This book is organized in seven itineraries representing some of the most significant aspects of Jaipur’s citywide architecture built almost over three centuries (1727-2017) including an entire itinerary devoted to Amer, region’s historic capital preceding Jaipur. Collectively, they are designed to cater to a diverse range of architectural interests and to help prioritize with respect to availability of time.
Eaqch itinerary offers practical information to enjoy the architecture, and visitors will be introduced to the culture and lifestyle of the city, along with practical facts for the touring visitor.
Sanjeev vidyarthi is a professor of urban planning and a senior fellow of the Great cities institute at the University of Illinois, Chicago where he teaches courses and studious in history, theory, and the craft of plan-making. He has lived, worked and studied in the Middle East, Western Europe, and the United States while studying the case of Jaipur’s city planning and spatial development using a comparative lens and an insider / outsider perspective. After many years of teaching and professional work, Pratiksha has now turned now turned to pursuing her lifelong passion for painting and music.
The historic core of Jaipur is a unique place, unlike any other in the entire Indian subcontinent. The founders planned the original settlement both authoritatively and purposefully, conceiving a formal spatial layout demarcated by gridiron street pattern, and largely flexible internal spaces that could (and did) develop gradually per builders' changing aspirations and shifting social needs over time. The city's architecture also developed similarly, freely mixing a range of ideas and typologies from the regional building traditions as well as myriad influences that frequently shifted with changing princely whims, ongoing cultural exchanges, and external political considerations. However, the founding plan, conceived in 1727 AD, most influenced the city's architectural trajectory as it delineated the basic physical layout on the actual ground as well as established the template for future development. Below we briefly describe the backstory helpful in understanding some of the more important aspects of city's architectural development illustrated in this book.
We broadly organize the narrative along three major phases of city's development that the scholars of Jaipur have identified: Initial building phase that lasted from the founding to mid-nineteenth century, the approximately hundred years long period of British colonial influence from the mid nineteenth century to the mid twentieth century, and the more recent outward-focused developments following Jaipur's amalgamation with independent India in the early 1950s. Even as many driving forces overlap, and continuities and ruptures abound, the main utility of these three discursive phases lies in facilitating a quick overview of Jaipur's origin and long-term development while helping organize the following text in a lucid manner. Note that the origin and development of Amer, region's ancient capital succeeded by Jaipur, is not described here but illustrated in itinerary one.
Historic Jaipur was conceptualized before the idea of building new towns became commonplace in the rest of country during the subsequent British colonial and postindependence periods that witnessed many planned cities like New Delhi and Chandigarh. Incrementally built and thoughtfully nurtured under the caring gaze of hereditary Maharajas until their kingdom's merger with the republic of India, shortly after the country's independence in 1947, historic Jaipur developed through a distinctive approach to city-building. Architecturally well-known cities are usually famous for prominent buildings and popular public places. Chandigarh, for instance, is well known for modernist buildings designed by Le Corbusier within an overall masterplan approach while Barcelona is famous for La Rambla among other public places conceived by Juan Cermeno. Planned under princely autocratic rule, the walled city of Jaipur is most exemplary for long-term city-building via a pre-determined but internally-flexible spatial layout enabling the gradual development of architecturally distinct buildings and public places that ultimately cohere well with the urban whole. This feature stands out even more in contrast when compared with the typically disjointed urban form of most other Indian cities shaped by piecemeal growth and spontaneous developments over time.
Major design elements characterizing Jaipur's historical core are easily distinguishable and include: An overall physical plan that divides the city into nine squares housing different urban functions and diverse social groups; a formally conceived spatial order using gridiron pattern with hierarchal and wide roads; plan lay- out's Cartesian orientation (rotated about 15 degrees clockwise along North-South axis) in response to the local geography; strategically-located public-places like the two Chaupads (akin to a city square in the European context); landmark buildings like imposing Havelis (elite's mansions) and majestic Mandirs (Hindu temples) spread throughout the city; gradual development and widespread employment of a rich architectural vocabulary eclectically combining building typologies, spatial elements and elevational features sourced from a range of diverse traditions but painted uniformly (hence the moniker 'pink city'); and a circumferential wall both securing the city, and regulating the entry of people, goods and commodities via impressive doorways (thus the use of term 'walled city' throughout this guide and local discourse, or Char-diwari Kshetra in Hindi).
