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This Rajput Prince Built One of India’s Best Planned Cities 300 Years Ago

This Rajput Prince Built One of India’s Best Planned Cities 300 Years Ago

Did you know Jaipur was India's first planned city in 1727, as per UNESCO? The brain behind it was the Rajput 'astronomer prince', Sawai Jai Singh II.

Until the early 1700s, Amber served as the capital city of the Kachwaha Rajput kings. However, due to droughts and famines, it became unsustainable as the capital. So King Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II began searching for other potential cities to become the capital of the Rajput kingdom.

Not just an ordinary King, Jai Singh was also a mathematician, architect, and astronomer. He wanted to choose a place that was strategically important to safeguard his kingdom.

He chose Jaipur, the pink city, which was an unconventional choice at the time as it is set on a plain terrain and surrounded by mountains. But the characteristics of the city matched the King’s vision. He recruited architect Vidyadhar Bhattacharya from Bengal who worked as the King’s chief auditor to help him design the blueprint.

Hence Jaipur, established in 1727, became India’s first planned city.

“The most outstanding feature of Jaipur remains its town plan that is said to be arrived at after a thorough analysis of several town plans sourced by Sawai Jai Singh himself from across the globe. [He] wrote personal letters to personal bankers and merchants, inviting them to settle in his new city, inducing them with tax concessions and gifts of land on which to build elegant courtyard houses, called havelis, for the accommodation of their families,” according to UNESCO.

Every tiny detail in the city was planned — from the orientation of gates to the manuscript scrawled above each shop.

Watch what went into the making of this city, almost three centuries ago:

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Edited by Pranita Bhat

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