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5 Things You Need To Know About Captivating Galta Temples

Galtaji is a narrow valley on the Eastern side of Jaipur famous for the Galta Temples & kund. It is an important pilgrimage in Jaipur and dates to ancient times. Complete details on Galtaji history is not available but according to the local legend it is named after famous Rishi Galav who made his penance here for 60,000 years. Pleased with his devotion, almighty blessed this place with a perennial source of holy water which many people believe is the sacred water of Ganges. It still flows from ground spring and accumulates in a tank meant for the holy dip called Galta Kund.  According to M M Ninan, an important author on Hinduism, Galtaji had temple dedicated to Lord Shiva dating to 600 AD. Some claim that this temple still exists in the form of a cave temple. Galtaji Temples are popular among foreign tourists as Monkey Temple.

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Temple dedicated to Rishi Galav at Galtaji Jaipur
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Rishi galav Temple at galtaji, Jaipur

 

I have visited the these temples many times over the years but never enjoyed visiting here because of many reasons. It was only recently that when I started exploring that I realized its real beauty and history behind it.

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Beautiful Galta Temples at Galtaji, Jaipur

1. History of Galta Temples

Apart from mythological side of Galtaji history, historians and researchers have something more to add. As per common belief, jogis or babas used to live in Galtaji till 16th century when one Ramanandi Sadhu by the name of Krishnadas Payo Hari came to Galtaji & drove them away with his mystical & spiritual powers. It is believed that Krishnadas was a payobhaksha, living on “milk only” diet. This led to the word Payo being added to his name. It became an important center of Ramanandi Hindus.

Ramananda was a saint following Ramanujacharya sect of Vaishnavism (Hindusim) in medieval India. Ramanandis worship Lord Ram as well as Vishnu and consider themselves descendant of Luv & Kush, son of Lord Rama. Although Ramanandis fall under Ramanujacharya sect of Vaishanav Hindus, over time many differences developed between their philosophies. Center of Ramanjuacharya Hindusim is in Tamil Nadu (Totadri Math) and for this very reason Galtaji is called Uttar Totadri (North Totadri).

Galtaji is an important religious center for Vaishnav Hindus. In recent years, there has been a strong tussle for power among Ramanandis and Ramanjuachrya sect, which led to a court case. There’s lots more to Hindu religion than what I can explain here; I’ll reserve it for the future post.

If you have a lingering question on importance of Galtaji in Hindu religion, here are some facts.

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Kirti Stambh of Ramanujachrya sect of Hindus at Galtaji

2. Things to see in Galtaji

Beautiful architecture of Galta Temples, Galta kund and monkeys.

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Beautiful architecture of Galtaji.  Galtaji bath
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Devotees and pilgrims at Galta Temples. Galtaji, Jaipur

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This place draw a large number of devotees from the nearby villages since it’s an important local pilgrim too. Makar Sakranti & Kartik Purnima are few occasions when people throng Galtaji in large numbers for the holy dip at Galta Kund.

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Devotees at Galtaji Kund on Makar Sakranti. Galtaji, Jaipur

Even though these temples are a big tourist attraction, I have always found that locals outnumber tourists.

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Galta temples were built during the reign of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, founder of Jaipur city in early 18th century. Before these temples were built, there was a small temple in nearby hills which are now in a ruined state.

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Ruined Old Galtaji Temple, Jaipur
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Old Galtaji Temple in a ruined state

These temples have beautiful frescoes & paintings from the Indian mythology and Hindu religion on the walls & ceilings. The architecture is mesmerizing as it uses canopies/ chhatri, lattice, window in a unique style which is a hallmark of Jaipur architecture.

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Lattice, canopy, windows, niche fuse together to create this stunning architecture.

 

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Designs & colors on the wall and ceiling create beautiful visuals

 

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Scenes from Indian mythology and history adorn the walls of Galta Temples.
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Beautiful bangladaar or curvi-linear Chhatri at Galtaji
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Heritage paintings from mythology and religion adorn the walls and ceiling at Galta Temple, Jaipur

Out of the three temples, two have been constructed in haveli style- Shri Gyan Gopal ji temple & Shri Sitaram ji temple. The latter being the biggest among all temples at Galtaji.

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Shri Sitaramji Temple, Galtaji Temple, Jaipur
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Shri Sitaram Temple, Galtaji as seen from Sri Gyan Gopal temple.
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Sanctum at Shri Sitaramji Temple, Galta

Shri Sitaramji Temple has five sanctums & idols of Lord Rama depicting various life stages.

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Beautiful entrance of Shri Sitaram ji Temple, Galtaji, Jaipur
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Newly consecrated idols at Shri Sitaramji temple, Galtaji, Jaipur

There is a popular belief that the idol of Shri Ram Gopal ji in Shri Sitaramji Temple resembles both Lord Krishna and Lord Rama.

