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The Elephanta Caves

The Elephanta Caves , located on Elephanta Island, or Gharapuri, about 11 Km off the coast of the Gateway of India, Mumbai, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to these caves, excavated probably in the 6 th century CE, is awe-inspiring, and also thought-provoking. Over the years, I have visited the caves a number of times, and also attended a number of talks by experts in the fields of art, history and archaeology on the caves. Together, they help me understand these caves, their art, and the people they were created for, just a little bit better. Every new visit, every new talk, every new article I read about the caves, fleshes out the image of what the island and the caves would have been like, at their peak. I last wrote about the caves on this blog, in 2011, almost exactly 11 years ago. Since then, my understanding of the caves has, I would like to think, marginally improved. Hence this attempt to write a new and updated post, trying to bring to life, the caves of Elephan

Jaigarh Fort, Jaipur

Jaipur is a city of forts. Amber (pronounced as Amer ) Fort is among the oldest, followed by the Jaigarh and Nahargarh Forts. Jaigarh was built by Sawai Jai Singh III in 1726 to protect the Amber fort. It is named after Sawai Jai Singh II, who is most well known as the king who built the beautiful yet practical astronomical observatories we know as the Jantar Mantars. 

The Jaigarh Fort is built on the Aravalli ranges overlooking the Amber Fort. It was, after all, intended as an added protection for the Amber fort, and its location is perfect for the purpose. The ridge on which the fort is built was once known as the Cheel ka Teela (Hill of eagles), and it is an eagle's eye view of the surrounding area that you get from the fort!

The fort is well preserved, and its museums show us a glimpse of the erstwhile royal family, their achievements and their way of life. Let me take you on a visual tour of the fort....

Like every fort in India, this one has a temples too.... and the temples are older than the fort itself!! The Rama Hari Har mandir is believed to have been first built in 1225AD, though the present structure is one that has been renovated plenty of times. 

A doorway leads us to yet another temple....

This one even older than the first....

Continuing down the passage....

We arrive at the main palace complex......

The most interesting thing about the palace complex was this..... 

They had a number of postcards, priced quite reasonably, and after seeing that, I had eyes for little else!! Needless to say, I came back with a bunch.... and honestly, have been quite reluctant to part with them!!

We entered the gate to find ourselves in a huge courtyard.... with what appeared to be the Darbar Hall at one end...

The huge tree growing in the middle provided some much needed shade.... and some place to sit in peace..

Further inside, we entered into what seemed to be the royal residence... rooms connected by narrow corridors...

One of the doors led us into another open courtyard which was surrounded by rooms..... and here was a puppet show in progress...

As we waited for the show to start again, I noticed what appeared to be the present permanent resident..... a tiny sparrow!

Facing the courtyard were these balconies.... which we were told were the balconies where the women once sat....probably to view some private entertainment of that era!

Further inside the palace, Samhith found the perfect seat.... on a latticed window...

This is how it looked...

As we emerged from the palace complex towards the fort walls and the towers, the wind started blowing, making us forget that it was actually the hottest month of the year....

And if the walls had been any shorter, we would seriously have been in danger of being blown away!!

At last, standing on one of the towers, I could understand why this location was chosen for the fort... the view of course!!! On each side, we could see the walls of the fort extending over the Aravallis....

On one side we could see the reservoir which provided water to the fort....

And on another side, we could see the city stretching out below us, with Amber fort on one side....

Behind us, we could see the well tended gardens of the palace....

And below, a vantage view of Amber Fort..

Coming out from the fort, we spared a moment for the tanks....

It was once believed that the tank contained the treasure of the Jaipur royal family. It is said that the Indian government actually drained the tank in search of the treasure, but nothing was ever found. Was it used up to build the beautiful monuments that Jaipur is known for? Or was it simply a legend? We will never know!

Passing through yet another doorway.....

we arrived at yet another tower.... with another amazing view of the Aravallis....

And here was the most interesting artifact of the fort... the Jaivana Cannon... One of the biggest cannons in the world,  Jaivana was built here, in the foundry at Jaigarh fort, over 300 years ago....

It is not simply the largest, but also probably the most beautiful... just take a look at the decorations on the cannon!!

Elephant on the front and peacock behind the cannon!

I recently wrote a post for the Club Mahindra Blog on the Jaivana Cannon... Click here to read the post...

The Jaigarh Fort was the first fort we visited in Jaipur... and by the time we were through, we felt like we had seen enough for the day... but we were so wrong.. there was so much more to see.... so wait for the next post to see what else we managed to see!! 


  1. Stunning views. Interesting narration. We visited Amber Fort/Palace but could not manage to visit Jaigarh. In the first Photopgraph, it looks like the great wall of China. We shall make it some other day.

    1. Thanks PNS! we were able to visit Jaigarh only because we visited it first!! IF we had gone to Amber fort first, we probably would have been too tired to visit this one!

  2. Having seen both Amber and Jaigarh during our visit to Jaipur all those years ago, it was a revisiting for me. I still remember the huge courtyard, the breathtaking sights from the ramparts of the Jaigarh fort and the reluctance to leave it after spending hours there....To my mind, it is the grandest fort I have seen.

    1. It certainly is among the better maintained forts.... though it isnt as old as some of the other forts i have seen... but i loved those huge courtyards too.... i loved visiting the Amber fort too... shall write about that soon!

  3. Have been to Amer fort a couple of times but always miss out on this one. And you have given a grand tour of a grand fort!! The architecture of our forefathers is just something that leaves me speechless.

    1. This was my first visit to Jaipur, Arti, and it had me wishing for more!! you should def pay another visit for this fort too!

  4. Lovely, lovely , and great pictures. Thanks for sharing those treasures.

    It also brought back our memories. I have to fish out those photographs, today.

    1. Thanks so much, Vetrimagal! Would love to look at your photos!

  5. amazing pics... i've seen these places too and they are lovely :)

  6. Wonderful fort. Lovely photos too.

  7. Looks like a fantastic place. Loved the views from the top. I will remember to visit this place the next time I am in Jaipur. Don't know how I have missed this place :-)

  8. Its totally different photography and i appreciate your work . great information you are providing here regarding Rajasthan's best places .

  9. This posts on Jaipur are becoming boon to me . This one is beautiful as well as wonderful Anu jee.

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