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Jaigarh fort: an architect's marvel in JaipurTanmay Jain

Jaigarh Fort is an example of prolific architecture, built in the18 th century, in the city of Jaipur in Rajasthan. The Fort was built by Maharaja Sawan Jai Singh II, which is an incredible work of art, located on the Cheel ka Teela or also known as Hill of the Eagle point, in the Aravallis. It is designed by an architect named Vidyadhar and was built to showcase the thriving culture of Jaipur. Jaigarh Fort was built at such an altitude so that it can be easily seen from every part of the city as well as the nearby places. Initially it was built as a residential building for the king but later on, was used as a weaponry barn. During the period of Mughal dynasty's rule, the fort was mainly used as the cannon foundry of the empire and also used to store other war ammunitions and weapons. Jaigarh Fort has seen many wars and was always protected from the enemy, but eventually, it was taken over by Aurangzeb after defeating its protector, Dara Shikon, Aurangzeb's brother. The Fort later went into the hands of Jai Singh II, under whom the famous ‘Jaivanna Cannon' was molded. According to legends, rulers used to bury treasures beneath the Fort but was never found nor recovered.

Fort was one of the most important military outstation built at that period and consisted of Jain Bain (the famous Jaivan Cannon), temples, royal palaces, cannon foundry, and granary. The fort is near Ahmer or Amber Fort and also is similar in structure and architecture. The Fort had special chambers for storage of arms & ammunitions and other materials needed during the war. The fort provides an astounding panoramic view of the city of Jaipur and has 1 km width and 3 km length. The Fort encloses many structures such as temples, residential palaces, reservoirs, museums, cannon foundry, gardens, watch towers, entertainment areas, etc.

The fort has three main entrances: ‘Doongar Gate’ built by Maharaja Sawai Maan Singh-II in the year 1942, the second one connecting Jaigarh and Amber Fort, known as Awani Gate and the third one, originally built as the main entrance of the fort is known as ‘Sagari Gate’. There are three tanks built at the entrance of the Doongar Gate, to relinquish the requirement of the soldiers. The largest of the three tanks have dimensions of 138x40x158 feet and the roof to cover it is supported by 18 massive pillars. North side of the Jaigarh Fort shows the prosperity and wealth of the empire, as the complex has separated areas built according to the weather, occasion and mood, which are well-decorated and have immaculate architectural designs along with canopies and carved pillars. There is another establishment, known as the Lalit Mandir, built to enjoy the fresh and cool air during the scorching heat of summer. Lalit Mandir is a two storied building with a bedroom and balcony on the upper floor, constructed with Jharokha Screen stones having several jalis to allow the cool breezes coming from Lake Sagar to enter the premises. But the prime attraction of Jaigarh Fort is the world largest cannon, Jain Bain or Jaivan, mounted on four wheels – 4.6 feet high hind wheels and 9 feet high front wheels. The most amazing fact is that this cannon was never used, except for one instance when it was being tested, during which nine people got killed including the gunner due the fire shockwave that was created when it was fired. The more astonishing fact is that the fired cannon was found 40 km from the origination site in Chaksu where a pond was created due to the impact.

Jaigarh Fort was built during the period when the Rajputs were in full flow and thus, personifies their royalty. Jaigarh Fort is not only an army bunker, used to protect the city and its citizens but it is much more than that. It can be seen that the fort consists of various kinds of comfort and amenities to best suit the royal style of living. The Rajputs were followers of Bhairav, who is another form of Lord Shiva. The various temples spread within the fort shows that the Rajput’s were aesthetic in nature and follow the Hindu religion very well. There are three huge tanks, built keeping in mind the daily to daily needs of the soldiers. The women were not ignored and treated accordingly, as comparison to the other empires before, or during that period. There were royal arrangements made for the royal women during entrainment events and other important functions.

The Rajputs were a warrior breed and were always prepared for any uncertainty or war, and thus the fort was always filled with ammunitions and other essential requirements and also had a cannon foundry. The queen and the king had separate dining rooms, where they used to enjoy the meeting with their officials. The various chambers and villas made within the fort show the wealth and prosperity of that kingdom. The Palace complex was built according to alternating weather, mood and occasion and is an appropriate examples of grandness of the Fort. No doubt Jaigarh Fort is the standing evidence of Rajput culture and practices which shows their prosperity and the amount of consciousness they had regarding pleasure. Although Jaigarh Fort is always linked to hidden treasure, and believed to be hidden by Sawai Maan Sing II himself, but till date there is no such evidence regarding it, thus depriving the rumors of any solid ground.