Busy, new, narrow, crowded lanes but full of life as people go about their daily business. Watch the utensil makers shape brass and iron into traditional pots and pans. Walk past old temples and painted havelies and get a feel of how many thoughts has gone into the planning of this marvelous city. Visit a private museum in one of the by-lanes.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Tripolia Gate – Maharaja Public Library – Tarkeshwar Mahadev Mandir – Potter – Chaura Raasta – Sanjay Sharma Museum – Thatheron Ka Raasta – New Gate – Ram Niwas Bagh – Albert Hall Museum
This beautiful triple arched gateway overlooks one of the newer streets in the walled city. You can start your walk from this gate and take a closer look at the enclosed balconies. A security guard posted there is a reminder that this gate is under the care of the Maharaja of Jaipur and for use only by him and his family. The only time this gate interests the local public is during the festivals of Teej and Gangaur because the procession of both come out through this gate on their way to Talkatora where they terminate.
Jaipur has been a city of fairs and festivals. It has been said, quite rightly, that it celebrates nine festivals in seven days. There is a lot of festivity going on in the city throughout the year. The light bulbs, garlands, special welcome gates, shobhayaatras are ever existent in the bazaars and streets of the city. There is an added atmosphere of gaiety during the time of festivals.
Walk straight ahead with the Tripolia Gate behind you. There are two very interesting buildings on both sides of Chaura Raasta, the wide street that lies in front of Tripolia Gate. On the right is one of the oldest hotels in the walled city called Hind Hotel. The owners ran into tax problems and had to give up the hotel. It was lying vacant for several years but is now used by the Department of Tourism as a viewing gallery for tourists during the time of the Gangaur and Teej processions.
On the left is another grand building – the Maharaja Public Library. It is a beautifully designed building that could do with some urgent repairs and renovation. It is advisable to just admire it from the outside and move on.
Walk on the left side, but be prepared to cross over to the other side, as there are interesting buildings on both sides of the road. The first is a temple on the right – the Dwarkadheesh Temple between shop numbers 190-189 followed by another one between 180-179. You can cross over for a closer look but there are many more temples on this road and the basis architectural and decorative features remain more or less the same.
Come back to the left side and you can see a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva – the Tarkeshwar Mahadev Mandir.
This is one of the most important temples here. A majority of the temples in the walled city are dedicated to Lord Hanuman and the many forms of Lord Krishna.
This is one of the few temples dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is generally believed on the basis of oral tradition that Shri Tarkeshwarji was an earth born deity. Formally, this was a hamlet occupied by the Meena tribals. Shri Tarkeshwarji is believed to have appeared here and the Meenas then enshrined the deity’s image. Just walk in a few steps to get a glimpse of the interiors. It can be a little crowded and so it is best to see it from outside.
You will notice that most of the temples on the main streets are almost always located at a greater height. There are two more temples on the right side, the beautiful Vinodilalji’s temple between shop numbers 147-146 and Goverdhan Nathji’s temple between shop numbers 137-136. Vinodilalji’s temple is worth a closer look. There is a narrow staircase leading up to the temple. Climb up and see the beautiful murals on the exterior walls. Most of them have suffered the ravages of time but some portions are still in fairly good condition. What is unusual about this temple is also the fact that there are not too many buildings with such intricate paintings on the exterior. It is almost always some inner portion of a building where you would find paintings of this nature. Even on this street, there is no other building to match its beauty.
Come back to the left and you will see a big terracotta red building called the Jaipur College. See the building from the outside. What might interest the tourist more is the very exciting collection of terracotta pots spread right on the pavement, outside Jaipur College. It is perhaps one of the most photographed sights on this road. You can pick up a few items if you want because they are quite reasonably priced. Just behind this is Roop Singh Ki Haveli.
Opposite the Jaipur College is the temple of Shri Goverdhan Nathji that was constructed in 1768. The idol worshipped in this temple is that of the childhood form of Lord Krishna. Keep on the left and you will see more buildings in the traditional Jaipur style. Look for the College Book House between shops 241 and 242.
Though this street also has an assortment of shops, it is known more for its bookshops. Close to examination time, temporary stalls come up on the pavements selling guidebooks for schools and colleges. A lot of students can be seen buying and selling books here.
