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Galtaji is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage about 10 km away from Jaipur, in the Indian state of Rajasthan. The site consists of a series of temples built into a narrow crevice in the ring of hills that surrounds Jaipur. A natural spring emerges high on the hill and flows downward, filling a series of sacred kunds (water tanks) in which pilgrims bathe. Visitors and pilgrims can ascend the crevasse, continuing past the highest water pool to a hilltop temple from there are views of Jaipur and its fortifications spreads out across the valley floor. It is believed that a Saint named Galav lived here, practiced meditation, and did penance (tapasya).
Built within a mountain pass in the Aravalli Hills 10 km. east of Jaipur, Since the early 15th century Galtaji has been a retreat for Hindu ascetics belonging to the Vaishnava Ramanuja sect. It is said to have been in the occupation of yogis for a long time; Payohari Krishnadas, a Ramanujite sadhu, i.e. a follower of the Ramanuja Sampradaya) came to Galta in the early 15th century and, by his yogic powers, drove away other yogis from the place. Galta was northern India's first Vaishnava Ramanuja Peeth and became the one of the most important centres of the Ramanuja sect. The present temple was built by Diwan Rao Kriparam, a courtier of Sawai Jai Singh II, in the 16th 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 waterfalls that create 7 pools; the upper and lower pools are used for bathing by pilgrims.
The temple complex of Sita Ram ji temple is colloquially known as the Monkey temple (Galwar Bagh) in travel literature, due to the large number of monkeys who live in the largely abandoned and only partially restored temples. These rhesus macaques were featured in National Geographic Channel's Rebel Monkeys series and "Thar Desert - Sacred sand" episode of the Wildest India television series.
The temple is known for its natural springs, the water from which 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.
- 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.
- Dr. Daljeet; P. C. Jain (Prof.) (2002). Monuments Of India. Aravali Books International Pvt. Limited. p. 161. ISBN 978-81-86880-76-0.
- Gupta, Dr R.K; Bakshi, Dr S.R. Rajsthan through the ages - Vol 4. Jaipur rulers and administrators. Sarup & sons. p. 118. ISBN 978-81-7625-841-8.
- Ann Grodzins 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.
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