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Jaipur Then & Now – Galta Gate

Galtaji Temple is an ancient temple complex as well as a popular local Hindu pilgrim in Jaipur. There’s an interesting history of Galta ji. 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 former is popular due to its proximity to the city.

Inspiration for “Jaipur Then & Now” series is 290 years of founding of Jaipur city. Jaipur was founded on 18 November 1727 AD as India’s first planned city by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II.

Also read: Why our attitude towards heritage needs a big change?

how to reach galtaji temple jaipur google map

THEN

Here is a picture of path that leads to Galtaji overlooking Sun Temple from Galta Gate. This picture was captured by Gobindram Oodeyram, a leading photo studio during the end of 19th century.

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On way to Galta. Old photo of Jaipur shot by Gobind Ram & Oodey Ram Studio, Jaipur

I’m reproducing a small excerpt from “Handbook of the Punjab, western Rajputana, Kashmir, and Upper Sindh” by John Murray (Firm) Edward Backhouse which journals author’s travel to Jaipur during 1880 AD & describes Galta.

 “Galta– Another day may be spent in visiting the shrine of the “Sun God” which is situated on the summit of a range of hills, about 1 1/2 m. to the E. of Jaypur. The traveller may go on an elephant, or if he prefers it, walk. The road for a m. in length is paved with rough stones. It goes in a zigzag up the Ghat, and at 200 ft. up are some neat banglas, built for people to witness the procession from the Temple of the Sun, which is about 350 ft. above the plain, and built on a jutting rocky platform. It is a plain building, with an octagonal vestibule supported by pillars. The view from it over the city is perhaps the best that can be had. In particular one should remark the sandy desert, which is encroaching from the S.W. The sand has caused one large suburb to be deserted, and the houses and garden are going to ruin. The sand has even drifted up a ravine to the N. of the Temple of the Sun. This evil ought to be arrested at any cost. Just beyond the banglas and half-way to the temple is a small alcove, with a statement in Hindi of the expenses incurred in making the road, and half-way before reaching the banglas is a Hindi inscription on the rock, on the right hand, saying that the road was constructed by Shim Lai, of the Kayath caste, and his brother, who were governors of Jaypur about 60 years ago.”

NOW

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Overlooking Sun Temple from Galta Gate. This is how it looks currently.

THEN

Here is a photo of Galta Gate shot 150 years after the Jaipur was founded in 1727 AD.  I ‘m not 100% 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 the life on Indian streets, famous monuments as well as portraits of royalty during second half of 19th century.

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Picture sourced from Google

This picture shows Galta Gate as the only standing structure in the area along with few Chhatris (dome shaped pavilions) on its right & sand dunes.Then Galtaji was at 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 which ran all along the perimeter of Jaipur as a fortification. One can see this wall in the above picture.

NOW

Let me show you another picture which I took earlier this year where I have tried to capture the same spot.

galta-gate-jaipur-sun-temple

 

Galta 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, which now is a Hindu cremation site. Close to Galta Gate is a highway which leads to Delhi.

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Panoramic view of Jaipur city and Galta Gate

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 lot of filth near Galta Gate because this is 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 strewn all over & animals loitering everywhere.

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Earning good karma? Or littering?

 

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On way to Galtaji temple. A mini zoo?

 

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Galta Gate. A sorry state of affair

It is not that cleaning doesn’t happen, the area is being cleaned on a regular basis but it is just not enough.

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To be honest, I prefer not to visit this area because of these reasons. I have mentioned this in one of my earlier post – Surya Mandir/ Sun Temple, Jaipur…Stupefying Views!

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Litter, animals, unauthorized encroachments, damaged foot path are difficult to bear with. 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 a large number of resident monkeys.

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Foreign tourists on way to Galta ji temple. Galta Gate, Jaipur
broken-heritage-street-light-post-jaipur-india
 Lamp post installed few years ago with heritage look “died” long ago!

It is really a pity to see this entire route from Galta Gate to Galta Temple in such a state. It was a scenic route and residents would often hike up the Galta hills for the great view and to enjoy nature. This is a prominent route for reaching Galtaji Temple. I’m hoping that authorities will take some action and restore its old glory. At the same time residents too need to do their bit by not littering.

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Let me end here with another travelers account of Galtaji. This time from a Banarasi Brahmin – Vyas Ramashankar Sharma who visited Jaipur during 1903 AD accompanying a rich widow Dhanadevi Mahodaya as her personal secretary.

