Journey to Jaipur
We travelled from Bundi to Jaipur via Kota.
Hesitantly we caught a rickshaw to the public bus station in Bundi (this was our first time on a public bus in India), however luckily the experience was rather pleasant. Within 5 minutes of arriving we had jumped on a bus heading for Kota. We paid the fare of rs. 33 to the collector on the bus and for once we didn’t have to pay a ‘foreigner rate’, which is very popular throughout India. Buses run from Bundi to Kota very frequently and there is no need to buy a ticket in advance (journey time – an hour).
We planned on spending around 4 hours in Kota as we wanted to take a look around the city palace and possibly take a boat ride along the river. India however, had different plans. There was a festival for Ganesh’s birthday taking place that day and all roads around the city palace were closed. We therefore ended up wandering the streets and observing the festival where stalls were handing out pink coloured soft drink for free and people were dancing to loud Hindi music.
We grabbed some lunch in a great local restaurant, just a short walk from the train station then headed to the a/c heaven of an internet café to while time away whilst we waited for our train.
Train from Kota to Jaipur
The train from Kota to Jaipur took 4h 45m and we had booked sleeper class tickets. This was our third journey in sleeper class and would defiantly recommend travelling in this class on shorter journeys if you are travelling on a budget.
Travelling into the Jaipur from the train station
We headed straight for the pre-pay auto rickshaw booth once we arrived at Jaipur train station and obtained a ‘ticket’ for a ride to our guesthouse for rs.80. Actually getting a rickshaw driver to take us to our guesthouse for rs.80 was a different story. It ended in Ben having a heated debate with the bunch of rickshaw drivers that were crowded around us regarding how far the guesthouse actually was and then in turn a rickshaw driver shouting at the man in the prepay booth in Hindi (likely to be something along the lines of – why did you charge these foreigners the Indian price!)
Cost – Rs.600 per night
We eventually managed to get a rickshaw to take us to the guesthouse we had booked, Snedeep Guesthouse, located in the Sethi Colony area.
We were offered tea when we arrived, however we spent an hour sat in reception whilst the owner checked another guest out. We were then told that the room we had booked was water damaged, so we were shown to the family room. The family room was extremely large and had two double beds and two single beds, together with a small table and chairs and a fridge.We knew the guesthouse was a little far out when we had booked, however we didn’t quite realise how far out until we actually arrived. It was set in a very residential area with no restaurants/shops nearby and it was way too far to walk to the old city (I imagine it would take around an hour to walk – not very pleasant in 40c heat!)
We were disappointed with the guesthouse (it had rave reviews on hostelbookers) as we had to wait an hour to check in, then another half an hour before we had running water in our room (the owner had forgotten to turn it on) and it was the noisiest place we have stayed in so far with the sound of rattling trucks coming and going throughout the night.
Sleep starved, we woke at 6am, pulled our things together and checked out. We took a rickshaw to the Pearl Palace Hotel located around 20 minutes walk from the old city. Although the Pearl Palace was fully booked, the road had about 4 other hotels on it and we managed to get a room at Chitra Katha (rs. 700 per night).
Tip: If you arrive in Jaipur with no accommodation booked head straight for Hari Kishan Somani Marg, Hathroi Fort. It is the road on which the well-known Pearl Palace Hotel is located, however it is a lovely quiet street with 4 other budget hotels on it – you are sure to find a room.
Location: Hari Kishan Somani Marg, Hathroi Fort
How much does it cost? 700 rupees per night (fan room with attached bathroom)
After staying at Snedeep Guesthouse we were delighted with this hotel. It is ran by a Chinese owner and the cleanliness was immaculate. Check in was extremely swift (and not like the hour long ordeal we were used to), we also had clean white sheets on the bed, a TV (showing great movies in English), and wi-fi that actually worked.
There was some building work going on when we stayed, however this didn’t really cause a problem as the workers only seemed to be the 9-5 type (not wake you up at 6am in the morning type).
We had breakfast on the rooftop most mornings – we recommend the muesli and the omelettes.
Pearl Palace Hotel / Peacock Rooftop Restaurant
Location: Hari Kishan Somani Marg, Hathroi Fort
How much does it cost? Midrange (main meals range from rs. 90 – 250)
After reading the rave reviews on trip advisor and in the lonely planet book of this restaurant we headed up to its rooftop restaurant. We arrived at 8pm for dinner and the restaurant was packed (we took the last available table), it was nice to go to a restaurant with people in! Most places we have dined in so far have been empty.
The food on the rooftop was average and the service was a little slow (but this is India!) The atmosphere however was great and the décor was of the tropical kind with funky iron chairs, bamboo, fairy lights and potted plants.
