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Study Tour Report

Study Tour Report - Jaisalmer & Jodhpur

The first mention of the name "Rajasthan" appears as Raja’s place. With full of forts palaces and unique style of architecture of Rajasthan: The Rajasthan architecture is significantly depending on Rajput architecture which was mixture of mughal and Hindu structural design. Grand havelis, astonishing forts and elaborately carved temples are the vital portion of architectural heritage of Rajasthan. Like jharokha, chhatri, haveli, courtyard style interiors and different available local material used for construction and interiors. So we were chosen as the place for study tour this year. Jaisalmer and jodhpur. Study tour was of 9 days.

Learning objectives for students:


The yellow sand and the yellow sandstone used in every architecture of the city gives a yellowish-golden tinge to the city and its surrounding area”..

Most common building materials:
  • Light yellowish sandstone for walls (0.45m or more in thickness).
  • 50 mm thick panels of limestone used on upper levels for elements on projecting wall facades
Planning of the City
The study focuses on the sandstone havelis (urban courtyard houses) of the desert city of Jaisalmer, While the city has been much admired by contemporary Indian architects, their understanding has been a Modernist one, based largely on the idea of 'spatial organization'. The architecture of these forts is a blend of Islamic, Persian and Indian styles of architecture.

The buildings are analysed at their various levels of organization:
  • Formal and spatial planning
  • Composition of elevations (interior and exterior)
  • Architectural components and details.

Miniature representations of buildings, play an important role as compositional elements. Most of these forts had ingenious water structures designed for harvesting and storage, including step-wells, elaborate reservoirs and channels.
The City Form of Jaisalmer
  • In its overall shape, Jaisalmer is an irregular polygon with a double line of fortification.
  • It is a city within a city. The inner city is more protected with a stronger wall and is set on top of a hill about 100 meters higher than the surrounding area. The city is triangular in shape due to the shape of the hill on which it is built.
  • The Royal Palace with the Royal Square forms the nucleus of Jaisalmer.
  • The city structuring manifests itself in two strong ways:
The location of the Royal Quarters on top of the hill with the strong fortification. Secondly the dispersal of communities is affected by caste groupings making distinct residential zones of different communities. The market square with its bazaar structures in the lower city and the Royal Square with the temples holds the upper city together. Streets act as linkages, activity and interaction spaces.
House Planning in Jaisalmer
Small House - The simplest town house consists of a single room, a verandah and a courtyard. Larger houses of this type have another verandah over the entrance and some houses have an additional room on one side of the courtyard. These single storey structures are owned by the poorest people and have been built in the peripheral areas of the town.

Middle Income House - A two or three-storey structure, this house type can be considered the typical house of Jaisalmer. It is similar to the first house type in plan, with the only difference that additional rooms and small enclosed terraces are located at the upper floors. The front part of the first floor has a balcony projecting onto the street.

Haveli’s - The most complex and interesting residential buildings in Jaisalmer are the haveli’s  built by the rich merchants or courtiers. In these four or five-storied houses, the courtyard is surrounded by rooms or verandahs on all sides. There are underground rooms as well, sometimes at two levels one below the other.The uppermost storey comprises terraces enclosed by wind pavilions and high parapet walls. In some cases, the house is built around two courtyards.

Student observed about elements of design in all structure in jaisalmer:

DESIGN:  Jaisalmer fort is a traditional settlement, not exactly a vernacular settlements.

SIZE: When the space dominates in architectural design by being significantly different in size from all other elements, dominance by size of elements such as "C-Royal Square"

SHAPE: Visually dominant by the shape from other elements in composition. A discreet contrast in shape is critical.

RHYTHM: Patterned reoccurrence of elements in design such as Granary areas in the design. Repetition as a dense organization  of repetitive pillars.

HIERARCHY: Exceptional size -dominance seen by the size of the space .form in design .A unique shape-visually dominant and important shape of the space/form in design

Construction Techniques
Construction used for floors and roofs:

Traditional method: Laying closely spaces timber beams and covering them with layer or reed or grass matting with a layer of earth on top. Because of lack of availability in the desert, stone beams are being used.

The natural cooling systems used at Jaisalmer include:
  • Dense clustering of buildings.
  • Sun control through orientation and structural projections.
  • Cooling of sunlit surfaces by use of fins.
  • Massive construction for roofs and walls.
  • Courtyards and other air ducts for ventilation.

Control of heating by texture of surfaces:

The heat inside of the building is controlled by the use of textures in Jaisalmer. This is organized at three levels. At the town scale the buildings are of unequal height with parapets and high walls, creating uneven sky lines and desired shading of each other.

