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Jaipur, India: 5 must-see heritage sites

By Kriti Gandhi 12 January 2021

Header image courtesy of Mitchell Ng Liang An

As a city of abundant culture, mind blowing forts, and century-long traditions, Jaipur is undoubtedly home to some of the most beautiful heritage sites. Worth every traveller's time, the Pink City is home to numerous religious and historical structures that will blow your mind. Although most of the locations are open all year, the best time to visit the heritage sites is from October to March when the blazing Rajasthani heat subsides. Here is a guide to the five must-see heritage sites in the city.

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Photo credit: Barun Ghosh (via Unsplash)

Galtaji Temple

Galtaji is a prehistoric Hindu pilgrimage site built in the early 15th century. Situated at the heart of the Aravali Hills just 10 kilometres away from Jaipur City, the temple tells tales of culture, religion, and history. The temple’s architecture is unlike any other—constructed to structurally resemble a palace, Galtaji is renowned for its unique wall carvings and Indian mythological paintings.

The temple encompasses seven holy kunds (कुंड; water tanks) filled from the natural spring water that flows from the top of the hills; believed to be sacred in Hinduism, thousands of people make their way to Galataji to bathe in these kunds every year. Ancient stories suggest that among the seven kunds, the Galta Kund (गलता कुंड) is considered to be the holiest as it has never been dry. Within the magnificent pink sandstone structure, the heritage site has smaller temples dedicated towards Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, and Lord Hanuman.

Galtaji, also known as The Monkey Temple, is also popular amongst locals and tourists for the large population of monkeys that can be found there—perfect for travellers who want to explore the architectural masterpiece with some friendly wildlife company.

Galtaji Temple, Shri Galta Peetham, Galva Ashrama, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India | +91 141 268 0951

Photo credit: Ian Lee (via Unspalsh)

Amer Fort

A constant testament to Jaipur’s valour in many battles, the Amer Fort (Amber Fort) that once safeguarded the city’s honour now serves as a reminder of Jaipur’s remarkable history. Located a short 11 kilometres away from the city centre, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most visited attractions in Jaipur.

Built in the 16th century with pink and yellow sandstone and marble, the fort’s infrastructure reflects a striking combination of Mughlai and Rajputana architecture. Once a palace for royals, the fort has four levels, each with an individual courtyard—the Diwan-e-Aam (दीवान-ए-आम; Hall of Public Affairs), the Diwan-e-Khas (दीवान-ए-खास; Hall of Internal Affairs), the Sheesh Mahal (शीश महल; Mirror Palace), and the Sukh Niwas (सुख निवास). The fort is known to have many intricate carvings on its walls and ceilings. The picturesque fort overlooks the stunning Maota Lake along the Aravali Hills.

Amer Fort is Jaipur’s pride and glory. Apart from the fort itself, the heritage site is notoriously famous for its nightly Light and Sound show.

Amer Fort, Devisinghpura, Amer, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India | +91 141 253 0293

Photo credit: Rowan Heuvel (via Unspalsh)

Abhaneri Step Well

Locally known as the Chand Baori (चांद बाउरी), the Abhaneri Step Well is one of the most architecturally complex step wells in Rajasthan. The mesmerising baori is located in Abhaneri Village near the Jaipur-Agra highway, just 20 kilometres away from Jaipur.

This fascinating heritage site was built in the early 9th century by King Chand Raja and predates the iconic Taj Mahal. The arid climate in Rajasthan makes step wells a common structure in the region—baoris are particularly known and useful for water storage and groundwater harvesting. Almost 100 feet deep, the Abhaneri Step Well is the largest and deepest step well in India. The intricate stonework and detailed design of the Chand Baori sets it apart from any other step well of its kind.

The stunning structural formation of the Abhaneri Step Well attracts many visitors annually. If you time your visit cordially, you might even be able to attend the Abhaneri festival which occurs in early October. The festival celebrates the Goddess of Happiness, Harshat Mata (हर्षत माता). Make sure to visit this heritage site for a once in a lifetime Rajasthani experience.

Abhaneri Step Well, Near Harshat Mata Temple, Abhaneri, Dausa, Bandikui, Rajasthan, India | +91 76119 76587

Keep scrolling for the rest of the article 👇

By Fashila Kanakka 28 August 2020
By Amrita Katara Chandnani 30 October 2020
Photo credit: Bishnu Sarangi (via Pixabay)

Jantar Mantar

At the heart of Jaipur city, Jantar Mantar is an astronomical observatory built in the 18th century by Sawai Jai Singh II. Perfect for space enthusiasts, this heritage site has a lot of history and wisdom to offer. The phenomenal monument features the world’s largest sundial, Samrat Yantra (सम्राट यंत्र), and is known for its accuracy. Jantar Mantar is a true architectural wonder—the UNESCO world heritage site includes 19 astounding astronomical instruments all carved from stone and marble. Each structure has its own identity and purpose—some were historically used to identify the exact positions of the celestial bodies in space while others aided in calculating local time. Many of these monuments are renowned for their accurate predictions and calculations.

Jantar Mantar, Gangori Bazaar, J.D.A. Market, Kanwar Nagar, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India | +91 76119 76587

Photo credit: Justin Wheeler (via Pixabay)

Govind Dev Ji Temple

The Govind Dev Ji Temple, located in the city centre, is famous for its cultural and religious significance in Jaipur. As one of the most prominent and sacred places of worship in Rajasthan, the temple is visited by many each year. The temple is dedicated to and named after Lord Govind Dev Ji (गोविंद देव जी), an avatar of Lord Krishna. Established during the Kachwaha Dynasty of Amber, the deity is associated with and credited for the rich successful history of Jaipur. The Govind Ji idol was brought to Jaipur in 1735 AD by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh. The king claimed that the lord himself ordered him to transport the religious sculpture in a dream. With royal architectural influence, the Govind Dev Ji Temple is built from sandstone and marble—the ceilings are covered with lavish gold paint, grand chandeliers, and mythical paintings.

The heritage site is open for devotees and visitors all year round. The temple is adored for its heartfelt aartis (आरती; prayer ceremony), extravagant interiors, and enchanting history, making it most definitely worth a visit.

Govind Dev Ji Temple, Jainiwas Gardens, Jalebi Chowk, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India | +91 141 261 9413

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Kriti Gandhi

Former editorial intern

Kriti was born in Mumbai but raised in Hong Kong and shares a strong bond with both places. As a current journalism student, she is keen on writing, sharing stories, and has a growing interest in photography. When she is not reading (Harry Potter, or anything really), you’ll find her exploring the city, attempting to skateboard, and finding new dumpling places.

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