“23 January. One and half kos (3 miles) from here is famous Galta, with numeroud temples worth seeing.  To reach it, one has to climb up a hill, so a palanquin with eight bearers was arranged for Shri Sarkar Sahiba. We got up in half an hour. The hills are high and with binoculars one can see the magnificent town and forts. Galta has splendid mountain scenery. A waterfall feeds two large tanks. There is a small Shri Ram Temple and many other small buildings………….”

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Jaipur Then and Now Galta Gate Sun Temple Galtaji #jaipur #oldphoto #travel #environment

All old pictures have been sourced from Internet. In case, some one has any issues with this post, kindly let me know.

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98 thoughts on “Jaipur Then & Now – Galta Gate

  1. I like the way you juxtaposed the old with the new of Jaipur both through text and images. To judge by India’s history of thousands of years of a great civilization, Jaipur appears to be a very young city indeed and yet can present so much amazing evidence for a rich cultural life. Thank you for another great post, Arv!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Jaipur is quite young. At the same time it was India’s first planned city -one of its kind. Cities and towns have their own lives. some cities died over a period because they were not inhabitable, famine, flood…. new centers kept emerging. That’s life!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheryl, we have two different species of monkeys – the red face rhesus macaque and the black face langurs. The former is very aggressive and smart. Langurs thrive in groups but rhesus macaque can be a loner too. Thanks for sharing your views on this.

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  2. Indeed such a pity to see the state of the route! The construction and modernization has come at too great a price….we were better off living a simple life.

    I was glad to see that atleast the structures are there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think modernization is not a bigger issue but construction and encroachment surely is. The structures are there but not in a great shape. But I guess we can’t do much about some things. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and views.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the views of the old and new, Arv. It seems to me that India has so many historic building and areas that are being allowed to fall into disrepair and that’s such a shame. Just as equally, although we have the National Trust here in the UK there are many buildings that can become derelict and get into dangerous states of disrepair. Local to me is a very old mental hospital which has long been abandoned. It’s a very large building that has been set on fire by vandals, had the lead stripped off the roof so that the roof leaks, spray painted, windows smashed etc. Because of the leaking roof some of the upper floors have collapsed. It’s now so dangerous that it has been fenced off and the police regularly patrol the site.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mike, having discussed the same issue in my last post, we have large number of heritage sites. Some are public others are private. No single agency can handle this quantum. Add to that a growing city and population. So some fall off is expected. However, I feel people also need to be made aware of our legacy. Vandalism is everywhere, on the extreme sides we have examples of Taliban & ISIS blowing away Bamian & Palmyra! Unless we don’t connect public, there’s no way out. I’m happy to hear about this trust in your country. Must have done amazing work? WE also have lots of UK influence in architecture during mid 19th century till 1930’s during British rule. Lots of stone fill architecture with exposed stone cladding walls.

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  4. Amazing pictures and an enlightening post! Thanks for capturing the old images to show the difference Arv. Kudos to you for highlighting the apathy towards our heritage, which needs the attention of people who can contribute positively towards this issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, I’m not the first one to do this, may be everyone has a different style. I’m sure if we can care for our heritage, it will pay us back in a handsome manner not necessarily in monetary way! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I was going to say you steal my heart with the old black and white photos and then I see the one of the resident monkey. Great shot. I have learned a lot of history since following your Blog. tts great stuff

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  6. Wow! Such a detailed posts and some great photos in there ! Good job man!
    It’s nostalgic to see my hometown but is also a little disappointing to see the crumbling structures. I hope this series of yours draws the much needed attention of authorities towards this and things get better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel encroachment and lack of sensitivity towards heritage is a very big issue which needs our urgent attention. I hope that authorities will be able to do something about it, real soon! It’s great to know that this post brought back memories of your home town – Jaipur. Happy to connect, Prateek! 🙂

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  7. Another great post Arv, yes, its the common scene most at most of the Indian heritage sites. We build new temples but ignore the temples built hundreds of years back, worshipped by million people. We simply don’t know what should be our priorities. I know going to some of these places could be risky too. Glad that you posted the real info. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Raj. I think temples are being used as power centers/ money generating points which explains why everyone wants to own one! We have some stunning temples built in palatial style few centuries ago but no devotees! On the other hands new temples are teeming with devotees. Irony!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly! My point of interest is heritage and architecture or some interesting story. Story doesn’t mean marketing material that temple management spreads around to create buzz!

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