Top Things to Do in Jaipur and Agra

Jaipur and Agra make up two-thirds of India’s Golden Triangle. This route is popular with first-time visitors to India and provides a robust introduction to the country’s rich history, architecture, and culture. Here are the top things to do and see in Jaipur and Agra.

Hawa Mahal (Wind Palace)

Pink City

Jaipur is known as the Pink City for an obvious reason: the beautiful pink sandstone buildings that make up the historic city center. Many of the city’s principal tourist attractions are located here, from the striking windows of the Hawa Mahal to the colorful doors of City Palace.

The city took on its signature dusty pink hue in 1876 as a means to impress Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, during his visit to Jaipur. Hundreds of years later, the uniquely colored buildings continue to impress visitors from around the world.

Be sure to walk around and peruse the many bazaars and take in the sight of Ajmeri Gate, one of three ornate gates marking the entrance to the Pink City.

Amber Fort

Amber Fort, the original home of Jaipur’s royal family, is one of the city’s top attractions. Located a 20-minute drive from the Pink City, construction on this well preserved fort first began in 1592.

You can pay extra for an elephant ride to the top of the fort or simply walk up. I enjoyed walking and seeing all manner of sights, from local families in traditional clothing to goats trotting down the steps.

Some highlights include the Sun Gate, which leads to a public courtyard that hosted military parades in the past;⁠ Shila Devi temple, dedicated to the goddess Kali; the red sandstone columns of Diwan-e-Aam, the Hall of Public Audience; Ganesh Gate, marking the entrance to the private quarters of the palace; and the Hall of Mirrors, which contains glittering mirrored mosaics.

There are many corridors to explore, giving the palace a maze-like quality. We almost missed the Palace of Man Singh on the backside of Amber Fort. It’s one of the oldest parts of the palace and home to the zenana, or the women’s quarters.

Entry Fees & Hours
  • Cost: 500 rupees for foreigners
  • Hours: 8 AM – 5:30 PM, Daily
  • Light Show: 295 rupees for Indians and foreigners
    • Summer: 7:30 PM (English), 8:30 PM (Hindi)
    • Winter: 6:30 PM (English), 7:30 PM (Hindi)

Hawa Mahal

The Hawa Mahal, or Wind Palace, is Jaipur’s most famous building. Built in 1799 as an extension of City Palace, it has 953 windows, all painted in Jaipur’s iconic pink sandstone. The windows were built for the king’s harem to see the activity of the city below, without being seen. As Atlas Obscura describes it, the Hawa Mahal is the world’s most beautiful screened in porch.

The palace is made up of 5 stories built in the form of the Hindu god Krishna’s crown. Aside from some colorful glasswork, there’s not much to see inside; however, at just 500 rupees (~$7 USD), it’s worth a quick visit to see the view from the other side of the famed wall.⁠

⁠For the best views of the Hawa Mahal, you’ll have to brave the never-ending stream of tuk tuks and taxis to cross the street. The Tattoo Cafe is a rooftop cafe right across the way and boasts an unobstructed view.⁠ Grab a bite to eat and stay to see the palace illuminated at night.

Entry Fees & Hours
  • Cost: 200 rupees for foreigners
  • Hours: 9 AM – 4:30 PM, Daily

City Palace

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II moved his royal court from the town of Amer (home to Amber Fort) to Jaipur in the 1700s. When establishing his new city, he made sure to include a grand royal home, which is still home to the royal family today⁠.

City Palace was built in 1727 and sits at the center of the Pink City. Situated behind ornate walls and made up of a complex of courtyards and gates, the palace is quite stunning. Without a doubt, the highlight is the Pritam Niwas Chowk courtyard. It’s home to 4 marvelous doorways, each representing a season.

We opted to purchase the official audio guide (only 100 rupees) and spent close to 3 hours exploring the palace and the three galleries included with the basic ticket. My favorite one featured photos from one maharaja who had a penchant for photography.⁠

Be sure to hold on to your ticket if you plan to visit the Royal Centograph and Jaigarh Fort.⁠ Your City Palace ticket includes entrance to these monuments as well.

