Galtaji is, strictly speaking, a holy site where pilgrims come to visit the temples, pavilions, and holdy water springs. To most tourists, however, Galtaji is synonymous with the Jaipur Monkey Temple, and this is in fact how many of the tourist guides and auto-rickshaws in the city refer to it, for the benefit of travellers eager to see this famous site of congregation—not so much for the congregation of people, but rather for that of the monkeys themselves.
To get to the Jaipur Monkey Temple, you shall have to travel just a few kilometres out of the city proper and on a road that has been cut right against rocky gorges, leading you to a valley wherein you may see Galtaji in all its hidden valley glory. The famed Sun Temple is just a short ride (or walk, if you do not mind going two and a half kilometres up the gorge’s paths to get to it) away, and it is well worth passing by too, as its wonderful position gives it a commanding view of all of Jaipur.
Once you do get to Galtaji, though, what is likely to strike you first of all about the site is its lack of commercial modernisation—something for which a great many tourists have expressed their gratitude. At a time when so many of the country’s heritage sites are suffering the encroachments of modernisation and overpopulation (one need only think of the film crew fiascos in the nearby Amber Fort, for instance, where the people from the film actually managed to damage the original canopies of the structure), Galtaji is delightfully sparse of those elements, boasting a marvellous, almost idyllic appearance that you may find very refreshing. There are pilgrims here, of course, but it is not choked with people (“yet”, we feel obliged to say), and the most populous inhabitants are the monkeys.
The monkeys are Rhesus macaques, one of the most easily identified of the Old World species. They are generally quite mild if unprovoked, although there have been a few debacles with overly bold monkeys—a common outcome of constant exposure to humans interacting with them—actually going so far as to steal food and other items they might fancy from visitors. Some guides will feed the monkeys for you, but it is generally advised not to hazard it yourself, docile though they might appear: macaques can have rabies and other diseases, which are best avoided by a dash of caution.
The Jaipur Monkey Temple is easy to get to, fortunately, as just about every rickshaw driver in the city knows it. Try to visit it in the day or the sunrise/sunset times: like most other places in the Pink City, the pinkish stone of the temple shows to full advantage during such hours, and it would be a shame to pass up such a great opportunity for a photo shoot for your vacation. Note that no cameras are allowed inside the temple, though, even if you can shoot to your heart’s content outside. The delicately carved and frescoed pavilions as well as the kunds (large reservoirs of water that look like swimming pools nestled in the valley between the cliffs) are also great subjects for a travel photo essay.