I have written a post on Old City Gates of Jaipur on nine old gates of Jaipur. Galta Gate is not part of these gates because this was outside the walled city area. This gate has historic relevance as it leads to Galta Ji Temple, an ancient temple complex as well as a popular local Hindu pilgrim in Jaipur. Galta Gate is the shortest way to reach Galta Temples, also known as Jaipur Monkey Temple.
Before I talk about Galta Gate, let me share an interesting history of Galtaji Temple. The name Galta is derived from Rishi Galav who as per the local legend worshiped for 100 years. Pleased with his austerity & devotion, the almighty blessed this place with a perennial fountain of holy water. There’s a sacred bathing tank where Hindu pilgrims take a holy dip. During the reign of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II who founded Jaipur, many temples were built in this area. Surya Mandir is one of the prominent temples. Galtaji lies beyond the eastern hill range of Aravalis & can be reached either through Galta Gate or Ghat Ki Guni although the former is popular due to its proximity to the city.
Inspiration for the “Jaipur Then & Now” series is 290 years of the founding of Jaipur city. The foundation of Jaipur was laid on 18 November 1727 AD by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Jaipur Then & Now aims at heritage conservation.
Why our attitude towards heritage needs a big change?
5 Things You Need To Know About Captivating Galta Temples
Here is a picture of the path that pilgrims use to reach Galtaji captured from Galta Gate. This picture was shot by Gobindram Oodeyram, a leading photo studio from the 19th century.
This picture of the Galta Gate was shot 150 years after Jaipur was founded in 1727 AD. I’m not cent percent sure but it’s likely that the photographer of this picture is Lala Deen Dayal, one of the early photographers in India. Lala Deen Dayal captured life on Indian streets, famous monuments as well as portraits of royalty during the second half of the 19th century.
This picture shows Galta Gate as the only standing structure in the area along with a few Chhatris (dome-shaped pavilions) on its right & along with sand dunes. Then Galtaji was at the edge of Jaipur city limits, a little further from the Surajpole Gate, which was one of the 9 entry points to the city. Just beyond this gate was a wall that ran all along the perimeter of Jaipur as a fortification. One can see this wall in the above picture.
Let me show you another picture that I took earlier this year where I tried to capture the same spot.
The gate still stands where it was but there’s an enormous amount of construction & buildings in the vicinity. Chhatris on its right can still be spotted, a Hindu cremation site. Beyond this gate is a highway that leads to Delhi.
The development over 150 years is understandable but the haphazard & unauthorized construction one sees in the vicinity is an eyesore. Due to the populist policies and vote bank, authorities never bothered to check on it. There is a lot of filth near this ancient Gate because it’s part of a Hindu pilgrim site. People feed cows, monkeys, and other animals with offerings to earn good karma. One often comes across banana peels, grains, fodder strewed all over & animals loitering everywhere.
It is not that cleaning doesn’t happen, the area is being cleaned on a regular basis but it is just not enough.
To be honest, I prefer not to visit this area because of these reasons. I have mentioned this in one of my earlier posts – Surya Mandir/ Sun Temple, Jaipur…Stupefying Views!
Litter, animals, unauthorized encroachments, and damaged footpaths are difficult to bear. While the government is spending a huge sum of money on private temple trusts in the vicinity, this area has been ignored. Authorities must understand that many foreign tourists visit Galtaji temple because it is a tourist attraction. Galtaji Temple is famous among foreign tourists as Monkey Temple because of the large number of monkeys.
Another traveler has described the visit to Galtaji Temple, a Banarasi Brahmin – Vyas Ramashankar Sharma in 1903 AD accompanying a rich widow Dhanadevi Mahodaya as her personal secretary. One can find the book in a library.
Here’s a link to read the entire series of Jaipur Then And Now
Stay updated with Jaipurthrumylens!! via: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Do Read the follow-up post : 5 Things You Need To Know About Captivating Galta Temples
It is really a pity to see this entire route from Galta Gate to Galtaji Temple in such a state. It used to be a scenic route and residents would often hike up the Galta hills for a great view. This is still a popular route among residents to reach Galtaji Temple. I’m hoping that authorities will take some action and restore its former glory. At the same time, residents need to do their bit by not littering.
All old pictures have been sourced from the Internet. In case, someone has any issues with this post, kindly let me know.
114 thoughts on “Galta Gate | Jaipur Then & Now”
This now and then series is extremely interesting. The pictures tell a thousand tales. While some of this is expected but it does not stop one from feeling sad on seeing what was and what is.