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February - March 2004
Three Architectural Jewels of Rajasthan
My association with Rajasthan goes back a long way. My family originates from Uttar Pradesh and my only sister got married into a family from Jaipur. For many years I only visited Jaipur to meet the family although I knew as an architect and town planner that Rajasthan has many architectural and historical treasures. It is only recently that we managed to explore the three great cities of Jaipur, Jaisalmer & Jodhpur (named after their founders) and other places in between. They all present a great insight into Rajasthani culture and heritage.
JAIPUR is also known as the pink city. It is said that Jaipur is the first planned city of India built some 275 years ago.. The name of the city derives from its founder Maharaja Jai Singh. The township was planned in a grid like fashion in rectangular building blocks according to the principles laid down in the Shilpa Shastra, an ancient Hindu Scripture on architecture. The foremost sightseeing place and landmark of Jaipur is the Hawa Mahal, the Palace of Winds centrally situated within the walled city. There are excellent views from the top of the Hawa Mahal. The building has 953 delicately carved honeycombed sandstone windows which gives it such a unique and distinctive appearance. It was used by the royal ladies to view in complete privacy, the goings on in the street below. The Hawa mahal is part of the City Palace complex.