Fun Things To Do In Jaipur – A Budget Guide To The City

Jal Mahal – Fun Budget Things To Do In Jaipur – A Budget Guide To The City – A World to Travel

The Awed Lawyer is back, and this time with tips and tricks for a memorable long weekend on a budget in Jaipur, The Pink City of India!

Jaipur is the capital city of the state of Rajasthan in India. Located 300 km away from the national capital New Delhi, it is admired for its rich history and colorful culture and attracts tourists from all over India and the world. When I think of Jaipur, I think of beautiful royal mahals (palaces), awe-inspiring forts, colorful markets displaying unique handicrafts, and spicy street food. Here are some preliminary things to know if you want to visit this beautiful destination:

  • Best Time to Visit: Winter (December – March)
  • Currency: Indian Rupee (INR,₹)
  • Population: ~ 3.1 million
  • Uber Rate: ~ ₹15 per km
  • Other public transport available: Bus and Metro
  • Best Option for Intra-Jaipur Travel: Autos, ~ ₹10 per km

Getting to Jaipur

Taking a train is the quickest, most convenient and most affordable way to get to Jaipur. Since we were traveling from New Delhi, we opted for the JP Double Decker Train which leaves at 5.30 pm and costs ₹480 (meals not included). From Jaipur back to New Delhi, we booked the Ajmer Shatabdi which leaves at 6.00 pm and costs ₹900 (including meals).

Budget accommodation in Jaipur

Don’t be afraid of staying in hostels! Hostel culture hasn’t quite picked up in India yet, but we decided to give The Pink Elephant a shot during our stay, and it did not disappoint. It is a quaint hostel close to the Jaipur Gandhinagar Railway Station and is also situated close to the city center. We booked private rooms that accommodated two people each, were clean and very affordable (₹1335/night on Booking.com) and even had shared balconies and a rooftop restaurant! The Hosteller is another great option.

How to move around Jaipur

Uber is fully functional in Jaipur, and we mostly booked cheap cabs and auto-rickshaws through the app to get around. Parts of the Jaipur Metro are still under construction, and it does not offer good connectivity just yet.

On the second day of our trip when we wanted to see all the forts in Jaipur and Amer, we considered several options. Since these forts are located on hills roughly 15 km away from the city center and at a distance of 5 – 10 km from each other, walking, bicycling and hiring manual rickshaws were not viable options. Local buses, though available, have long waiting periods and do not cover all forts. We were also unwilling to trust independent auto-rickshaw operators at the foothills of the forts since they charge exorbitant amounts of money (up to ₹500 one way!) to drive to each fort.

We finally coordinated with our hostel and rented auto-rickshaws through the proprietor, negotiating a brilliant deal of ₹900 for seven hours (10.30 am to 5.30 pm). Our driver engaged us in conversation about the monuments on the way there too!

Coordinating with your accommodation to get information about affordable taxi rentals is another option. One auto-rickshaw fits up to three riders, while cabs can accommodate up to six people, depending on the size of the vehicle. Most of these services do not require a deposit – we paid our auto driver the full sum at the end of the day.

Places to visit in Jaipur

The mahals, forts, royal gardens and museums of Jaipur are counted foremost among India’s architectural marvels, and we couldn’t wait to immerse ourselves in their rich history. Most of these monuments have been preserved in their original state, and touring them is like stepping into a time capsule.

Note that most tourist attractions in Jaipur close by 4.30pm, and have an entry fee. To save some money, consider buying a composite ticket, which is valid for two days and allows entry to seven monuments (Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar, Albert Hall Museum, Nahargarh Fort, Amber Palace, Sisodia Garden, Vidyadhar Garden) on the same ticket. A composite ticket is available to Indians for ₹100 (₹40 for students) and to foreign nationals for ₹400 (₹200 for students).

While there are many more places to visit, here’s what we decided to spend our time on.

Day 1 – Jaipur’s Royal Palaces and Museums

Hawa Mahal

  • Included in the Composite Ticket: Yes
  • Entry Fee for Indians: ₹10
  • Entry Fee for Foreign Nationals: ₹50
  • Recommended Duration of Visit: 1 hour 30 minutes

The red-and-white ‘Palace of Breeze’ is the crown jewel of Jaipur’s palaces. This layered palace with over 900 honeycomb-shaped windows was built such that it remains well-ventilated throughout the day and year. The five-storeyed monument towers over the Badi Choupad area in Jaipur and offers stunning views of the city.

City Palace

  • Included in the Composite Ticket: No
  • Entry Fee for Indians: ₹200 (₹100 for students)
  • Entry Fee for Foreign Nationals: ₹500
  • Recommended Duration of Visit: 1 hour

This palace was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1727 and is as old as the very city of Jaipur. It is the perfect example of architecture prevalent in Rajasthan – small domes, large courtyards, innumerable windows and balconies, and colorful gold archways with intricate detailing. This palace remains the residence of Jaipur’s royal family to this day. There are several museums showcasing artwork, textiles, and weapons inside the palace premises.

Jantar Mantar

  • Included in the Composite Ticket: Yes
  • Entry Fee for Indians: ₹50 (₹15 for students)
  • Entry Fee for Foreign Nationals: ₹200 (₹100 for students)
  • Recommended Duration of Visit: 30 minutes

This complex houses several large stone instruments used to tell time and measure distances between celestial bodies before the advent of modern technology. It was built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1734 and houses the world’s oldest stone sundial.