Further down the street, there are coaching classes and tuition centers. As you walk along, you will come across a narrow lane on the left, after shop number 318 called Sonthli Walon ki Gali. Walk in a bit. There are some very popular savoury shops here that sell fried salted nuts, chips and gram flour snacks. It is a narrow and crowded lane, so you need not go beyond this point.
Come out and cross over to the right side of the street. Keep walking on this side until you come to shop number 58 on the right. There is a signboard that says Sanjay Sharma Museum. Turn into this lane.
THATHERON KA RAASTA
Thatheron Ka Raasta is a lane of the metal utensil makers. A few steps into this lane and you can hear the hammering and beating sounds coming from the various shops. There are around two thousand thatheras living here and most of the houses on this lane belong to them. Today, steel has replaced brass and copper utensils and many of the thatheras are concentrating on making brass kalash for temples. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see these craftsmen using their traditional tools as they shape the utensils.
This is a very short lane and you can walk up to the end of it and come back. Now turn into the first lane on the right. This is still the Thatheron Ka Raasta. A modern structure on your left is the Sanjay Sharma Museum.
It is a long, narrow, vertical building housing the personal collection of Shri Ram Kripalu Sharma. It is worth a visit as it has a very good collection of miniature paintings, manuscripts and other interesting and rare items.
Come out of the museum and turn left again. You will see more thatheras at work in the lane. Keep going straight and turn left when you get to the end of the lane.
You are out in Chaura Raasta again. Keep on the right of the road. The New Gate will be visible to you now. As you approach the gate, you will see a cinema hall on the left of the road.
This is not one of the original seven planned gates of the walled city, it is a late addition. Made during the time of Maharaja Man Singh, it is officially known as the Man Gate but popularly called New Gate. Though the design of this gate is similar to the others, the sidewalls could not be made due to lack of sufficient space.
Come out through the gate and walk straight ahead to the metal gates. After you have crossed an open ground on the left (unless there is an exhibition on) and a parking lot on the right, you will come to a busy traffic intersection. This is Mirza Ismail Road and the beyond the gates is the Ram Niwas Bagh and the clearly visible Albert Hall Museum.
RAM NIWAS BAGH
Lush spacious gardens with a zoo, an aviary, a greenhouse, clubs, a herbarium, museum and popular sports ground. Maharaja Ram Singh II laid out these gardens in the year 1868 as a famine relief project for use of the public.
This garden is closest to the walled city and very popular with the inhabitants of the crowded by lanes who often come here for walks and to eat at the various food stalls. When you approach the fountain, the road on the left leads to the Ravindra Manch, an auditorium and the road to the right leads out of the garden. The food stalls are on the right hand corner of this road. Kiran Café is famous for kulfi.
Straight ahead is the marvelous Albert Hall Museum. As you walk towards it, the zoo is on your left and the aviary to your right.
ALBERT HALL MUSEUM
The Albert Hall Museum is a brilliant piece of architecture. When the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) visited Jaipur, Maharaja Ram Singh II was in the midst of laying the Ram Niwas Gardens. He decided to build a permanent memorial of this visit and invited the prince to lay the foundation stone on 6 February 1876. Designed by Sir Swinton Jacob, Albert Hall Museum owes its name to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and is a happy combination of Rajput, Mughal and European styles of architecture.
This museum provides a splendid introduction to the arts, crafts, and history of Rajasthan. There is a fine collection, which includes handicrafts, such as metal ware, ivory, and woodcarving, jewellery, textiles and pottery, sculptures and paintings. It is particularly rich in brassware. Also on display are life-size models showing scenes from everyday village life.
Exhibits not to be missed are the splendid collection of Jaipur glazed pottery, an Egyptian mummy, and the thirty ft by five ft phad, a painted cloth scroll that depicts scenes from the life of a Rajasthani folk hero called Pabuji.
The greatest treasure of this museum is housed in the Darbar Hall. It is the world’s largest Persian garden carpet dating back to 1632. This rare carpet is considered to be the oldest and the best of its kind in the world and is kept under lock and key. However, it can be seen on request.
Your walk ends here. You will be transferred to your hotel by tuk tuk (Auto Rickshaw).
Tour Cost: USD 60
Above Cost Includes
1. Transfer from your city Hotel to Old City by Medium Car.
2. Local English speaking Guide cum escort for Heritage walk.
3. Mineral water, tea at famous local tea stall during walk.
4. Rickshaw Ride in old city between walk.