Proudly standing as the gateway to Rajasthan, Jaipur (also known as the ‘Pink City’) offers a fascinating glimpse into the 18th century through its well-preserved forts, palaces, astronomical observatory, vibrant bazaars, and artisan’s workshops. The original ‘Old City’ remains within the original fortification walls and here you’ll find the Hawa Mahal (Palace of the Winds), City Palace, and the impressive Jantar Mantar astronomical observatory. Jaipur is well known as the gemstone capital of India but is also the epicenter for assorted handicraft like block-printing and weaving. Atop the hills outside the Old City sits Amber Fort, equal parts stronghold and magnificent palace. If you’re spending alot of time in Northern India, your eyes may begin to glaze over thinking about seeing another palace, but this one is well worth a visit.
Jaipur is one stop along India’s famed Golden Triangle and is commonly the final leg of the journey. Consider spending a couple of nights in Rathambore to break up the 6-hour drive between Agra and Jaipur with a tiger safari. From Jaipur, many will fly onward to Udaipur and/or to Varanasi. To reach the national parks in Central India, you will fly back through New Delhi.
There are a handful of well-located hotels at a wide range of costs for easily accessing the sites of Jaipur. We love the tented camp style of Oberoi Rajvilas and the glamour of Taj Rambagh, part of the City Palace, or Samode Haveli is a great value for money pick if you’re looking the palace experience without the high price tag. To be a little closer to nature, we highly recommend spending a night at Dera Amer. The camp is a haven for rescued elephants and encourages interaction through bathing and forest walks.