Jaipur (combining two separate words: Jai + Pur) is named after the founder king: Sawai Jai Singh (Jai means victory and Pur means a settlement so Jai-Pur literally means the city of victory). Sawai (literally meaning worth one and a quarter [1 + 14] times in strength and / or intelligence than a normal person) is an honorary title that Jai Singh, belonging to the Kachhawa clan of Rajputs who had ruled this region since the 12th century AD, earned from the Mughal court for unwavering loyalty and dedicated military service over past several generations. Founders of one of the largest empires in Indian history, Mughals were Muslim emigrants from central Asia. They cultivated close relationships with Rajputs, who were Hindus, for the reasons of social legitimacy and military strategy. Rajputs belong to traditional Kshatriya, or the military and ruling classes per the ancient tradition that organizes the society among four broad occupation-based and hierarchically-organized groups (or varnas) comprising Brahmins (scholars and priests), Kshatriyas (warriors and rulers), Vaishyas (traders and merchants) and at the lowest rung the majority Shudras (labor) who actually generated the extractable surplus working the hard jobs.
According to this social sturucture, Kshatriya kings were the customary custodians of Dharma (or value-based principles guiding this and afterlife) duty-bound to protect their subjects. Thus, tradition expected Rajput kings' close attention to general public welfare and, since land was the largest productive asset of the times, to overall planning and development of their territory. In this respect, the bonds between the king (especially if he was benign) and 'his lands and people were often intimate. Rulers were typically memorialized via the founding of new settlements (such as Jaipur) and building of public works (like the many lakes and step-wells located across this area). In the region of northwest India, where Jaipur is situated, rulers' land planning efforts invariably centered upon the judicious combination of carefully conceived water catchment and storage systems and the identification and development of defensible locations such as hilly terrain and hilltops (since this part of the world is climatically dry and frequently faced both external aggression and internal strife) and then setting aside suitable locations for relevant land uses like farming, pastures, forests, human settlements and sacred sites in line with the prevalent political situation, overall feudal system and the contemporary religious beliefs.
The combination of Sawai Jai Singh's enterprising nature and lucky inheritances along with the contemporary political dynamic played a key role in Jaipur's founding. On the one hand, once formidable Mughal Empire was just about beginning to disintegrate around the turn of the 17th century even as the British colonists, who would eventually replace it, were still sometime away from becoming India's paramount power. The transition opened a window of opportunity for regionally powerful players, like Jai Singh's dynasty of Kachhawa Rajputs, to claim new territories'as well as consolidate their rule. On the other hand, Jai Singh was a politically astute and practical minded king, who had not only learned from the diverse exposures serving away from home in the distant corners of the Mughal Empire but had also honed his repertoire of skills while augmenting Jaipur's already sizable royal treasury. He was also ambitious and willing to sponsor rather unconventional ventures like founding a purpose-built new capital city, experimenting with astrology, and conducting an Ashwamedha yagna-a holy ritual reserved for the highest ranking kings in the Vedic traditions. His ideas and actions shaped the walled city's origin and long-term development in foundational ways.
First, he employed his sizable resources to purposefully design Jaipur as a princely settlement both in its basic physical structure and architectural character. The act of building a grand city not only aimed at enhancing his reputation amo'bg princely peers but also to position his claim to eternal future fame by drawing upon customary religious practices. The spatial organization of the city plan itself draws upon key normative concepts described in Vastu Shastras (or ancient Sanskrit manuals describing guidelines for building towns and dwellings) that place the King at the metaphorical and geographical city center. Jaipur's massive self-contained palace complex comprising the royal living quarters and all the supporting services, attendant functions and key state offices, for instance, not only occupies the most important geographical location but also comprises the single largest parcel of land in the walled city.
Second, recognizing that city planning and building is always a long-term project, he adopted a flexible approach. For example, consulting many building experts per the legend, he chose the innately flexible grid- based spatial layout. Creating room for future possibilities, this act helped facilitate incremental building activity (often the royalty's favorite pastime), including the impressive temples sponsored by members of the royal household and the many palaces and pleasure-houses of various shapes and sizes patronized by succeeding kings and minor nobility that could be (and were actually) built throughout the city as it urbanized. On similar lines, there grid also facilitated the quick development of Jaipur’s famous bazaars along the major thoroughfares providing employment opportunities while the gradual development of inner blocks enabled he building of specialized neighborhoods housing occupational communities in close proximity.
**Book's Contents and Sample Pages**
Item Code: NAP991 Author: Sanjeev Vidyarthi & Pratiksha Singh Cover: PAPERBACK Edition: 2018 Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus ISBN: 9789388134576 Language: English Size: 7.50 X 5.00 inch Pages: 227 (Throughout Color Illustrations) Other Details: Weight of the Book: 0.3 Kg