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In The Colorful Lanes of Churu

Being a Humanities student, I had been always made to learn about the artistic excellence of the Western Civilization. This is good in some ways but negative in so many ways. After a while you start accepting the Euro centric notion that west is far better than the east. That countries like India are just bereft of any culture for art. I had to somehow get this pathetic notion out of my head and therefore I decided to explore the Indian culture, feel and experience it. That made it want to take a photo tour of Rajasthan, one of the most culturally vibrant places in India. Thankfully, one of my friends recommended me Shoes on Loose and their photos and description of the exotic places made me feel all ready to carry my camera and pack my bags straight away. Their guided tour made the whole experience worthwhile.

Since we couldn’t explore the whole of Rajasthan for obvious reasons, SOL took us to Churu, a district in Rajasthan. I was in for a pleasant cultural shock. I had somehow convinced myself that such places didn’t exist anywhere now and that our unique culture was now lost to capitalism and urbanization. But yes, the photos that I took are evidence of the wrong notions I had. Churu is wonderfully photogenic, a dreamland for photographers who love to capture colorful cultures in all their magnificence. It is famous for its Feresci Aer painting (quite a fancy name) that the locals decorate the walls of their houses with. I think the place is not only rich in the natural desert-like beauty but also the amazing man-made art that seems to be so in sync with nature that it doesn’t look artificial at all.

Mandawa by City of Havelis

Mandawa-The City Of Havelis The shutterbug in me wanted to capture all the hues of the place. A difficult task but SOL made it easier. The paintings hidden behind the moss covered walls, as if trying to save themselves from the onslaught of humanity by seeking refuge in nature- marvelously clickable! It was hard for me to decide whether to stare at them or get down to the job of chronicling them by opening my kit and taking out my camera! The colors in the mural drawings stood out from the moisture stricken colorless walls. The details that escaped me when I was there came out vividly in the photos I took.

IMG_7552 Another place we went to was Mandawa, a place I recall was naturally sepia tinted. Time’s way of editing the Art! After I went back home, I remember that I didn’t even edit the photos before uploading them because they didn’t require any editing. They were so naturally beautiful. We witnessed a puppet show, something Rajasthan is well known for. One of the photos that I took has all these puppets, dressed in the colors of Rajasthan, performing on the little wooden platform, the strings clearly visible. The performance was very absorbing and so were the pics we took.

Kathputli Colony! There were so many places we covered; it’s just amazing to think about it now. It’s hard not to mention the pots and matkis of Nawalgarh, renowned for its clay craftsmanship, a legacy being passed from one generation to another. The pots, some newly made, some decorated, quite few broken and buried in the ashes- so picturesque! Talk about finding metaphors in real life situations- these pots symbolizing the decadency that we all face with the passage of time. And the camera aptly captured it. We stayed at Dundlod Fort, a heritage hotel. I bet, you won’t find such a picture perfect hotel anywhere. Walls covered with all kind of weapons like swords and shields of Rajput warriors- all this history safely captured in my camera. The beautiful amalgamation of Rajputana and Mughal art and architecture was visible clearly. I mean something better than the myth of Jodha Akbar, right?

Potters Lane Nawalgarh Sneh Ram Ladia Haveli, what do I say about this place? My hands still ache sometimes because I didn’t put down my camera for once, nor did anyone else. The whole of the palace, yes, each and every corner of it is strewed with paintings- some beautiful, some faded; scenes depicting Hindu Mythology. Just imagine how talented the artists must be back then. For novices like me, there are instruments like camera. For souvenir photos, the bus stands with Rajasthani women singing, clad in their traditional attire, pigeons hopping on rooftops, folk artists playing sarangi and singing in a melody that was just uncapturable- that was all but not enough. The heart was heavy, the face smiling at I browsed from one photo to another on the journey back to Delhi

Sneh Ram Ladia Haveli
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