Jaipur

Legislative Assembly, lit up for a festival

Jaipur, also known as the Pink City, is the capital of Indian state of Rajasthan and its largest city. The city was built in the eighteenth century by Sawai Jai Singh as India's first planned city, and today it's a major tourist attraction amongst Indian as well as international travellers. It is a very picturesque city with splendid palaces, forts and historical monuments and belongs to the tourist Golden Triangle along with Delhi and Agra. It hosts several attractions including the City Palace, Govind Dev ji Temple, Vidhan Sabha, Birla Temple and several massive Rajput forts. It also serves as a stepping stone for travelers heading to the desert cities of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.

Now Jaipur is growing fast and various development projects are being undertaken by the government and private enterprises. The town planning and infrastructure development in Jaipur is quite above the mark relative to many other Indian cities.

Jaipur's nickname, the Pink City, is due to its distinctly coloured buildings, which were originally painted this color to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities. The present earthy red color originates from repainting of the buildings undertaken for a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1876.

Understand

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 22.4 25.0 31.0 37.1 40.3 39.3 34.1 32.4 33.8 33.6 29.2 24.4
Nightly lows (°C) 8.4 10.8 16.0 21.8 25.9 27.4 25.8 24.7 23.2 19.4 13.8 9.2
Precipitation (mm) 7.0 10.6 3.1 4.9 17.9 63.4 223.3 205.9 66.3 25.0 3.9 4.2

Source:w:Jaipur#Climate

Climate

Jaipur's climate is characterized as semiarid, with just a few rainy days per month for most of the year. The exception is the monsoon period from June to September, when heavy rain and thunderstorms are commonplace. Expect daytime highs of above +20°C throughout the year, and prepare for scorching heat in May and June. During the winter temperatures are mild, and while nighttime temperatures seldom drop much below +10°C, Jaipur has experienced temperatures below freezing.

History

Jaipur gets its name from its founder Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1744), a great warrior and astronomer. He came to power at the age of 11 on the death of his father Maharaja Bishan Singh. Jai Singh’s lineage can be traced back to the Kucchwaha Rajput, clan who came to power in the 12th century. They were long-term rivals to the Sisodia Rajputs who ruled from Mewar. This rivalry led them to ally with the Mughals, and this alliance resulted in them eventually gaining a pre-eminent position in Rajasthan.

Ruling from the magnificent Amber Fort which they built, the might of the Kucchwahas encompassed the kingdoms of Mewar (Udaipur) and Marwar (Jodhpur). After Jai Singh came to power, there was moment of disquiet when he supported Aurangzeb’s son Azam Shah’s bid to the throne. Azam Shah lost the battle of succession to his brother Bahadur Shah, who demanded Jai Singh’s removal and the installation of Vijay Singh to the throne of Jaipur. Jai Singh, not one to take setbacks lying down, formed a formidable front against the Mughals by aligning himself with other Rajput states and reinstated himself.

After the dust had settled, peace reigned, the kingdom prospered and its borders expanded. Jai Singh built the city around the Amber Fort to serve as his capital, and the city was named Jaipur, after himself. Much of the credit for Jaipur goes to Vidhyadhar Bhattacharya, the chief architect from Bengal who, with Jai Singh’s approval, founded the city on strong scientific principles, laid out according to the Shilpa Shastra, the ancient architectural manual. It remains one of India’s best planned cities. However, expansion meant that the limited sources of water proved inadequate for the city.

After Jai Singh’s death in 1744, his sons squabbled for power and without a monarch, the kingdom became open to invasion and neighboring Rajput states and the Marathas usurped large areas of kingdom. The core, however, remained part of the kingdom, which lasted during British times. As with the Mughals, Jaipur maintained good relations with the British and during the war of independence in 1857 remained loyal to the Raj. Yet, the British gradually began to undermine the independence of the state and exercised greater control over the administration.

In 1876, Maharaja Ram Singh painted the entire city pink, traditionally a colour associated with hospitality, to welcome the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) to the city. The tradition has been maintained and today all residents in the old city are compelled by law to preserve the pink colour. Jaipur has thereby earned the sobriquet of pink city.

Maharaja Ram Singh also built the Ramgarh Lake to supply water to the burgeoning city. During the 19th and 20th centuries, the city’s population spread beyond its walls. In 1922, Man Singh II ascended to the throne and it was during his reign that civic buildings like the secretariat, schools, hospitals and other public buildings were built. After independence, Jaipur merged with the states of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Bikaner to form the state of Rajasthan. In 1956, Jaipur became the capital of the state of Rajasthan.

Get in

By plane

Jaipur Airport (IATA: JAI) is situated in the satellite town of Sanganer and offers sporadic (chartered) service to London and Dublin. Flights to Singapore and Bangkok are available via Delhi. Direct flights to Sharjah, Muscat and Dubai are also available.

Jaipur also has daily domestic air links with many Indian cities such as Jodhpur, Udaipur, Aurangabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Goa, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and Indore.

By train

Double Decker 12986 Delhi-Jaipur, at Delhi Sarai Rohilla station, leaving for Jaipur

Indian Railways connects Jaipur from all over the country and is one of the cheapest options. A number of daily trains connect Jaipur to Delhi, Ahmedabad, Agra, Mumbai, Jodhpur, Kota, Alwar and Ajmer. Daily connections are also available for Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Kolkata, Jammu, Pathankot, Ludhiana, Kanpur, Roorkee, Haridwar, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur and Bhopal.

Long-distance trains arrive from many other major cities including Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi, Vadodara, Surat, Nagpur, Bilaspur, Raipur, Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Chennai, Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad, Goa, Mangalore, Kozhikode and Kochi.

The most popular option from Delhi is the Shatabdi express which departs New Delhi station at 6:05AM and reaches Jaipur at 10:30AM.

There are three major railway stations: Jaipur Junction (main station), Durgapura and Gandhinagar (Jaipur) — which is not to be confused with the Gandhinagar that is the capital city of the state of Gujarat. All trains stop at Jaipur Junction and a few trains stop at Durgapura and Gandhinagar stations also.

By bus

There is an excellent bus service between Jaipur to Delhi by Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) with buses approximately every half an hour in both directions. Non-A/C and AC Volvo bus services are offered. The A/C Volvo bus is taken through a well-maintained highway and has good shock absorbers. From Delhi you can board the bus from Bikaner House on Pandara Road next to India Gate. From Jaipur you can board the bus from Narayan Singh Circle or the main Sindhi Camp bus stand. You can also book tickets up to 6 days in advance from both these places. These buses typically take 6 hours for the Volvo and 6-7 hours for the others. There are also some private bus operators from Dhaula Kuan in Delhi and outside of Sindhi camp in Jaipur. No need to make advance reservations, but these buses are taken through bumpy backroads to avoid toll roads and their shock absorbers are not good.

Also note that if you plan to leave from Delhi airport, you can get off the bus at Dhaula Kuan and get an autorickshaw (to the bus stand) or perhaps a taxi from there. You do not need to enter congested Delhi.

Express buses to several cities and towns within Rajasthan (such as Kota and Bundi) are also available.

By car

This is the most popular way of reaching from Delhi. The journey by car from Delhi to Jaipur takes less than 4 hr. National Highway no. 8 connects Delhi to Jaipur via the industrial township of Gurgaon. The road is excellent.

There are also many car rental services in Delhi which can provide chauffeur-driven cars to Jaipur.

Get around

By RTDC bus

It is the best and cheaper way to visit the Jaipur Local Sights by RTDC (Rajasthan Tourism Dept. Corp.) There are three type of tours: 1) full day tour (April 2015 price: ₹350), 2) half day tour (April 2015 price: ₹300; there are 3 different routes to choose from) and 3) Pink city by night tour (April 2015 price: ₹450). For details see the website. There will be one guide with each bus to give you brief info about all sights.

By local bus

City bus #5 connects directly Amber Fort, Hawa Mahal, New Gate and the intersection of MI Road and Railway Rd every 10 minutes until 9PM.

City bus #2 runs from the train station up Station Road to the City Palace, Minar, Observatory, etc. The bus driver will try to charge you more. They also sometimes ask you if you need change, or say they don't have change, despite it being obvious they do.

You can view this link to learn about the bus routes in Jaipur. Fares are by distance, as show on these charts.

By metro

A rapid urban rail system, Jaipur Metro, is currently under construction. According to the plans it will consist of two lines and a total of 29 stations. It was originally scheduled to open in early 2014, but the latest promise is that parts of it will open in April 2015. Fares will be between ₹5 and ₹25 depending on how far you travel and whether you travel during the peak hours or off-peak.

By autorickshaw

View from Hawa Mahal to one of Jaipur's bustling streets

By and large, autorickshaw is the best way to travel around the city. Hiring an autorickshaw for a whole day with a trip to Amber Fort might have cost ₹385 prepaid in April 2013.

Prepaid autos are available at the Jaipur railway station and the Sindhi Camp bus stand, although prices are a little inflated and often the same as you get with minimal bargaining.

