The best time to visit Jaipur is between October and March when the temperature is comfortable and less scorching than the heat of the rest of the year. Go prepared for cooler evenings though and make sure you book your flights in advance to ensure you get the best deal. Avoid the monsoon months of July to September as roads block and flights get delayed. Elephants play an important part in India’s culture and at the Elephant Festival in March they are draped in embroidered cloths, festooned with heavy jewellery and painted with motifs. They take part in elephant polo, elephant races and tugs of war. Kite lovers arrive from all over the world to enjoy January’s Kite Festival when the sky above the pink city becomes a rainbow of colours. Everything in the city shuts so that everybody can be involved.
Jaipur, the largest city in the province of Rajasthan was created in the 18th century as India’s first ‘planned’ city. This stunning city is crowded and chaotic, but will leave you in awe of its colours and architecture. Here you will find a mix of old and new as camel drawn carts meander through bazaars whilst modern offices trade with the western world. Jaipur is called the ‘pink city’ as the sandstone used for building was painted pink to imitate the red sandstone of Mughal cities. Right in the heart of the town is the City Palace, a blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architecture. After wandering around its complex of courtyards and buildings relax in one of its tranquil gardens. Next to the City Palace is one of Jaipur’s most distinctive landmarks, the honeycombed Hawa Mahal, which is five storeys of delicately carved sandstone intersected with hundreds of windows. Only one room deep, this fairy tale construction was built so that the ladies of the harem could watch the activities of the city. When your sightseeing is done, visit one of the city’s many bazaars and markets. The handmade paper that Jaipur is famous for will be on sale alongside traditional handicrafts and exquisite jewellery. Try some of the delicious local food on offer in the markets and street cafes.
There are many ways of getting around in Jaipur. If feeling adventurous, hire your own motorbike or more conventionally rent a taxi and driver for a couple of days. Check that the meter is working before your journey starts or agree an upfront price. Be firm about where you want to go and what you want to do. Alternatives are buses, auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws. You can take bus tours of the city and many companies offer a range of tours such as the evening Puppet Show tour, which combines authentic Indian cuisine, whilst being entertained by a colourful show of traditional, dancing puppets. Take a day trip to the Taj Mahal to explore the area to its fullest.
Jaipur International Airport (JAI) is 6 miles (10 km) from the city centre and taxis into the city are priced at a set rate. Hotels will run shuttle buses and it is possible to organise private bus hire or rent a car.