Jaipur in a Day with the Rajasthan RTDC Tourism Bus

Even though I was dealing with a nasty stomach bug, I braved the slow local bus to Jaipur, eager to get the hell out of Agra. It was an uncomfortable ride, but luckily the Immodium did its job and four hours later I arrived at the Jaipur Central Bus Stand.

I had phoned ahead and reserved a room at the Jaipur Inn, about a 15 minute walk away from the hectic bus station. Still feeling under the weather, I checked in and lounged around my room, enjoying a nice sunset from my private balcony. Monkeys swung around across the city’s rooftop, but luckily my hotel had been smart enough to put up metal grates keeping the mischievous buggers out. While the Jaipur Inn is supposed to have a great rooftop restaurant, I was still in no mood to eat. I was also not too impressed by what I had seen so far in Jaipur, and decided I would get a good night’s rest, take in the city’s sights the next day, and leave the day after that.

My room at the Jaipur Inn.My room at the Jaipur Inn.
My room at the Jaipur Inn.04-Dec-2012 19:33

So, bright and early the next morning, I walked back to the bus station and bought a ticked from the official Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) for the full-day city tour along with a luxury coach ticket to leave for Jodhpur the next day.

The Jaipur Central Bus Stand.The Jaipur Central Bus Stand.
The Jaipur Central Bus Stand.05-Dec-2012 08:37

After enjoying an easy to digest breakfast of biscuits and water, the tour bus arrived a few minutes after 9am and I crawled on with a couple dozen tourists. The other tourists were all fairly well-to-do Indians, along with a fellow foreigner – Tami, from Israel.

It was a long day of non-stop sightseeing, taking in temples, forts, palaces, and other points of interest. It was probably too much to cram into one day, but I didn’t mind the fast pace in exchange for the convenience and cost effectiveness.

The Jantar Mantar royal observatory was a fascinating mix of gigantic sundials and other instruments for measuring astronomical phenomena. This outdoor playground of devices includes the Samrat Yantra, The Supreme Instrument, which at 90 feet high is the world’s largest sundial. You can actually see the shadow moving across the dial and it is accurate to within 2 seconds.

Samrat Yantra - the world's largest sundial.Samrat Yantra - the world's largest sundial.
Samrat Yantra - the world's largest sundial.05-Dec-2012 10:56

Jaipur has been known as the “Pink City” since 1878, when the Prince of Wales visited and the locals decided to welcome him by painting the entire town – you guessed it – pink. The color scheme has persisted, and to this day the old city is still full of original architecture pretty in pink.

Nearly all the buildings in Old Jaipur are painted pink.Nearly all the buildings in Old Jaipur are painted pink.
Nearly all the buildings in Old Jaipur are painted pink.05-Dec-2012 10:15

The City Palace occupies a large part of the old city. We stopped here briefly, checking out a few exhibits showcasing the royal collection of weapons and traditional clothing.

Jaipur's City Palace.Jaipur's City Palace.
Jaipur's City Palace.05-Dec-2012 11:56

One of the most beautiful forts in the Jaipur area is the Jal Mahal, situated in the middle of Man Sagar Lake. Unfortunately, the palace is not open to visitors, but it still makes a beautiful sight.

Sadly, this is the best picture I have of the beautiful Jal Mahal.Sadly, this is the best picture I have of the beautiful Jal Mahal.
Sadly, this is the best picture I have of the beautiful Jal Mahal.05-Dec-2012 13:11

Our bus started climbing the incredibly beautiful Aravalli Hills, with a view down to the Jal Mahal and Jaipur. Here, we stopped for lunch at the Nahargarh Fort.

Looking down on the Aravalli Hills and Jaipur.Looking down on the Aravalli Hills and Jaipur.
Looking down on the Aravalli Hills and Jaipur.05-Dec-2012 15:29

I decided to test my luck (and still rumbling stomach) with the vegetarian thali.

Thali lunch at Nahargarh Fort.Thali lunch at Nahargarh Fort.
Thali lunch at Nahargarh Fort.05-Dec-2012 14:04

There were still more forts to explore. We continued on to Jaigarh Fort, home to the world’s largest cannon. At 31 feet long and 50 tons, it’s a behemoth, which required four elephants just to move it. It was built in 1720 and test fired the same year – the only time it’s ever believed to have been fired. The 100 pound cannonball flew 20 miles away and the crater created a pond!

Jeeps ready to take visitors to Amber Fort.Jeeps ready to take visitors to Amber Fort.
Jeeps ready to take visitors to Amber Fort.05-Dec-2012 16:14

We continued on to the Amber Fort, where we decided to forego the elephant transport and take jeeps up the winding old streets of ancient Amber to the top of a big hill, where the fort stands. This was the most impressive fort of the day, with ornate courtyards, fountains, and gardens.

Inside Amber Fort.Inside Amber Fort.
Inside Amber Fort.05-Dec-2012 17:01

With the sun now dipping below the horizon, we made one final stop at the Kanak Vrindavan garden. It was getting too dark to photograph the shrubs and flowers, and by this stage I was growing weary after the long day.

Dusk at the Kanak Vrindavan gardens.Dusk at the Kanak Vrindavan gardens.
Dusk at the Kanak Vrindavan gardens.05-Dec-2012 17:48

The RTDC Full Day City Tour was a great way to squeeze in the highlights of ancient Jaipur and Amber, all in a day. Satisfied that I could now tick Jaipur off the list, I returned to my hotel and relaxed, ready to take on Jodhpur.

2 thoughts on “Jaipur in a Day with the Rajasthan RTDC Tourism Bus

  1. lee

    I have India on my list for this fall but worry about becoming sick and as you have said not if but when. are there any tour buses with bathrooms as there are in the USA? otherwise I shall have to take short private trips each day!

    1. Erik Post author

      Hi Lee,

      I did not see any buses with bathrooms, even overnight “deluxe” sleeper buses. The buses do make stops (often just the side of the road) so you can do your business. The trains are a great alternative for long-distance travel, though they are often booked out far in advance, so it’s hard to be as flexible.


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