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Jaipur – The Pink City
For the month of March, we are mixing up our newsletter content to give you information on one of the wonderful cities that we travel to on a Colouricious holiday. Jaipur was the first location we ever visited on a Colouricious tour so it made sense for us to start at the very beginning with this beautiful city.
Over the next month, we are going to look at:
- The History of Block Printing in Jaipur
- Textile Printing Techniques of Jaipur
- How the Wooden Printing Blocks are made
- What to do in Jaipur
But first off, a little bit of history and information about the city itself.
History of Jaipur
Jaipur city is located on the eastern border of the Thar Desert. It is popularly known as “Pink City” and is one of the best architecturally designed cities of India. The city is located at a height of 1417 feet above sea level. Jaipur is surrounded by the Aravali hills from three sides which safeguard it from the desert. In the North, Jaipur shares its borders with Sikar and Mahendragarh districts. In the south, it is surrounded by Tonk district, in the east by Alwar, Dausa and Sawai Madhopur districts and in the west by Nagaur and Ajmer districts.
From east to west, Jaipur district is spread over 180 km while the length from north to south is about 110 km. Banganga and Sabi Rivers are the main sources of water for the district.
Jaipur is the capital of Rajasthan which was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II on November 18, 1727. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II was a Kachwaha Rajput who ruled Jaipur from 1699-1743. Prior to Jaipur, his capital was Amber which is 11 km away from Jaipur. With the increase of population, the King felt the need to shift the capital city. Another reason to shift the capital was the scarcity of water in Amber region.
The King was concerned about the security of the city and hence, he utilised his scientific and cultural interests to build it. He employed Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Brahmin scholar in Mathematics and Science from Bengal to help design the city’s architecture. Vidyadhar referred to ancient Indian literature on astronomy, books of Ptolemy and Euclid in order to help the King.
The construction of the city started in 1727 and it took around 4 years for the completion of the major palaces and roads. Principles of Vastu Shastra were greatly followed while designing the city.
Jaipur city is counted among pre-modern cities of the country because of the evenness of its streets. The streets are divided into six sectors each separated by around 34 m (111 feet) wide roads. These sectors are termed as urban quarters which are further divided by interconnecting streets.
The city was divided into nine blocks, two of which allocated for state buildings and palaces. The remaining seven blocks were allotted to the general public to live in. From the security point of view, huge walls were constructed around the city along with seven strong gates. It is believed that the architecture of the city was the best of its time in the Indian subcontinent.
Visit of the Prince of Wales
Credit: Columbia University, NY
In 1876, the Prince of Wales visited Jaipur city. To celebrate the visit and to welcome the Prince, the whole city was painted in pink which is how the city got its beautiful nickname, “Pink City”. Continuing the trend and keeping the charm of the historic era, all the state buildings and historical places of Jaipur city are painted in a similar pink colour.
The city of Jaipur serves as a vast business centre with all the modern facilities available. The historical places situated in the city attract tourists from different parts of the country and abroad. These places include Nahargarh Fort, Amer Fort, Jaigarh Fort and Moti Doongri.
Block printing is one of the major arts practiced in the Jaipur district. A small village, Bagru, 35 km from Jaipur in the southwest is famous for block printing. The people of this region belong to Chippa community and have practised this art for more than 350 years. Using their native methods of dyeing and printing, block printing is done using colours like Alizarin, bright yellow and indigo blue on cotton fabric.
On Monday we will carry on and explore the History of Block Printing in Jaipur. Block Printing is obviously close to my heart and I look forward to sharing the history with you.
If the description of the Pink City has tempted you to join us on one of our trips, then head over to our website where you can read about all of the holidays we are running for 2017 and 2018.
Learn, Create, Be Happy!