Secondly, the building facades have large number of projections like jharokhas and chajjas which provide shade to the facades. Thirdly, the front part of the facade which remains exposed are controlled by creating deeply carved patterns. Use of such devices minimizes the heat gain by providing shading due to texture.
Places Visited & Information

At first sight, there is not even single human being can be seen in the village yet it looks more a town. It looks a planned, well-settled place which surely had admirable ambience during when it was inhabited. Kuldhara has temples, houses, streets of ancient architectural style sounds the development of the village in by gone times.

Bada Bagh

Bada Bagh, which literally means 'Big Garden' Other interesting monuments in the vicinity are the Cenotaphs. These cenotaphs also known as chattris and were constructed by the various Bhatti rulers The chhatris at Bada Bagh are mostly square or hexagonal. The architecture which was mixture of mughal and Hindu structural design, structure made in interlocking stone structure. The domes, however, are in a variety of shapes, ranging from the simple circular, to squarish to pyramidal and are also free from any kind of artwork.
JODHPUR: Study of fort and palace interiors and their construction technique
Mandore garden

Structural system used in Mandore is post and beam structure. Corinthian order columns arrangement is used in the structure. Instead of the usual chhatri-shaped cenotaphs typical of Rajasthan, the cenotaphs of the famous Mandore garden of Jodhpur, Rajasthan are built along the lines of a Hindu temple. They are four stories high, with fine columns and an elegant spire, all in red sandstone. These cenotaphs are set in beautiful landscaped gardens. The cenotaphs of the Maharani are set on a rocky outcrop over the hill.
Many principals are used while constructing mandore can be seen –
  • Proportion and scale – scale is according to the human height; say the height of monument is 4times the height of a normal human. And proportion is well balanced between designing elements, texture and its atmosphere.
  • Contrast – highly contrasting balance made through landscaping the area around which creates visual interest, and mood.
  • Edge alignment – all cenotaphs are aligned in a proper grid which can be seen in the plan shown
  • Rhythm by repetition – all carved design was in a well organized in a rhythmic way. It creates a sense of movement, and establishes pattern and texture.
  • Pattern – are exciting and lift a scheme from the ordinary to the spectacular. There pattern used are finished of animal, god n goddesses, bird and different human postures design carves on walls, column and domes.

Mehrangarh Fort

Mehrangarh Fort stands a hundred feet in splendor on a perpendicular cliff, four hundred feet above the sky line of Jodhpur. Burnished red sand stone, imposing, invincible and yet with a strange haunting beauty that beckons . Much has been written about the Citadel of the Sun, for truly, it is one of the most impressive in all Rajasthan. So colossal are its proportions that Rudyard Kipling called it “ the work of giants”. Today, it is acknowledged as one of the best preserved fort in India

The Fort and its palaces were built over period of 500 years following the foundation in the mid-15th century. As a result, the varied building styles of many different periods are represented, including the 20th century. The abrupt transition from one era to another, as you progress through the buildings, is one feature that makes a visit so remarkable. The chronology is not always obvious, though, especially as many parts were altered by later rulers, to suit changing tastes and needs.

Umaid Bhawan Palace

If you want to touch the past, if you want to unfold every chapter of medieval history before your eyes, the place is Jodhpur at the Umaid Bhawan Palace, now converted into a magnificent heritage hotel. Rajasthan's royalty was always fashionable, and maharajah Umaid Singh of Jodhpur, added a fine touch to the cult by constructing a grand Art Deco, the Umaid Bhawan Palace, Rajasthan's best known architectural epitome of the 20th century. Designed by eminent Edwardian architect Henry V Lanchester, this grand palace is a magnificent blend of Renaissance framework and Rajput tradition. Each suite is different, with ethereal underlying themes of a royal grandeur or princely passion; elegant interiors with gilt furniture and exquisite artwork.

The Umaid Bhawan palace was founded in 1929 AD, construction was not completed until 1943 and the royal family has occupied the palace since 1944. A huge crested wrought iron gate marks the entrance, and we entered the multi-acre gardens. The palace was built by interlocking sandstone blocks, and is dominated by a huge central dome, flanked by side minarets, and pillared galleries.

Learning objectives for students:

Interior of the palace The 3.5 acre elephantine bulk of the palace has a total of 347 rooms, which have been divided into a 98 room palace hotel, a museum of princely relics, and the Maharajah's private residence, the latter off-limits for Visitors. Crested brass doors open to let visitors enter the public areas of the palace. We saw in the museum an impressive "quirky" collection of clocks in windmill and light house shapes, and photographs of the elegant art-deco interior of the palace. The classic cars of the Maharajas are also on display in the garden in front of the museum. Glass, porcelain wares, memorabilia, and information on the building of the palace are also part of the exhibits. The Darbar Hall, which is part of the museum, has elegant murals and also substantial number of miniature paintings.


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2018-07-20 18:11