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There’s a small temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman in one of the annex of this temple. The temple management claims that it has Akhand Jyoti, a flame that’s never put off  since the idol was consecrated centuries ago. I’m not sure of this claim since there’s no way to verify the same.

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Idol of Lord Hanuman at Shri Sitaramji temple, Galtaji, Jaipur
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Akhand Jyoti. Galtaji, Jaipur

 

Shri Gyan Gopal ji temple is a smaller of the two and contains idol of Lord Krishna. This compound also houses a school for the students and disciples.

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Shri Gyan Gopalji Temple. Galtaji, Jaipur
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Sanctum at Shri Gyan Gopal Temple, Galtaji, Jaipur
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Simple yet beautiful architecture of Shri Gyan Gopal Temple, Galtaji, Jaipur

 

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Paintings from Indian mythology and Hindu religion on ceiling of Galta Temples, jaipur

Entire stretch from the Galta Gate to Shri Sitaramji temple has many small temples. Sun temple or Surya Mandir which overlooks city of Jaipur city is the prominent one in this area.

Due to 1981 Jaipur floods Galta Temples were submerged. Thankfully, restoration brought back its glory.

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Monkeys of Galtaji. Jaipur Monkey Temple?

Visitors will notice presence of monkeys everywhere in Galtaji. While this may startle some but they are harmless unless provoked. Monkeys are used to seeing people around as devotees visit Galtaji to offer them food.

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Devotees offering to monkeys
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Offering for monkeys at Galtaji.

Stay safe by ensuring you are not carrying any food items with you. It is best to stash it in your bag, away from the prying eyes of monkeys. They cannot differentiate between a devotee & a tourist!

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Lord Hanuman also known as Monkey God. Galtaji, Jaipur

A new temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman has recently been constructed near the entrance.  Despite the fact that tourists refer Galtaji as monkey temple, there’s no connection of monkeys directly with the temple. It is being called so because of monkeys around .

3. How to reach Galtaji Temple?

Surrounded by hills on all three sides, one can reach Galtaji temple by a hilly path which starts from Galta Gate or through Ghat ki Guni. Former is essentially a pedestrian route and closer to the city.

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Galta Gate which leads to the Galtaji, Jaipur
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Devotees on their way to Galta temples. Galta Gate, Jaipur

Caveat: Do note that Galta Gate path is filthy and full of aggressive monkeys.

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How to reach Galtaji Temples? The pedestrian ramp from Galta Gate, Jaipur requires some energy as it involves ascend and descend through hilly path.
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Devotees on way to Galtaji temple through pedestrian route which starts from Galta Gate, Jaipur

The latter route is longer, approximately 10-12 km from the city center and passes through a beautiful alley called Ghat Ki Guni as well as a forest.

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Reaching Galtaji through Ghat Ki Guni, Jaipur
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Road to Galtaji passes through a forest land

If you don’t prefer pedestrian path or walking, this is the only choice you have. Once you reach Galtaji, this view will greet you.

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4. Galta Temple Timing

You can visit Galtaji Temples from sunrise to sunset. Galtaji is open throughout the day for visitors.

5. Galtaji Entry Fee

There is no entry fee for visiting Galtaji Temples. However, Galtaji temple management charges Rs 50 for camera/ mobile photography which I feel is not unreasonable. You can also make an offering if you wish, to help the management in maintaining this heritage & pilgrim site. Given the fact that Galta temple has limited resources to generate money, it will definitely help.

Galtaji is an offbeat tourist attraction in Jaipur. Recommended for those looking beyond the regular places to see in Jaipur. From my own experience, you will enjoy this important religious & heritage site when you have someone who can narrate its history, otherwise its just another place.

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117 thoughts on “5 Things You Need To Know About Captivating Galta Temples

    1. Thanks Lisa but I’m sure there are better photographers out there. Also I use basic equipment for photography. And there are pros using best of equipment. 😃
      I’m sure you’ll love your India visit Lisa

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There is lots more information on Galta temples but it’s not possible to fill it up here in this post. Do visit and let me know if you enjoyed this trip. 😊

      Like

  1. I thought I have seen it all in Jaipur. But your posts keep challenging that notion. This is a wonderful post about an upcoming attraction (for non-Jaipurites). Loved the pictures as well as the write-up. I have one more reason to visit Jaipur now in addition to Indigo shopping.

    Good work, Arv! Keep ’em coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jaipur has lots more beyond the usual tourist attractions if you love offbeat places. Especially for those who love architecture, history and heritage.
      Do you keep visiting Jaipur frequently?

