A local's guide to Jaipur, India

Local expert and Insight Guides trip planner Bushan shares local knowledge to help you plan a memorable trip to India's 'pink city' of Jaipur
Musicians in the courtyard of AMber Fort. Photo: Shutterstock
Musicians in the courtyard of AMber Fort. Photo: Shutterstock

When should we plan our holiday to Jaipur and why?

Jaipur has a warm climate year-round but October to March can be described as the best time to visit India's 'Pink City'; although, be warned, this is the height of the tourist season too. Throughout October, there are cool breezes and mild sunshine making it suitable for visitors to go sightseeing during the day.

Where would you recommend we stay in Jaipur?

There is a hotel, hostel and bunk for every type of traveller in Jaipur. There are several heritage hotels, offering guests a luxurious service, grand settings, and are famous for their warm welcome. These are home to a wide range of facilities, intricately designed interiors and exteriors, and a royal ambience. These heritage hotels are famous for their impressive traditional appearance and true hospitality of Rajasthan. Oberoi Udaivilas is just one of Insight Guides' choices of the most beautiful hotels in India; find out more here

Some Jaipur hotels offer rooms with a view of grand palaces and beautiful gardens. Such hotels are known for their architectural grandeur and amazing ambience too. Live like royalty at Rambagh Palace known as the "Jewel of Jaipur", and only a short walk from the city's most popular sites. 

Where is a great place for dinner?

In the Pink City, the old part of Jaipur, there’s a vegetarian restaurant called LMB – Laxmi Mishthan Bhandar. The specialty here is vegetarian thali: 16 or 18 different dishes, all with contrasting tastes and textures. Alternatively, Rawat Mishthan Bhandar serves pyaz kachoris, and mawa kachoris, puff pastries typical of Rajasthan that come in sweet and savoury varieties. A creamy pepper chicken is served at Moti Mahal Dhabha on M.I. Road just before you enter Chameli Bazaar to shop for silver trinkets.

One of the best restaurants in Jaipur is Spice Court, offering everything from Indian to Chinese to Continental, located on Jacob Road. Visitors should try the laal maas (spicy mutton curry), which is fragrant, flavourful and yet authentic too. Make sure you leave room for desert: one particular highlight of this place is the lemon pastry.

For long-standing favourites, there is Handi Restaurant, opposite the GPO, where you'll get a taste of tandoori chicken, paneer butter masala, Handi meat and seekh kabab. Next door is the Copper Chimney, one of the longest-standing Indian-Chinese restaurants in Jaipur. It serves dishes like chicken Haka noodles, crispy okra with a garlic sauce, and honey chilli potatoes, but also traditional northern Indian cuisine.

For fine-dining, nothing beats Surya Mahal at the Oberoi Rajvilas. It offers European and Asian cuisine but showcases Rajasthani specialties.  Another good place is Chokhi Dhani, which gives a snapshot of local life and colour. For a truly regal experience, you shouldn’t miss a meal at Cinnamon at the Jai Mahal Palace Hotel.

And finally, make sure you wash it all down (or cool yourself after a round of shopping) with a lassi (a sweet yoghurt-based drink) at the famous Lassiwala Pan Shop.

Bushan is an Insight Guides local expert and trip planner for India: explore itineraries he's created here

Amber Fort. Photo: ShutterstockAmber Fort. Photo: Shutterstock 

Is there a ‘must-try’ dish while we’re in Jaipur?

Soola (mutton) is a Rajasthani version of mutton tikka. Made to order at Mehrunisa's is the best. As well as this, laal maas is a spicy mutton curry. Available in many restaurants across the city but recommend at Spice Court.

Is there an ‘unmissable’ experience while we’re in Jaipur too?

Make sure you experience the Jaipur Heritage Walk: take a stroll through the city and understand the true ethnic culture of Rajasthan. From historic monuments and traditional markets to spicy street food, this journey is full of unexpected sights and surprises. 

Where is the city's most romantic spot?

Watch the sunset at Nahargarh Fort, on the top of Aravali Hills. The view of the 'pink city' of Jaipur is very impressive from here. Another tranquil spot is Sisodia Rani Ka Bagh: a lush green garden, with a beautiful setting and peaceful atmosphere. 

Where can we hang out with locals?

Café Kooba's rooftop terrace, impressive list of beers, and traditional ambiance make this a popular place. The 1st-floor dining area of this bar is decorated flamboyantly with framed replicas of traditional Indian posters. The rooftop's soothing lights, pillowed benches and heaps of hookahs, appear like a setting straight from 1001 Arabian Nights.

Alternatively, Henry’s The Pub is another popular hangout. This lively place is found on the ground floor of Park Prime Jaipur hotel. The music, drinks, and the ambience are a major attraction for young adults all around the city.

Want to explore Jaipur for yourself? Take a trip with Insight Guides to see the best of the city and beyond

Colorful ethnic shoes and camel decorations on violet Rajasthan cushion cover on flea market in Jaipur. Photo: ShutterstockColorful ethnic shoes and camel decorations on violet Rajasthan cushion cover on flea market in Jaipur. Photo: Shutterstock

Do you have any additional ‘insider’ tips?

Take a heritage walk to the local Bazaars of Jaipur where you can observe local artisans, like silversmiths and bangle-makers, at work. It’s a great way to explore Jaipur like a local and learn about the rich artistic traditions of this fascinating city. Spend some time in Home Cafe by Mr.Beans, a coffee shop with a light international menu.

What souvenir should we bring home from our trip?

Gemstones, jewellery, Jaipuri quilts, readymade Rajasthani dresses, handicraft items: there are too many options to take home with you. 

Let Bushan create your trip to Jaipur, where he'll show you the very best of this beautiful Indian city

Plan your trip to India with the help of Insight Guides:

What you need to know: 10 tips for your first trip to India

Fancy something with a little more oomph? 9 adventurous activities in the Himalayas

Visiting the Taj Mahal: everything you need to know