The Garh Ganesh temple is situated on a small hillock overlooking Jaipur city on the Nahargarh hill range. It’s difficult to miss the Garh Ganesh Temple if you happen to be in the old walled city area of Jaipur, especially in the City Palace complex.
It’s outward appearance doesn’t look like a temple. The typical temple features like Shikhar or carvings, etc are completely missing in Garh Ganesh temple. It’s rather designed as a small fortification. The word Gad or Garh in Hindi means small fort. It’s called Garh Ganesh temple because this temple is dedicated to the Lord Ganesha. In this temple, the idol of Lord Ganesha is in a child form.
History of Garh Ganesh temple:
This temple was built when Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II performed Ashwamegh Yagya before laying the foundation of Jaipur city, therefore Garh Ganesh Temple predates Jaipur city. An interesting historical fact is that Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II was the last Hindu king to perform Ashvamedha Yagya.
There is only one access point to the Garh Ganesh Temple – the staircase originating in Brahampuri area near Gaitore. These steps are pretty steep and uneven in height, which is forgivable considering the gradient of the climb and the time period when they were first built. The metal railing which segregates the staircase in two parts doesn’t help either. The ergonomics of the railing have been completely ignored!
Don’t worry, there’s some respite. An alternative path to the Garh Ganesh temple exits!!
It originates from the left side, of the main staircase and can be located after climbing few steps. The new one is not so steep and has been constructed quite recently, though it’s longer. This path seems to be much more popular among devotees heading to the Garh Ganesh Temple.
The Garh Ganesh temple has been under a slow renovation process due to which many things have been left unfinished. The unfinished entrance gate of the temple is an eyesore!
Inside the temple premises, photography is STRICTLY prohibited. Strictly is an understatement. The temple management ensures that a dedicated staff is always on a lookout for any visitor with a smartphone or camera in his hand. The moment they spot one, visitor is warned to park it away – inside a bag or pocket.”Photography prohibited” boards are all around, inside the Garh Ganesh temple complex. I find it strange in the current times and context.
Read the related write-up Royal Gaitore! The Rajput architectural opulence!
The manner in which the temple management ensures adherence to the Photography Prohibition rule is quite rude & weird!!
The temple has undergone major renovation inside the main complex and has thus lost its heritage charm.Architecturally, this temple may not hold much value for those on a lookout for the beautiful frescoes or carvings etc. But it does have a lot of historical & contextual value for Jaipur.
This used to be the main Lord Ganesha temple in the city. However, with the passage of time Ganesha temple in Moti Doongri area, called Moti Dungari Ganesh Mandir has become more popular among the devotees even though the Garh Ganesh temple is almost a century old! Reason? People want to escape from the arduous steps of the Garh Ganesh temple!
Here is a close up picture of lion head made in brass on the entrance gate of the Garh Ganesh temple.
In my opinion, it’s actually much more painful to visit Moti Dungari temple on any given Wednesday – the day of Lord Ganesha , looking at the sheer number of devotees thronging here. There is no peace, which one associates with the divine experience in any temple. Add to that parking woes, pushing around, peddlers and beggars pestering you, it’s not really a divine experience anymore!
In light of the above, I’ll choose to visit the Garh Ganesh temple, preferably during early morning hours. With fresh air to breathe, lovely sunrise and awesome city view, it’s an amazing experience! Even watching Sunset from the Garh Ganesh temple is awesome.
P.S. Some people write Gad Ganesh, others write Garh Ganesh temple.
Read the related Post: History of Garh Ganesh Temple, Jaipur….Some Insight!
Click here to read about other Heritage Temples in Jaipur.
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