Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan
Rajasthan

Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan- Jaipur’s distinct, offbeat place

Jaipur sightseeing includes a list of popular monuments and palaces that every tourist wants to tick off their bucket list. From Jantar Mantar and City Palace to Hawa Mahal and Amber Fort, there are several destinations for tourism in Jaipur. But there is more to the city than what meets the eye. One among the lesser known, offbeat places is Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan. Add this place to your Jaipur trip for one of its kind experience.

The domes dedicated to the royal women
The domes dedicated to the royal women

What is it all about?

Dedicated to the imperial ladies of the Kachhwaha dynasty, Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan is a memorial ground in Jaipur. The site houses a cluster of cenotaphs dedicated only to the royal women, including the recent one of Late Maharani Gayatri Devi.

Translating to an umbrella, Chhatri represents a dome-shaped pavilion built as a crematorium place for the deceased. Likewise, one of the most popular sites with royal chhatris lies in the foothills of Nahargarh, at Gaitore. While the former and those in other parts of the state are well-known, Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan still awaits its due recognition. 

Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan- Introduction
Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan- Introduction

The importance 

Twice the size of the Gaitore cenotaph site, the Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan complex is the only one of its kind. The monuments are dedicated only to the women of the royal household of the Kachwaha dynasty, in contrast with the other chhatri sites which are either dedicated only to the men of the royal household or members of both genders. The place is owned by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum Trust, managed by the erstwhile royal family.

Maharinyon ki Chhatriyan trust
Maharinyon ki Chhatriyan trust

Symbolism

The incomplete chhatri
The incomplete chhatri

The artistically carved chhatris symbolize the importance and status of the women from the regal family. Some have dome-shaped roofs which suggest the queen passed away before the king. Other incomplete chhatris without a roof structure implied the queen’s demise as a widow. Yes, it sounds unfair, but that’s how it was during those times. Surprisingly though, the cenotaph of Maharani Chadrawat Ji (the widow of Sawai Jai Singh III) makes an exception. No one knows the reason yet.

The architecture 

The ornate ceiling of each chhatri
The ornate ceiling of each chhatri

In about 280 years, 11 beautiful memorials have been erected at the site-dedicated to the spouses of various kings who have ruled over the city. So each chhatri or cenotaph is made of white marble or locally available yellow sandstone. The floral carvings on each structure signify feminine beauty. The ceiling of every chhatri has very interesting elements comprising circular rings of overlapping stones, with magnificent adornments hanging from the centers. 

Who’s who 

The first chhatri to be built here was in the early 1740s, for one of the three queens of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Another prominent monument is the well-proportioned chhatri commissioned by Maharaja Sawai Madho Singh II for his Jadaun Maharani. This pavilion has elaborate carvings that display the status of the primary queen to whom he was most attached.  

The biggest chhatri in the premises of Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan
The biggest chhatri in the premises of Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan

Behind this chhatri is a porch, with stone mesh and steps that lead to a lower courtyard. Two gateways adorn the court- one in the South and another in the East. Both the gateways are figurative of the respect the queens had earned and their pathway to heaven. 

The porch behind Jadon Maharani Chhatri
The porch behind Jadon Maharani Chhatri

The latest addition to this site was in 2009, after the demise of Maharani Gayatri Devi, the third spouse of Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II. In addition, the placement of her cenotaph alongside those of the first and second wives of the king, speaks volumes of their closeness in real life. Besides, Rajmata Gayatri Devi was the most recognized name of the royal family. 

The latest addition to the Chhatri site
The latest addition to the Chhatri site

Summing up 

Spread over a huge area of 4.5 acres, this lesser-known site attracts very few visitors. We had the whole place to ourselves despite February being a peak season. Furthermore, with such stunning architecture, the entire space makes a great backdrop for photo/video shoots. Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan is among the best offbeat places in Jaipur city we visited so far.

Things to know before visiting Maharaniyon ki Chhatriyan

Dress code– None 

Ritual– Take off your footwear before stepping on the raised pedestal of each cenotaph. Keep wearing them if you are just walking around the pedestal. 

Location– 9 km from Jaipur Junction, Amber Road, Near Ramgarh crossing, Shankar Nagar, Jaipur 

Timing– 9 am to 5 pm 

Open on – All days except Holi  

Entry fee– Rs 30 per person 

Parking fee– None

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