Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II, the great ruler and founder of Jaipur, was born in AD 1688. At the young and tender age of 12 years he was ascended to the throne of Amber in 1700 after the death of his feather Maharaja Bishan Singh of Kachhwaha Rajputs who conquered the Amber fort from Meena tribes in 12th century. Kachhwaha Rajputs were an alliance of the Mughals due to their rivalry with Sisodia Rajputs.
Life of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II
Impressed by his valor in battle, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb conferred the tile of ‘Sawai’ to him. This means a quarter above others mainly in comparison to his forbearer Mirza Raja Jai Singh in bravery and intellect. The Kachhwaha Rajputs ruled over the Kingdoms of Mewar (Udaipur) and Marwar (Jodhpur) from the majestic fort of Amber. Sawai Jai Singh II supported Azam Shah, the son of Aurangzeb in his battle for succession. But after Azam Shah lost this battle to his brother Bahadur Shah Zafar, he demanded the removal of Jai Singh from the throne.
With the aid of Mughals, Jai Singh again came in to reign. His kingdom flourished, he built his capital around Amber fort and eventually due to increasing population and scarcity of water, the plan of establishing Jaipur and making it his capital was conceived in his mind. In 1727, under his patronage and in the architectural guidance of Vidyadhar Bhattacharya, a Bengali scholar, Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II kept the foundation of the world famous Pink City of Jaipur.
Works of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II
Sawai Jai Singh was extremely talented both politically and intellectually. He was a great scholar of Sanskrit and Persian and patronized several artists, painters, astronomers, astrologers and people in literature. The Maharaja also had a deep interest in astronomy and he was popular as warrior-astronomer. He built five observatories, each at Delhi, Varanasi, Ujjain, Mathura and Jaipur. These buildings were used to predict astronomical events accurately. These observatories were known as ‘Jantar Mantar’
which means ‘The Formula of Instruments’. Sawai Jai Singh also had a vast collection of astronomical menu scripts and tables from Europe and Arabia. He also collected different kinds of telescopes from Europe to aid him in his research on astronomical observations.
Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II will always be remembered as the most enlightened King and great visionary in the history of Jaipur and also in the history of entire India for his multiple achievements, for centuries to come.
Achievements of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II
- Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh II was the first Hindu ruler in centuries that performed Vedic ceremonies such as Ashwamedha yagna (1716) and Vajapeya (1734).
- He distributed vast amount of his wealth in charity.
- Promoted learning of Sanskrit language.
- Initiated reforms in Hindu society such as the abolition of sati ritual and curbing of the wasteful expenditure on grand Rajputana weddings.
- He was a keen astronomer and built observatories (Jantar Mantar) at Jaipur, Varanasi, Ujjain, Delhi and Mathura for astronomical calculations.
- He is instrumental in designing several astronomical instruments.
- For popularizing astronomy, he opened his observatories for public.
- Construction of Jaipur, which later became the capital of the state of Rajasthan, was his greatest achievement.