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Galta Ji Jaipur
Galta Ji is a large Hindu temple complex that lies 10km to the east of Jaipur. These temples are a popular tourist attraction as they are home to a large colony of monkeys and this has given rise to the common name of the complex, the monkey temple. Galta Ji Jaipur is a unique Hindu temple as it is centered around a natural spring that has been channeled to fill seven large pools. In these pools pilgrims come to bath away their sins while, at quiet moments, the playful monkeys can be found swimming in the holy waters.
The monkeys are of two breeds rhesus macaque and langur monkeys and both are completely unafraid of tourists, so expect to be mobbed if brave enough to feed them. The Galta Ji Jaipur temple is slightly off the common tourist trail but it makes for a pleasant half day excursion from Jaipur, while the short hike and high vantage point of the sun temple is the place to watch sunset.
Travel to Galta Ji From Jaipur
The Galta Ji Jaipur is 10km to the east of central Jaipur and can be reached by two different routes. The first method is to hire a taxi or auto rickshaw and drive directly to the temple; a return journey which includes a 1 hour waiting time will cost Rs500-RS650 for a taxi or Rs.250-250 for an auto rickshaw.
A Jaipur monkey at the temple
The second option is to hike to Galta Ji from the western side of Jaipur and this route passes the sun temple. The short hike of approximately 30minutes starts from the end of Surajpol Bazar Road and follows the path east through the large pink stone archway. This route provides stunning views of the temple and Jaipur while passes the sun temple.
Galta Ji Jaipur Tourist Information
There is no entrance fee to visit the temple but holy men may ask for a donation (Rs20-50) and visitors cameras will be expected to give a Rs50-100 donation. Bags of nuts or bananas can be purchased (Rs10-20) but expect to be mobbed by the monkeys who will happily charge at you for the food.
A family of monkeys high above Jaipur
The best time to visit the temple is around dusk when the temple is bathed in golden light and the monkeys come out to play. A dusk visit can be combined with the sun temple, which is best viewed at sun set and provides wonderful panoramic views over Jaipur. The sun temple is a 15 minute walk directly west from Galta Ji Jaipur on the main path back to Jaipur.
Random facts about Galta Ji Jaipur
The seven tanks of water are called kunds and the largest, the Galta Kund, according to legend has never ran dry. The Galta Kund is the deepest pool and during important festivals pilgrims jump from the surrounding cliffs into the tank. There are over 200 hundred monkeys living within the temple complex and the macaque monkeys live in groups of four females to every male.
The macaque monkeys are more aggressive than the langur monkeys and it is best not to place your hands in your pockets as this indicates that you have food for them. Even though the temple is home to hundreds of monkeys the Galta Ji Jaipur temple is dedicated to Ganesha, the elephant god, and not Hanuman the monkey god.