Jaipur-The Pink City

India, Jaipur, Kajal Sharma, South Asia -

Jaipur-The Pink City

Jaipur city is renowned for its traditional fabric preserved within the modern establishments. The living crafts, traditions, palaces, and royal history of this place has attracted many tourists from India and abroad. Founded in 18th century, it was planned in accordance with indigenous knowledge system, vastu vidya (architectural knowledge). Contrary to the popular belief, Jaipur is the first well restored planned city in India. There are many other mythological and historical towns that are associated to be built upon the concept of vastu vidya, such as Videha and Ayodhya, however, Jaipur has been studied more often that those others.

Figure 1 Planning of Old Jaipur according to Vastu Vidya

It is a well-known fact that the foundation of Jaipur has been laid by Sawai Jai Singh with the purpose that his state will not only serve as a political and sacred centre but also as a commercial one.  The location of his state between the centres of imperial power to the east i.e., Delhi and the ports of western coast in Gujarat resulted in the formation of a trading city at first. The city then became the centre of banking and high-capital industries such as gem trading. Later it became a capital where wealthy dignitaries, thakurs (the chief of a state’s division) resided in their havelis (residence) and contributed 10 percent of their income that was used in maintenance of services within each division of the city. Jaipur displays a well thought out plan in terms of political, commercial, physical as well as sacred dimension represented in a state.

Apart from its splendid conception, Jaipur is famous for its forts and palaces displaying fabulous geometrical designs and symmetry in its marvellous architecture. These structures are built using pink-painted sandstone representing hospitality and harmony, and hence the name “Pink City”.  The forts of Rajput and Mughal reign, Hawa Mahal, Amber Fort, Jal Mahal, City Palace, Rama Mandir, Govind Deo temple perfectly describes the culture of the city. Moreover, Sawai Jai Singh’s observatories known as Jantar Mantar displays his scientific interests.

Figure 2 Ajmeri Gate

Figure 3 Hawa Mahal

Figure 4 Jal Mahal

Figure 5 City Palace

Jaipur reflects its culture flamboyantly within its people. The warm, welcoming and lively spirit of the town is accurately represented through its people and their colourful outfits, in their dance such as Ghoomar, Chari, etc., to the Rajasthani folk songs, and the music played by Sarangi, Ektara, and Jhalar during dancing. Apart from its arts, Jaipur has gained immense popularity through its handicraft’s items. Carved silver jewellery, Kundan and Meenakari jewellery, ivory carved sculptures, wood work, and leather goods are crafted to awed perfection. Also, Jaipur’s rich culture is incomplete without the mention of marvellous blue pottery, miniature paintings and traditional clothes with work of bandhni, zari and zardozi. Apart from Rajasthani language, Marwari, Hindi and English are also spoken in the city.

Jaipur evolved in a way that the planned city has undergone a modern way of development with keeping its traditional values intact. The city has preserved its intangible cultural heritage quite well i.e. religious beliefs, traditions and customs (arts and music as well). It provides an environment of cultural blend of both modern lifestyles as well as traditional customs being practiced in every festival. People visits this place to appreciate the historic times creation with perfect modernization.

Images taken from ‘Nari – Punjab Kesari’, ‘The Human Settlements’, ‘Heritage Hotels of India’, & ‘Trip Advisor’

By- Kajal Sharma

( Writer is a research assistant under an Museologist)