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The Captivating Monkey Temple At Galtaji

Galtaji is a narrow valley on the eastern hill range in Jaipur. It is famous for  Galta Temple & Galta Kund, an important pilgrimage in Jaipur which dates to the ancient times. Complete details on the history of Galtaji 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 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 a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva dating to 600 AD. Some claim that this temple still exists in the form of a cave temple. These temples are popular among foreign tourists as Monkey Temple.

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Temple dedicated to Rishi Galav
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Rishi galav Temple

 

I have visited these temples many times over the years. I realized its real beauty when I started exploring recently.

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Beautiful Temples at Galta

1. What is History of Galta Temples?Apart from mythological aspect, historians and researchers have something more to add. As per common belief, jogis or babas used to live here till 16th century when one Ramanandi Sadhu by the name of Krishnadas Payo Hari came here & 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. Over the years, it became an important center of Ramanandi Hindus.

Ramananda was a saint following Ramanujacharya sect of Vaishnavism (Hinduism) 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 Vaishnava Hindus, over the passage of time many differences developed between their philosophies. Center of Ramanjuacharya Hinduism 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 the importance of these temples in Hindu religion, here are some facts.

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Kirti Stambh of Ramanujachrya sect of Hindus

2. What are things to see in Galtaji?

Beautiful architecture of Galta Temples, Galta Kund, and monkeys.

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

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

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Devotees at Galtaji Kund on Makar Sakranti.

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

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

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Ruined Old Galtaji Temple, Jaipur

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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, lattices, the windows 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 these temples.
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Beautiful bangladaar or curvi-linear Chhatri
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Heritage paintings from mythology and religion adorn the walls and ceiling

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
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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

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 annexes 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

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Shri Gyan Gopal Ji temple is 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 at Galtaji, Jaipur
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Sanctum at Shri Gyan Gopal Temple
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Simple yet beautiful architecture of Shri Gyan Gopal Temple

 

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

The entire stretch from the Galta Gate to Shri Sitaramji temple has many small temples. Sun temple or Surya Mandir which overlooks 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 at Jaipur Monkey Temple?

Visitors will notice the 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 Jaipur Monkey Temple

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. 

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 close 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 at 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
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How to reach Galta Temples at Galtaji map and location. Note the red marked path which starts from the Galta Gate and leads to the Galtaji Temple.

 

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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 Ghat Ki Guni route
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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. There is no public transport facility from Ghat Ki Guni route. You will not find any cab or tuk-tuk for your return journey either. If you prefer to save money and use public transport or tuk-tuk, it is best to opt for Galta Gate route. Both public transport and tuk-tuk are available for Galta Gate from walled city area/ old Jaipur. It takes about 20 minutes of walking for a fit person to reach Galta Ji temple from the Galta Gate. I will suggest UBER Hire if you opt for Ghat Ki Guni route otherwise, UBER mini is available easily for Galta Gate from the city. Another alternative to UBER is OLA cab but fare tend to be slightly higher than UBER.

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Read all related posts on  Heritage Temples of Jaipur

4. What is Galta Temple Timing

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

5. What is the entry fee to Galtaji Temple?

There is no entry fee for visiting Galtaji Temples. However, the 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 temple management has limited resources to generate money, it counts.

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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162 thoughts on “The Captivating Monkey Temple At Galtaji

  1. Galtaji temple looks really interesting! I’ve heard of a Monkey temple in Rajasthan. It’s probably the same.
    Next time I’m in Jaipur, I’ve got to check out your blogs to create my list of sights to research and visit.

    Like

  2. Fantastic photos and excellent information as well. Nobody who talked to us knew anything about the Shri Gyan Gopal Ji Shri Sitaram Ji temples so it was really interesting to hear about those and to see the photos of the ruined temple as well. I hope to make it back there again sometime!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Todd, not all the sadhus living in the temple know much about these​temples because most of them are from other places. Only a few can probably explain the details.

      Do spend more time when you are back. Do visit sun temple too.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your views. Yes, Rajasthan has many great architectural gems. We have a rich legacy though I’m not how far we will be able to preserve it. BTW, there is an ongoing cleaning drive in the city so all ancient water collection points ate being cleaned and repaired. Galta Kund has recently been cleaned. Have you visited Jaipur?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jaipur was always popular with tourists. The domestic tourism has grown multiple times in our country and therefore it is fastest growing sector – more than foreign tourists! IG? Well, more people are posting pictures and stories. There are many instagram worthy locations in Jaipur. Locals are cool with it. It has always been a popular place for the tourists. Where are you guys based?

        Like

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