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Galta TempleGalta is a small pilgrimage centre located 10 kms
away from Jaipur on the Jaipur-Agra highway. There is a beautiful temple in Galta
dedicated to the Sun God. Most tourists coming to Jaipur make it a point to visit
Galta on the outskirts of the capital.
The 250 year old Galta temple was built by
Diwan Kriparama who was a loyal courtier of Sawai Jai Singh II. The temple is
located on top of a high peak and visible from all parts of Jaipur. According
to ancient scriptures, sage Galav had lived and meditated at the place. The maintenance
of the temple is financed by the Birla family.
Galta temple is located on a picturesque gorge amid low hills.
It is a huge complex built of pink coloured stones. The interiors and exteriors
of the temple walls have many intricate carvings and bright coloured paintings.
The paintings have images of Lord Brahma, Vishnu, Ganesha and Parvati. There are
also a few friezes showing scenes from religious festivals and state occasions.
All the pillars of the temple have also been exquisitely carved. The temple also
had some beautiful frescoes in the past. Unfortunately, heavy rains in 1991 washed
away many of them.
The roof of
the temple is rounded and many pavilions could also be seen. It has been commented
that the temple is a real visual treat. Large daily attendance could be witnessed
in the temple.
There are some springs and natural reservoirs (kunds)
near the temple. Bathing and taking holy dips in the waters has become an almost
compulsory practice here. It is believed that the waters are sacred and cleanses
all past sins. There are a total of seven kunds in the place. The Galta kund is
regarded as the most sacred of all the kunds. It is said that this kund has never
run dry. All the kunds are fed by a spring emanating from a rock curve named Gaumukh.
The Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti falling in mid-January is celebrated
in a big way in the temple. Even in the biting cold of January, devotees never
fail to take holy dip in the kunds. The temple always reverberates with the sound
of drums and bells.
Another revered temple that devotees come across
before visiting Galta temple is Balaji ka Mandir. It is a triple storied building
and looks more like a palatial mansion.
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