Jaipur is one of the few cities having many temples. Records indicate there were more than 600 temples within the walled city area of Jaipur, around mid 1940’s!! Some of these temples were constructed many centuries ago with the royal patronage which manifests in their style of architecture, layout and placement at the prominent sites in the city.
Temples like Garh Ganesh and Charan Mandir are two such temples commissioned by the rulers and predates Jaipur city. While Garh Ganesh overlooks the city from a hillock, Charan Mandir on the other hand towers over the Nahargarh Hills.
Charan Mandir is not the usual temple, we usually come across in terms of architecture. Its layout is unusual too, with a huge tower attached to the temple complex and fortification style high walls around its perimeter. The temple complex also has a water storage tank.
You will not find vendors and shops selling offerings/prasaads, around the temple. No beggars either! A shift from the usual scenes one gets to experience around temples in India
History of Charan Mandir
Maharajah Sawai Mansingh I of Amer, built this temple. He was a devout follower of Lord Krishna. As per the local legend, Lord Krishna appeared in Maharajah Sawai Mansingh’s dream and instructed him to build a temple in Ambica Van. The entire region of Amer and Nahargarh was once called Ambica Van (forest). It’s being claimed that Charan Mandir has charan chinha (foot mark) of Lord Krishna.
Local legends also claim that this entire area was once dotted with the trees of Cadamba/ Kamaba / Anthocephalus Cadamba. In Hindu mythology, Cadamba tree was the favorite tree of Lord Krishna. In paintings, you will find depiction of Lord Krishna playing a flute under the Cadamba tree. Currently, there are no Cadamba tree in and around Charan Mandir. I have seen clusters of Cadamba trees in the vicinity, though. So it’s possible that this legend is true! But then there’s no scientific evidence, it’s just a local legend!
Constructed in a non-ostentatious Rajasthani architecture, the temple follows simple symmetrical style.
Many historians are of opinion that originally only the tower was constructed. It was essentially a watch tower, enabling one to have an expansive view of the surrounding areas. The temple seems to be a later addition to the tower.
It’s a great experience to visit Charan Mandir during early hours of the day to enjoy the great views, some fresh air & peace! Do avoid Sundays! It’s one my favorite places to enjoy the greenery during the monsoon.
How to Reach Charan Mandir:
Charan Mandir can be reached via the road connecting Kanak Ghati to Nahargarh Fort.
You reach here with help of this map (the site has been marked in red circle)