in sanskrit ‘chitra’ means ‘picture’ and ‘katha’ means ‘story’. and thus the name literally means ‘a pictorial story’. rajasthan, a land of chivalrous warriors, legendary kings, beautiful maidens and rich traditions has always been famous for its inspiring folktales. come and stay with us in our extended home to bite a story, share the sun, smell the fresh sand and also to borrow some vibrant colours for your memory lane.
 
 
 
 
Prologue
in sanskrit 'chitra' means 'picture' and 'katha' means 'story'. and thus the name literally means 'a pictorial story'. chitra katha is a boutique budget hotel that shares its boundary with the stunning hathroi fort and promises 'a story per stay'. story from our motherland - rajasthan, a land of chivalrous warriors, legendary kings, beautiful maidens and rich traditions that has always been famous for its inspiring folktales. come and stay with us in our extended home to bite into a story, share the sun, smell the fresh sand and also to borrow some vibrant colours for your memory lane.
 
Rajasthan
Rajastan Tourismrajasthan is a place of royalty, of valiant warriors, of legends of love lost and found for eternity. the name rajasthan literally means 'the land of kings'.

The land of sun, sand and colours.

the seemingly unexpected things that strike you in this geographically torrid land are the many colours, music, dance and history. from brilliant greens, to sunshine yellow, you would see colours everywhere - women in their colourful sarees, men daunting bright turbans, traditional motif based street art or the handicraft shops that never ever fail to surprise you.
 
Rajastan Tourismmusic and dance are a way of life here. if you are passionate about music, dance or any art form for that matter, be rest assured that rajasthan is the place where you'll find the most skilled artists. it would interest you to know that these skilled artists come from far off villages and remote settlements. true masters of the art forms they perform, real craftsmen. these artists are valued, respected and celebrated across the globe today. they travel to perform and that too, quite extensively. you will never find these true artists at places generally perceived as 'tourist spots' - trying to make a quick buck. this is where we come in. our family has know these artists personally – a relationship cherished for generations. from time to time we have organized private screenings for our guests. all we need, is a request – a notification made in advance.

forget what popular websites claim to know. come, live with us as a guest at our home to experience - the jaipur and rajasthan we know and love.
 
history of rajasthan
places in jaipurwhen you were little, you heard stories of great kings, great wars, forts, palaces, chivalry, beautiful queens and a golden land far far away. this kingdom of dreams, is the land of rajasthan. beautiful in every way, the land offers you great stories of the past, rich heritage, beautiful palaces, majestic forts, exotic cuisine and the great thar desert. it is the rich history of wars, hardships and the heat of the sands of rajasthan that hold a strong bearing on the modern state.

the present state of rajasthan came into being in the mid 20th century, when 19 princely states and 2 chiefdoms of rajputana were merged together between 1948-1950. while the thar desert comes to mind, synonymous with rajasthan, it is the aravali mountain range that defines the landscape and hence the lifestyle of the region. the range is older than the himalaya.

aravalli, which runs in a northeast to southwest direction, divides rajasthan into two distinct geographical areas – the western region, which is arid and the eastern region – a comparatively fertile, green, semi – humid area.

the western region is commonly known as – marwar. with cities/towns such as jaisalmer, jodhpur, bikaner. the vegetation in western rajasthan is sparse, with rivers such as the luni carrying water only for a few weeks or even days during monsoon. such harsh living conditions gave birth to many nomadic communities in this part. among the few tribes that have survived over the centuries, a community of formerly snake charmers known as kalbelia came to be known across the world for its famous folk dance and a dancer popularly known as gulabo.

the eastern part of rajasthan, which includes cities/towns/districts of udaipur, chittorgarh, kota, ajmer etc and the capital city of jaipur, is relatively greener – watered by perennial rivers such as chambal, banas, mahi. the region is commonly known as mewar.


