Decades ago in the year 1726, the Maharaja of Jaipur established this kingdom of royal architecture. Within the unfolding lanes of Jaipur you’ll find many temples and holy halts But the most fascinating and intriguing among them all is Galta Ji- the magnificent campus of temples, yes you read it right, it’s not just one temple but a marvelous cluster of numerous beautiful temples spread amid the boundaries of Aravali Hills. Unlike any other tourist spot in Jaipur, Galta ji is rather more popular among locals and pilgrims from adjoining villages for its religious significance.
Dated back to 16th century, Galta Ji temple was developed further by Sawai Jai Singh II’s companion Vaishnavite Ramanandi Diwan Rao Kriparam. The temple complex however is named after the Saint Galav who spent his whole life in search of truth and meditated for 100 years within this compound. Touched by his perseverance, the Gods appeared before him and blessed this place with abundant water. So as to honour the great Saint Galav; the temple was named after him. The gaumukh shaped structures (Cow’s mouth) secretes holy water and the water from these natural springs is further accumulated in the ‘kunds’.
Of all the seven tanks, the holiest is the Galta Kund, which never goes dry. The pre historic temple is flocked by thousands of pilgrims every year who believe that taking holy dip in these natural springs of Galta ji would wash off all their sins. Holy months or dates like Makar Sankranti, Ekadashi, the revered month Kartik ,which is currently going on, Purnima (Full moon night of Kartik month) are the important dates when the crowd of pilgrims is at its peak.
Located 10-11 kms from Jaipur in the sprawling expanses, the striking temple of Galta ji appears more of a mansion replete with temples, pavilions, natural springs and sacred kunds. The compound of pink sandstone with brilliant layout is primarily dedicated to the Sun God that rests on the top of the temple which is decked up with intricate gazebos, carved pillars and painted walls.
Galta ji also houses the temple of RamGopal ji- an architecturally beautiful temple dedicated to lord Vishnu whose Idol in the temple is unique that appears like Lord Krishna and Rama both. As per the legends, lord Krishna appeared before Goswami Tulsidas ji in the form of lord Rama. Hence we see the image of both lord Ram and Krishna in the idol.
Another major attraction is Hanuman temple that stands out for being surrounded by hundreds of monkeys. When you enter the temple you’ll find a mass of monkeys ranging from babies to adults all playing around, sleeping, feeding and taking care of each other by grooming them. It totally feels like an empire of monkeys where you can feed them with bananas or nuts; which is also another way of washing off sins according to local guides and hawkers.
Nevertheless this lush green landscape of nature, where the sight of bathing pilgrims, praying women, meditating monks, decorated cows and makeshift shops of attractive souvenirs offer another kind of solace, on the other hand the compassing hills, lush green vegetation with breathtaking landscapes, offer a mind blowing panorama of the surroundings and the Pink City.
Galtaji Temple is a treasure trove of heritage and a sacred pilgrimage where pilgrims would dive into the kunds with the idea that they would receive a good karma, and monkeys are treated as sacred animal and worshiped like Gods. A visit to Galta ji that attracts people from far lands owing to its tranquility, temples, kunds, people and pilgrims is one in a lifetime experience that not just offers a travel story but also fills your soul with sacred sanctifying thoughts while returning home!