World's most marvellous markets
3rd December 2019
When you visit Rajasthan, a stunning state in northern India, the likelihood is that you will pay a visit to Jaipur. This city is an opulent, colonnaded masterpiece of architecture, filled to bursting with fascinating people, thriving markets and, of course, mischievous gangs of monkeys. Novel though this is, after a little while you may wish to escape the city's hustle and bustle, and we've found just the place in which to do so.
Located around 20 minutes from Jaipur's buzzing streets, you will find the temple of Galta - the India of the imagination. Tucked between rugged cliffs, and built in pink stone, with pretty, painted walls, the temple has been a centre for Hindu ascetics belonging to the Vaishnavite Ramanandi sect since the early 1500s.
While you're there, you may see one or two other westerners, but for the most part the temple throngs with brightly dressed pilgrims. Some of the more daring devotees can be seen leaping from the surrounding rubble-clad cliffs into the sacred pools - which are said to be several elephants deep and fed by a natural spring - but most choose simply to bath in them, and receive blessings from the 40 or so priests and students who live here.
As well as these residents, the temple is also home to hundreds of macaque and langur monkeys, who clamber over the domes and pinnacles of the temple, and scramble around the grounds foraging for food. If you're feeling brave, vendors at the entrance to the temple sell nuts and fruit to feed to the monkeys, but expect to be mobbed as they are more than used to human contact!
If you wander down to the chamber at the end of the bottom pool, you will find a delightful collection of original frescoes. While these aren't in immaculate condition, they are still make interesting viewing, depicting the maharajah playing polo, various athletic feats and stories of Krishna and the gopis (milkmaids).
The temple's location, the gathering of pilgrims and all those marvellous monkeys make for a beguiling experience - one that is highly recommended.
Make it happen
Galta is within easy reach of Jaipur. Check out our India pages for more details of what do and see, as well as itinerary ideas. All our trips are private and can be tailor-made to your requirements and dates. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office, call +44 (0) 117 325 7898.