Jaipur, The Grand Pink City designed by architect Bidyadhar Bhattacharya in 1726 is today the capital and at the helm of all affairs of the state of Rajasthan. Its grandeur continues till today as it grows beyond the old walled town(Pink City) and evolved to a modern metropolis with all modern amenities though still holding its royal spirit. The Old Walled Town is designed in a chess board style as perpendicular roads intersecting each other and the blocks within allotted to house the buildings, markets and other monuments.
The three forts predating Jaipur namely Jaigarh, Nahargarh and Amber of Kachwaha clan crowns the ridge of Aravalli around Jaipur. In 2011, having visited all three in a whirlwind, this time I decided to see the Jaipur Pink city closely and a town can truly discovered is on foot.Mostly following the Lonely Planet route, I tried to explore the essence of the old town.
Source: Lonely Planet
The wall has several gates(pol) for access into the town and I started from the New Gate. Motorised transport and the crowd at the dense market have made it a typical chaos but the inherent beauty and the liveliness of the town wins over the curious spectator.The markets are chaotic but built in a planned way and each shop is assigned an unique number and the style of writing the names with black on white boxed in pink pillars and arches.
Following the LP guidance, I walked through the Bapu Bazaar, then towards the Sanganeri Gate continuing towards the Johari Bazaar, Badi Chaupad(Manak Chowk),Hawa Mahal, Tripolia Bazaar,City Palace, Jantar Mantar, Isarlat and Govind Devji Temple finally concluding at The Kale Hanumanji Temple.
All of this walled city consists of buildings painted with pink. Most of the buildings are ordinary but few are built in multi storied haveli style with ornate window panes and fine art work on its facade. The ground floor entirely consists of market where one can find everything available in this planet. Some of the lanes are specific to particular category of commodities like Johari Bazaar meaning the Jewellery’s Market. Mostly the commodities consists of colorful sarees, shawls, bed sheets, shoes(Jaipur style Jootis), turbans, ethnic wears and what not.
Moving from garments there are ornaments, food items with Gajaks and Matka Kulfi must have special mention. The house decor items, the typical Rajasthani Kathputlis(small idols used for puppet shows), kites and many fireworks shops are also there. Jaipur’s Pink city market is one of its kind and is thing to experience rather to describe.
Walking on reached the chaotic yet stately Tripolia Bazaar which mens the visitor is entering in the periphery of the City Palace. Few meters ahead the iconic Hawa Mahal would be on the left. One can climb to its upper floors to get a unparalleled view of the Pink City skyline.
Moving ahead to the City Palace, thee are several gates to get inside. Most enter at the Atishpol(Stable Gate) and as one gets inside one has to cross several ramparts and visit the palaces and exhibits inside. Details of City Palace would be shared in a separate dedicated post.Next to the City Palace is the quintessential Jantar Mantar(Observatory) where one can get amazed by the pre modern era machines which were used for astronomy with amazing precision built according to the guidelines in ancient Indian shastras(scriptures).
On another side of the city palace complex is the Govinda Devji Temple dedicated to presiding deity of Jaipur Lord Krishna(Govinda) and his divine consort Radha Rani. The temple is a electrifying place with thousands of devotees chanting and singing together during the periodic Aarti of the deities. The Worlds Largest is situated in the annexe where Pravachan(Singing of Divine Scriptures) and Nam Sankeertan(Chanting of God’s Victory over Evil Forces) is organized frequently.
There is one unusual minaret like structure called Isarlat which was built by Sawai Iswari Singh in 1749. It offers a panoramic view of the Pink City from its upper level. All of these would take about 3 hours and are bound to make a immersive experience to fall in love with Jaipur, The Pink City.