Often known as the pink city, due to its high concentration of pink-coloured sandstone architecture, this pretty district of Jaipur is home to many of the city’s most popular sights. Easily navigable and not too big, it’s a good place to spend a few days soaking up what Jaipur has to offer. We pick the top things to do and see in the the Old City.
This 75-cover coffee house has been around since 1957 and still attracts a regular local clientele. Nobody minds the very basic and simple interiors and nobody ever talks of smartening it up — it just wouldn’t be the same any other way. This has always been a place where people go for the rich, cultural tradition, rather than the food, although the latter is fairly decent and the Vada, Idli and Sambhar are recommended accompaniments to the South Indian coffee. Drop in to soak in its rich and interesting history and the names attached to it.
Bap Bazzar, with its liveliness and huge variety of Rajasthani items, has made itself the ultimate shopping destination in Old Jaipur. Shoppers can buy a huge number of traditional products, ranging from textiles, perfumes, products made from camel skin and many more. Look our for the Mojari footwear – it sells like hot cakes – or the local handicrafts, which are some of the best souvenirs of the region. Bargaining is very common in the shops of Bapu Bazaar and its a skill you’ll have to hone if you plan on shopping here.
Jaipur enjoys a good reputation for jewellery and it is one of the most active jewel markets of the world, famous for precious and semi-precious stones and for the cutting, polishing and setting of these stones. Johari Bazaar in Jaipur is the place to go to find this. Johari is a Hindi word meaning ‘jeweller’ and the bazaar is chock-full of vendors trading silver, diamonds, gold, precious stones (like emerald, ruby, sapphire) & semi-precious stone (turquoise, amethyst, quartz) and pearls. Even i you;re not in the market for a new bauble, the bazaar is worth a visit for the beautifully dyed saris and the lively ambience.
Tripolia means ‘three gates’. It was constructed in 1734 by the Mughal emperor, Akbar, and gets its name from its three archways. It is actually the main entrance to the City Palace and Jantar Mantar and is worth a look for the intricate architecture: pretty balconies enclosed by jaalis, lofty arches and a pillared hall on the left for guards.
Nahargarh Fort stands on the edge of the Aravalli Hills, overlooking the pink city of Jaipur. Built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1734, the fort was originally named Sudarshangarh, but it became known as Nahargarh, which means ‘abode of tigers’. The fort follows Indo-European architecture and there are many structures inside. To the left of the entrance gate, ‘Tadigate’, there is a temple dedicated to the deity of Jaipur rulers. Inside, there is another temple dedicated to the Rathore prince, Nahar Singh Bhomia. It is divided into nine similar apartments and each of these apartments has a lobby, bedrooms, toilets, kitchen and store. The wonderful trek from the foot of the hill to the top, where the fort is located, is a great experience, and hikers are rewarded with amazing views over the hills.