Jaipur, Rajasthan’s capital, is an enthralling historical city and the gateway to India’s most flamboyant state. The city’s colourful, chaotic streets ebb and flow with a heady brew of old and new. And, the best way to discover the city’s hidden gems is by taking a walk through its bustling lanes.
START: NEW GATE
END: INDIAN COFFEE HOUSE
LENGTH 3 KM; TWO TO THREE HOURS
Entering the Old City from 1 New Gate, turn right inside the city wall into 2 Bapu Bazaar. Brightly coloured bolts of fabric, jootis (traditional shoes) and aromatic perfumes make the street a favourite for Jaipur’s women. At the end of Bapu Bazaar you’ll come to 3 Sanganeri Gate. Turn left into 4 Johari Bazaar, the jewellery market, where you will find jewellers, goldsmiths and also artisans doing highly glazed meenakari (enamelling), a speciality of Jaipur. Continuing north, walk past 5 Jama Masjid, with its tall minarets, then duck through an archway (between Nos 145 and 146) that leads into a bustling half-covered alleyway, sparkling with the sequined shawls and saris. Turn right at the end for more colourful 6 sari stalls. Return the way you came, turning left to reach 7 Badi Chaupar. Take a quick look at the spectacular 8 Hawa Mahal before walking west along 9 Tripolia Bazaar, leading to a Tripolia Gate. This is the main entrance to b Jantar Mantar and the c City Palace, but only the maharaja’s family may enter here. The public entrance is via the less-ostentatious Atishpol (Stable Gate), a little further along. Further west is d Iswari Minar Swarga Sal, which is well worth climbing for the city views (enter from the back). Cross the road here and duck into e Maniharon ka Rasta (between Nos 349 and 350), an alleyway specialising in colourful lac (resin) bangles. Walking south, clothes and crockery stores appear as the lane becomes less touristy. Look out for the green-painted, but rundown f haveli opposite shop No 1129, before turning right through a narrow tunnel, and eventually popping out onto Kishanpol Bazaar. Turn left and walk past a collection of small g kite shops before ending your tour with a well-earned break at the simple but charming h Indian Coffee House, just outside the Old City walls.
This article is an excerpt from our India travel guide.