Jaipur those who are lost, there will always be cities that feel like home,’ remarks British author Simon Van Booy in his novel Everything Beautiful Began After. Jaipur has such a welcoming and all embracing, all-encompassing feel in its pink-tinged ethereal being. Deeply rooted in its rich cultural heritage, this ultra-modern and world-class city has the basic fibre of its traditions embellished delicately with contemporary infrastructural amenities, quite like the silvery zari weave intermeshed into a Kota cotton saree, representing the quintessential Rajasthani warp and weft!
In fact, Jaipur is well-known as the first ‘planned city’ of India and has forever been a potpourri of many cultures and traditions. Its chequered history has played a pivotal role in enriching its arts, crafts, culture, literature and architecture, while preserving its essential character. It was founded by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II. Each new ruler or regime, every phase of history and every brick on every façade of a fort or a palace added immensely to the city’s treasure trove of traditions, shaping its heritage, rich and vibrantly hued as the jewels of royalty. While the city has earned a distinction in handicrafts, blue pottery, sculpture, jewellery and textiles, its reputation in diamond polish is one to reckon with.
The history of religious performances in India singles out Jaipur as a unique place, as it boasts of conducting the Ashwamedha sacrifices, which can be performed only by a universal monarch. In Sanskrit learning, Jaipur comes next to Benaras and is called Aparaa (another) Kashi. Madhusudan Ojha goes down in the history of Sanskrit as a distinguished scholar, who discovered scientific theories in the Vedas and delivered lectures in London in 1902. Again, the city is the only place which has more than four thousand temples—more than the temples in Mathura and Varanasi put together. Even the temple of the tenth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, known as Kalki, who is yet to descend on this earth, has been built in anticipation! Such is the faith of its people. Jaipur, also called the city of astronomy, has painstakingly and lovingly preserved the stone observatory known as Jantar Mantar, another scientific wonder for its time.
Over the last century, Jaipur’s heritage has been documented by various historians and scholars, but what has been attempted through this project is a comprehensive study of the history of the city and its rulers, in a methodical and exhaustive manner. Dr DK Taknet, a renowned scholar and author, has undertaken this noble venture of bringing out a complete, encyclopaedic and all-encompassing study of the rich heritage of Jaipur. Replete with interesting anecdotes and legends, evocative images and photographs, and research material from myriad sources, the three hundred year spectacular journey of this inimitable land is captured within the pages of this rich and dazzling extravaganza.