Talk about architecture and Jaipur is one of the first few cities that flash across your mind. The primitive buildings, particularly those inside the walled area draw a lot of eyeballs from tourists for their wonderful planning.
In fact, the genesis of city planning in India was right here. Much before Britishers came to India, Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur had laid out a perfectly planned city in the country.
A keen scholar of architecture, astrology and mathematics, Jai Singh took great interest in the planning and design of the city. Together with architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, he studied European cities and consulted Shilpa Shastra and Vastu Shastra to intricately plan his capital.
jaipur – a flourishing hub for trade
Planned Grid System of City
Armed with a cultural and scientific bent of mind, Jai Singh always wanted the city to be culturally inclined and economically flourishing. Thus, he took special care that traders and artisans found it secure and easy to do business in Jaipur.
A carefully planned grid system and wide roads ensured that people found it easy to commute within the city. The boundaries of the city were secured with high walls and pierced with gates to ensure security.
Even the sites of the shops were chosen after careful planning and arranged in nine rectangular city sectors (chokris).
what’s in a name
Manak Chowk in 1910/Columbia.edu
Jaipur is perhaps the only planned cities where the localities (mohallas), crossroads, streets (gallis), and by-lanes (moris) were named to represent the traders or the community that had settled there.
The logic was simple; make it easy for a visitor to search a particular craft or item.
In fact, the naming system has been preserved till now and most of them are still famous for that particular craft. Here is a list of some peculiar street names that drew my attention and the reason why they were named so.
chandi ki taksal
Arch Gate at Chandi ki Taksal/Wikimapia
Taksal (Mint) is a place where money used to be coined under the state authority during the time of Rajas. Accordingly, Chandi ki Taksal is the place where jhadshahi (royal) silver coins were minted for Jaipur.
musavviron ki gali
Musavviron ki Gali (now Subhash Chowk)/Wikimapia
Musavvir is actually an Urdu word that translates for an artist. Consequently, artists like painters, sculptors, and illustrators in the earlier times were known as musavviran.
Hence, the Musavviron ki Gali was where all the artists and their families were settled. This place has now been renamed as Subhash Chowk.
chameli wala market
Chameli Wala Market is nestled inside MI Road/Beautiful Jaipur
The name Chameli Wala Market actually comes from a huge chameli (Jasmine) tree that was planted right in the middle of the area by its erstwhile owner.
lalji saand ka rasta
Lalji Saand Ka Rasta, a bylane of Chaura Rasta/Manuel Menal
As quirky as a street name can be.
In the age of kings, “Lalji” was a title given to the son of a king’s mistress. Similarly, Lalji Saand ka Rasta gets its name from the resident “Lalji Saand” who was the son of Raja Madho Singh and his mistress.
Some people say it was because of his gigantic built that he was nicknamed Saand (Bull) .
Our list doesn’t end here. Here are a few more streets of Jaipur whose names I found to be equally amusing.
A bylane in old city of Jaipur
- Dadi ka Phatak
- Nani ka Phatak
- Bandri Ka Nasik
- Jat Ke Kuan Ka Rasta
- 12 Bhaiyon ka Chauraha
- Foota Khurra (Broken Slope)
- Purani Chungi
- Khazaane Walon ka Rasta
- Bhindo Ka Rasta
- Golimar Garden
- Ajab Ghar Ka Rasta
- Gurjar Ki Thadi
- Taaron Ki Koot
- Ghat ki Gooni
Furthermore, one of the most hilarious names I came across was Chatori Chatriyon ka Chauraha – a place where women used to gather to devour some lip-smacking chaat.