      Like

  2. A commendable post on this off-beat tourist attraction. I had been to Jaipur a few years ago and no one even mentioned this place to me. The history ias as interesting as the architecture. You’ve captured the essence of this place with your vivid images and narration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kala, Given the number of tourist attractions in Jaipur it becomes difficult for tourists to fit in Galta temples in a short duration. To be honest, it is recommended only for heritage and architecture lovers. Yes it is beautiful. Let me know whenever you are next in Jaipur, I’ll take you there. Will add in few more places. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, Kala. 😃

      Like

  3. Whoa the pics are simply mesmerising and I am thoroughly captivated by them. I dont remember having visited these temples as a kid (I used to live in Jaipur many moons ago) but have put it on my list to visit, the next time I happen to be in Jaipur

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It great to read your words here. You have lived in Jaipur? Interesting. I’m surprised why you never heard about it? Whenever you are visiting next, let me know will share some more inputs. 😃

      Like

  4. Arv, I am happy to be that single run to complete the century of comments on your this post. Loved the post. the detailed information. such hidden treasures are required to be brought in light and you are doing a great job on that front.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Namita, Thank you for being so kind 🙂
      well, Galta temples are not hidden treasure. They are popular among locals and some select foreign tourists. But yes, different people look at it differently. For some it is sacred place for others it is monkey temple. But not everyone understand the history and school of thought that temple follows. I feel your photographs and pictures are a big inspiration for me. They are so well written and your pictures are just so awesome.
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Namita. 🙂

      Like

  5. Lovely to hear that you discovered and enjoyed the Galtaji temple. Some places you just have to take time to get to know, and you will then discover the amazing stories behind them. It is interesting to read that locals outnumber the tourists at Galtaji Kund on Makar Sakranti. Sounds like locals hold very strong faith through the generations, and this is still a sacred worship place, and maybe that is helped by the architecture resembling the prominent deities as you mentioned – always serving as a reminder what happened in history and folklore. I really, really love monkeys. They are my favourite animal and if I visited this area, I would probably feel like it is one big treat 😀 They sound very cheeky and if I do visit, I will not bring a bunch of bananas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Surely, Mabel. some places need time because there is so much hidden and unsaid. You have to uncover and find it out yourself. Yes, it is still sacred and people visit t in large numbers.

      Have you ever been to any other Monkey Temple? I heard there is one in Bali. Have you visited it? I’m sure you have some interesting things and experiences around Monkey. Well, Banana is not the only thing monkey love. They also like various kinds of nuts.

      Like

      1. With these places not only sometimes is there a bit of a drive, there is a lot of exploration on foot, which is the fun part : D Never visited a monkey temple. But I’ve been to Batu Caves in Malaysia, and after climbing up at the very top there are a lot of monkeys. I kept my distance and the monkeys didn’t take much interest in my thankfully 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. well said, Mabel. Batu caves? yes, I have heard about them but certainly haven’t come across the word monkey there.
        Looks like monkeys are very clear of their choices. 😉
        Did you post a blog about this visit, Mabel?

        Like

      3. Nope, no blog post on Batu Caves. Maybe one day, you never know. Monkeys are very intelligent creatures. I think many of them know what they want…and a lot of the time, that is food. You should always remember to be careful around them 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ha ha! looks like you understand monkeys very well. No point for guessing that they are intelligent. Have you watched Nat Geo’s Monkey Thieves? It is a documentary shot in Jaipur and a very popular one too. I think you will enjoy it.
        These monkey often invade people house and raid the refrigerators. They know how to drink water by opening & closing taps. Talk of intelligence!

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      5. I haven’t actually watched Monkey Thieves. It sounds like such an entertaining documentary, talking about all things monkeys. Those monkeys must have very strong hands or quite a lot of strength if they can open the refrigerator! You wouldn’t want to mess with them 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Through your post, I came to know of this beautiful destination near Jaipur. Whenever one talks of Jaipur or Rajasthan then the well-known tourist destinations steals the show but there are so many places beyond these. I enjoyed reading your post and thus visiting Galta temples 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sharmistha, There is always a conundrum where you have so many places to visit and little time. We all choose the most popular ones. That’s the most convenient thing to do. A traveler will always choose places going by his interest unlike tourist. Since you have enjoyed this post, there is something more to look forward to. Hang on!
      BTW, I’ll need your assistance when I visit your home town. 🙂

      Like

  7. We went through Ghat ki Guni. When we were near the gate, a monkey came and pulled one of my friend’s bag. This made our visit short.
    Loved your photographs and details. Maybe someday I again go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! I know the scare that monkeys must have caused. But they are not that bad. I’m sure you will have even better experience next time, Sapna 🙂 Thanks for appreciating pictures and post.

      Like

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