Heading to Jaipur with limited time? This Jaipur itinerary will ensure that you see and do everything you possibly can during your short stay in India’s pink city.
One-Day Itinerary for Jaipur, India’s Pink City – What to See & Do
Jaipur or the Pink City of India as it’s more famously known is the capital of the dusty desert state of Rajasthan. Ruled by the Rajput kings and queens, the culture here is astonishingly intact. Fora traveler from outside the country, this is no less than an exotic vacation on its own.
Though I have spent more than several months in Jaipur, my single day itinerary for Jaipur gives you a glimpse into this gem in the desert.
What to See & Do in Jaipur for One Day
Let’s get into the best 24 hour itinerary to see the most of Jaipur.
9:30 am : City Palace of Jaipur
After having an early breakfast you want to start your day at the City Palace. The City Palace built by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II in 1797 is a huge complex situated in the middle of the Old City. The palace contains gardens, temples, courtyards and buildings befitting a king’s home.
The architecture is a striking mixture of Rajput and Mughal influences. The palace opens at 9:30 am and the cost for foreign visitors is Rs.500 per visitor. The palace has some amazing photo opportunities and I recommend going early to beat the crowds vying for the same spots.
The entrance to the palace is through the Mubarak Mahal which was designated for greeting dignitaries from other states. Now part of the clothing museum, it contains royal costumes and shawls.
Next comes the Maharani’s Palace or the queen’s palace which houses the armoury.
Fighting was a great source of honor in Rajput society and the weapons are intricately carved and gilded with precious stones. It is hard to imagine these delicately carved hilts were ever used in battle but some fierce battles have been fought for victory over Jaipur.
Next is the Diwan-i-Khas where the king held court with his ministers and discussed matters of the state. The Diwan-i-Aim in contrast served the purpose of meeting with the general public and listening to their grievances.
At the end of the complex is the most beautiful courtyard in the palace, the Pitam Niwas Chowk. The chowk is endowed with four exquisite gates representing the four seasons. The Peacock Gate, the Lotus Gate, the Green Gate and the Rose Gate.
These were hand painted with painstaking precision and colors of such quality so much so that their color still shines today after almost 300 years. Beyond these areas lies the Chandra Mahal where the current royal family of Jaipur resides and you can take a private tour if you wish so for an extra charge.
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1:00 pm : Lunch at Lakshmi Misthan Bhandar
After spending a few hours at the City Palace walking on foot you are bound to be tired and in need of some food. Not to worry because Jaipur has some of the best food in the world. Head over to Lakshmi Misthan Bhandar a mere 2 miles away for lunch.
The restaurant is in the middle of the famous Johari Bazaar of Jaipur. LMB boasts 290 years of being traditional sweets craftsmen. The sheer quality and taste of the food at this restaurant will blow your mind away. You should expect to wait at least 15 minutes for a table even on weekdays.
Having visited LMB for many years I recommend not going for one of the bigger plates but trying out the smaller chaats instead. Order one plate each of Raj Kachori, Pyaaz Kachori, Chola Bhatura, Aloo Papri Chaat and the Burger (not an actual burger, they change the stuffing to a Rajasthani one which is amazing).
The pricing is very reasonable. Each dish costs somewhere between Rs.100 to Rs. 300 and never more. For desert you should get the cold Rasmalai and the hot Malpua which will both be dripping with sugar. The high is worth it though.
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2:30 pm : Johari Bazar shopping
Next we will venture out into Johari Bazar. It is one of the most famous streets in Jaipur and a shopping paradise. The bazaar is divided into sections by different products so you can find all the jewelers in one place, spices and food at another and clothing or jootis at a third. It’s easy to shop around and get a feel for the prices before buying anything.
The most famous form of jewelry sold here is the glazed enamel or meenakari jewelry near the Sanganeri gate entrance.
You can easily flag a rickshaw and get a ride to the gate. Beware that this is a local market and if anything is priced too expensive then you are most definitely getting conned and should walk away immediately.
The best way to enjoy the market is to start strolling in any direction and head whichever way you like. The market spreads around in all directions and the fun lies in seeing what you can find around the next corner.
You may even spot a procession of elephants making their way through the market or an early Indian wedding group going down the street.
