ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING OF JAIPUR
BY : DEEPAK KUMAR SINGH
Sushant school of art and architecture
Jaipur lies at a distance of about 200 miles from Delhi, 150 miles from Agra and 84 miles from
located amidst the Aravali hill ranges at an altitude of about 430 m above sea level.
Latitude – 26 55’ ; Longitude – 75 50’
The current district of Jaipur lies in Eastern Rajasthan, in the Banas River basin and forms a part of
Eastern Plain of Rajasthan.
The eastern Rajasthan, lying to the east and south east of the Aravalli divide includes the modern
administrative districts of –
Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Banswara, Dungarpur, Kota, Bundi, Baran, Jhalawar, Bhilwara, Aj
mer, Jaipur, Tonk, Dausa, Dholpur, Karauli, Bharatpur and Alwar.
10th century onwards : the district Dhoondhar
formed one of the four distinguishable politicocultural regions of Eastern Rajasthan, in addition
to Mewat, Hadauti and Mewar.
Dhoondhar region was roughly comprised of
current districts of Jaipur, Dausa and Tonk, with
Jaipur and Amber further constituting
Dhoondhar subzone within the larger tract of
The region was held by Badgujars, Rajputs and
Minas till the 11th century.
From the 11th century onwards, however, the
Dhoondhar region was increasingly under the
power of Kachchwaha dynasty of Rajputs.
Sawai Jai Singh II (1700 – 1743) from the
Kachchwaha dynasty established the city of
Jaipur and strengthened the boundaries of
Raja Sawai Jai Singh
The three main capitals of the Dhoondhar Region under the
Kachchwahas – Dausa, Amber and Jaipur.
REASONS FOR MAHARAJA SAWAI JAI
SINGH TO CHANGE HIS CAPITAL FROM
AMBER TO JAIPUR (1727)
A site at the South of Amber ensured greater
distance from Delhi.
the out skirting hill ranges (Nahargarh hills)
shaped as a horseshoe would allow the new
city to expand only in the South.
It was an open plain bounded on the northwest and east by hills.
The rocky terrain of Amber restricted
Jaipur had the potentialities of developing into a
city with adequate drinking water due to the
presence of a perennial stream nearby and
good drainage system.
Its rugged hills also ensured a constant supply
of building material.
TWO SIGNIFICANT FACTS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE
ORIGIN OF THE CITY AND ITS SUBSEQUENT LAYOUT:
The need of a new capital for 18th century Dhoondhar
as the earlier one of Amber built on a hill was getting
Sawai Raja Jai Singh’s vision of the new capital as a
strong political statement at par with Mughal cities and
as a thriving trade and commerce hub for the region.
SITE : a valley located south of Amber and the plains beyond,
a terrain that was the bed of a dried lake ; dense forest cover
to the north and the east of the site.
PHYSICAL CONSTRAINTS : hills on the north that housed the
fort of Jaigarh and the Amber palace beyond, and the hills on
the east, which contained the sacred spot of Galtaji.
WATER SUPPLY : the Darbhavati river in the north was
dammed to create the Jai Sagar and Man Sagar (that later
housed the Jal Mahal) lakes. Later the Jhotwara River in the
north west was diverted through the Amani Shah Nallah and
a number of canals were channelised through Brahmapuri
and Jai Niwas to supply water to the city.
The site with the natural east west ridge and the
surrounding forts as defense feature
The medieval towns of Rajasthan were of military, agrarian, mercantile or religious nature.
The presence of a deity marked the reference point for the ruler’s abode and the rest of the city.
The name of the town was usually associated with the political or religious centre (with the
Ambikeshwar temple in the case of Amber and with Sawai Jai Singh in the case of Jaipur).
The hill town of Dausa with an organic layout guided by the
Amber Town with the Fort on top of the hill and the walled
PLANNING OF THE CITY
Unlike Dausa and Amber, the two previous capital
cities of the Dhoondhar region established on hilltop, whose planning was guided by topographical
structure of the areas, Jaipur city was revolutionary
both in terms of its grid-iron pattern planning and its
location at the base of the hills.
There was also a significant economic shift from an
agricultural base in Dausa and Amber to trading in
the capital of Jaipur.
The layout of the city of Jaipur wonderfully links the
concept of a Shastric city with the practicalities of
the chosen site.
First, the straight line of the ridge suggested itself as
the route for one of the main east-west thorough
fares and building a road along its crest makes best
possible use of the topography for the purpose of
What followed then was to regularize the AmberSanganer road as a north-south route at right angles
The point of intersection would be one of the city’s
main cross-roads (chaupar)
The intersection of the axes to define the Badi Chaupar (City
A road cutting the plain from N to S linking
Amber,the capital to Sanganer, the principal
trading town. This road had to be preserved
and controlled and therefore had to fall
within the city’s boundaries
A second road ran E to W between the
Mughal cities of Agra and Ajmer and placing
the new city on this already established
communication line would help secure its
economic success. However since this was an
imperial road that could not be encroached
on, thus the city had to be contained to the
north of this line.
Also, a natural ridge runs across the plain, N
of the road and parallel to it, in a roughly EW
alignment (with a slight deviation of15 deg.
from the cardinal axes). The area to its S is
flat while that to its N slopes down gently. In
Shastric terms, this is an ideal arrangement as
declivity towards the north-east Is
considered the best site. In practical
terms, the ridge too had to be
Ends of the roads marked by Gates in the City Wall
It is a model of town
planning the first planned
city in India. It is based on
Hindu systems of town
planning and followed the
principles prescribed in the
Shilpa-shastra, an ancient
Indian treatise on
architecture .according to
this shastra the site should
be divided into grids or
mandalas ranging from 2x 2
to 10 x 10.
Planned according to the
Prastara type of layout,
which gives prominence to
the cardinal directions.
Thus plan of jaipur is a grid
of 3x3 with gridlines being
the city’s main streets.
CONCEPTUAL PRASTARA PLAN
Vaastu purusha mandala
The central axis of the town was laid from East to West between the gates of the Sun(Suraj pol) and
the moon(Chandpol) .
This was crossed by two roads at right angles dividing the town into nine almost square, almost
equally sized blocks, which were further sub divided by lanes and alleys all at right angles.
By building the western boundary of the city right up to the hill’s southern apex, it provided a
continuous line of defense.
The mandala could not be complete in the NW due to the presence of the hills.
On the other hand in the SE an extra square has been added that plugged the gap between the city
and the eastern hills.
South of the main road were
four almost equal rectangles.
The rectangle opposite the
palace has been broken up into
two equal and smaller
rectangles by the Chaura
Rasta.Thus altogether there are
now five rectangles on the
south of the main road called
On the North of the main road
from West to East are the Purani
Basti, the Palace and
The principal bazaar leads from
the western gate in the city wall,
The Chandpole, passing in front
of the Tripolia Gate, to the
gate, the Surajpole.
The palace building covered two
blocks, the town six and the
remaining ninth block was not
usable on account of steep hills. So
this North-West ward was
transferred to the South-East corner
of the city, making the shape of the
plan as a whole asymmetrical rather
The city’s division into nine wards
was also in conformity with the
Hindu caste system, which
necessitated the segregation of
people belonging to different
communities and ranks.
Even the lanes were named after
the occupations of inhabitants such
as Maniharon ka Rasta, Thatheron
ka Rasta & many others.
Following the directions of the
Hindu Shilpa shastra, width of the
main streets & other lanes were
fixed. Thus the main streets of the
city were 111ft. wide, secondary
streets 55 ft. wide & the smaller
ones 27ft. wide.
URBAN FORM AND ARCHITECTURAL IDENTITY
Jaipur is known as the Pink City, a rather idealized description of the terra-cottacolored lime plaster that coats the old part of the city's walls, buildings, and temples.
The reasons for painting the town pink are
unknown, but various theories have been tossed
using pink to cut down glare
Jai Singh II's apparent devotion to Lord Shiva
(whose favorite color is reputedly terra cotta).
Others believe Singh wanted to imitate the color
of the sandstone used in the forts and palaces of
his Mughal emperor-friends.
The most popular reason (spread no doubt by
"Britishers" during the Raj era) is that pink is the
traditional color of hospitality, and the city was
freshly painted and paved with pink gravel to
warmly welcome Edward VII for his visit here in
Jaipur’s road network follows a definite hierarchy. The major east-west and north-south road ,form
the sector boundaries and are called Rajmarg as they lead to the city gates. These measure 33m.
Next there is a network of 16.5m wide which runs north-south in each sector linking the internal
areas of the sectors to the major activity spine.
An orthogonal grid of 8.25mx4.00m roads in the prastara-chessboard pattern further divide
sectors into Mohallas.
CONCEPTUAL PLAN - CHAUPAR
a square that occurs at the intersection of east west roads with three north south roads.
100m x 100m
used for public gathering on festive occasions
The distance between two chaupars is about 700m which is ideal for pedestrian movement.
It has controlled façade treatment enveloping it.
STREETSCAPES AND CHOWKS
View of a main bazaar street - the width of the main roads was kept 39 1/4 gaz - 108
feet, secondary roads are half this size - 54 feet, the tertiary roads are 27 feet and
the inner mohalla streets are 13 feet wide.
View of a chaupar today
The main markets, havelis and temples on
the main streets in Jaipur were constructed
by the state in the 18th century, thus
ensuring that a uniform street facade is
maintained. The widths of roads were
Junctions of the main axial streets formed
the two square civic open spaces called
chaupars (Badi chaupar and Chhoti
chaupar). The width of the square chaupars
was three times that of the main street.
