Brief History of Jaipur

Image of Chang'an

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II laid the foundation of Jaipur in 1727, and the city was built in four years, to complete in November of 1731. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh was a Kachhwaha Rajput, a princely clan in Rajasthan. The King wanted to move the Capital of the state from Amber, which was 11 KMs away from the designated location. Amber was surrounded by hills from all sides and had no scope for expansion. The foresighted King knew that the city will grow and there will be scarcity of water and land.

Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh was a learned King and he was well versed with the ancient Indian principles of Vaastu and Shilpa Shastra. He wanted to build a city that would be remembered for it’s design and he appointed the best scholars of the time to plan the city of Jaipur. These scholars were led bya Bengali Brahmin, Pandit Vidyadhar.

The scholars studied the layout of various cities in the world and chose the Chinese city of  Chang’an as the model. The city is divided into 9 blocks, with wide roads crossing each other at right angles. The main streets measure up to 100 metres wide, with streets measuring up to 30 meters. Jaipur is also surrounded by an 18 ft wall, which has 7 gates in all. The reason to keep seven gates was that the general public lived in only 7 blocks, while the remaining 2 were reserved for administration and palace.

The roads in the city were paved and were lit by gas lamps at night. Jaipur had various colleges and the artisans and craftsmen were given special protection. The city boasts of a state of the art astronomy centre, Jantar Mantar, built with the city in the 18th century, with a sun-dial that is still accurate. The Palace of Winds or the Hawa Mahal is another building that is special to Jaipur.

Jaipur is also known as the Pink City. In 1853, when the Prince of Wales visited the city, all buildings were painted with the colour made from sand. All the buildings in the walled city have been painted with the same colour since then.

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