November 18 is commemorated as the Jaipur Foundation Day. Being established in the year 1727, Jaipur has seen 293 years till now and has become the most famous tourist destination of India.
Also referred to as “The Pink City”, Jaipur encloses for its guests a fusion of history and culture that is bound to leave you in awe. Named after its founder Maharaja Jai Singh II, it is the first planned city of north India, and houses various forts, palaces and architectural marvels. All these creations vouch for the recognition of this city in the past as well as the present times. Knowing about this lively and lifelike city’s past on Jaipur foundation day will surely be an intriguing experience in itself.
The History Of Kachwaha Dynasty
The Kachwaha Rajputs first arrived in the vicinity of Jaipur in the 12th century AD. The Kachwaha Rajputs (descendants of Lord Ram’s son Kusha) used their remarkable soldiering skills and their ability to enter into profitable alliances to gain immense wealth. However, they attained their actual strength by their powerful connections with the Mughal Emperors. The Kachwaha Rajputs on their first arrival into the region, established themselves in the fort palace of Amber, situated at the foothills of Aravalli Hills. Maharaja Jai Singh II ruled the region between 1699 and 1744 and was a terrific Kachwaha Rajput king.
How Jaipur Was Founded
As spoken of above, Kachwaha Rajput ruler Maharaja Jai Singh II laid the first stone of Jaipur in 1727. The Maharaja wanted to shift the capital of his kingdom from the current city of Amer, as the increasing population and the growing scarcity of water were troubling his subjects. This was how the idea of building a Jaipur city came into existence. The new Jaipur city was located at a distance of only 11 km from Amer. His child, Maharaja Jai Singh expressed a huge interest in the design and architecture of the city. He even pursued the opinion of various architects and architecture books before scheming its layout.
The architecture of the city was quite advanced of its time and the best in the entire country. The Maharaja himself was an incredible astronomer and town planner. He planned the city according to the principles of ancient Indian architectural science of Shilpa Shastra. A Bengali scholar Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, helped him a lot in designing the architecture of the city. The Maharaja named the city after himself and it soon became famous by the name of the city of victory as “Jai” meant victory and “our” stood for the city.
The Layout of Jaipur
Although the construction of the city started in 1727, it took 4 years to just complete the construction of major palaces, roads and squares. Maharaja Jai Singh was very critical about assuring the utmost safety for the city. For this, he utilized all his scientific and cultural skills to design it in a well-protected manner. For this, huge fortified walls with seven strong gates were constructed around the city.
The city was divided into nine blocks with the state buildings and palaces located in two blocks and the remaining seven blocks were intended for public use. It is believed that the nine blocks signified the nine planets of the Indian zodiac. The influence of the zodiac was also noticeable in the construction of commercial shops which were generally designed in the multiples of nine. Each of the blocks was separated from the other by a cross-sectional street depicting a planet.
The Name Of Pink City
Even after British annexed India, Jaipur continued to maintain healthy relations with them. In 1818, Jaipur’s Maharaja Jagat Singh and many other royal states of north-west India signed the agreement. This contract gave the royals full control over their provinces despite the Britishers were to administer the overall governance. Later, in 1853, the Prince of Wales visited the glorious city and gave this city a new identity. To welcome the prince, the then Maharaja of Jaipur, Maharaja Ram Singh got the entire city painted in pink colour. This is why it came to be known as The Pink City. The pink color was chosen as it was considered to be a symbol of hospitality within the local culture. The result was so impressive that the tradition has been carried one across generations. Even today people are required to maintain the pink hue.
The rise of Jaipur
Although Jaipur was always a prominent city, it became extremely affluent during the 19th century. In 1922, after taking charge of Jaipur’s throne, Maharaja Man Singh II promoted the construction of various civic buildings including hospitals, schools and the secretariat. Metal and marble were also some of the major industries that helped the city to prosper.
The city still retains its old-world charm amidst the modern facilities and structures that have emerged up in various parts of Jaipur. The city has marked its name as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO becoming a major tourist hub. On, 293rd Jaipur foundation day we wish Jaipur a very happy birthday!