Tip: If you don’t mind sour drinks then try the fresh lime soda (rs.35)
Krishna Fast Food
Location: 174 Nehru Bazaar, the old city
How much does it cost? Budget (main meals range from rs. 20 – 90)
We found this little café whilst searching the ‘Ganesh restaurant’ which was listed in the lonely planet.
This place serves up some very tasty cheap Indian food. We sampled the masala dosa (a large savoury pancake – rs. 30 – 60), the chole bature (rs. 40), and the chowmein (rs. 40).
The service was quick and friendly and the food was delicious. You also get free top up’s if your dish comes with a sauce.
Combined ticket: If you plan on visiting the sights listed below then it is worth buying a ‘combined ticket’ for rs.600 (valid for two days).
- Amber Fort
- Central Museum
- Jantar Mantar
- Hawa Mahal
- Narhargarh Fort
The City Palace, Jantar Mantar and the Hawa Mahal are all in easy reach of each other and can be visited in the same day.
How much does it cost? Rs. 300 per person (incl. camera fee but NOT including audio guide as stated in the lonely planet)
The city palace contains various courtyards and buildings, typical to most palaces in India, and was built by Jai Singh (whom Jaipur is named after). We were rather underwhelmed with the city palace as it is very similar to other palaces that we have seen in India and most seem to need restoration. Its walls are an orange colour and have some designs painted on them in white. There are a number of displays inside of Sawai Madho Singh I’s clothing (he was a large gentleman at 2m tall and 1.2m wide), however we found the most interesting aspects of the palace to be the armoury and also the two large silver jugs that Maharaja Madho Singh II used to take holy Ganges water to England.
How much does it cost? 50rs per person (or included in the combined ticket)
Location: 10rs cycle rickshaw ride from the city palace
Directions to the ticket office: As you face the Hawa Mahal there is an intersection to your left. Walk towards the intersection and turn right, then turn right again through to archway.
The Hawa Mahal is the most impressive from the outside. We were expecting the same type of intricate design on the inside too, however we were disappointed. The inside is rather plain and when we visited, overcrowded.
How much does it cost? rs. 100per person (incl. camera fee but NOT including audio guide as stated in the lonely planet) (or included in the combined ticket)
Location: Opposite the City Palace
In order to appreciate this attraction you really need to get a good English speaking guide who can explain to you how the time telling, astronomical devices work. Otherwise this is no more than a collection of weird sculptures and objects.
Nahargarh (‘Tiger Fort’)
How much does it cost? rs. 30 per person (or included in the combined ticket)
Location: A steep winding 2 km climb from the Old City or if you pay a rickshaw driver enough he can drive you right up to the Fort (he will drive you past Amber Fort to the other side of the Fort rather than approaching it from the Old City)
We enjoyed visiting this fort as it was a peaceful 15 minute walk up from the Old City with goats greeting us on the climb up. We walked up to the fort at about 4pm so the heat was tolerable and the path to the top was in the shade.
As the fort is perched so high above the city it provides excellent views across the whole of Jaipur. The fort itself is average; however the views alone are worth the walk to the top.
How much does it cost? Rs. 200 per person (or including in the combined ticket)
Location: 11km north east of Jaipur
This palace is very photogenic and rises above Maota lake. It is built in an orange stone and work commenced in 1592 by Maharaja Man Singh, although it was later extended. Inside the fort is an interesting temple where a goat was sacrificed every day from 16th century to 1980 when it was banned by the government.
We would definitely recommend visiting this fort if you are exploring Jaipur.
Galta & Surya Mandir (“Monkey temple”)
How much does it cost? Free
Location: A 20 minute auto-rickshaw ride from Jaipur city (we paid rs. 150 return)
For us the monkey temple was the best thing we visited in Jaipur. The auto-rickshaw driver dropped us off at the Galta side of the temple and we walked up from there. It is at least a 20 minute walk to the temple – you walk up the hill to where it plateaus, and then drop down again to the temple. You’re likely to be greeted by monkeys, pigs and goats on your walk.
Hiring a rickshaw for sightseeing
How much does it cost? Half day / full day rs.250/500
Location: All around Jaipur
We hired a rickshaw for half a day (from around 1pm to 5pm for rs.250) and got the rickshaw to take us to Amber Fort, and then to Nahargarh (where we had to walk up the hill).
You should not have to pay the rickshaw driver any more than the amounts stated above, although you will need to bargain hard.
Tip: Insist that the rickshaw driver doesn’t take you to any bazaars or shops along the way (you are likely to be pressured to buy as the driver will receive commission from the shop)
Also if you want to visit Nahargarh by rickshaw then ensure the driver understands which entrance you want to be dropped off at to avoid misunderstandings later i.e. in the old city where you have to walk up the steep hill to the top, or at the other side where the driver can take you right to the entrance (it is a lot easier for the driver to drop you at the bottom of the hill in the old city as it is a shorter distance for him to drive – although this may not be better for you!!)