Now, who hasn’t heard about Jaipur? How many days are required to explore Jaipur is a common question posed by most travelers. I have often been asked to suggest an itinerary for a Jaipur trip. People interested in exploring beyond the standard tourist places can easily spend 5 days exploring this popular tourist city. First-time visitors should explore must-visit places in Jaipur rather than offbeat places unless their interest dictates otherwise.
In my opinion, two days is enough to explore major tourist attractions of the pink city. Following Jaipur guide will help you optimize your two-day visit to the pink city as a first time visitor. Here is a list of places to see and things to do in Jaipur.
Explore The Old Jaipur or The Walled City area of Jaipur
The walled city area of Jaipur is the original settlement founded by Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II. Earlier the walled city area was distinctly defined but over the years with rapid population growth, it has kind of blurred. However, there are two ways in which you can identify the walled city area. One, the buildings follow the pattern of a single color – terracotta pink which lends it the name of the pink city. Two, there are entry and exit gates. In past, before Indian independence, these Jaipur gates would close soon after the sunset and open around sunrise. It is no more a case now. These gates are a great reminder of a bygone period.
You must cover the following places on this day.
Starting with Govind Dev Ji temple, Jaipur City Palace, Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar which is a solar observatory, and a stroll through the old bazaar i.e. Johari Bazaar with a bit of shopping thrown in.
A great way to start a day in India is usually with a visit to the temple; a custom followed by most Hindus. Govind Devji temple is Jaipur’s patron deity. Even though the temple is open throughout the day but one can have Darshan of Lord Govind Devji only during the pre-designated slots. You can check the current slots for the day online on their website. Mangala Aarti is definitely the best one to attend but this might be too early for you since it starts at 4.30 AM. You can either opt for Dhoop at around 7.30 AM or Shringaar at 9.30 AM. Please note that these timings change as per season. The Jhanki period is half an hour. The best thing to do here is soaking in the atmosphere. Many people claim that the atmosphere at Govind Devji temple is magical. I will leave this for you to decipher. There is interesting history about how the idol of Govind Devji reached Jaipur from Vrindavan in UP. You can read this story here. The prayer hall of Govind Devji temple is one of the oldest and biggest pillar-less temple halls in North India. Also, the temple building is spire-less which is uncommon in Hindu temples.
The Palace Of Winds or Hawa Mahal looks stunning in the morning with the soft sunlight illuminating the structure. The area around Hawa Mahal is congested and with metro work in progress, it witnesses traffic snarls throughout the day.
The morning offers a good respite from the noise and traffic pollution. If you are in a mood for exploration, it’s a good idea to check out the building behind the Hawa Mahal façade. The entrance can be found from Tripolia Bazar near Badi Chaupar. Recommended for those who love architecture, exploration, and photo-opportunity. Also, it is the only way you can have a bird’s-eye view of the entire area. Another alternative is to visit Wind’s Cafe opposite Hawa Mahal.
Jantar Mantar is a solar observatory which is almost 300 years old and still fully functional. Till date, the readings from these instruments match closely with modern gadgets. Out of three Jantar Mantar built by Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II in different cities, the one in Jaipur is still intact and well-maintained. Although each instrument has an information board, hiring a guide is highly recommended as he can explain how each instrument functions in a better way. Another alternative is an audio guide.
Jaipur City Palace is right next to Jantar Mantar, barely a few minutes walk from its exit gate. What are the things to do and see in City Palace? There are a couple of museums, Instagram-worthy gates to get yourself clicked, and interesting architecture. Have a look at this famed peacock gate in Pritam Chowk in Jaipur City Palace.
Do check out two huge silver urns used by the Maharajah to carry Ganga-Jal during his trip to England, more than a hundred years ago.
Shopping in Jaipur is incomplete without a visit to Johari Bazar or Bapu Bazar. Bapu Bazar is famous for hand block printed fabrics, bed sheets, and dresses. It is also a popular place for buying handmade Jootis and Mojari in Jaipur.
Alternatively, you can try shops in front of Hawa Mahal but they can be pricey because it is a tourist place. Johari Bazaar is famous for buying jewelry and Sari. It is best to buy from shops that sell to locals and not tourists. This can at times save you money. There are many upmarket stores in Jaipur but none of them are in the walled city area. You can find them in areas like C-scheme, Civil Lines and MI Road; I have not listed them here.
Jaipur Itinerary for Day One
The best itinerary for the day would be to start with Darshan at Govind Devji Temple, followed by Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, and City Palace. All these places are within walking distance. Johari Bazaar and Bapu Bazaar are the most popular places to shop & are at a walking distance from Hawa Mahal. If you like to add more places to visit, you can add Galta Ji temple but you will need extra 2-2.5 hours including the transit time. I don’t recommend visiting this temple after sunset as you won’t be able to experience its true beauty.
Jaipur is famous for its forts and palaces. All these forts can be accessed through Amer Road and it is best covered together in one day saving you a significant time. You will be visiting Amer Fort which is actually a palace, and Jaigarh Fort and Nahargarh Fort. On your way, you can also enjoy the great view of the water palace – Jal Mahal from the promenade running parallel to the road. Once you are done with these forts you can club either the Albert Hall museum or Chokhi Dhani ethnic village depending on your energy level and time availability.
Start your sightseeing with a visit to Jal Mahal or Water Palace on way to the Amer fort. Currently, entry to Jal Mahal is not permitted due to the long-pending court case of Jal Tarang project. However, you can surely enjoy a stroll along the promenade running parallel to the road and get your pictures clicked with the Water Palace or Jal Mahal.