Albert Hall Museum (State Museum/ Government Museum)

  • Included in the Composite Ticket: Yes
  • Entry Fee for Indians: ₹40 (₹20 for students)
  • Entry Fee for Foreign Nationals: ₹300 (₹150 for students)
  • Recommended Duration of Visit: 1 hour

Albert Hall Museum hosts a unique collection of inspiring artwork, textiles, weapons, coins and other handicrafts and artifacts from different periods in world history, all under one roof. It is also a fine example of Indo-Saracenic architecture and looks even more beautiful when lit up at night.

Day 2 – A Day of Fort-seeing!

Nahargarh Fort

  • Included in the Composite Ticket: Yes
  • Entry Fee for Indians: ₹50 (₹5 for students)
  • Entry Fee for Foreign Nationals: ₹200 (₹25 for students)
  • Recommended Duration of Visit: 2 hours

Located on the Aravali Hills and offering a spectacular view of the city of Jaipur,  Nahargarh fort was built as a summer retreat for the Maharaja in the 1730s. Be sure to walk along the walls of the fort, marvel at the intricately painted doorways and visit the rooftop for some mesmerizing views!

Jaigarh Fort

  • Included in the Composite Ticket: No
  • Entry Fee for Indians: ₹70 (₹40 for students)
  • Entry Fee for Foreign Nationals: ₹150
  • Recommended Duration of Visit: 1 hour 30 minutes

This fort was built in the 1720s to protect Amber Palace and is home to Jaivana, the world’s largest cannon on wheels. The fort looks like a painting right out of a history book with its vast, rugged terrain and shrubbery, the large cannon and views of Amber Palace.

Amber Palace/ Amer Fort

  • Included in the Composite Ticket: Yes
  • Entry Fee for Indians: ₹100 (₹10 for students)
  • Entry Fee for Foreign Nationals: ₹500 (₹100 for students)
  • Recommended Duration of Visit: 2 hours

This palace, built in the late 1500s, is located in the town of Amer roughly 10 km away from Jaipur and is a popular tourist attraction. The huge, maze-like palace features impressive architecture with massive courtyards, intricate glasswork, painted archways, and large terraces – even the toilets have been preserved! It offers a detailed insight into the living style of India’s ancient royal families.

The approach to the palace is through a steep walkway, so carry some sturdy shoes. Be careful not to over-pay while hiring a guide – we made Google our best friend and did not feel the need to hire one!

Jal Mahal (Entry inside the monument not allowed)

  • Recommended Duration of Visit: 15 minutes

The ‘Water Palace’ is situated in the middle of Man Sagar Lake, and was built in 1750 as a guesthouse for the Maharaja’s duck-hunting entourage. Entry into the monument is not allowed, but the view of the Mahal from the courtyard near the main road is worth admiring.

Sisodia Rani ka Bagh (Sisodia Gardens)

  • Included in the Composite Ticket: Yes
  • Entry Fee for Indians: ₹25
  • Entry Fee for Foreign Nationals: ₹30
  • Recommended Duration of Visit: 1 hour

At the end of a day of hectic sightseeing, stop by this garden for the 6.00 pm fountain show. The lush garden has three levels, with the Aravali hills in the background, providing the perfect backdrop for photographs.

Shopping in Jaipur

Bapu Bazaar is the one-stop-destination for all kinds of Jaipuri products, ranging from lac bangles and wall decorations to block-printed clothing, patchwork and mirror-work bags, embroidered juttis and tie-and-dye dupattas. Be sure to bargain and you’ll find some amazing deals as we did!

The MI Road market is another popular shopping destination in Jaipur, offering a variety of products at reasonable prices.

Must-try Jaipur street food

Gotta love Indian food.

For starters, Masala Chowk is a must visit when in Jaipur. An open-air food court situated near the Albert Hall Museum, it features all of Rajasthan’s popular street food.

We opted for papdi chaat (yogurt with chickpea, crisps and sweet and spicy sauces), aloo chaat (fried potato with yogurt and sweet and spicy sauces), chole bhature (chickpea with deep-fried bread), keema pao (minced mutton with thick, toasted bread, dal baati choorma (spicy lentils with wheat/semolina dumplings) and a unique rainbow kulfi faluda (saffron ice cream with vermicelli and sweet syrup).

We also visited Egg-Dee Restaurant by Sanjay, which serves over 50 varieties of egg breakfasts. I had a large Indo-Afghan omelet with two eggs, cheese, vegetables, masala and four slices of bread for INR 90 only!

Pandit Ji Ki Pav Bhaji (spicy mashed vegetables with thick, toasted bread) is also a must-try when in Jaipur, followed by masala lemon soda from a cart.

Last but definitely not the least, if you love non-vegetarian food (on a budget) like us, be sure to pay MM Khan a visit and order their chicken biryani (spicy chicken and rice), mutton qorma (minced mutton curry) and naan (baked bread)! This restaurant is situated at the foothill of Jaipur’s forts and can be visited on the day you decide to explore them all.

Writing details of my trip down is making me want to go back! So if you’re planning to visit India, reserve a weekend for this wonderful and welcoming city to experience some memorable sightseeing, unique bargain shopping, and typical Indian street food.

Disclaimer

  • All opinions are the author’s own. You can hit her up with your travel tales on her Instagram or blog.
  • All information in this piece is updated as of March 2019. The author assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of this information afterward.
  • Both the writing and pictures in this post are the intellectual property of the author. Please do not use them without permission.



There are no comments

Add yours

Leave a comment +

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.