5:00 pm : Hawa Mahal sunset
Next comes one of my favorites views in all of Jaipur. The famous Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds. Architectured from red and pink sandstone which gives the city its name, this was the window to the world of the ladies of the court. The ladies used to sit behind these windows and gaze upon the processions passing through the marketplace below. It extends to the Zenana or the women’s quarters of the City Palace behind it. It’s not worthwhile going inside the Hawa Mahal due to the crowds inside.
Rather the best view of this structure is from a cafe on the third floor on the opposite side of the road that is accessible by a small hidden staircase. You can ask any of the vendors on this side of the road to point out the entrance to you.
Here you can enjoy the birds eye view of all of Johari Bazaar and Hawa Mahal right in front. At dusk the golden sky and the mahal shining soft red before being lighted up by a thousand light bulbs is truly a unique sight.
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7:00 pm : Bar Palladio for dinner
To end the day head over to Bar Palladio 10 minutes away. Bar Palladio is a restaurant and lounge located within Narain Niwas Palace Hotel. It has the air of Mughal luxury while being inspired by the Italian heritage of its owner Barbara Miolini.
Through a narrow gate in an unassuming building you will find dancing peacocks, ripe mangoes hanging off giant trees and an open air canopied bar. Bar Palladio has one of the most stunning interiors designed by Dutch designer Marie-Ann Oudejans.
The canopies of blue and white instill a sense of cool and calm in the middle of a hot, sweaty and bustling city. As soon as you step inside you will begin to feel the exhaustion and grime of the day melt away in the sips of your martini.
The bar featuring an italian menu focuses on the premise that food should be simple, beautiful and delicious. Some of the inspiration for their creations come from minestrone, penne all’arrabbiata and spaghetti carbonara. The drinks menu is impressive and you can add a Rajasthani twist to it if you desire.
Some of the must haves are the Crisp Martini, Venetian Pritz and Arrancini. The bartenders are marvelous at their jobs so don’t be surprised at the exquisite drinks they pour.
The price is a bit expensive and the cost for two falls around Rs. 1800 but well worth it. It is recommended that you make a reservation in advance since the bar is very popular. Stay here for as long as you like and enjoy the quiet occasionally broken by a peacock’s call. Marvel that you are sitting in an ancient city in the middle of the desert in India.
9:00 pm : Night time drive to Amer Fort and Jal Mahal
Once you are ready to leave this oriental wonderland behind, head over to the last stop of the day. Not technically a stop..a car ride through the prettiest sites in the city lit up at night. The city has so many amazing nightly sites that an extra hour with the wind whipping through your hair on a pleasant night feels wonderful.
For the first stop, head over to Jal Mahal, a palace built in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. Only 20 minutes from Bar Palladio, the palace was a lodge for Maharaja Madho Singh while he went duck hunting. It has since been closed to the public but it is lit up every night and you can see the clear reflection of this marble palace in the lake.
From here we will continue on to Amber Fort another 20 minutes away. This is the biggest fort and the first line of defense for the city against invaders. Dating back to the 15th century, the fort is situated on Moata Lake. A bustling museum by day, this is one of the most popular forts for visitors.
If you were spending more than one day in Jaipur, this is an absolute must see. At night you can see the expansive fort lit up with a thousand lights.
A truly awe inspiring sight. You will find other cars enjoying street food and the same view as you nearby. Amber fort also has a wonderful light and sound show at 7:00 pm if you can make it there at time.
The show takes you through the history of the fort, ending with how it was opened to the public with the recorded voice of Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan.
In the distance if you look closely enough you can see the path that leads up from this fort to the Jaigarh fort running through the hills and amongst the trees. It ends at Jaigarh fort which seems to be floating in the clouds.
10:30 pm : Jawahar Circle Park for ice cream
Returning from Amber we will end the night at Jawahar Circle Park. This is a night time spot with colorful fountains and ice cream vendors. You can find local families enjoying a drive with their kids that are running around with balloons. It is also famous for the Patrika Gate.
The Patrika Gate is a newly made architecture wonder with Indian style paintings decorating it. This is also a famous Instagram spot if you weren’t aware. Enjoy a quiet ice cream cone sitting in front of the park before heading back in for the day.
Jaipur is one of the most amazing cities in India.
Filled to the brim with forts, palaces, food and colors. It is exactly what you pictured it to be and nothing you could have ever imagined.
Even though it is almost impossible to complete Jaipur for weeks, this one day guide will give you a glimpse of this cultural beauty and leave you hungry for more.