Fateh Shah Baba’s baradari

Baradari of Fateh Shah Baba
Baradari of Fateh Shah Baba in Jaipur, between Albert Hall and Moti Doongri Road.

In the architecture of Rajasthan and neighboring parts of India and Pakistan, a baradari is an open pavilion with a flat roof. Traditionally, baradaris have a square floorplan and twelve arches, three to a side (the word literally means “twelve-gated”). Some baradaris have one enclosed side. The name sometimes also sometimes refers loosely to any flat-roofed pavilion with open sides. (An arched pavilion is known as a chhatri.)

One of Jaipur’s finest baradaris is Fateh Shah Baba’s baradari, located near the Bisalpur pumping station east of Albert Hall. It is an attractive, well-proportioned baradari standing on an ample platform. The platform, floor, and columns of the monument are made of white marble, while its arches, eaves, and roof appear to be made from a lower-grade stone covered with white plaster.

Fateh Shah Baba’s baradari shares a compound with an Islamic tomb-shrine, Dargah Hazrat Jhadu Shah Baba. The baradari also is a tomb. There are a couple of marble caskets embedded in the floor of the baradari. This is the only baradari I know if in Jaipur or anywhere else that serves as a tomb. (A man sitting outside the dargah told me that the person buried in the baradari is Fateh Shah Baba. There is no inscription or other signage.)

Sadly, the monument is in very poor condition. When I visited it in 2016, nearby residents were using part of the floor space for storage. Parts of the stonework were broken or missing, including the pylons that used to stand on two of the four corners of the roof. One of the remaining pylons held up powerlines. A pipal tree was sprouting from the roof—a death-sentence for any monument if not removed in time. This monument seriously needs protection and restoration.