Jaipur On The Principle Of Vastu Shastra
Vastu shastra is the science of construction or architecture. It is an ancient doctrine which consists of precepts born out of a traditional view on how the laws of nature affect human dwellings. The designs are based on directional alignments.
It used to be applied in Hindu architecture, especially for Hindu temples, and covers other domains, including vehicles, vessels, furniture, sculpture, paintings, etc. The foundation of Vastu is traditionally ascribed to the mythical sage Mamuni Mayan in South and Vishvakarman in North India.
While Vastu had long been essentially restricted to temple architecture, there has been a revival of it in India, in recent decades, notably under the influence of late V. Ganapati Sthapati, who has been campaigning for a restoration of the tradition in modern Indian society since the 1960s.
Architectural History of Jaipur
Vaastu is a science of common understanding based on experience and experimentation wherein both the theoretical and the practical aspects of knowledge are embodied together with instinctive problem solving.
Jaipur is considered by many urbanists to be one of the best planned cities. In an era when most of the Rajputs were busy fighting with each other, the Jaipur’s kings diplomatically broadened their control sphere maintaining good relations with the Mughals.
Jaipur was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh in 1727, Maharaja Sawai jai Singh was a Kachwaha Rajput, who ruled from 1699-1744. Initially his capital was Amber city, which lies at a distance of 11 km from Jaipur. He felt the need of shifting his capital city with the increase in population and growing scarcity of water. Jaipur is the first planned city of India.
The King consulted several books on architecture and architects before making the layout of Jaipur. Jaipur city designed by architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya as per Vastu Shastra “Hindu architecture”. Jaipur is full of famous forts, enchanting palaces and lovely temples.
The construction of the city started in 1727. It took around 4 years to complete the major palaces, roads and square. The city was built following the principles of Shilpa Shastra, the Indian Architecture. The city was divided into nine blocks, of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public.
Huge fortification walls were made along with seven strong gates. For the time, architecture of the town was very advanced and certainly the best in Indian subcontinent. In 1853, Prince of Wales visited Jaipur; the whole city was painted pink to welcome him. Today, avenues remain painted in pink; provide a distinctive appearance to the city.
The city was planned according to Vastu Shastra. The directions of each street and market are east to West and North to South. The Eastern gate is called Suraj (Sun) Pol, while the Western gate is called Chand (Moon) Pol. There are only three gates facing east, west, and north including the Northern gate (known as Zorawar Singh gate) which faces toward the ancestral capital of Amber.
Although the present city has expanded from outside of its walls, the original planning was within the walls. The gates used to be closed at sunset and opened at sunrise. Almost all Northern Indian towns of that period presented a chaotic picture of narrow twisting lanes, a confusion of run-down forts, temples, palaces, and temporary shacks that bore no resemblance at all to the principles set out in Hindu architectural manuals which call for strict geometric planning.
Jaipur architecture is worldwide famous because of its technical details and beauty. Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II – the founder of Jaipur was a great architect and astronomer. He also had a good knowledge of Indian Vastu. This is the reason that the architecture of Jaipur is a wonderful case study for the modern architects across the world.
The town of Jaipur is built in the form of an eight-part “Mandala” known as the “Pithapada”. The city was divided into nine blocks, of which two consist the state buildings and palaces, with the remaining seven allotted to the public. Huge fortification walls were made along with seven strong gates for the purpose of security of the city.
Jaipur city is remarkable among pre-modern Indian cities for the width and regularity of its streets which are laid out into six sectors separated by broad streets of 111 ft. 111 is a holy number in Hinduism and hence considered lucky also.
The commercial shops were designed in Jaipur in the multiples of nine, having one cross street for a planet. “Nine” signifies the nine planets of the ancient astrological zodiac, and twenty-seven signifies the 27 nakshatras. This architectural planning of Jaipur is on the basis of Indian Vastu and astronomy, and is the uniqueness of the architecture of Jaipur.
In Jaipur architecture, the urban quarters were further divided by networks of girded streets. Every street is connected to main road. Because of this sort of architecture of Jaipur, nobody can wander in the streets of Jaipur whether he is familiar with the paths or not. Further, the five quarters wrap around the east, south, and the west side of a central palace quarter, with a sixth quarter immediately to the east.
Now, Jaipur is clearly divided in two parts, an old “Four Wall City” and a new city; having 5 stars hotels, air port, railway junction, MNCs, internationally recognized colleges, shopping malls, hospitals etc.
Architecture of new city is not as per Indian Vastu and astronomy, but the architecture of new Jaipur is based on modern architectural concepts. It’s really amazing to have a walk in early morning in old city when traffic is not much and the old architecture of Jaipur can be seen and enjoy easily.