Amer Fort is one of the most sought-after experiences of Jaipur. A large number of tourists like to undertake elephant safari and consider it a prime attraction of Amer Fort. Lately, many people are demanding an end to the elephant ride at Amer Fort due to animal cruelty. I have a full post on things to see and do in Amer which is an exhaustive guide.
Jaigarh Fort – A large number of foreign tourists give Jaigarh a miss because of three forts kind of get overwhelming. However, Jaigarh Fort is popular among Indian tourists. It is massive and was built to give security to Amer. Things to see here include, Jaivan, the world’s largest cannon and armory museum. I would like to add that one should not miss the cannon foundry which is India’s first & oldest and the stunning views of Amer from the Jaigarh observation point.
Nahargarh Fort – Nahargarh Fort is one of the most popular places among the locals because it offers stunning views and a great drive. Nahargarh & Jaigarh Forts is on the same hill but on different ends. Nahargarh Fort overlooks Jaipur city & Jaigarh offers stunning views of Amer town. It has a palace section which was added later at the end of 19th century – Madhvendra Bhawan. You can enjoy some stunning sunset views from Nahargarh Fort. I recommend covering this one in the end. Read my post on sunset from Nahargarh Fort. A couple of new additions have been made by way of a wax museum and modern sculptures in the Madhvendra Bhawan. Padao restaurant is a popular place to have a beer among the locals. An upmarket restaurant, Once Upon A Time occupies a part of Madhvendra Bahwan.
Albert Hall Museum is located close to Johari Bazar in Ramniwas garden. The foundation of this building was laid on 6 February 1876 by Prince of Wales, King Edward VII, which is why it is named after him. The decision to convert this building into a museum was taken much later. It was converted into a museum in 1886 AD. It is not a huge museum but it does boast of some unique collections. Among the most prized is Egyptian mummy. It is one of six Indian museums having an Egyptian mummy, a privilege very few museums across the world have. Therefore Albert Hall is considered one of the prominent ones. I suggest you opt for the night tourism plan as it saves you daytime to explore other monuments. Under night tourism initiative, Albert hall museum is open from 7 PM to 10 PM. The building is beautiful as it is built in Indo-Saracenic architecture style which is a blend of Mughal, Rajput, and Gothic styles.
Chokhi Dhani is a replica of ethnic Rajasthani village so one can say that it is a theme based dining in a local village setting. They also run a resort in this complex. It is best to visit this place from 7 pm to 10 pm. Chokhi Dhani is 22 KM from the city center and it takes 45 minutes to reach.
What is the best transport to explore Jaipur for a two-day plan?
Don’t hire a cab for day 1 when you will be exploring sites in and around Jaipur City Palace. Opt for either Uber or Ola cab as you only need a drop to City Palace Complex. Alternatively, you hire a tuk-tuk/ autorickshaw or a drop facility by way of a taxi from your hotel. On day two, you will need a dedicated taxi. Taxi is usually available for a full day, 80 km plan. Even Ola and Uber also offers a similar option.
Tourist Scams in Jaipur
Stay away from sweet sounding deals thrown in by tuk-tuk and taxi drivers. The talk actually begins by tempting you to take to one of the gemstone factory or carpet factory and so on. You will be tempted with cheap prices. At times, the “dealer” will force you with “just have a look” if you refuse. Most factories are tourist emporiums and sell inferior products at astronomical prices. These “dealers” earn hefty commissions on sale to the tourists that they fetch. Drivers are often paid handsome amount just to fetch prospective buyers. There is no point in “having a look” and wasting your time. Many emporiums have skilled salesman to convert non-buyers into a buyer. You can find many such stories on TripAdvisor forums. People have paid hundreds of dollars for something that cost US$ 1 or 2!! It is better not to get swindled when you don’t understand quality. Some emporiums in Jaipur have even sold replicas as antique and have been reported even in the newspaper. Tourism is a big business and some people really know how to fleece money from gullible tourists. This is true for every tourist city in the world be in Istanbul, Paris, Rome or Barcelona.
Places to eat in Jaipur
There are many popular places to eat in Jaipur. On day one, you can opt to eat at LMB in Johari Bazaar which is very popular among tourists or at Baradari in Jaipur City Palace. If you prefer anything beyond these two places, the nearest option is MI Road and C scheme. Do note that this will involve significant time and you may have to rework your itinerary. Surya Mahal is a popular fast food joint on MI Road. Another popular option to try street food is Masala Chowk which is barely a few minutes away from Johari Bazaar and has some very prominent & old names of Jaipur.
Jaipur Masala Chowk at Ram Niwas Garden
On day two, there are limited options for places to have lunch. Few tourist-oriented restaurants on Amer Road are the most sensible option but I can’t recommend any. Apart from these, you can find a few shack style local food joints near Amer Fort.
Where to stay in Jaipur?
I have already answered this query in one of my previous posts – Your essential guide for picking the best area for a hotel in Jaipur
Why is Jaipur called The Pink City?
It was during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II that Jaipur was painted pink. There is a popular story behind it. Declaration was made that Prince of Wales, King Edward was to visit Jaipur in 1886 AD. The king decided to welcome the visiting dignitaries by painting the town with a single color. Some people say that experiments were conducted by painting different colors in different markets and ultimately terracotta pink was chosen. When the Prince of Wales noticed the color scheme he exclaimed – Ah! the pink city. This color scheme was chosen permanently and that’s how Jaipur was called The Pink City!
Best season to visit Jaipur
November to February is the best season to visit Jaipur due to suitable climate conditions.
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I am sure that this two-day itinerary for Jaipur Trip will help you to explore the pink city in the best way.