Jaipur, the enthralling capital of Rajasthan in Northern India, affectionately known as the Pink City is a wonderful city to explore. My first trip to the city was swift with only one day to see the highlights and celebrate Diwali in Jaipur. so let’s find out my one-day itinerary to pack it all in!
DAY 1 | Explore Jaipur & Celebrate Diwali
Feel Royal in Amber Fort & City Palace
Amber (pronounced Amer) Fort of Rajasthan is situated on a natural ridge 11km north of Jaipur and is definitely an iconic attraction of the city. The fort dates back to the 16th century and is an eclectic mix of Hindu and Mughal architecture. The complex comprises a sprawling palace with pink and yellow sandstone, exquisite marble, decorative mirrored inset panels, and stunning arches overlooking the expansive view of the city and the Maota Lake.
Step down the Panna Meena Ka Kund
There are many temples and historic sites that lay at the bottom of the Amber Fort. Panna Meena Ka Kund is a beautiful 8-storey step well with criss-cross steps on 3 sides and recessed doorways. This hidden gem is close to the Jaipur-Amer road and should not be missed!
Enjoy the local Rajasthan hospitality
It was a treat to be welcomed into the home of Raju and JiJi, the daal lunch was delicious and their hospitality was heart-warming. They keep cows in their backyard, a great source of milk. The uncle lived next door and holds the accolade of being the best pigeon-fancier in the region!
Visit an ethical elephant Sanctuary
We stopped by Elefantastic elephant sanctuary where workers can reside with their big giants and some rescue elephants from circuses. It truly was great to see them in this environment where they are looked after without chains on their feet. They are painted with non-toxic art, it was lovely to feed and rub their bumpy skin.
There are many awful sanctuaries in India where the elephants are highly mistreated and chained up. Do your research before you go – be a responsible tourist!
Time to celebrate Diwali in Jaipur
Diwali is a five-day Hindu festival in late Autumn to honour Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, it’s a time to wear new clothes, spring clean and exchange gifts. Lamps are lit to help Lakshmi find her way into people’s homes that are left open to make it possible for her to enter.
The most perfect location to take in the Festival of Light all over the city is at The Narahgarh Fort. The fireworks were going off, the lights were flashing, the whole city just sparkled… wow! We spent our last couple of hours on the roof of our hotel playing with the firecrackers and getting in the spirit of it, the bustling street below sounded like a war zone… Happy Diwali!
DAY 2 | Explore Jaipur on Motorbikes
Travelling by motorbike gives you new freedom to explore Jaipur and the countryside of Rajasthan. It can be hair-raising at times but we discovered the Galta Ji Temple and the stunning Aravalli Hills before heading back to the chaos of Jaipur. We only experienced it for one day but there are many excursions for longer!
It’s clear there’s a set of unwritten rules on the roads in India, it’s like an urban Highway Code, and apparently no rules for motorbikes. All the trucks have ‘Horn Please’ or ‘Sound Horn’ painted on their trucks, this is taken very literally by every vehicle on the road – it’s noisy, organised chaos!
Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakesMahatma Ghandi
Visit Galta Ji Temple
We rode legendary Indian motorbikes, Royal Enfields for an unforgettable road trip across Rajasthan, through the hustle and bustle of Jaipur about 10km to the Galta Ji Temple, also known as Monkey Temple as there are colonies swinging from the rafters.
This jewel of Jaipur is built into the mountain pass in the Aravalli Hills, set around a natural spring and the water is collected in the water tanks outside. It is a sacred spot where Hindu pilgrims descend to bathe in the holy water and make offerings and pray in the nearby temples, especially during the festivals of Diwali (Oct/Nov) and Makar Sankranti (early Jan).
Explore the Aravalli Countryside
Hopping back on the bikes, we zoomed through the countryside and villages, of course, slowing down for any cows that decided to roam the streets. Our next stop was The Gateway Hotel Ramgarh Lodge Jaipur located in the Kukas area with stunning views of the Aravalli Hills all around.
The former royal hunting lodge built for the maharaja in Jaipur is set in exquisite gardens with a very inviting swimming pool, just wanted to dive in! We sat down to lunch in the decorative dining area to eat our delicious Indian food, admittedly one dish was a little spicy for my palate, bringing a small tear to my eye!
DIWALI IN JAIPUR: THE ESSENTIALS
Where to stay in Jaipur
It will come as no surprise that Jaipur will be rammed for the Diwali celebrations so book early to get the accommodation you want.
A little bit of safety
Firecrackers are going off like no tomorrow so if you want to protect your hearing, pack some earplugs, some are pretty darn loud!
Grab your travel insurance
Who would be silly enough not to have travel insurance on the top of your list? World Nomads is my go-to guys, I’ve learned this from experience. You can buy and claim online even when you’ve left home. I love that they give a little back too and support community development projects in various countries.
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