Nawalgarh - haveli good time

Trip Start Nov 01, 2005
1
21
27
Trip End Apr 30, 2006


Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines
shadow

Flag of India  ,
Saturday, January 28, 2006

After our morning at the monkey temple we caught the bus north from Jaipur to the Shekawati region which lies on the easternmost edge of the Thar desert.

We stayed in a wonderful eco-guest house on an organic farm. It was refreshing to stay somewhere with good water saving policies. Rajasthan has such problems with water shortages and drainage, yet most hotels here have leaking taps and cisterns. Most of the grey water in the desert towns ends up in foetid stinking lakes.

Our room was a small circular hut made of cow dung and sand with a thatched roof.

Walking throgh the small dusty market town of Nawalgarh we saw many painted havelis. Shekawati was formerly on an important trading route and the merchants tried to out-do each other by building ostentatiously decorated homes, known as havelis. Unfortunately most of them are fading and falling down or even being knocked down. These homes are still owned by many of the big names in Indian industry, such as Birla, Bajoj and Tata, but are empty or tenanted by poor families who can't afford to maintain them. The havelis were built and decorated between the 1770s and 1930s and their decorations combine both religious motifs and thems such as machines, events and contemporary fashions (from steam trains to Edwardian memsahibs in big hats). As such they form the pop art and social commentary of their time and it's terrible to see it all going to ruin. The Poddar haveli has been restored and we spent a long time looking at the paintings.

Not so many tourists come to this region, so we attracted even more than the usual amount of staring. Our celebrity increased after our photo was on the front page of the local newspaper 'Two foreigners try tie and dye'. We spent a day learning the traditional Rajasthani tie and dye technique (bhandini/bhandej) from a local artisan. In this region this art is on the verge of disappearing due to cheap machine made imitations. It was a relaxing morning sitting under a tree while Ousman showed us how to take small pinches of fabric and tightly wind cotton around to form minature cones. When died the tied part comes out as a tiny square with a dot in the middle.
Slideshow Report as Spam

Comments

sunshinesi
sunshinesi on

Famous for fifteen minutes
Such a celebrity, and all from the humble beginnings of a cow-dung hut!

Enjoying your travel-tales, and look forward to talking about them in person in a month or so.

Si

Add Comment

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: