Steeped in pink buildings with a whiff of royalty and splendour, Walled City of Jaipur is a magnificent heritage site. Amalgamation of ancient and contemporary architecture is the core of planning and layout of the walled city.
As I take a walk in the streets of walled city, houses there catch my attention. Located on the both sides of slender streets, these 2-3 storey houses were serried to each other and had identical antique architecture. These ‘Archaic Havelis’ still inhabit families who have lived generation after generation for past 50 years or more.
One of the most distinguishable features is that these houses are made of ‘stones’ and ‘chuna’ instead of red bricks and cement which is the core building material used in buildings these days. Usually 2-3 families live together in one haveli and each of the family have their separate floors.
The havelis have unused space in the centre of each floor which is called ‘Chowk’. In older times these chowks were open but now they are covered with long iron rods called ‘Jaal’ for safety and security purpose.
The staircase is constricted with steep stairs, big wooden gates envelopes the entrance or ‘Chaukhat’. On the both sides of the gate there is an uplifted space called ‘Ghokha’; which was used as a meeting spot in ancient times. Even today we can see old men gathered there on Sunday evening to play cards.
Now a days people are renovating their old houses and havelis to sustain and maintain them while preserving the traditional outlook.
One of the flamboyant features of the walled city is the compressed and slender lanes which are interconnected to various parts of the city. One may enter ‘Gopal Ji ka Rasta’ lane from Chaura Rasta and it will open onto Johari Bazaar. Another fascinating fact which caught my attention is the witty names of these lanes such as ‘Boradi Ka Rasta’, ‘Jhalaniyon ka Rasta’, ‘Ghee walon ka Rasta’ etc.
The charm and beauty of walled city has helped Jaipur in bagging the tag of ‘UNESCO World Heritage Site’. To have an enticing experience one must stroll inside lanes of walled city where old ways of life continue uninterrupted.