At a certain point, the rates were revised to around ₹350-400. The autorickshaw wallas will tell you to take the slip from the police booths. You can also go directly without the slip, but don't forget to bargain over the price in that case; it could be much cheaper. It'll be best if you start your sightseeing by 10 in the morning as some of the major spots close by 4:30PM and each spot takes a lot of time, especially the forts.

In some cases, the autorickshaw drivers try to make up any lame story or excuse to get some more from you after the trip is over, but you should stick to the original amount decided. Police in Jaipur are very friendly, so in case you feel the autorickshaw driver is trying to misguide you or force you to hand over extra money, just refer the dispute to the police officers located at various spots.

Also some autorickshaw drivers will tell you to buy artefacts and gifts from some shops especially some located on the way to Amber Fort. Firmly refuse to stop there as these shops operate on commission to the auto driver and fleece you. If you want to buy souvenirs, get them in city's main shopping areas like Bapu Bazaar.

Take along some of your own information about the eating and shopping places as the drivers have their fixed commissions at shops and eating outlets, so you might end up paying more for an item or eating at an undesirable place.

Autorickshaw drivers have been known to work together with the gem scammers. If you hire an autorickshaw for the day, he may suggest that you 'go for a beer' afterwards, at which point you will be introduced to the point man on the scam attempt, usually a very charismatic person who is clearly much wealthier than his rickshaw-driving 'friend'. Use common sense: why would a rickshaw driver who makes ₹350 per day (minus petrol) want to take you to a bar where beers are ₹75? Politely decline these invitations; they are nearly invariably more trouble than they are worth.

By cycle-rickshaw

Cycle rickshaws and other traffic

Cycle-rickshaws are cheaper, but the amount of time it takes quickly makes it worth paying a few extra rupees and going by autorickshaw, bus or taxi. The advantage of traveling by cycle-rickshaw is that you can cover some great places located within narrow lanes of Jaipur which can not be seen if you hire some other mode of transport.

By foot

Walking in the bazaar is a treat, although side streets are a bit less welcoming and offer a sharper glimpse of poverty. As the map reveals, many points of interest are rather far out, so walking may not be a viable option.

By taxi

The taxis in Jaipur are very convenient and comfortable. Most of the vehicles are Maruti Omni Vans or Tata Indica cars, which are much safer than Auto rickshaws, and the drivers are polite. If you are alone or going to an unknown destination, you are strongly advised to choose this option, even though the rates will be double that of an autorickshaw. you must call for a taxi, as it is nearly impossible to hail one unless you are at a major point like the airport. When you call, you should negotiate a fare (or agree on using the meter) and get the taxi's 'number'. The taxi will come pick you up, and call you when they are close. Taxis generally have yellow license plates with black letters. Some taxis are painted with yellow & black color scheme on their body which helps to uniquely identify from the private cars.

You can also try the Uber or Ola Apps for taxi services which are not as expensive as hiring regular taxis.

By car

Car rental is one of the effective alternatives for wandering around in Jaipur. Radio taxis, which are available at an affordable rate, provide point pick-up and point drop-out services on a per-km basis.

Private taxis or cars, which are very safe, convenient and comfortable in Jaipur, charge twice the auto-rickshaw rate. As in other cities, you will not see them running freely and waiting for passengers. If you want to travel by private car or taxi, make sure you hire it in advance.

See

Tickets

It's possible to see the ticket price for each point of interest on the Rajasthan Tourist Government Office website

Composite tickets

There was a substantial fee increase in 2016 for the composite ticket. It now includes Amber Fort, Jantar-Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Albert Hall (Central Museum), Nahargarh Fort, Sisodia Rani Palace/Garden, Vidyadhar Garden, and Isarlat tower (Swargasuli). The Composite Ticket is for sale at all archaeological monuments and costs ₹300/40 Indian adult/student and ₹1000/200 foreign adult/student. The ticket is valid for two days.

Forts

Amber Fort

Palaces

A view of Jal Mahal from the road to Amber Fort

Temples

Birla Temple
Galtaji

Monuments

Hawa Mahal
Jantar Mantar

Gardens

The Albert Hall Museum is located in the Ram Niwas Garden

Museums

Other

Do

The Amber sound and light show

Nearby

Gauri's procession

Festivals

Learn

Buy

Flower stall

Just remember that nothing comes 'fixed price' in Jaipur, even in the self advertised government (RTDC) approved shops & emporiums. There are a few RTDC approved shops along "Amer road" claiming to be government-owned and 'fixed price' - but beware: They are overpriced by as much as three times. Almost everything, from food to transportation to handicrafts, even accommodation can be bargained down to as much as a 60% discount off the quoted price. The lowest rates will be found in the bazaars - Bapu & Johari. Even here, keep inquiring in several shops - each one will have a different price for the same item. Don't be ashamed to spend an hour or more in each shop with the friendly shop owners sharing stories over masala chai as you look at their goods. While they are doing their best to run a business, do not overlook the genuinely hospitable culture of Rajasthani people.

