Marwari Havelies

Road trips are always close to my heart. They bring back beautiful memories. Recently we had a chance to go on a road trip to Rajasthan, India. Three things are closely associated to this state - Thar Desert, Pink City and Marwaris!

Being born and bought up in Madurai, we have seen Marwari community flourish in wholesale businesses, which include cosmetic, fashion jewelry, gift items, electrical items and a lot more. Generally, they live in large joint families, wear colorful clothes, often include sweets in their meals and make lovely pan/bedas. Apart from this I had no idea about their lifestyle back in their native land.

When we started off from Sikar to Bikaner, we heard that there are beautiful havelies on the way. Haveli, means town houses or mansions. After talking to a couple of locals on the way, we headed to Fatehpur in search of Havelis and went few kilometers into the village. At one point we saw beautiful dilapidated walls, wells and some old buildings. We were guided to drive further down a narrow lane to see a Haveli. As soon as we entered the lane, this is what we saw:

Contrast Havelis

I fell in love with these contrast colored Havelis. As you can see, murals of the Haveli on the left is predominantly painted with white, black and green where as the Haveli on the right has beautiful murals in bright indigo, red in an yellow back ground. Attracted by the iconic elephant drawing, I walked towards the white haveli.

Linking this picture to Our World

The whole area was deserted, and we started soaking in the beautiful paintings despite the scorching sun. The lovely paintings display the lifestyle of the rich trading community.

Beautiful archways, intricate windows and doors
We were about to leave that lane wondering what could be inside this palatial mansion. Just in time, we saw a lady coming out of a modern house opposite to this haveli. This time around the language barrier was not there as our friend who was travelling with us could speak good Hindi! We learned from this lady that there was nothing inside this haveli but she told us that there were people living next door, which is also an ill-maintained old haveli. She suggested that we could request the people living there to get a glimpse of live haveli. 

Living Haveli

This rambling beauty had traces of murals that stands as a testimony to it's glorious past. Motorcycles outside gave us hope that people living there are modernized and would be welcoming travellers. As I touched the small door it gave way showing something from a different era.

We asked this lady if we could come in and take pictures, she nodded her head and rushed inside. I took that 'nod' as yes and shot the picture above. Within seconds she came with another elderly lady who shooed us away and shut that door! What did I expect? A royal welcome? Of course not! It is their home and they didn't want curious travelers to invade their privacy. 

The formidable doors stared at us and I felt that it was fiercely guarding it's secrets! With resentment we started walking towards that yellow based indigo haveli, in the hope of getting better luck. Sure we were rewarded, yes we had reached the right place to learn the story of havelis. More details and colorful murals in the next post :)
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