Colour in the Thar
A humble bastion of history, almost victorious in its sparse, dry lands—Shekawati inspires modesty within the realm of its sublime architecture. Each place in India, especially smaller, historic towns, has its own energy throbbing through its entirety. And Shekawati is no different. It is a place of stories— the erstwhile bastion of Rao Shekha a Rajput chieftain in 15th-century, a prosperous merchant between the ports of the Arabian Sea and the Ganges Valley at the turn of the 19th century and today, an international tourist town that draws flocks of tourists to it’s many opulent havelis (mansions), beautifully adorned with intricate frescoes.
The pandemic has temporarily halted the flow of tourists to Shekawati — a visit last year on work found me walking through a quiet town of abandoned grand homes. In the stillness of the hot afternoon, I put my camera to good use to share with you the colours and forms that inspired me in Shekawati.
As the home of gloriously painted frescoes, well-conceived and built mansions, sculptures, parks, temples and gardens, Shekawati is proof that dry, sparsely forested lands can be evocative of majesty, of awe. One doesn’t always need green pastures for inspiration and creativity to thrive.
Words: Sugandha Das and Shivani Dogra
Images: Shivani Dogra