Jaipur, Jaipur City, UNESCO World Heritage since 2019, is today’s capital and largest city of the northwest Indian state of Rajasthan.
The historic Jaipur was designed according to the guidelines of centuries-old Indian architectural teachings and reflects Hindu, Mughal and contemporary Western ideas of building.
The layout of the city center of Jaipur is extraordinary: founded in 1728 as a planned city, it offers an exciting contrast to the predominantly historical old towns of India, which usually have labyrinthine structures. While the grid-shaped city map of Jaipur follows Western models, the organization of the individual districts is based on traditional Indian ideas. Jaipur is the 38th UNESCO World Heritage Site in India. According to payhelpcenter, it is the second Indian city after Ahmadabad to receive this honor.
Jaipur City Center: Facts
|Official title:||Jaipur City|
|Cultural monument:||Inspired by the Indian architectural teachings Vastu Shastra and Shilpa Shastra, Jaipur was built as a planned city in the early 18th century.|
|Location:||Jaipur, Rajasthan state|
|Meaning:||The old town, surrounded by a wall, has an orderly floor plan and is an impressive example of Indian urban planning.|
Created as a planned city
Jaipur forms the so-called »Golden Triangle« of India with the cities of Delhi and Agra. The cities are located in the geographical center of northern India. This strategically favorable location made the region a focal point of Indian history early on. Some of the most beautiful fortresses and palaces in India are located in the “Golden Triangle”.
Jaipur was built around 1728 by Maharajah Jai Singh II (* 1688, † 1744; reign 1699–1744) because the old capital Amber had become too small. He commissioned the Bengali architect Vidyadhar Bhattachary (* 1693, † 1751) with the town planning. He had the city built according to the specifications of Vastu Shastra and Shilpa Shastra, the ancient Indian architecture teachings about the correct placement of land and buildings.
Jaipur emerged as a planned city with very wide streets converging at right angles. The city was divided into nine parts. This grid of nine sectors should embody the nine cosmic areas of the universe. In Indian astrology one has assumed nine celestial bodies. The city was protected by a six-kilometer-long, crenellated wall with seven gates.
City between tradition and modernity
Whether lively bazaars, magnificent palaces, medieval sights or modern buildings: Today Jaipur is a city where tradition and modernity meet. Beginning in July 2019, the World Heritage Committee decided to UNESCO, Jaipur to award the World Heritage status. The oldest parts of the city within the historical city wall as well as some monuments such as the city palace and the “Palace of the Winds” (“Hava Mahal”) were included in the list of world heritage sites.
The city palace in the center of the city served as the residence of the rulers of Jaipur until 1947. The building shows elements of the Rajput and the Mughal architecture (Mughal empire). The “Hava Mahal” is a magnificent baroque building with protruding windows, balconies and ornate stone grids. The Maharajah Mahdo Singh I (* 1728, † 1768) had the five-story palace built in the 18th century. The famous Jantar Mantar observatory, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010, is a famous landmark of Jaipur.
By the end of the 19th century, the city of Jaipur had expanded well beyond its original borders. Many areas outside the fortified city were created by the Maharajah Sawai Ram Singh II (* 1833, † 1880).
Trade and craft
The geometric system of main streets is interrupted by wide marketplaces. The Maharajah encouraged craftsmen, traders and artists to settle in the city. They were assigned special quarters. Jaipur was designed as a trading city and has retained the local traditions of trade and craftsmanship to this day. The bazaars in Jaipur were once craft guilds. Here you can still watch the craftsmen making textiles, leatherwork or jewelry. The blue ceramics typical of Jaipur are also on offer.
In contrast to the other cities in the area, which are located in hilly terrain, Jaipur was built on one level. A chessboard-like pattern with main traffic axes and right-angled street crossings, square districts as well as a clear positioning of the most important buildings – the architecture of the old town of Jaipur, which has hardly changed in its architecture since it was founded around 300 years ago, is a unique total work of art, created as an earthly image of the cosmic order.
Jaipur, the pink city
Jaipur is also known under the name »Pink City«. The city owes this name to the numerous pink buildings in the old part of the city. The paint was not applied until around 150 years after the city was founded.
In 1818 the Maharajah of Jaipur concluded an alliance with the British, with which he submitted to the protection of the English colonial power (colonialism). When the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VII , came to Jaipur on a state visit in 1876, the most important buildings were given a uniform coat of paint in his honor. In India, pink is traditionally the color of hospitality. Today the striking color is the hallmark of the city.