Galtaji

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Galta ji temple surrounded by hills on all sides.
The lower tank of the temple.
Overview of the temple.

Galtaji is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site in the town of Khania-Balaji, about 10km away from Jaipur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The site consists of several temples and sacred kunds (water tanks) in which pilgrims bathe. It is believed that a Saint named Galav lived here, practiced meditation, and did penance (tpasya).[1]

Temples[edit]

Built within a mountain pass within the Aravalli Hills 10 km. east of Jaipur,[2] Galtaji has been a retreat for Hindu ascetics belonging to vaishnavite Ramanandi sect, since the early 1500s;[1] its present temple was built by Diwan Rao Kriparam, a courtier of Sawai Jai Singh II, in the 18th Century. The main temple is the Temple of Galtaji, built in pink stone. The temple features a number of pavilions with rounded roofs, carved pillars, and painted walls. The complex is set around a natural spring and the waterfalls that create two tiered pools, the upper and lower pool, used for bathing by pilgrims.[3]

There is another temple in the complex, the temple of Balaji. Built on the highest peak in the town of Galta is Diwan Kriparam, Sun Temple, dedicated to Surya, the Sun God in Hinduism and was built in the 18th century.[4]

Monkeys[edit]

Ramgopalji Temple or Monkey Temple.

The temple complex of Ramgopalji temple is colloquially known as Monkey temple (Galwar Bagh) in travel literature, due to the large tribe of monkeys who live here. These rhesus macaques were featured in National Geographic Channel's Rebel Monkeys series and "Thar Desert - Sacred sand" episode of Wildest India Series.

Water tanks[edit]

Pilgrims bathing at the water tank

The temple is famous for its natural water springs, which draw special attention from visitors. The water of these springs accumulates in tanks (kunds). There are seven tanks, the holiest being the Galta Kund, which never goes dry. It is considered auspicious to bathe in the waters of Galtaji, especially on Makar Sankranti, and thousands come to bathe every year.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Vibhuti Sachdev; Giles Henry Rupert Tillotson (2002). Building Jaipur: The Making of an Indian City. Reaktion Books. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-1-86189-137-2. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  2. ^ Dr. Daljeet; P. C. Jain (Prof.) (2002). Monuments Of India. Aravali Books International Pvt. Limited. p. 161. ISBN 978-81-86880-76-0. 
  3. ^ AnnGrodzins Gold (1990). Fruitful Journeys: The Ways of Rajasthani Pilgrims. University of California Press. pp. 278–. ISBN 978-0-520-06959-6. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Travel House Guide to Incredible India. Travel House. 2004. pp. 92–. ISBN 978-81-241-1063-8. Retrieved 29 August 2013. 

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