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RAJPUT ARCHITECTURE

 

The Rajputs were great patrons of art and architecture, the finest examples being their forts and palaces. The Rajput palaces are complex compositions built as inner citadels surrounded by the city and enclosed by a fortified wall as at Chittorgarh and Jaisalmer. Some forts, such as those at Bharatpur and Deeg, were protected by wide moats.

 The oldest surviving palaces date from the mid-fifteenth century and are found at Chittor and Gwalior. The Man Mandir, the largest palace in Gwalior, was built by Raja Man Singh Tomar (1486-1516). The Man Mandir has two storeys above, and two below, ground level overhanging a sandstone cliff. This gigantic cliff is punctuated by five massive round towers, crowned by domed cupolas and linked by delicately carved parapets. The whole facade is enriched with brilliant blue tiles.

 The palaces of Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Kota represent the maturity of the Rajput style. All of these palaces were built predominantly in the 17th and early 18th centuries. The huge fortified city of Jaisalmer is situated far out in the Thar Desert. The buildings are constructed with the local yellow-brown stone and they have been remarkably preserved owing to their remote location.  The city of Bikaner is encircled by 5.63 km long stone wall in rich pink sandstone. There are five gates and three sally ports. The Jodhpur Fort dominates the city, which is surrounded by a huge wall with 101 bastions, nearly 9.5 km long. The Meherangarh fort stands on a cliff with a sheer drop of over 36 metres.

 The foundation of Jaipur, the fabled "pink city", in 1727 A.D. represents the final phase of Rajput architecture. Built by Jai Singh, Jaipur represents a fusion of Eastern and Western ideas of town planning. The city is enclosed by a wall and has bastions and towers at regular intervals. The City Palace is at the center of the walled city and is a spectacular synthesis of Rajput and Mughal architectural styles. The famous building Hawa Mahal, or Palace of Winds, (1799) has a five-storeyed symmetrical facade composed of 953 small casements in a huge curve each with a projecting balcony and crowning arch. The Jantar Mantar, the largest of five observatories built by Jai Singh II in the early eighteenth century, is another interesting example of Rajput architecture. .

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