The culture and festivals in Jaipur are truly worth mentioning to those interested in the city, not least because they make up such a huge part of the experience and are thus necessary points to cover for tourists who wish to enjoy their stay. The first thing to note regarding culture in Jaipur, perhaps, is that the city has a lot of it. This used to be the seat of rule for some of India’s greatest patrons of the arts, and this is yet reflected in the city today.
There are a great many craftsmen in the city as a result, and this translates to greater chances of your wallet taking a hit if you have a weakness for excellent handicrafts. From bandhani (Indian tie-dyed) cloth to carved ivory trinkets, there is certain to be something that shall catch your eye among the artisans’ wares. And even if you are more interested in livelier, performance-based expressions of art, you shall still find quite a lot of opportunities to indulge yourself here. Several folk art forms and at least one of the eight classical dances of India are specialties of Jaipur, and you can easily catch local performances should you wish it. The famed Raj Mandir Theatre is here as well, and is a great place for an introduction to local films.
Then there are the festivals of Jaipur, a great procession of events and festivities sprinkled liberally throughout the year. From fairs to religious events, from a festival of camels to one of elephants, you can expect to be dazzled by a startling array of sights, sounds, tastes, and experiences in the city. Some of the most popular festivals would be Gangaur, Teej, and the Elephant and Camel Festivals.
Gangaur is basically an event that celebrates both the god Shiva (Gana) and his wife Parvati (Gauri), and it is of particular import in all of Rajasthan, although most locals will tell you that the Gangaur celebrations in certain cities (such as Udaipur and Jaipur itself) outdo those in other cities in terms of spectacle. As for Teej, it is notable because of the hard-to-ignore procession that wends its way throughout the city whenever it happens, filled with females sending hopes of marital contentment and happiness to Shiva and Parvati again. Finally, the Elephant and Camel Festivals are obvious draws for those eager to witness races, polo matches, and all sorts of events being held with trained animals from these species.
Now one other thing you have to remember about the culture and festivals in Jaipur is that although the people are indeed generally conservative—conservative in dress and dealings with strangers, for instance—they are nonetheless fairly warm folk if you succeed in demonstrating your respect and interest in and for their customs and culture. Many a Jaipur resident shall be quite eager to exchange notes with you on culture if you prove yourself a respectable as well as friendly person, so remember to be as polite as possible without being overly cool. The younger Jaipur residents in particular tend to be quite intrigued by people who are obviously foreigners, and will often chat up a tourist happily upon being given the slightest window of opportunity.