Religions IloveIndia



Galta is a pretty little pilgrim spot located just beyond Sisodia Rani-ka Bagh on Agra Road at a distance of 10 km. from Jaipur. This is the sacred spot where one sage Galav is supposed to have lived and meditated. As such the place is visited mainly for its temples. Just before you enter Galta, you will come across the aesthetic Balaji ka Mandir. It is a triple-storied building of pink stone, looking more like a palatial haveli (mansion). The Temple of Galtaji, which lies in a picturesque gorge amid low hills, has a huge complex. This one is also built of pink stone, with a profusion of pavilions having rounded roofs. The walls and pillars have exquisite carvings and paintings. The whole complex is so beautiful that it is more of a visual treat than a place for worship. The temple, however, has a large daily attendance.

There are also some springs and natural reservoirs (kunds) around the Galta Temple, where the devout take holy dips. They believe that by doing so, they can cleanse themselves of their worldly sins! Even in the cold of mid-January, devotees throng to these kunds for their ritual dip on Makar Sankranti, an important festival of the Hindus (see Religion of India for more on Makar Sankranti). The holiest one of these is the Galta Kund, believed never to become dry. All the seven tanks, including the Galta Kund, are fed by a spring emanating from the Gaumukh, a rock carved in the shape of a cow's head.

The 18th century Surya Temple stands on top of the highest peak here. It was built by Rao Kriparam, a courtier of Sawai Jai Singh II. There are fine views from here of the surrounding plains and the city of Jaipur beyond. The temple had some beautiful frescoes, but sadly heavy rains in 1991 washed many away. The restored ones are hardly of any match to the originals. If you're bored with temples, take a walk among the old style havelis (mansions) nearby. Though rather dilapidated, they have delicately carved balconies and painted ceilings.