Elefantastic, located about 5km away from the Amber Fort, is Jaipur’s first elephant farm. Here guests can feed, wash, decorate and ride them as well as be introduced to the elephant language. The farm houses around 24 of the majestic creatures and visitors learn all about their life and habitats. The full experience lies in the home-cooked lunch or dinner at the resident’s home on site. What’s more, Elefantastic’s location on the edge of the city make sit a fine place to escape the ceasless hustle and bustle of Jaipur central.
Elefantastic, 90 Chandra Mahal Colony, Delhi Road, Amer, Jaipur, +91 8094253150
Take an elephant ride up to the Amber Fort, which houses the Amber Palace (Sheesh Mahal). Steeped in history, the palace is decorated in marble, and is also known as the Ivory Fort. A guide will be able to walk you through the many buildings, mini-museums and lakeside gardens located inside the fort, which commands a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. The Sheesh Mahal (‘Hall of Mirrors’) inside the fort was once the residence of the royal family and is the setting for several Hindi movies to boot.
The Jaigarh fort, built by Sawan Jai Singh II, is a guardian to the city of Jaipur and the Amber Fort. Built to protect the royal palace and fort of Amer, the two are connected by underground passages built centuries ago. The fort houses ‘Jaivana’, the world’s largest cannon on wheels and is largely intact despite centuries of harsh weather. It also houses several palaces, an armory and gardens and has the reputation of having never being conquered by invading armies.
The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, similar to the one in Delhi, is an ancient astronomical observatory that was used to map the heavenly constellations in ancient times. Walk around the manicured and well-kept gardens and marvel at the various observation points used to track the movement of the stars by astronomers. This is one of five such structures built around the entire country, and is part science, part art. Opposite the Jantar Mantar lies the City Palace, which is also worth a visit.
Jaipur is known as the city of gems, where a variety of precious and semi-precious jewelry can be found. The Gem Palace is reportedly Jaipur’s oldest jewelry outlet, and the family prides itself on being the craftsmen that supplied the erstwhile royal family with many of their fabled pieces. The Gem Palace also offers a variety of traditional motifs made using jewels, created using semi-precious stones from the surrounding area.
Gem Palace, Shop No.348, MI Road, Jaipur, +91 141 237 4175
To get a taste of authentic Rajasthani cuisine, visit the Thali House where you can eat a complete meal for less than $2. The taste is simple and rustic, and not too spicy (unless you ask!). The place is separated into two levels, the lower one where thali or fixed meals are served is more spartan and functional in décor, while the upper level is air-conditioned and diners have an extensive a la carte option. The place is purely vegetarian and is crowded at mealtimes. Don’t forget to try the dal baati, a speciality made of unleavened bread and lentils and served with a sweet side dish called churma.
Thali house, Sindhi Camp Bus Stand, Station road, Jaipur, +91 93145 02531
To taste authentic sweets and savories, try out Lakshmi Misthan Bhandar or LMB as it is popularly known among the locals. It serves a variety of dishes, snacks and desserts, and is immensely popular. The variety of dishes is fantastic but be sure to pack some of their paneer ghewar (a sweet made from cottage cheese, flour and sugar) to carry home with you. The restaurant tends to be crowded and serves a standard Rajasthani thali with some snacks. The sweets, however, are the real talking point of this place.
LMB, 98-100, Johari Bazaar, Jaipur, +91 88901 13632