The knock knock joke here in Jaipur’s walled city would take on a completely different meaning with its many doors/ Darwazas/gates spread across the city. We asked many denizens of Jaipur to list the Darwazas of the city and though everybody seemed to agree that they are between 7 to 9 gates in the city but the names on everybody’s list were different. So we dug a bit deeper and have put together a small yet detailed guide for tourists and residents of Jaipur alike to know your one exquisite darwaza of the walled city of Jaipur from another and to never again get lost in the city.
Sawai Raja Jai Singh II did half the work with his architect by planning the city in 3 X 3 squares based on the Indian Vastu-Purush-Mandala. These squares and thus all the roads are aligned North-South or East- West. These 9 +1 squares constitute the Jaipur’s walled city. The city is guarded by 7 primary gates or pols which formed the entry-exit points into the walled city. They are a part of the city ramparts and each gate is unique and its name carries a clue to its location and reason why it’s called that. (Yes, our very own Da-Vinci Code!). The very first clue is, when in doubt – Look up!! 🙂
The centermost square of the Old City is the City Palace and Govind Dev Ji Temple and the 7 Gates are:
1. Dhruv Pol
Named after the Pole star or Dhruv tara ( which is used in locating the Direction North ) , Dhruv Pol is the Northern most Gate of the walled city. It is now called the Zorawar Singh Darwaza.
2. Suraj pol
As the name suggests , it translates to Sun Gate , this is the gate to the East of the walled city, towards the eastern hills , in the direction of the rising sun. It also forms the gateway to the famous sun temple built by Sawai Jai Singh and further towards Galta Ji. You can easily identify the gate by the symbol of the 2 painted Suns on the Gate.
Chand Pol means the Moon Gate . Along the East-West Axis of the City, it lies diagrammatically opposite to the Suraj Pol and forms the Western Gate of the walled City.Spot the famous and ancient Chandpole Hanuman Ji Temple with its 25 feet high Shikhar abutting the gate, if you are here you know you have reached the western end of the walled city.
4. Ajmeri Darwaza / Kishan Pol
This is the 1st of the 4 southern Gates and as the name suggests would command the westerly road towards Ajmer. Also, this gate takes you inside the city towards Kishanpole market, known especially for tie & dye fabrics.
5. Naya Pol
On the southern end of the Chaura Rasta (or the Wide Road) , this is the 2nd gate of the southern rampart and it means the ‘New Gate’ This gate was earlier a chor darwaza and later increased in size by the Sawai Ram Singh II . The road connects to the City Palace Gate of Tripolia. If you can see Albert Hall through the darwaza, you know you are at Naya Pol.
6. Sanganeri Darwaza / Shiv Pol
Sanganeri Gate is the 3rd Gate and is located in the southern Ramparts of the Jaipur’s Walled city. This gate governed the route southwards towards the town of Sanganer. It is called Shivpol after the Shivmandir which the royal family would visit during Mahashivratri.
7. Ghat Darwaza / Ram Pol
The last of the 4 Gates, the Ghat Pol is named after the easterly road towards the Ghat ki Ghuni. Inside the city, this is the way towards the Ramchandra Ji Chowkri and Ramganj Bazar.
There are many more smaller gates spread throughout the city like the Samrat Pol, Char Darwaza, Ganga Pol, Chanpori Pol , Ganesh Pol , Tripolia, Naqqarwala etc but those are internal gates but each with a story of their own. Watch this space for more!!