The South Asian Life & Times - SALT   
  April-June 2012           



  April - June 2012


Editor's Note


  Cover Story
  Painted Towns of

  Alsisar Mahal 

  Dr Narottam Puri on
  Indian Cricket

  Leander Paes

  Organic Farming in

  RIMC turns 90


  Tagore's Art

 South Asian Literary

 Festivals - Galle,
  Jaipur & Karachi

 Dr Karan Singh's
 Maiden Recital

  59th National Film
  Awards Announced

  'Rang' Colors of
  Sufism - released

   Mike Pandey wins
  Shantaram Award

  SaMaPa Music
  Festival 2012, J & K

  Sharmeen wins

  Veer Munshi's

  Book Picks
I'll Follow the Sun

  The Delhi
  Coronation Durbars





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Fading Grandeur of

By Roopa Bakshi

The arid, barren, dusty and painted region of Shekhawati spreads across three districts of Rajasthan – Jhunjhunu,   Sikar, and Churu. There are over 2,000 painted havelis (mansions) spread across the small desert towns of the region – most are abandoned and decaying but still stunning in their fading grandeur. SALT brings this exclusive feature on the havelis in the Shekhawati towns of Nawalgarh, Fatehpur, Mandawa and also the less frequented, but far more arresting and engaging towns of Ramgarh and Lakshmangarh – that abound in these structural and architectural gems, and which may not be amongst us for long. These havelis have fallen to time and neglect.

The Shekhawati region, known as the open-air art gallery of Rajasthan, lies in the roughly triangular area between Delhi, Jaipur, and Bikaner, and encompasses the districts of Jhunjhunu, Sikar, and Churu. A drive through this vast, barren, almost surreal landscape, dotted with khejri trees and their outstretched branches, can be oddly hypnotising. The wide, open uninhabited spaces seem light years away from the madness of Indian cities. Shekhawati is Rajasthan’s best-kept secret – there are over 2,000 painted havelis (mansions) dispersed in its small desert towns - most were built in the mid and late 19th century by members of the rich Marwari community of the area.  Some of these heritage mansions are even older. The exterior and interiors of these buildings were richly decorated with figurative and floral art in bright colours. Less was not more at the time. In fact more was not enough – as is evident in all havelis, barring one exception in Lakshmangarh that had a uniquely different style of decoration, and a refreshingly different palette of colours – but it was in ruins!

 Read the entire article in the print edition of The South Asian Life & Times



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