Jaipur has not one but tens of bazaars of different sizes and specializing in different products. Expect a brilliant, colorful explosion of flowers, elephants, ox carts, and wares; a complete assault on the senses. The traveller will smell the deep aroma of spices in canvas bags, the fetid smell of animals and open sewers, the sweet waft of tea, and the crusty acrid burn of dust and exhaust. There are different specialist zones, whether it's food, flowers, textiles, carved statues or plumbing. The noise is chaotic, the people constantly will stare if you are a Westerner and anybody who has something to sell will try to sell it to you, repeatedly. Watch cobras dance out of their wicker baskets, and don't be too surprised if the snake charmer slaps his cobra for having a wayward eye. Be prepared to be asked for money if you plan to take photographs of snake-charmers and beggars. While you should always be wary, be sure not to completely close yourself out to the locals as one of the highlights of Rajasthan is the chance to interact with the friendly people. It is not uncommon to be invited to homes for dinner, parties, and even weddings as many middle class young people are curious of foreigners and genuinely very hospitable as is the open culture of the region (which you will not find in Delhi/Agra). Be sure to spend time time sharing masala chai and chatting with some of the gen Y of Rajasthan.

Jewels

Jaipur is famous for its many jewel merchants where you can get great deals on semi-precious gems such as turquoise, lapiz, tiger eye, and the magnificent rubystar (a gem found only in India that is distinct for the 6-pointed star it shines under natural light).

Rajais

Jaipur is famous for its 'rajais' (A type of light quilt stuffed with cotton). You can get colourful & soft `Shaneel ki Rajai' in a velvet finish. These are quiet warm, soft and long lasting. You can shop in the main market area. But remember to bargain. If you want to be sure of quality and are willing to shell out a few extra bucks, visit government stores for rajais.

Eat

Pakoras, snacks of fried chickpea batter

Budget

Sweet

Savoury

Mid-range

Laal-Maans, red mutton curry, is a spicy specialty of Rajasthan

Splurge

A Rajasthani thali (serving)

In addition to these listings, see the "Do" listing for Chokhi Dhani.

Drink

Lassi, a non-alcoholic alternative

Bars & Pubs

Night clubs

Traditional dance performance

Sleep

Budget

Night panorama of Jaipur
Snake charming

Mid range

View from the roof of the Amber Fort

Splurge

Local fauna visiting the Rajvilas Palace

Jaipur has an excellent selection of expensive places to be treated like a maharaja for a day or two, most of which are often booked a year in advance. Though the list is endless, a few of them are:

Stay safe

Beyond the standard dangers of travelling in India (thieves, hustlers, touts, questionable drinking water), Jaipur has developed its own set of unique scams.

The gem scam

You may be accosted by youths on motorbikes who claim that Westerners are unwilling to engage with the Indian people. "Why don't tourists want to talk to me", or "I am a student, I want to learn about your culture" is the normal opener. The scam artist then changes their tune and invites the traveler to drink tea. Often the tourist will only be told of the gem stones the next day or after dinner. Usually it is some sort of tax problem. The unwitting mark is then sold fake stones for resale in his/her home country. Even if stones are posted in front of your eyes, you are more likely to see Elvis than the gems again. As a general rule, do not accept tea from strangers, but in addition be wary of any who invite you to talk in secluded areas. The simple fact of the matter that if you are a Westerner and a person outside your hotel accosts you, there is nearly a 100% chance that this person is scheming to acquire your money. There have been reports of smugglers trying to entice travelers to assist in smuggling items. Under no circumstances accept - smuggling is a major criminal act.

Go next

The Blue City of Jodhpur

There are many other fascinating and beautiful places to visit in Rajasthan.

If you are booking train tickets out of Jaipur, make sure to ask for Tatkal tickets at the reservation office, as tickets to just about everywhere sell out weeks in advance. Tatkal (last minute) tickets only open for sale the day before the train leaves, and are not always offered voluntarily by the staff, who will simply tell you the train is full.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 26, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.