Information About Jaipur: What to Know Before You Go

Your Essential Guide to Visiting the "Pink City" of Jaipur

Hawa Mahal, Jaipur.
••• Hawa Mahal, Jaipur. Adam Woolfitt / robertharding /Getty Images.

Jaipur is affectionately referred to as the Pink City because of the pink walls and buildings of the old city. The city, which is surrounded by rugged hills and besieged walls, is full of fascinating royal heritage and magnificent well preserved buildings. Travel to Jaipur to get a feel for how the monarchy once lived in all its glory. Plan your trip with the information about Jaipur in this guide.

History

Jaipur was built by Sawai Jai Singh II, a Rajput king who ruled from 1699 to 1744. In 1727, he decided it was necessary to shift from Amber Fort to a location providing more space and better facilities, and began to construct the city. Jaipur is actually India's first planned city, and the king put great effort into its design. The old city was laid out in a rectangle shape of nine blocks. State buildings and palaces occupied two of these blocks, while the remaining seven were allocated to the public. As for why the city was painted pink -- it was to welcome the Prince of Wales when he visited in 1853!

Location

Jaipur is the capital city of India's desert state of Rajasthan. It's located approximately 260 kilometers (160 miles) south west of Delhi. Travel time is around 4 hours. Jaipur is also about 4 hours from Agra.

Getting There

Jaipur is well connected to the rest of India. It has a domestic airport with frequent flights to and from Delhi, as well as other major cities.

Indian Railways "super fast" train services operate along the route, and it's possible to reach Jaipur from Delhi in around five hours. The bus is also another option, and you'll find services to and from many destinations. A useful website for checking out bus timetables is the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation one.

Timezone

UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) +5.5 hours. Jaipur does not have Daylight Saving Time.

Population

There are around 4 million people living in Jaipur.

Climate and Weather

Jaipur has a very hot and dry desert climate. During the summer months from April to June, temperatures hover around 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) but can easily exceed this. Monsoon rain is received, mostly in July and August. However, daytime temperatures still remain above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). The most pleasant time to visit Jaipur is during the winter, from November until March. Winter temperatures average 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). Nights can be very chilly though, with temperatures dropping to 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit) in January.

Transport and Getting Around

There's a prepaid taxi counter at Jaipur airport, and prepaid auto rickshaw counter at the railway station. Alternatively, Viator offers convenient private airport transfers, priced from $12.50, that can be easily booked online.

Auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws are the cheapest and easiest way to cover short distances around Jaipur. For longer distances and all day sightseeing, most people prefer to hire a private taxi.

A reputable and personalized company is Sana Transport. Also recommended is V Care Tours.

What to Do

Jaipur forms part of India's popular Golden Triangle tourist circuit and lures visitors with its stunning remnants of a bygone era. The ancient palaces and forts are among Jaipur's Top 10 Attractions. Most of them have stunning views and elaborate architecture. Elephant safaris and hot air balloon rides are on offer for the more adventurous visitors. Shopping is fantastic in Jaipur. Don't miss these 8 Top Places to go Shopping in Jaipur. You can also go on a self-guided walking tour of the Jaipur Old City. If you're in Jaipur in late January, don't miss attending the annual Jaipur Literature Festival.

Where to Stay

Staying in Jaipur is particularly enjoyable. The city has some incredible authentic palaces that have been converted into hotels, giving guests a very regal experience!

If your budget doesn't extend that far, try one of these 12 Top Hostels, Guest Houses and Cheap Hotels in Jaipur. In terms of the best areas, Bani Park is peaceful and close to the Old City.

Side Trips

The Shekhawati Region of Rajasthan is only three hours drive from Jaipur and is often referred to as the world's largest open air art gallery. It's renowned for its old havelis (mansions), with walls adorned with intricate painted frescoes. Most people overlook visiting this region in favor of more popular places in Rajasthan, which is a shame. However, it means its delightfully free of tourists.

Health and Safety Information

Jaipur is a much visited tourist destination, and where there are tourists, there are scams. You're guaranteed to be approached on numerous occasions. However, the most common scam which all visitors should be aware of is the gem scam. It comes in various guises but the important thing to remember is under no circumstances should you purchase gemstones from someone who approaches you to do so, or enter into a business deal, no matter how much you think it may be in your favor to do so.

Scams involving auto rickshaw drivers are also common in Jaipur. If you arrive by train, be prepared to be surrounded by them, all vying to take you to a hotel of their choice where they will get a commission. You can avoid this by going to the prepaid auto rickshaw counter at the station. Rarely will auto rickshaw drivers go by the meter in Jaipur, so be prepared to haggle hard for a good price.

The constant summer heat is very draining, so it's important to take measures to avoid getting dehydrated if you visit during the hottest months. Make sure you drink plenty of water and avoid staying out in the direct sun for too long.

As always in India, it's important not to drink the water in Jaipur. Instead buy readily available and inexpensive bottled water to stay healthy. In addition, it's a good idea to visit your doctor or travel clinic well in advance of your departure date to ensure that you receive all the necessary immunizations and medications, especially in relation to illnesses such as malaria and hepatitis.