Jewels of RajasthanMay 5, 2020
Rajasthan is synonymous with Rajput, royalty and grandeur. Most of the majestic forts, palaces and Havelis of India are erected on the desert lands of Rajasthan. The soaring heat and the rugged terrains of the state don’t let its inhabitants bow down to its might. The spirit of Rajasthan, the radiant colors of its culture and the precious monuments of the place at to the bounce of the state. Lets take you down the dusty lanes of Rajasthan to now about the magnificent Rajput and Mughal edifices that narrate the tales of royal families and add more exuberance to the sparkling splendors of the state.
The gigantic forts of Rajasthan, such as Chittaurgarh Fort, Jaisalmer Fort, Taragarh Fort, Junagarh Fort, Mehrangarh Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Amber Fort, are an excellent representation of impermeable bulwark created to shield the city. The forts were mostly constructed outside the city and uphill so as to conveniently guard the area against attacks. These forts bring back to life the era of Rajput kingdoms and the intricateness of Mughal architectural style in its physiognomy.
The most magnificent of all the forts is Amber Fort, which is also known as Amer fort. An edifice of the 16th Century, it still stands with the same commanding aura around it, of the regal past. The long stretch of thick walls guide you to the main complex of the fort, situated at the outskirts of Jaipur city. The fort is a creation of Raja Maan Singh, Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh and it took around two centuries to take shape. The main features of the fort that attract your attention are its massive entrance gateway called Ganesh Pol, Sheesh Mahal, Diwan-i-Aam Complex, Dil-e-Aram Lawns and Jas Mandir apart from the stairways, courtyards and palaces with remarkable jali work and mirror work.
Jaisalmer Fort, the desert crown of the state, is another architectural marvel, that celebrates the valor and chivalry of the Kings of Jaisalmer. Also called the ‘Sonar Quila’ or the golden fort, it is one of the oldest forts of Rajasthan. As you enter the fort, you will get to know that Jaisalmer is the perfect combination of beauty and strength. The colorful murals, jali work, and carvings on the 12th Century temples and havelis housed in the fort make the fort an attractive site. The defensive network of 99 turrets and huge walls are a sign of its might and strength, provided to the trade city of Jaisalmer.
Mehrangarh Fort, built in the year 1459, by Rao Jodha, is one of the largest forts of the country. The fort has been very carefully planned and strategically designed with 68 ft high and 17 ft thick walls, seven gates to be crossed at the entrance and palaces beautifying the fort that transports us to the mighty, rich and the royal past. Like other forts, Mehrangarh fort is also situated atop a hill that is 150 ft high. Palaces like Umaid Vilas, Ajit Vilas and Moti Mahal with their collection of antiques and delicate carvings, are the important attractions of the fort.
Coming from forts to the palaces of Rajasthan, the much talked about and favorite palace among the tourists is City Palace in Udaipur. It is an architectural extravaganza with a tough exterior and a delicate interior. The facade gives a protective and powerful impression with fort walls and turrets while as you enter the palace, you will get a glimpse of the real worldly charm of the bygone era. The palace is abundant with decorative chhatris, jharokhas, gardens, fountains, glass and mirror work, motifs, mosaic, frescoes, murals and a collection of antique paintings.
A part of the City Palace Complex is Hawa Mahal or the wind palace. With a brilliant architectural creativity shown during the 18th Century, represented in the form of its pyramidal shape laid out with jharokhas and balconies on the five-storied monument, and beautified with delicate trellis work on the dream-like structure, makes it a landmark of the state.
Lake Palace, the picturesque palace amidst the Pichola lake, lays foundation to many fantasies. The 17th Century marvel was built by Maharana Jagjit Singh of Jaipur. One can now experience a royal stay in the stunningly beautiful palace, as it now serves as a hotel. The cool ambiance of the palace, consisting of several smaller palaces including Kush Mahal, Ajjan Nivas, Phool Mahal and Bada Mahal, with decorated courtyards, terraces and gardens spreads exuberance of the highest order.
Along with a rich historical past, Rajasthan is also endowed with a celebration of cultures, traditions and faiths. The main religious monuments and shrines that sanctify the royal state are Darga Sharif in Ajmer, Jain Temples in Ranakpur, Dilwara Temples in Mount Abu, Brahma Temple in Pushkar, Ranakpur Temple, Eklingji Temple, Osian Temple, Bikaner Temple and Galta Temple.
Birla Temple is the most important temple of Rajasthan, situated in the pink city. It is also called the Lakshmi Narayan Temple and is one of the temples of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi, built by the Indian industrialist family of Birlas. The temple is made up of marble and consists of several domes as a depiction of different religions and faiths.
Ajmer Sharif is the Dargah of Moinudding Chishti, which is revered as a pilgrimage. Dargah Bazaar is the entry way to the holy site which can be visited by people of any caste of religion. A separate prayer hall for women was built by Shah Jahan’s daughter within the Durgah complex.
Dilwara Temples of Mount Abu are Jain Temples famous for their exquisite marble artwork and well-preserved Jain scriptures and manuscripts. The temples belong to 800 AD to 1200 Ad. It consists of four temples: the Luna Vashi Temple, Vimal Vashi Temple, Adinath Temple and Parswanath Temple. These temples possess carved ceilings and walls, pillars, doorways and panels that showcase amazing marble detailing.
Apart from historical and religious monuments, the desert state is also a proud owner of the scientific gadget monument of Jantar Mantar , which was designed with utmost precision by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, to study the cosmic movements in order to measure certain variables like time and distance. It was built in the 18th Century, a time when very few scientific instruments were used in India. The monument, even today, show cases the genius of the emperor.
With so much to explore, the trade cities, the royal past, the religious beliefs, the architectural wonders and the scientific innovations, you can’t afford to miss this exotic destination.