The Pink City of Jaipur has its fair share of places to visit. There is the sprawling City Palace that lies in the center of the Old City, complete with immaculately maintained gardens and ancient Mahals. There are Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal, two examples of ingenuity in ancient Indian architecture. And there is the Central Museum and the Maharaja Sawai Mansingh II Museum, built in the Mubarak Mahal of the City Palace. Both museums document and showcase the rich history of the city, offering glimpses into the wondrous times when Jaipur was a princely state. But the palaces and museums are not the only things to see here. There are lots of other things to do in Jaipur, and here are 5 things that you should not miss out on. ALSO READ: 10-day itinerary to explore the best holiday destinations in Rajasthan
Shop for Jaipur’s famous handicrafts and jewelry
Interior of the textile store with colorful carpets, bedspreads and shawls in Jaipur
It is practically impossible to leave Jaipur empty-handed. The city pampers you with some of the best handicrafts in the country. You can find block-printed and embroidered clothing and decorative jewelry on the lanes of the Old City market. Amer Road has several workshops that sell handcrafts too, and even offer demonstrations of the block printing and tie-and-dye process. Jaipur Modern offers local arts and crafts and Inde Rooh in the Pearl Palace offers block-printed stuff. For jewelry, you could head to Rajasthan Gems, the Silver Shop under the famous Peacock Roof Restaurant, the government-run Rajasthali emporium and Anokhi for more up-market customers.
Take a break with Jaipur’s delicious beverages
Men in traditional Rajasthan dresses prepare tea masala during the Jaipur Literature Festival
Jaipur is famous for its cuisine, with the aforementioned Peacock Roof Restaurant being a favorite haunt for foodies along with others like Ganesh Restuarant near New Gate, the original Old Takeaway on MI Road, the rooftop Sheesha, and the Dasaprakash for those who crave South Indian delicacies in a North Indian desert setting. But Jaipur’s hot beverages are a hidden gem that most visitors may not be savoring much. Visit the Indian Coffee House, an easily-missed small setup that offers amazing filter coffee, Lassiwala for the sweet cold beverage, Tapri Tea House for their Tulsi Chai and the Curious Life cafe for a more modern mix of brews.
Go on a hot-air balloon tour
View of Amber Fort from Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur
The Amer or Amber palace and fort that lies around 15 km away from Jaipur city is a sprawling 16th century fort built by Maan Singh, a trusted general of the Mughal emperor Akbar and the ruler of the kingdom of Amber and subsequently Jaipur. The palace grounds itself are vast enough to cover a whole day’s exploration, but head to the hot air balloon facility of Sky Waltz in the evening to make your trip even more memorable. The one hour long hot air balloon tour takes you high over the fort and over the nearby villages, farms and buildings, giving you a view of Amer and Jaipur like never before.
Go on a safari in Ranthambore National Park
Bengal tiger at Ranthambore National Park
Jaipur’s forts and palaces can be so mesmerizing that you may just forget about Ranthambore National Park, one of the largest in the state. Located around 130 km from Jaipur, Ranthambore National Park offers a chance to spot the rare endemic birds and animals that reside in this part of the world, like the legendary Bengal tiger and sloth bears, leopards and gazelles. If you have three days to spare, drive to the national park, which lies around three hours away, and spend a couple of days and evenings taking safaris through the forests of Ranthambore. Tiger sightings, which are the main draw here, are never guaranteed, but the chances of seeing these elusive and majestic creatures are higher if you go on more safaris.
Go on cycling tours
Hawa Mahal, Jaipur; a common sight during cycle tours
If you find your beat in the off-beat and love a little bit of adventure and fun, go on the cycling tours offered by a few operators in Jaipur. The narrow streets of the Pink City and the lanes within Jaipur’s forts and palaces are best explored on cycles, and we hope many more spring up over time. For now, there is Cycle In Jaipur (though it is closed in May and June) and Virasat Experiences, which takes you through the Old City for half a day. Along the way, you get to see popular sights like the Hawa Mahal, Jal Mahal and Nahargarh Fort. Thrillophilia also offers few cycling trails across the city, depending on the sights that you want to see and how much you want to cycle. NOW READ: Here are 5 things to do at Neemrana Fort near Delhi
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