The architecture of Jaipur is quite unique and rich. For a person with a keen aesthetic sense, the old Jaipur architecture is a big magnet. There is inherent perfection in the architectural style and entire science behind it. If you were to undertake a Jaipur architecture tour, nowhere else you will find such symmetric bazaars lined with beautiful chhatris, Jharokhas, and Jalis.
Is Chhatri, An Important Jaipur Architecture Style?
Planning and executing breathtaking architecture depicts the vision of founder, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. He was well versed in the art of creating grandeur through beautiful architecture. The idea of using Chhatris is to enhance the beauty of the buildings. The credit for architecturally rich Jaipur can’t be given only to Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder. We need to credit the descendants too who contributed immensely by adding beautiful buildings.
What is Chhatri?
Featured in the above picture are Chhatris. Chhatri in simple language means semi-open canopy. It also refers to an umbrella. The word is derived from Sanskrit word Chattra. Since these canopies resembled an umbrella, therefore named chhatri. These chhatris can be found across Rajasthan and not just in Jaipur.
Where To Find Chhatri In Jaipur And Rajasthan?
It is one of the important Rajput architectural elements and features in heritage buildings in Jaipur and elsewhere in Rajasthan. These were also used in the memorial architecture by the royalty. Check out the write-up on Royal Gaitor which features a variety of Chhatris.
Jaipur Heritage Architecture
You can find Chhatri adorning in many heritage buildings in Jaipur. If you were to take an architecture tour in Jaipur, there are many varieties of Chhatris to be found. Having done heritage walks in Jaipur, there are a couple of styles that are ubiquitous. Some are reserved to be used by select few others are freely used by commoners.
A very simple Chhatri style adorns these old heritage city gates of Jaipur.
The Cenotaph or Tombs
Some experts believe Chhatris were first used in memorials or cenotaphs before being used for beautifying the buildings. It is difficult to verify if this is entirely true, however across Rajasthan, all cenotaphs consist of Chhatris be it Gaitore in Jaipur, Bada Bagh in Jaiselmer or Moosi Maharani Ki Chhatri in Alwar.
Featured above, a simple Chhatri in Gaitore Ki Chhatriyan – Royal Gaitore
The above picture features Chhatris of deceased Jain monks in one of the Jain Temples in Jaipur. Read The Historic Jain temple in Amer
The above Chhatri is one of the most ornate and beautiful Chhatri to be found in Jaipur dedicated to Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II of Jaipur.
Chhatri is one of the most important elements of Jaipur heritage architecture which is hard to ignore. Despite being simple its perfection & symmetry adds to its grace. What is your view on Chhatri being an important element of Rajput architecture?