I recently undertook a Free Heritage Walking Tour in Jaipur in the walled city of Jaipur which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Jaipur free walking tour was conducted to celebrate 288th Jaipur foundation Day. Certainly, this was a great effort to bring forth the rich heritage of the pink city!
Here is Jaipur walking tour map
The Jaipur Heritage Walk was conducted on the most popular heritage walkway, developed by Jaipur Municipal Corporation. The heritage path is easily identifiable -it has cobblestones. There are many individuals and companies offering similar heritage walk in Jaipur, unfortunately, most of them are not good. Only a handful of these walks are “packed and presented” well. As is the case with expanding market, many people jump in to make quick money but only a few deliver good value.
The walk started at Shri Sitaram Temple located in Chaura Rasta . The temple is very old and is owned by a family trust. The walk leader mentioned this temple predates Jaipur city. The condition of temple is poor and lack of upkeep is visible. The temple has not been renovated, for ages. There are many unique aspects & stories about this temple. There are two temples buildings inside this complex. One of them has beautiful wall paintings and frescoes.
From here we headed towards the Film Colony in Chaura Rasta. Nishchal Jain, the walk leader mentioned about the unique aspects of this location. The buildings located on the Main Square of the Film colony is built in the Art Deco style, not found anywhere else in the walled city! It was developed as a commercial area with few hotels since 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 the film colony, we walked to Thatheron ka Rasta. Thathera is a person engaged in making 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, the 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 art. Jaipur state (pre -Independence years) was famous for its Chattis Karkhanas (36 factories, in the literal sense) or thirty-six departments, during the days of Maharajahs, Art was one of them!
The beautiful facade of Maharajah School of Arts & Craft, Kishanpole Bazar, Jaipur.
The building housing the Art school has an impressive architecture. It has a fusion of various architectural styles including Rajput and Mughal style. It was originally a 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.
Update 2018-Maharajah School of Arts and Crafts has been converted into a museum called – Museum of Legacies
Read more about this museum- Museum of Legacies| Everything but A Legacy
Maharajah School for Girls, near Nataniyon ki Haveli, Jaipur.
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.
There are 3 different stories revolving around the construction of this tower. We walked towards Triployia Gate to reach the Maharajah Public library which has been maintained well by the authorities. The walk leader 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 the public here is the answer. Tripolia Gate is reserved only for the members of the royal family of Jaipur; it’s not open for the general public. The family of the erstwhile rulers wants to reserve this gate for their personal use.
The free Jaipur walking tour or Heritage Walk in Jaipur lasted one and a half hour. 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.
If you prefer a self-guided heritage walk do read How to do an amazing self-guided walking tour in Jaipur