As seen on the Town and Country site, we give the scoop to best things to see and do when in Jaipur.
The Oberoi Rajvilas is an immaculate hotel that was once used as a game-hunting ground by its owners, the Oberoi family. Sprawling and luxurious, it is home to an active 280-year-old Hindu Shiva temple where you can watch and experience the Pooja prayer ritual at first hand. Spend the night in one of the hotel’s luxury tents – air-conditioned, triple-canopied outdoor suites featuring king-size beds, freestanding bathtubs and flat-screen TVs. At dinnertime, enjoy the sound of classical sitar musicians playing right by your table.
A boutique guest house in the centre of Jaipur, 28 Kothi has incredibly helpful staff, a lovely garden and delicious (largely vegetarian) food. By night, you can dine on one of the best thalis in town in the intimate, magical garden under the starry sky. This is always a must on my list for catching up with friends when I’m in town – it’s a sanctuary of tranquillity.
The Narain Niwas Palace is my favourite heritage hotel in central Jaipur – entering is like stepping back in time. A restored palace built in the 1920s by one of Jaipur’s royal families, it has a magical ambience and an enchanting garden where wild peacocks roam around freely; it’s by far my favourite place to enjoy a freezing Kingfisher.
The Middle Eastern-inspired Bar Palladio and its sister location, the Sicilian-style Caffé Palladio, are both jaw-droppingly beautiful. Rooms are intricately decorated in vibrant shades of turquoise, cobalt and pink, with textiles to please any interiors aficionado. The menu is equally vibrant – I particularly recommend the delicious salads and Middle Eastern dips.
Steam is an Italian restaurant specialising in wood-fired pizza that is housed in an old Indian steam train in the grounds of the magnificent Rambagh Palace Hotel – certainly a quirky and unique dining experience. Make sure you try the house special, a mango margarita.
Head to the Tapri Tea House for delicious, authentic street food and plenty of sweet tea on a lively rooftop.
Situated on a hill overlooking the Maota Lake just seven miles from the centre of Jaipur lies the magnificent Amer (or Amber) Fort – a sandstone and marble palace built in 967 by the Meena tribe. Walk through the four inner courtyards and marvel at the King’s former private quarters. Arrive at dawn for a particularly magical experience and to beat the hordes of tourists.
Anyone who works in textiles knows that a trip to Jaipur is not complete without a visit to the town of Bagru (about 30 minutes from Jaipur), where block printing, dyeing and other textile-printing techniques have been thriving for centuries. My friends Nirmali and Jeremy of Studio Bagru will give you a guided tour of the village, complete with a printing workshop and lunch at a local family’s house.
All of the vibrant colours of the Pink City come together at the astonishing Jaipur Flower Market – a real feast for the senses. Get there bright and early to see the market at its best, and wander through the fragrant streets, gazing at the rows and rows of tangerine marigolds, sunshine-yellow chrysanthemums and fuchsia pink roses – it’s overwhelmingly beautiful.
There is no better way to wake up than by hiking to the famed Hindi pilgrimage site, the Galta Ji Temple, situated about 10 kilometres from central Jaipur. One you arrive, ascend the temple steps, surrounded by bouncing monkeys and people bathing in holy water. At the top, you’ll find a series of smaller temples and panoramic views of Jaipur. Don’t forget to bring a chain of marigolds to offer your blessings to the Sun Gods.
On the other side of Galtaji, you will find the Anokhi Museum of Hand Printing. Housed in a restored haveli (a traditional townhouse or mansion), it has incredible artefacts relating to the printing and dyeing process inherent to Jaipur’s surrounding areas.
The Chakrapani Ayurveda Clinic is a wellness clinic situated in central Jaipur, focusing on Ayurvedic treatments including massages, holistic rituals and health and lifestyle analyses. I recently completed a series of three Shirodhara treatments – which involve dripping hot oil onto your third eye (forehead) in an attempt to open the gate to higher consciousness – that left me feeling calm and rejuvenated.
Once the ceremonial seat of the Maharaja of Jaipur, and still the home of the Jaipur royal family, the City Palace is an enormous complex of opulent pink temples, courtyards and gardens that is now arguably the city’s top attraction. Wander through the myriad rooms and admire the intricate architecture, beautiful mosaics and elaborate archways.
Jawahar Kala Kendra is an arts and culture centre designed by the Indian architect Charles Correa and based on the principles of Vastu Vidya, the Hindu equivalent of feng shui. I love coming here to see the latest exhibitions or enjoy a cup of chai from the Indian Coffee House while sitting on the sun-drenched steps of the amphitheatre.
see the full guide on T&C here