When I moved to Delhi in North India.. Jaipur looked like a weekend destination. Before moving, I always thought of visiting Jaipur only when I will plan to do the entire Rajasthan trip. Anyways, the single city has many things to offer. Often called as Pink City, Jaipur has Palaces, Havelis, old palaces turned into hotels and true essence of Rajasthan, its Culture.
From Delhi, Jaipur is some 3 hours away via Delhi-Jaipur Highway. The same highway goes all the way to Mumbai. Being a tier 2 city, it is quite developed with metro in some parts and also has the local feel of cycle rickshaw or auto rickshaw which carry more than mentioned capacity. Most of the grand hotels or resorts in Jaipur are in the outskirt whereas within the city you will find stand-alone hotel buildings. Whether it’s in outskirt or within city, all hotels in Jaipur have the local flavor showcasing the culture and vibrant color of the city.
ITC Rajputana, Jaipur
I have stayed in two hotels during my visit, First night in ITC Rajputana which is in the city centre near Railway station, Indeed a pleasure stay at the hotel. Staff was amazing, the entire hotel and rooms were super comfortable. Must eat at ITC is their amazing Dal Bukhara at Indian restaurant (Jharokha). All ITC hotels have Indian restaurant named different as per the property but their Dal will be same across all. It is a MUST EAT for everyone atleast once in your life. My second night stay was in Mansingh Hotel. There are 2 Mansingh Hotel in Jaipur and both are adjacent to each other. It is a nice property especially for Business Traveler and staff was indeed friendly and helping.
Not to miss places in Jaipur is, Amber Fort, City Palace, Hawa Mahel (part of City Palace), Jal Mahel and few religious temples. Amber Fort is in outskirt of Jaipur and one needs to do little trekking to reach the top. At night, Amber fort also have Sound and Light show narrating the ancient story of Rajasthani King. City Palace is a grand structure which has many small Mahal within the palace for different activities of the Maharajah. The city also has many temples of various religious group and each has their own signature design.
City Palace, Jaipur
Apart from roaming around in the city, you can obviously go for shopping. Jaipur offers a wide variety for one to buy – from clothes to furniture to home decor items to many more. Either you buy from showroom or from the roadside, they all have a good collection and materials worth buying. One of the main market lies at the centre of the city, Bapu and Johari. The Rajasthan Government also encourages and spread awareness about the Rajasthan artifacts and culture of the state. However price in these shops is more than what you will find at street. Wherever you shop in Jaipur, do not feel ashamed to bargain as everywhere cost is increased by minimum 50%. Worth buying items from Jaipur is Bandhani material (opt for either saree or dress or kurti or pants) and home decor items (opt for wall hanging or table or cupboard etc).
When it comes to filling your stomach, Jaipur fulfills your palate with scrumptious options of authentic Rajasthan Food – Dal Batti, Gatte ki sabzi and for Non-veg, Lal Maas, being amongst the top. This food is only for those who can handle the spicy food. Must visit eatery place in Jaipur is Chowki Dani. It is open only for dinner and it is a place where you can easily spend 2-3 hours eating, enjoying the ambiance and entertaining yourself with many local activities. One of the evening should be dedicated to time spent in reliving the culture of the city. Apart from Chowki Dani, there are many other restaurants offering Rajasthani and North Indian cuisines. Few places also offer fast food and South Indian but the highlight of your trip is when you will be experiencing the local specialties.
It is a good place to go for your weekend trip or if time permits, do the road trip around Rajasthan and visit many other cities like Ajmer, Pushkar, Ranthambore to name a few.
Accessibility: Daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai, Easily reachable via road from Delhi. Around the city you have metro and local auto which are the cheaper mode of transportation.
Weather: Being in Rajasthan, most of the time it is hot (especially during the afternoons). Best time to visit is from November-February
Excursion: If time permits, one can go for 2-3 day visit to Ranthambore National Park.The second option will be to Pushkar/Ajmer. Both are around 2 hours away!
Stay: In Jaipur, you can get the cheapest property to most expensive property. Many amazing and grand property are in the outskirt but in city also you will find pretty good options.