Jaipur is a fairytale city in Rajasthan,the largest state of India. With it’s enchanting forts, fascinating folklore and magical music, Jaipur has something for everyone. This beautiful city is royal, chaotic and rustic all at once and is wonderful to explore with kids (or without :)).
Jaipur was founded by king Jai Singh II in 1726 and was planned on the principles of Vastu Shastra. Jaipur is also known as the pink city of India and as soon as you step into the city, you will know why. In 1876, Sawai Ram Singh ordered the city to be painted terracotta pink to welcome the Prince of Wales, as the colour represented warmth and hospitality. In 1877, it is said that on his queen’s request, the Maharaja passed a law that any new building constructed should be painted pink. This law is still followed by some.
We know that travelling with kids and keeping them interested is challenging. While most of Jaipur’s famous attractions are all family friendly, we explored found some very unique experiences over our two visits there. So here are our favourites :
Exploring Hawa Mahal (Palace of Winds)
Hawa Mahal or Palace of Winds was built to help the royal ladies to view the festivals and processions from the jharokhas (small windows) as women had to observe “ghunghat” by covering their face in public. You will still see some local women observing this tradition.
What’s interesting is that because of the five storeyed honeycomb structure with intricate lattice work the whole palace has a natural cooling effect. Kids love the colourful glass work and watching the busy streets from the windows.
Travel Tips :
Timing : 9 am – 5 pm. Visit at sun rise or sunset when the palace turns into beautiful hues of pink and yellow sandstone. A lot of stairs to reach the top so carry water. Be careful with kids as some balconies have wide gaps. Hire a guide or take an audio guide to explore the history of this marvellous palace.
Ride an Elephant to Amer Fort
Amer fort or Amber fort is a majestic fort built on top of a hill in Amer. It’s about 11 kms away from Jaipur city and is a must visit. You can reach the fort gates either by driving up or on an elephant. The front courtyard and the magnificent gates are where the royal guests were welcomed with full pomp and show and so are you with the beautiful view.
The fort is huge with numerous sections and gardens for kids to run around and enjoy. Kids really love the colourful designs and mirror work.
Many Bollywood movies have been filmed in this fort, the recent ones being Jodha Akbar and Veer. Another interesting fact about this fort is the secret tunnel that leads to Jaigarh fort and was built for safe passage of royal ladies and children incase of an attack.
Travel Tips :
Timing : 8 am – 5:30 pm. Try visiting early to beat the crowd and escape afternoons which are generally hot. It takes atleast two hours just to cover the basics but if you want to explore the fort beyond the typical spots, budget for three to four hours. Carry caps, sunglasses, drinking water and kid essentials as required. There is a lot of walking involved. Hire a guide or an audio guide so that you do not get lost and cover the most and hear the fascinating folk tales.
Watch a Puppet show at Chokhi Dhani
It’s difficult to visit Jaipur and miss Chokhi Dhani. The resort, themed as a ethnic Rajasthani village, is a great way to experience the culture and hospitality of Rajasthan.
This place has entertaining shows like folk dances, singing, camel rides, puppet shows, fortune-tellers, acrobatics, predicting parrots, magic shows, horse riding, boating, elephant rides etc. to keep every age group occupied. The complete setting is completely traditional and it does feel that you have been transformed into a vibrant fun village for the evening.
Travel Tips :
Chokhi Dhaani is located outside the city on Tonk Road. If you are taking a taxi or auto back, do bargain on the fare as they ask for too much at night.
Dining with Peacocks at Steam – Train themed restaurant at Taj Rambagh Palace
The former residence of Jaipur’s royal family and now a heritage hotel run by Taj groups is probably the best luxurious hotel in Jaipur to experience the royal Rajputana hospitality. While the hotel boasts of the finest royal dining experience inside the Rambagh palace, few know about the train themed casual restaurant called Steam.
It has a railway platform for an outdoor experience and an actual train acting as an indoor restaurant. It also has a kid friendly menu. What adds to the ambience are the many peacocks that roam around freely and beautifully merge with the backdrop of the palace.
Travel Tips :
The restaurant opens at 6 pm . We loved their pizzas and fish and chips.
Watching Jaipur city from Nahargarh Fort and dine at Once Upon a Time
It’s believed that Nahargarh was built by Sawai Raja Man Singh as a retreat destination for him and his nine wives while we heard another tale from the our driver. The construction of the fort had disturbed the resting place of a prince named Nahar Singh Bhomia and his spirit was not allowing the fort to be completed. To pacify the spirit, the king built a temple inside the fort and renamed the fort to Nahargarh from Sudarshangarh, following which the fort was built.
The fort offers marvellous 360 degree views of the city. It has 12 identical sections across the king’s central suite called Madhavendra palace. These rooms belonging to the queens, are inter joined by corridors in such a way that the king could discretely go to one queen’s room without the knowledge of others.
The corridors are a great place to play with kids but be careful not to get lost in the confusing passages. Younger kids also love opening and shutting the doors and windows.
The palace shows a different dimension at night with the view of gorgeously lit Jaipur city under a starlit sky. Inside ‘Once Upon a Time’, we seemed to have stepped into the past with royalty surrounding us and live Rajasthani music being played by the local artists. A perfect place for a romantic dinner with a spell binding ambience.
Travel Tips :
Take your own vehicle or a taxi package to Nahargarh as there are no auto or taxi stands. Avoid during the afternoon as it becomes excessive hot. Do hire a guide to explore the hidden wonders.
What are your favourite spots in Jaipur?
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