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Jaipur, India: 5 must-see hidden gems

By Kriti Gandhi 23 February 2022

Header image courtesy of Jaipur Tourism

Jaipur is often characterised as a city of tradition, culture, and history. Although it is a popular destination for tourists to visit, those who set foot in the “Pink City” of Rajasthan often limit their venture to overly visited—and overrated—tourist attractions. A city cannot truly be experienced until you explore beyond the average, and as Rajasthan’s pride and glory, Jaipur is inevitably home to countless hidden gems that will give you an authentic and cultural Rajasthani experience. Here are some of the must-visit spots in the Pink City.

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Photo: A.Savin (via Wikimedia Commons)

Garh Ganesh

Garh Ganesh is an eighteenth-century Hindu temple devoted to Lord Ganesh, the god of prosperity and wealth. Located near the famed Nahargarh Fort and Jaigarh Fort, this lesser-known heritage site sits on top of the stunning Aravali Hills.

Traditionally, temples dedicated to Lord Ganesh often feature the deity in his adult form, but the statue in Garh Ganesh is unlike any other. What’s unique about this statue is that it is built portraying him in his child form—Vigra Purushakriti—without his elephant trunk nose.

Built by Maharaja Swai Jai Singh II before the establishment of the city of Jaipur, the temple served as a holy site for the king to perform the ashvamedha yagna (अश्वमेघ यज्ञ)—a horse sacrifice ritual initiated by many ancient Indian kings to prove their imperial sovereignty. After the Pink City was founded, the statue of the deity was kept in a position where the king was able to see the monument from his palace using binoculars.

Although the temple is a popular attraction amongst locals, tourists rarely ever set foot on the spiritual site. With more than just mesmerising views, Garh Ganesh is a beautiful place of worship that combines religion and culture—a spiritual hidden gem to put on your list.

Garh Ganesh, near Gatore Ki Chhatriyan, Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002, India | +91 141 267 0777

Photo: Baron Ghosh (via Unspalsh)

Gaitore Ki Chhatriyan

In the midst of Jaipur’s hustle and bustle, Gaitore Ki Chhatriyan is a sanctuary filled with tranquillity. As the royal crematorium grounds, Gaitore Ki Chhatriyan is known for its historical significance and houses a cluster of royal tombs. Designed in the eighteenth century, the burial grounds were reserved for the Kachwaha, a Rajput clan that once ruled the region.

Each royal cenotaph is topped with a beautiful chhatri (छतरी), an umbrella-shaped dome structure common in Indian memorial and cremation sites. Constructed with marble and sandstone, the chhatris are embellished with meaningful carvings, and the architecturally ornate structures make the royal burial ground look like a composition of mini open-air palaces. While the Gaitore Ki Chhatriyan is a fascinating spot to visit as a traveller, be sure to be mindful and respectful of the site’s funerary and historical past.

Gaitore Ki Chhatriyan, Krishna Nagar, Brahampuri, Jaipur, Rajasthan 302002, India

Photo: Raonaresh

Bairat (formerly Viratnagar)

Situated 56 kilometres from Jaipur, the archaeological remains of Bairat stand strong and proud, a home to culture, mythology, and history. Believed to be of great historical significance, the origins of Bairat date back to the Vedic era, and was even noticed in the Mahābhārata, the Sanskrit epic of ancient India. 

Formerly known as Viratnagar, the city was founded by King Virata and was the ancient capital of Matsyadeśa (मत्स्यदेश), one of the sixteen great kingdoms. It is infamous for housing the five Pandavas (पांडवों) during their 13-year exile in Indian mythology. In addition to this, two Asokan (अशोक) inscriptions and other ancient Buddhist relics were also found here.

Among the archaeological remains, there are many architectural wonders you can explore during your visit. The ancient city encompasses the remains of a circular Buddhist temple—called the Bairat Temple—and ancient Mughal structures and monuments.

Bairath, near Shahpura-Alwar Road, Jaipur, Rajasthan 303102, India

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Photo: Chandlai Lake (via Wikimedia Commons)

Chandlai Lake

Chandlai Lake is one of the most astonishing and offbeat places in Jaipur. Sitting approximately 30 kilometres from the Pink City on Tonk Road makes it an easily accessible attraction, and the 140-year-old lake has seen generations of outstanding birds, flora, and fauna that would beguile you with their unbelievable beauty.

Chandlai Lake is home to more than 10,000 migratory birds, including the pied avocet, Pallas’s gull, and the white wagtail, who take shelter in the region. From Central Asia to Africa and Europe, these breathtaking birds arrive in Jaipur from all over the world, taking sanctuary at the lake for two to five months each year before, once again, departing in early May. The spectacular lake also breeds other aquatic life and vegetation.

With picturesque views and euphoric melodies of the countryside, Chandlai Lake is a heaven for nature lovers and an ideal destination for those seeking a break from city life.

Chandlai Lake, near Chandlai Toll Plaza, Jaipur, Rajasthan 303903, India | +91 90018 46629

Samode Palace

Samode Palace is located north of Jaipur and is one of the most breathtaking places near the Pink City. Deemed extremely exclusive, the site has played host to celebrities and royals. Built of sandstone, the Samode Palace sits at the foot of the Aravalli Hills and commands magnificent scenery. Its interiors are inspired by both Mughlai and Rajasthani architectural styles. Decorated with marble floors, mosaic walls, luxurious carpets, and ancient wall paintings, the Samode Palace was initially built in the sixteenth century as a Rajput fort, but the structure was converted into a lavishly designed palace in the nineteenth century.

Many say that the site is filled with underground passages that were once used by kings in times of crisis. Nowadays, the hidden gem is a hotel that promises a royal experience. Samode Fort rests right above the palace structure and offers a scenic panoramic view of the valley, while Samode Village near the palace is famous for its textiles and block printing.

Samode Palace, Tehsil, Village Samode, Chomu, Rajasthan 303806, India | +91 141 263 2407

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Kriti Gandhi

Former editorial intern

Kriti was born in Mumbai but raised in Hong Kong and shares a strong bond with both places. As a current journalism student, she is keen on writing, sharing stories, and has a growing interest in photography. When she is not reading (Harry Potter, or anything really), you’ll find her exploring the city, attempting to skateboard, and finding new dumpling places.

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