Officially called Galtaji but usually referred to as Temple of the Sun God or simply the Monkey Temple, this temple complex of many names was built in the 18th century. Multiple storied water tanks, known as kunds, lead up to the main temple, with rounded roofs and pavilions typical to Rajasthan’s architectural traditions.
This gorgeous temple complex, in a crevice sandwiched between two hills, features a series of water tanks—the Galta kunds—filled with natural spring water and used for ritual bathing by devotees. At the top of the complex, built by Diwan Rao Kriparam, is a pink stone temple dedicated to Surya, the sun god—hence it’s Temple of the Sun God moniker—not the Hindu monkey god Hanuman, as its alternative name suggests. Its Monkey Temple nickname is due to the large presence of monkeys that hang out here.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Keep any food sealed and buried deep in your bag to avoid theft at the hands of monkeys.
- If you’re frightened of monkeys, you can join a guided tour or hire a local to escort you up to the sun temple.
- Before entering the temple, remember to cover your knees and shoulders and remove your footwear.
How to Get There
Galtaji is located east of Jaipur, about a 30-minute drive from the Hawa Mahal. Getting here involves a zig-zagging ride uphill, and while you can hire a taxi or auto-rickshaw to take you here and back, it’s easiest to come as part of an organized tour.
When to Get There
The Money Temple is open throughout the year, though it can get oppressively hot during the hotter months of the year, particularly in late afternoon. The most auspicious time to visit is during the annual Makar Sankranti holiday, in mid-January, when pilgrims arrive en masse.
Makar Sankranti, sometimes called Maghi, is an annual festival dedicated to Surya, the sun god. Celebrations vary in different parts of the country, but traditional activities associated with the event include flying kites, ritual bathing, exchanging gifts and sweets, and a variety of religious ceremonies.