historically, many rajputs kings were connoisseurs of art and literature in all forms. to encourage artisans and beautify their kingdoms, artists, artisans and architects were brought to rajasthan from all parts of india and the world.

to site an example, rana kumbha, a 15th century ruler of mewar was a great warrior of his time. however, his rein also saw some of the most exquisite architecture of scholarly work of all times.

these include scholarly works such as eklinga mahatmaya by kahna vyas, architecture such as chaoumukha temple at ranakpur. interestingly, a learned scholar and a veena player himself, rana kumbha has to his credit texts on music and plays.
map showing how the aravalli range divides rajasthan into 2 regions.  

another ruler who was also a scholar par excellence was jai singh 2 or maharaja sawai jai singh 2. jai singh was also a scientist, planner, oatron of art, architechture and literature, with a penchant for charity and public welfare. well acquainted with greek mathematics and contemporary developments in europe in the field of mathematics, jai singh 2 has many works of trigonometry, and logarithms translated to sanskrit. his library included works of astronomers like aryabhatt, brahmagupta, bhaskaracharya, ptolemy, mirza ullugh beg, nasir–ul-din and many others. it was due to his keen interest in astronomy, jai singh 2 personally built observatories with instruments of stone and masonry in delhi, jaipur, varanasi, ujjain and mathura. these observatories came to be known as jantar mantars. two such observatories built in the early 18th century have stood the test of time and are in usable condition in the cities of jaipur and delhi.

Jaipur
jaipur tourism jaipur was founded in the year 1727, by maharaja sawai singh 2 of amber in order to establish a new, planned capital for the state of dhoondhar to cater to growing population and increasing scarcity of water and was named after the ruler himself.
pink city
the city came to be known as the pink city, based on terra-cotta-colored lime plaster that coats the old part of the city's walls, buildings, and temples. jaipur city was revolutionary both in terms of its grid-iron pattern planning and its location at the base of the hills. a shining example of planning and architecture even today, the city was planned after consulting plans of many cities and architects under the supervision of vidyadhar bhattacharya, a bengali born to a family of amber-based priests.
the main city area was built within the safety of 7 gates. the intersection between main east-west thoroughfare and amer sanganer road marked the badi chaupad or the city square.  with the structure in a grid of 9 blocks between chand (moon) and suraj (sun) pole, the palace occupied 2 blocks, the town 6 and the 9th block left unusable due to steep hills. the principal bazaar leads from the western gate in the city wall, the chandpole, passing in front of the tripolia gate, to the eastern city gate, the surajpole. the segregation of living and work areas was then based on caste system. to maintain a uniform façade of the city and to follow a definite hierarchy of the time, width of streets, market places, shops, locations of temples, havelis etc were pre determined. public places were lined with water and greenery. the streets were named based on the trades practiced, such as – maniharon ka rasta, ghee waalon ka raasta etc.
a painting depicting the grid-iron planning and jaipur's location at the base of the hills.  

it is a feat in itself that to this day, even with the many new developments, the old city or the walled city area is in its original state. a walk down the city streets would reveal the supreme planning and the rich heritage cherished over centuries.


a view of hawa mahal from bari chaupar (1876)
bazaars (market)
originally only 4 bazaars were planned for the city. these were later named as johri bazaar, sireh deori bazaar, kishan pole bazaar & gangori bazaar even today you would find the shops orderly and uniform in the old city area.

on the main streets strict control was exercised on the street façade, along which were located shops and arcades - one storey high, but beyond the frontage the buildings could be of any height or any shape, some built with flat roofs & others with traditional chattris (domes).


bazaar streets have temples above shops with wide staircase starting from pavement to the temple level. space above shops at first floor level originally functioned as galleries for watching royal processions, religious festivals and public celebrations.

historically, the chaupars were of social use with water structures connected by underground aqueducts, supplying numerous sources of drinking water at street level. presently, the centre of each chaupar has square enclosures with ornamental fountains.