Entry Fees & Hours
  • Composite Ticket: 700 rupees for foreigners. Includes Jaigarh Fort and Royal Centograph.
  • Royal Grandeur Ticket: 2,000 rupees for foreigners. Includes access to the royal family’s private rooms. This is the ticket to buy if you’d like to take a photo in the IG famous blue and white room.
  • Hours: 9:30 AM – 5:30 PM, Daily
  • Website
Woman walks by sundial inside Jantar Mantar

Jantar Mantar

Located right across the street from City Palace, Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observatory consisting of enormous stone instruments. Built in the mid-1700s by the same maharaja who built City Palace, it is home to the world’s largest sundial at 73-feet tall.

The structures are interesting to look at, especially with the shadows cast at sunset. However, unless you’re a photographer or really into astronomy, you can skip this spot.

Entry Fees & Hours
  • Cost: 200 rupees for foreigners
  • Hours: 9 AM – 4:30 PM, Daily

Patrika Gate

Patrika Gate, known as the most colorful gate in India, was built in 2016 and leads to Jawahar Circle, a large circular park. The colorful paintings throughout this intricate doorway depict the rich history of Rajasthan’s royal family. Its rainbow hues also make it a popular spot for photos; there was an engagement photo shoot happening when we visited in the afternoon.⁠

Despite being 30 minutes away from the city center, this spectacular gate is definitely worth visiting. If you’re arriving from the Jaipur airport, make a pit stop here before heading to your hotel.

Entry Fees & Hours
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Open 24 hrs, Daily


Jal Mahal translates to Water Palace, a fitting name given that 4 stories of the building are currently under water. It sits in the middle of a man-made reservoir and initially served as a hunting lodge for the raja (king).

The Water Palace has been closed to visitors for years, but rumor has it there are plans to re-open it in the near future. The palace, which appears to be floating on water, makes for a nice photo opp on the way to the Amber Fort.

Entry Fees & Hours
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Interior is not open to the public
Posing with my sister in front of the Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal is iconic worldwide, not only due to its beauty, but also as a testament to the enduring power of love.

Located in the town of Agra, it’s a 6 hour drive from Jaipur. The Taj Mahal was commissioned in 1632 by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. She died a year prior after giving birth to their 14th child. The entire complex took 20 years to build, with the help of 20,000 workers and 1,000 elephants.

Visiting one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World was without a doubt, the highlight of my trip. I would recommend arriving at sunrise as our tour group did. You’ll not only avoid hordes of tourists, but also be able to take in the gorgeous sight of the sun illuminating the Taj.

Entry Fees & Hours
  • Cost: 1,300 rupees including mausoleum entry
  • Hours: 30 minutes before sunrise – 30 minutes after sunset
    • Closed on Fridays
  • Website

Agra Fort

Though the Taj Mahal is undoubtedly Agra’s main attraction, Agra Fort is also worth a visit. Four generations of Mughal emperors lived and ruled from here while Agra was the empire’s capital.

The fort in its current form was restored by the third Mughal emperor, Akbar, with work finishing in 1573. It is primarily a military fort, but each emperor made additions over the years, from white marble mosques to a moat. This awesome example of Mughal architecture, which combined Islamic and Hindu influences, served as the inspiration for Delhi’s Red Fort.

Entry Fees & Hours
  • Cost: 650 rupees for foreigners
  • Hours: Sunrise to Sunset, Daily

Bonus Tips

There’s plenty of jaw-dropping architecture to see and history to soak up in Jaipur and Agra. I’d recommend 2-3 days in Jaipur and 1 day in Agra to visit the major attractions.

For folks who prefer to explore on their own, download the CaptivaTour app. There are tours for all the major attractions in the Golden Triangle. The first audio guide is free and each one after costs about $2 USD.

If you intend to do a lot of sightseeing, I’d also recommend purchasing the Jaipur Composite Ticket. Foreign visitors pay just 1,000 rupees to receive access to Amber Fort, Central Museum, Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, Isarlat Sargasooli Tower, and Narhargarh Fort, all over the course of two days. This combo ticket is available online and at any of the monuments included in the ticket.

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