I recently undertook a heritage free walking tour in Jaipur organized by Square by foot.
Square by foot is headed by a group of architects. I’m sure an Architect can explain architecture better than anyone else!!
Square by foot conducted this Jaipur free walking tour on 288th Jaipur foundation Day to celebrate heritage of Jaipur. Certainly, this was a great effort of Square by foot team to bring forth rich heritage of the Jaipur city!
Here is Jaipur walking tour map
On conversation, Nishchal Jain divulged that the team members have been conducting heritage walks for last few years, on demand basis.
The Jaipur Heritage Walk was conducted on the most popular heritage walk way, developed by Jaipur Municipal Corporation. The heritage path is easily identifiable -it has cobblestones. There are other individuals and organizations as well, offering similar heritage walk in Jaipur.
The walk started at Shri Sitaram Temple located in Chaura Rasta . The temple is very old and is privately owned. We were informed that the temple predates Jaipur city. The condition of temple is poor and lack of upkeep is visible. The temple has not been renovated, ever. There are many unique aspects & stories about this temple. There are two temples buildings inside this complex.One of these, has beautiful wall paintings and frescoes.
Next, we headed towards the film colony in Chaura Rasta. Nishchal Jain pointed out unique aspects of this location. The buildings located on the Main Square of film colony have been constructed in the Art Deco style, not found anywhere else in the walled city! It was developed as a commercial area with few hotels, as it was located near the entrance gate of the city – New Gate. Over the years, this market has developed into the medicine distributor’s hub.
From film colony, we walked towards Thatheron ka Rasta. Thathera is a person who is engaged in making of metal utensils & objects.These days most of them are engaged in the making of brass items used in the temple spires. The sound of hammering on the brass was quite loud in the lane, proving true to its name – thatheron ka rasta!!
As we moved forward, Nishchal Jain showed us various haveli styles & their development over a period of time, distinction between various haveli forms etc.
We passed through a very old Digamber Jain temple, supposedly as old as the city. We were informed that the temple is very beautiful and worth visiting. Our group didn’t venture inside the temple, due to paucity of time.
From these lanes, we then walked towards the Maharajah School of Arts in Kishanpole Bazaar. The art school was operational till recently, but it is closed currently. Maharajahs of Jaipur were great patrons of art, especially Maharajah Sawai Jai Singh II and Sawai Ram Singh II. Establishing Art school only affirms their love for the art. Jaipur state (pre -Independence years) was famous for its Chattis Karkhanas (36 factories, in literal sense) or thirty six departments, during the days of Maharajahs, Art was one of them!
The building housing the Art school has impressive architecture. It has fusion of various architectural styles including Rajput and Mughal style.It was originally residence of Pandit Shiv deen, but later converted into an art school. If plans go through, it will be converted into a museum, very soon.
Maharajah School for Girls, near Nataniyon ki Haveli, Jaipur. Jaipur Heritage Walk.
We moved on to Chhoti Chaupar, where we saw the magnificent facade of Nataniyon ki Haveli and its adjoining Maharajah School for girls. This school building was donated by a very influential trader called Hargovind Natani, whose haveli is located right next to it. The haveli has an amalgamation of Rajput and Mughal style of architecture. Currently, its ownership rests with the Police Department.
From Chhoti Chaupar we walked through Tripoliya Bazar to Maharajah Public Library in Chaura Rasta. On the way, we saw Ishwar Laat or Swarga Suli.
Nishchal Jain explained 3 different stories revolving around the construction of this Minaar or tower. We passed from Triployia Gate to reach the Maharajah Public library. It has been maintained in a great condition. Nishchal Jain took us inside the library and explained various aspects related to this building.
Araish plaster in its original condition on walls of Maharajah Public Library, Jaipur. During heritage walk in Jaipur
This is where the Heritage walk of Jaipur ended.
For those who are curious as to why Tripolia Gate is closed for public here is an answer. Tripolia Gate is reserved only for the descendants of royal family of Jaipur; it’s not open for movement of general public.
The free Jaipur walking tour or Heritage Walk in Jaipur lasted one and half hour. From the brochure, square on foot offers 3 different types of walks. I just covered one.
Heritage walk is a great way to uncover the real Jaipur – its history and culture. A caveat though, given its rich and diverse history, a single walk is not enough to get a proper glimpse into the city. You need to discover more!!