Rolling green hills, sparkling lakes with fish you can see swimming close to the surface, and the taste of the cool homemade kulfi under the hot Indian sun– yes, nothing beats a glorious day at the beautiful Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur, Rajasthan, Built in 1726 and located about 14.1 kilometers from the city, roughly a 40 minute drive, you will escape to an amazing historical site featuring forts, a palace, museums, and side street shopping.
This is a great time to put on your best shoes though because you will be doing a lot of walking. Walking you won’t regret, however, as you stroll through the beautiful gardens headed up to Jaigarh Fort where you will lay eyes on the panoramic views of the lush mountains. As you gaze down looking over the city, you will feel like royalty once must have as they laid eyes on similar views; or at least this is how I felt when I was there.
If you like people watching or picnicking this is a great place to spend your day. There is a well-maintained garden at the entrance where you can enjoy your surroundings with friends and family. You can choose to bring your own blanket or just lounge in the grass enjoying nature. I recommend a visit to the delicious street food lining the main road, mouth-watering sweets, savory chicken, and you must try the home-made kulfi (traditional Indian ice-cream) they make near the Amer (Amber) Palace, it is my personal favorite treat!
There’s an interesting rumor of a treasure being stacked away in the fort precincts that was never found and later proclaimed to be false. Though who knows? Maybe there really is something worth finding beneath these walls or underground. Just because someone else couldn’t find it, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not there. 😉
When you enter and start your climb, the left entrance will take you to Jaigarh Fort where-as the right entrance will lead you to Amer Palace. Both are a must see and very beautifully structured. It is free to wander outside of the gates, but if you want to enter to view the inside of both, there is an entrance fee. For foreigners, it is a bit more expensive than that of the natives, but it is definitely worth it. However, I do not recommend paying the extra fee for your camera or cell phone. No one said anything to me as I was taking pictures, but if you want to play it safe it’s only about an extra ₹50, which is less than a dollar.
If you get too tired climbing up to Jaigarh Fort there is a small golf cart, fitting around 4 people, that will take you the rest of the way and back down for around a total of ₹150 per person (about $2.50). Personally, I enjoy the scenery and taking photos, so I did not opt for the ride. It is a tiring yet rewarding climb to the top.
Once there you can enter and view the old Cannon Factory where it houses the Jaivana Cannon. Though it was never used, this cannon was once known as the largest cannon in the world on wheels during its glory days. The foundry where it was manufactured is also located here. There is an armory chamber with displays of shields, swords, old muskets, and guns. Make sure to also visit the museum to the left of the Awami Gate. Inside you will find old photographs of the Royalty of Jaipur, many artifacts, and old stamps. You can see where the Kings and Queens dined and the photographs are really intriguing as it makes your mind wonder what life must have been like back then.
After you have viewed Jaigarh Fort and Amer Palace, make sure to venture out the back way of the Palace and you will find yourself headed towards Meena Bawadi (Panna Meena Ka Kund). This is an area that is less known to tourists and is still used as a gathering area since the sixteenth century. This incredibly designed structure was built over a tank of water and is surrounded by flights of stairs on all sides. According to the local residents, it is almost impossible for someone to use the same stairs twice to go up and down. It is a mystery of the place, but indeed quite hard due to the criss-cross patterns of the architecture. It is a wonderful place to sit, relax, and take a few photos!