Friday, December 19, 2008

Bikaner Havelis

As our rickshaw sped through the bylanes of the old city in Bikaner I saw these buildings and was like, wait a minute, what are these buildings? That's when the driver told us these were Havelis built by merchants many centuries ago. While some are inhabited most of these magnificent structures are empty. Lane after winding lane lined with the most intricately carved exteriors. I remembered the Ahmedabad pols, but these were more regal and certainly not as 'lived-in' as the pols in Ahmedabad.

"Havelies are marvels in home architecture. Such havelies or residential houses do not exist anywhere in the world. They are the pride of Bikaner, says great author and philosopher, Aldous Huxley."

"The havelies were the residence of wealthy merchants who had a fancy for beauty and art. Nine months in a year they lived in far off lands to earn money and then came to this city to rest and enjoy and build havelies and live in them, show their wealth and status, their love , fascination for architecture and colours."
"The oldest haveli is perhaps four hundred years old but most of them are hundred years in age or around it."

The juxtaposition of the handpainted words like 'Modern' and 'school' in these lanes captures the way the old & the new co-exist.



A parked cycle in a decaying entrace....
...and wiring indicate habitation in some of these havelis

Lanes like these are such a rarity in Rajasthan which is mostly buzzing with people & markets through the day.


Some of the Havelis show mixed architectural influences.



As one walks through these labyrinths of beauty, one can't help but wonder about their upkeep & maintenance. Many of Jaisalmer's Havelis are maintained by either the families who constructed them or by the Archeological Survey of India, I didn't see any such signs here.


And just when you feel like you are walking through a giant and empty film or theater set, suddenly a childs head pops out & surprises you.

21 comments:

Helena/roomservice.blogg.se said...

Thank you for sharing!

Arch at Rang said...

Lovely post Vineeta~

Very informative and what a lovely style of architecture...love the red( sandstone)?

U.Sidharth Bhat said...

nice pics, n der's so much redddd

bindu said...

The construction is so intricate and beautiful! I wonder how the interiors are.

Anil P said...

Too beautiful to be true.

Would it be too much to wish for such architecture to come back into vogue? :)

Surely for the effort and vision that must have gone into creating them they deserve to be protected from the vandal's death-wish of advertising their services.

megha punater said...

amazing architecture,love the colours
great post vineeta

Krista said...

Gorgeous photos Vineeta! Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures.

vineeta said...

Helena, You are welcome. I'm glad you stopped by or I'd have never seen your phenomenal blog.

bhumika said...

The first pic and the one where you see different cultural influences coming together were the ones that particularly reminded me of A'bad pols.

Love the brick red colour - warm and earthy. I have been away from the blogosphere for sometime now and it was great to be welcomed by such colourful posts!

vineeta said...

Archana, Thanx! :) An article on the net says that most of the red stone is called 'dulmera' stone.

vineeta said...

Sidharth, thanx & yup loads of redddd :)

vineeta said...

bindu, i too wondered how the interiors were but there seemed to be no entrance open or welcoming. I have heard one of the Havelis have gotten converted into a hotel & maybe in my next visit, i might stay there or get a sneak peak :)

vineeta said...

Anil, I agree it has got this haunting beauty :) and its all true. About this kind of architecture coming back in vogue, I guess each to his own and there are enough new buildings in rajasthan that are modelled around this style, but god knows none of it works quite like the originals :)

vineeta said...

Meghna thanx much! :)

Krista, always welcome :) this what i love doing best :)

vineeta said...

Bhumika, I've missed you & I'm so glad you are back. Looking forward to your new posts :)
Yes, I walked these lanes and thought about how similar & different they are from the Ahmedabad Pols.

Veda Murthy said...

lovely post vineeta! hopefully one day will get to see this beautiful place!

Munna on the run said...

wonderful post. I am homesick now.

vineeta said...

Veda, you absolutely MUST. There is enough beauty there to last you a lifetime :)

vineeta said...

Hemant, then you must go home quickly :)

Cassie said...

These photos are great!

Freshhome said...

Your blog is lovely. I love Indian.
Do you have any mails to contact.
My blog here: http://freshhome.wordpress.com
and mail: freshhomevn@gmail.com