Known as Jaipur’s ‘Monkey Temple’, this religious site delivers a spot of calm outside the bustling city and will be a delight to art and animal fans alike
A large Hindu temple complex lying 10km to the east of Jaipur, Galta Ji is a popular tourist attraction, even if slightly off the trail.
Also known as ‘Monkey Temple’, the complex is home to over 200 macaque and langur monkeys, but is actually dedicated to the elephant god, Ganesha.
Centered around a natural spring that has been channeled to fill seven large pools, monkeys commonly play around in these waters, though it is officially for pilgrims to come and wash away their sins.
During festivals, pilgrims jump from the surrounding cliffs into the ‘kunds’ – sacred tanks of water.
Be sure to explore the surrounding buildings and structures that showcase original frescos depicting athletic feats and the maharaja playing polo.
For amber views, the 15min short hike to the top provides a high vantage point of the Sun Temple, which is a great spot to watch the sun setting.
Located in the Aravali hills, the complex provides for a wonderful half day excursion outside of the chaotic and bustling city, but if you’re on a time limit, around 1-2 hours is enough time.
Rickshaw: An autorickshaw should charge around Rs 500 return with waiting time, while a taxi will charge at least Rs 800. Be sure to negotiate the price before getting in. All drivers will know where the temple is.
Hiking: Alternatively, you can hike to the complex from the western side of Jaipur. The walk takes around 30-40mins from the end of Surajpol Bazar Road. You then need to follow the path east through the large pink stone archway. This route passes the Sun Temple.
Entry fee and opening hours:
Entry: free, but a small donation is expected. For Rs 10-20, you can buy a bag of nuts or bananas to feed the monkeys.
Opening hours: 5am – 9pm
TIP: The best time to visit is during the weekday. During the mornings and evenings, there can be large crowds. The site becomes extremely busy during mid-January, when the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti takes place.
TIP: Guides are not available at the site, but the complex is easy to manage.
What to see:
Galta Ji Temple
Wedged in between two rocks in the gorge, the temple is made of pink and contains many pavilions with circular roofs and painted walls.
Located inside the City Palace, the walls of this temple are adorned with carvings and paintings
Galta Kund Tank
One of the jewels of Jaipur, the temple complex encompasses natural freshwater springs and seven holy ‘kunds’ or water tanks.
The Galta Kund is considered to be the holiest one and is believed to never get dry.
A spring of pure water flows from the ‘Gaumukh’, a rock shaped like a cow’s head, into the tanks.
Look out for the fresco paintings in the temple, which consist of six separate composite panels, one from each Ragamala family.
The medium is tempera on dry plaster, protected by wax or lacquer finish.
Surya Sun Temple
Positioned high above Jaipur and allowing panoramic views over the city, the Sun Temple is situated on a rocky outcrop on the edge of the Aravalli Hills and is part of the larger Galta ji temple complex.
Built in the 18th Century, the temple’s official name is the Surya Mandir, which means sun god when translated into English.
Checking out C & J.