whilst its monumental buildings tell the tales of the golden years of the Maharaja. A trip to Jaipur is a stepping stone into the vast interior of Rajasthan and is sure to carve out a place in your heart with its Rajput and Mughal architecture and hospitable locals.
Jaipur is a sightseeing hotspot in India and for good reason as there are a plethora of things to see in Jaipur, ranging from majestic palaces to atmospheric bazaars. At the top of all travellers’ lists is the historic Amber Fort, located just 12-kilometres from the city of Jaipur. Once the residence of Rajput Maharajas, the Amber Fort was built on the remains of an older fort in 1592. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the extensive Amber Fort is home to a collection of courtyards, gardens, halls and palaces. The Hall of Mirrors is the most famous part of the fort and a sight that cannot be missed if you visit the Amber Fort.
Second on the list of all who travel to Jaipur is the Hawa Mahal or Palace of the Winds, the Instagram-worthy icon of Jaipur. With an eye-catching honey-combe-shaped facade, built in a classic Rajput style in hues of orange and pink, the Hawa Mahal is the postcard image of Jaipur. Built to house the ladies of the royal household, 953 small windows, which adorn the unique facade, were designed to keep the palace cool during the scorching summer months.
Continuing with the journey through Rajput architecture, the Jal Mahal Palace is one of the most beautiful things to see in Jaipur. Surrounded by the tranquil waters of Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city, this bright yellow palace is an excellent example of traditional Rajput architecture. Set against the backdrop of the Rahatgarh Hills, the Jal Mahal Palace is five-storeys high, although only one floor is visible when the lake is full. If you travel to Jaipur and have the chance the visit Jal Mahal after dark, don’t miss out on the opportunity as the palace facade is illuminated at nightfall.
Another of Jaipur’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites is the fascinating Jantar Mantar Observatory, a collection of 19 architectural astronomical instruments, dating from the 18th-century. Amazingly, these intricate instruments allow for the observation of astronomical positions with the naked eye and offer a fascinating insight into early astronomical technology in India.
After discovering the magnificent monuments and palaces of the pink city, a trip to Jaipur is incomplete without exploring the city’s labyrinthine bazaars. The most famous bazaar in Jaipur is Johari Bazaar, famous for its gold, silver and gemstone jewellery and beautifully embellished textiles. For a taste of Rajasthani street food head to Masala Chowk, a popular food market where you can sample a wide array of mouth-watering delicacies in a pleasant open-air setting.