Chhatri

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Memorial chhatri of Jat Rana Udaybhanu Singh Maharaj at Dholpur, Rajasthan, India. Chhatri Udaybhan Singh.jpg
Memorial chhatri of Jat Rana Udaybhanu Singh Maharaj at Dholpur, Rajasthan, India.
Chhatri set atop each corner of the Hall of Audience in Fatehpur Sikri palace complex. Audienzhalle.jpg
Chhatri set atop each corner of the Hall of Audience in Fatehpur Sikri palace complex.

Chhatri are elevated, dome-shaped pavilions used as an element in Indian architecture. The word literally means "canopy" or "umbrella." In the context of architecture, the word is used to refer to two different things. The usual and more widely understood meaning is of a memorial, usually very ornate, built over the site where the funeral (cremation) of an important personage was performed. Such memorials usually consist of a platform girded by a set of ornate pillars which hold up a stone canopy.

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The word chhatri is also used to refer to the small pavilions that mark the corners and roof of the entrance of a major building. These pavilions are purely decorative and have no utility, but are a classic folly displaying the status and wealth of the owner.

Chhatris are commonly used to depict the elements of pride and honour in Rajput, Maratha and Jat architecture. They are widely used in palaces, in forts, or to demarcate funerary sites. Originating in Rajasthani architecture where they were memorials for royalty, they were later adapted as a standard feature in all buildings in Maratha-ruled states, Rajasthan, and in Mughal architecture. The most notable surviving examples today are to be found at Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Chhatris in Shekhawati may consist of a simple structure of one dome raised by four pillars to a building containing many domes and a basement with several rooms. In some places, the interior of the chhatris is painted in the same manner as the haveli s (mansions) of the region.

In Rajasthan

Many other chhatris exist in other parts of Rajasthan. Their locations include:

In Shekhawati

Some of the best-known chhatris in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan are located at the following cities and towns:

In Madhya Pradesh

Chhatri of Vithoji in Maheshwar. Chhatri of Vithoji 03.jpg
Chhatri of Vithoji in Maheshwar.

The region of Madhya Pradesh is the site of several other notable chhatris of its famous Maratha rulers:

Krishnapura Chhatri, Indore Indore Krishnapura Chhatri.JPG
Krishnapura Chhatri, Indore
Bolia Maharaj Ki Chhatri, Indore Chhatri Indore.JPG
Bolia Maharaj Ki Chhatri, Indore
Krishnapura Chhatri, Indore Krishnapura Chhatri on Khan Riverbank.JPG
Krishnapura Chhatri, Indore
Inside view of Krishnapur Chhatri, Indore Krishnapura Chhatri from inside.JPG
Inside view of Krishnapur Chhatri, Indore

In Kutch

Rao Lakhaji Chhatri Bhuj Rao Lakhaji Chhatri.JPG
Rao Lakhaji Chhatri Bhuj

Chhatris can also be found in the outskirts of Bhuj city belonging mainly to Jadeja rulers of Kutch. The chhatri of Rao Lakhpatji is very famous for its intricate designs & carvings. Most of them but have been destroyed in the 2001 Gujarat earthquake. The restoration work is going on.

Outside India

Chhatri of Ram Mohan Roy in Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol, England Tomb of Raja Rammohun Roy in Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol, England.jpg
Chhatri of Ram Mohan Roy in Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bristol, England

There are two notable chhatris in the United Kingdom, a country with strong historical links to India. One is a cenotaph in Brighton, dedicated to the Indian soldiers who died in the First World War.

The other is in Arnos Vale Cemetery near Bristol and is a memorial to the distinguished Indian reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy, who died in that city.

See also

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