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Your Essential Guide to Jaipur, India: Amber Fort, Jaigarh, Nahargarh & Jal Mahal

Amber Fort Image



Join me on a taxi tour of Jaipur’s outskirts and visit the city’s impressive historic forts and palaces.

In This India Article You Will Discover:

  • The stunning beauty of Amber Fort
  • Jaipur’s Hidden Gem
  • Where to see Jaipur from Above

We only had three days in Jaipur; not enough, as it would turn out. In fact, the state of Rajasthan will be the focal point of my next visit to India — it could take a year or more to see all the wonders within the Land of Kings.

After the previous day’s walking tour, we hired a taxi to tour us around the outskirts of the city, visiting the mountaintop forts of Jaigarh, Nahargarh and the famous Amber Fort with a stopover at Jal Mahal. We were matched with Rakeesh, probably the nicest taxi driver in all of India; he earned his tip (whole day tour set us back 2,200 Rupees plus gratuity; cheaper is probably available but you get what you pay for). With that, here are four must-sees on the outskirts of Jaipur:

Amber Fort

amber-fort-panoramic

The spectacular Amber Fort, on the outskirts of Jaipur.

Sprawling and ethereal, a visit to the famous, 400-year-old Amber Fort — located in a mountain valley some 11 km from Jaipur — is reason enough to visit Rajasthan. A golden hued Rajput architectural showpiece, expect to wander this fort for an hour or two, exploring the nooks and staircases, marvelling at the Hall of Public Audience, Hall of Victory, Hall of Pleasure and the secluded Siladevi Temple, where goats were once sacrificed. (No photography or leather clothing/bags is allowed within Siladevi.) Walk to the fort from the lakeside parking lot, pay 1,000 Rupees per person for the 10-minute elephant ride or drive right to the gate — an audio tour helps illuminate each section. (If you’re scared of snakes, keep clear of travelling charmers who love to open cobra-baskets right at your feet.) Admission is 300 Rupees.

Nahargarh

nahargarh

The view over Jaipur from the imposing stone fort of Nahargarh.

Overlooking the city from the northeast, 300-year-old Nahargarh is an imposing stone fort with a panoramic view of downtown Jaipur. The drive to this fort will take longer than your exploration of it, but it’s worth a visit — if only to take a wander of the stone walls lining the cliff-face or have a Kingfisher beer at the open air-café. But really, the number-one reason to head uphill to this area is next… (Admission 30 Rupees)

Jaigarh

jaigarh-cliff-jaipur

One of Jaipur’s lesser-visited attractions, stunning Jaigarh.

According to Rakeesh, Jaigarh is skipped over by many tourists and taxi-drivers alike — verified by the lack of crowds — which is bizarre given that it is second only to the Amber Fort in its magnificence, and its valley vistas easily surpass those offered by any other local attraction. (When you visit the Amber Fort, look uphill — that enticing cliffside structure looming overhead is Jaigarh.) Red sandstone walls line a steep precipice and surround a picturesque English garden. Watch for troublesome monkeys. Although it takes less than an hour to tour the attraction, I could have looked out over the Amber Fort, still-water lake and the dusty, desert mountains all day. Before you leave, check out the world’s largest wheeled cannon, but ignore uniformed “officials” — they will begin “touring” you without your consent, and expect to be paid for it. Admission is free with a City Palace ticket less than two days old.

Jal Mahal

jal-mahal

Jal Mahal — soon to be a five-star restaurant.

Located beside the highway to the Amber Fort, and set in the middle of a misty lake, the Jal Mahal is a gorgeous water temple — that is currently closed. Yep, you can’t go out there; you will, though, be swarmed by touts when you stop for a photo. However, according to Rakeesh it has been purchased by a hotel developer and will soon be a five-star restaurant. So if you head to India in late 2013, and don’t mind spending a couple of bucks, dine at Jal Mahal.

Thankfully, India is so easy to fly into these days, especially for Western travellers coming from or via the UK or Europe. A stopover in Doha or Dubai in the Middle East, also a good place to do a currency exchange with Travelex, is an easy way to reach Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and, of course, Jaipur.

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About the author: David Webb is a Vancouver, BC-based travel writer, photographer and magazine editor.

3 comments… add one
  • David Webb Aug 11, 2014

    It’s a great city – I got sick there too, on out last night. Yuck.

  • Leonardo Aug 9, 2014

    I miss Jaipur, I missed a lot from that city.. Was there for 3days and was Sick from day 1. But we are going back there soon!
    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  • Surya May 18, 2013

    proud to be a Japurian so tourists padharo mhare des……………

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