Historically, the chaupars were outlets for
intense social use with water structures
connected by underground
aqueducts, supplying numerous sources of
drinking water at street level. Presently, the
centre of each chaupar has square
enclosures with ornamental fountains.
The streets and chowks (central open
squares in a town) of the internal
chowkries (sectors) with numerous clusters
or mohallas were not predetermined;
hence show a mix of grid iron and organic
pattern, with the basic unit of built form
being the rectangular haveli.
View of the badi chaupar by raja deen dayal 1876 with the stepwell partly enclosed
The view westwards across the city from the direction of
Original markets in the city include Kishanpole bazaar, Gangauri bazaar, Johari bazaar, Sireh Deorhi
bazaar, along the main north-south and east-west axes that intersect at Chhoti and Badi Chaupars.
Typical architectural features of the bazaar streets are - use of chhajjas (sunshades) resulting in strong
horizontal lines, projecting vertical blocks on brackets, a modular system of arches filled with delicate
latticed screens to cut direct sun and glare of reflected sun in the street.
Bazaar streets have temples above shops with wide staircase starting from pavement to the temple level.
Space above shops at first floor level originally functioned as galleries for watching royal processions,
religious festivals and public celebrations
On the main streets strict control was exercised on the street façade, along which were located shops
and arcades- one storey high, but beyond the frontage the buildings could be of any height or any shape,
some built with flat roofs & others with traditional chattris.
Uniform planned shop
fronts on bazaar streets.
Defined street façade at a chaupar with sunshades and
latticed colonnades at upper floors and shop fronts on the
Section through ramganj bazaar
Chandra mahal in 1876
JAIPUR : PUBLIC AND PRIVATE INTERFACES
ARCHITECTURE OF JAIPUR
• The main architect of this palace built of red and pink sandstone, is Lal
Chand Ustad and the palace is believed to have been constructed in the
form of the crown of Krishna, the Hindu god. Considered as an
embodiment of Rajputana architecture, the main highlight of Hawa Mahal is
its pyramid shape and its 953 windows or 'Jharokhas' which are
decorated with intricate designs.
• The main intention behind the construction of the Mahal was to facilitate the
royal women and provide them a view of everyday life through the
windows, as they never appeared in public.
• Hawa Mahal, designed as a beehive castle with small windows, has a
height of 50 feet from its base.
• This structure, erected on a thin shield or podium approximately fifty feet
high, has walls less than a foot thick.
• Constructed of red and pink sandstones by Lal Chand Ustad,
• Hawa Mahal is famous for its windows or 'Jharokhas' which enable free
circulation of air within the structure.
Its entrance is a door which leads to a spacious courtyard surrounded by
two-storey buildings on three sides. Of the five storeys of the Mahal, the top
three storeys have the thickness of a single room while the bottom storeys have
View Of the City From Hawa Mahal
• The interior of the Hawa Mahal is stark and plain with passages and pillars
reaching to the top storey. The building does not have stairs to reach the upper
floors; the storeys are connected by slopes. From Hawa Mahal, you have an
excellent view of the city.
The structure has four different parts, each with a separate entrance. The main entry to
the fort is through the 'Suraj Pol' or Sun Gate which opens up into the main courtyard.
This east-facing gate is also the main entrance to the palace and its position with
respect to the rising sun is the source of its name. The 'Jaleb Chowk' is one of the four
courtyards of the Amer Palace. The 'Sila Devi' Temple is right at the entrance to the
main palace grounds. The second courtyard is famous for its 'Diwan-i-Aam' (Public
Audience Hall), the 'Sheesh Mahal' and the 'Sukh Mahal'. A very famous attraction here
is the 'Magic Flower', a fresco carved out of marble.
'Diwan-i-Aam' (Public Audience Hall)
It has forty pillars and is a best example of intricate craftsmanship.
The wide assembly hall measures 201′ by 67′ and has flat roof with two gateways of
arched red sandstone to the north and south. The hall is divided in three parts and
has nine bold arches. This is built in red sandstone and is plastered with white shell
plaster which looks like white marble. There is also a raised rectangular stage from
where the emperor used to address the audience.
1. Jaipur,Evolution of an Indian City. archinomy, bridging the gap. [Online] :
www.archinomy.com/case studies/1906/jaipur-evolution-of an- indian -city.
2. Profile Of Jaipur. Indian Heritage Cities Network. [Online]
3. Hawa Mahal. Jaipur. The Pink City. [Online] http://www.jaipur.org.uk/fortsmonuments/hawa-mahal.html.
4. Amer Fort. Jaipur, The Pink City. [Online] http://www.jaipur.org.uk/fortsmonuments/amber.html.
5. Diwan-E-Aam or The Hall of Public Audience. Amber Fort- Pink City Jaipur.