Keshav Dwar

Keshav Dwar
Keshav Dwar, on the road to Jamdoli near Rani Sisodiya Garden.

Keshav Dwar is a remnant of the outer defensive works of Jaipur. Located in a valley east of the city, the ruined gate consists of a single arched portal with the tattered remnants of a wooden door inside. Like many ruins on the rural fringes of Jaipur, Keshav Dwar stands surrounded by thorn-forest, a favorite haunt of goats.

In the eighteenth century, a network of outer defensive works protected the approaches to the walled city of Jaipur. A ring of defensive forts encircled the city – Nahargarh to the north, Hathroi and Moti Doongri to the south, and Raghunathgarh and Ambagarh on the hills to the east. The hills themselves formed a natural defensive barrier for the city, but valleys cut through the hills in several places.

The most important of these was the Ghat ki Guni, a narrow ravine with towering walls on either side. In the eighteenth century, the Ghat was a favorite place to build formal gardens, temples, and havelis. Many of them are still there, their buildings all painted a uniform shade of yellow.

Ghat ki Guni was important for Jaipur because the road running up it was the main approach to the city from the east. It was important to keep the road open for commercial reasons. Yet the valley also had to be defended in the event of an attack. Although the defensive gates that used to stand in the Ghat no longer exist, Keshav Dwar still stands where it protected a parallel valley to the north.

The portal of Keshav Dwar opens to the north, perpendicular to the axis of the valley. Because of this, the road had to made an S-turn to enter the gate. This served to make the gate more defensible. The modern road no longer passes through the gate, as the wall next to the gate is missing. But the gate remains to illustrate how the approach to Jaipur was defended in ages past.