Chhatri are elevated, dome-shaped pavilions used as an element in Indo-Islamic architecture and Indian architecture. Originating as a canopy above tombs, it served as a decorative element. The earliest example of chattris being used in the Indian Subcontinent were found in the Shrine of Ibrahim in Bhadreswar, constructed between 1159 and 1175 AD.
Chhatri are found particularly within Mughal architecture. The most notable surviving examples today are to be found at Humayun's Tomb in Delhi and the Taj Mahal in Agra. The Berar sultanate in the Deccan topped buildings in its various capitals with chhatris.
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 havelis (mansions) of the region.
Moosi Rani Ki Chhatri, Alwar
Many other chhatris exist in other parts of Rajasthan. Their locations include:
- Jaipur – Gaitore Cenotaphs of the Maharajas of Jaipur. Set in a narrow valley, the cenotaphs of the former rulers of Jaipur consist of the somewhat typical chhatri or umbrella-shaped memorials. Sawai Jai Singh II's Chhatri is particularly noteworthy because of the carvings that have been used to embellish it.
- Jodhpur – Jaswant Thada, the white marble chhatri of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II
- Bharatpur- the cenotaphs of the members of the Jat royal family of Bharatpur, who perished whilst fighting against the British in 1825, are erected in the town of Govardhan. The chhatri of Maharaja Suraj Mal of Bharatpur has fine frescos illuminating the life of Surajmal, vividly depicting darbar and hunting scenes, royal processions and wars.
- Udaipur- Flanked by a row of enormous stone elephants, the Lake Pichola island has an impressive chhatri carved from gray blue stone, built by Maharana Jagat Singh.
- Haldighati – A beautiful Chhatri with white marble columns, dedicated to Rana Pratap, stands here. Chetak Smarak, the cenotaph dedicated to Chetak, Rana Pratap's famous horse, is also noteworthy.
- Alwar – Moosi Maharani ki Chhatri is a beautiful red sandstone and white marble cenotaph of the rulers of Alwar.
- Bundi – Suraj Chhatri and Mordi Ki Chhatri, Chaurasi Khambon ki Chhatri, Bundi and Nath Ji ki Chhatri are located in Bundi. Rani Shyam Kumari wife of Raja Chhatrasal on the northern hill constructed the Suraj Chhatri and Mayuri the second wife of Chhatrasal on the southern hill erected Mordi Ki Chhatri.
- Jaisalmer – Bada Bagh, a complex with chhatris of Jai Singh II (d. 1743) and subsequent Maharajas of Jaisalmer.
- Bikaner – Devi Kund near Bikaner is the royal crematorium place with a number of cenotaphs. The chhatri of Maharaja Surat Singh is most imposing. It has the spectacular Rajput paintings on the ceilings.
- Ramgarh – Seth Ram Gopal Poddar Chhatri
- Nagaur – Nath Ji ki Chhatri, Amar Singh Rathore-ki-Chhatri
Some of the best-known chhatris in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan are located at the following cities and towns:
- Ramgarh – Ram Gopal Poddar Chhatri
- Laxmangarh - Churiwala ki Chhatri
- Bissau – The Raj ki Chhatri of the Shekhawat Thakurs
- Parsurampura – Thakur Sardul Singh Shekhawat's chhatri
- Jhunjhunu – Chhatri of Shekhawat Rulers
- Dundlod – The beautiful chhatri of Ram Dutt Goenka
- Mukungarh – Shivdutta Ganeriwala Chhatri
- Churu – Taknet Chhatri
- Mahansar – The Sahaj Ram Poddar Chhatri
- Udaipurwati – Joki Das Shah ki Chhatri
- Fatehpur – Jagan Nath Singhania Chhatri
In Madhya Pradesh
- Shujalpur – Tomb of Ranoji Scindia, founder of the Scindia dynasty. Situated at Ranoganj, Shujalpur to Akodia Road.
- Shivpuri – Intricately embellished marble chhatris erected by Scindia rulers in Shivpuri.
- Gwalior – Shrimati Balabai Maharaj Ladojirao Shitole Chhatri
- Gwalior – Rajrajendra Ramchandrarao Narsingh Shitole and wife Gunwantyaraje Ramchandrarao Shitole (princess of Gwalior) Chatri
- Orchha – Elaborate chhatris of local Hindu kings
- Gohad – The Jat rulers of Gohad constructed the chhatri of Maharaja Bhim Singh Rana on the Gwalior Fort.
- Indore and Maheshwar – Chhatris of Holkar rulers.
- Alampur – Maharani Ahilya Bai Holkar built the chhatri of Malhar Rao Holkar at Alampur in Bhind district in 1766.
Chhatri were features in many buildings of Mughal architecture:
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.
- Salome Zajadacz-Hastenrath (2000), "On the History of Style of the Tomb "Chattris" in the Islamic Architecture of Sind", Central Asiatic Journal, 44 (1): 131–157, JSTOR 41928225
- Navina Najat Haidar, Marika Sardar (13 April 2015). Sultans of Deccan India, 1500–1700: Opulence and Fantasy. Metropolitan Museum of Art. p. 51. ISBN 9780300211108.
- Andrew Petersen (11 March 2002). Dictionary of Islamic Architecture. p. 83. ISBN 9781134613663.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chhatri.|
- ArchNet Dictionary of Islamic Architecture: Chatri
- Images of old chhatris Columbia University