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Located within 10km of the heart of Jaipur lies an ancient Hindu temple regarded as one of Rajasthan’s most recognizable religious edifices. Dubbed the Galta Monkey Temple this iconic religious institution occupies the area known as Khania-Balaji. A revered pilgrimage site for Hindu devotees since time immemorial this vast complex complete with a number of temples and holy water tanks is a must-visit highlight for all visitors exploring the cultural attractions of Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur. Earning its name due to the large congregation of monkeys occupying the vicinity the temple was featured in documentaries by the National Geographic Channel thanks to its furry inhabitants.
Connected with a Hindu saint by the name of Galav who is believed to have resided on the premises and practiced meditation while living a life of religious devotion as a hermit the Galta Monkey Temple is situated within close range of Sisodia Rani-ka Bagh. Having been frequented by prominent disciples of Lord Krishna and the Vaishnavite Ramanandi order the scenic Hindu temple occupies a towering location at the summit of a hill as most religious institutions in the region. A popular place of worship since the 1500’s the elaborate temple complex is believed to have been constructed by Diwan Rao Kriparam who served as a member of the royal court of Sawai Jai Singh II. The main attraction at the temple is of course the Temple of Galtaji, the main shrine which is composed of elegant pink hued stones. Littered with elaborate pavilions and circular ceilings the main temple also boasts columns with intricate carvings as well as walls in different colours. Set around a natural water spring the temple complex also boasts waterfalls that create two tiered water pools that are considered holy by devotees.
Used for bathing by pilgrims and visitors the water tanks are fed by the natural springs and referred to as Kunds in the local tongue. The venue contains seven Kunds or water tanks in all with the most sacred one being the Galta Kund that does not dry up even during harsh drought periods. A bath in the water tanks is customary for all pilgrims visiting the Galta Monkey Temple as the activity is considered a religious and auspicious act. Pilgrims in the thousands are seen bathing in the tanks on Makar Sankranti festival days each year.
Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.