Nawalgarh: The Havelis

by kouthap

As promised, here is a post on the havelis of Nawalgarh. PS: This a photo-heavy post.

After an excellent breakfast, we went to explore the havelis in Nawalgarh. The havelis in Nawalgarh are characterized by beautiful fresco paintings. Fresco painting is a method of using water-based pigments on wall surfaces. Since the havelis are several hundred years old, the pigments used were natural vegetable colors. It was a pretty impressive sight to view the intricate paintings adorning each wall surface and appreciate the artistry of the painters.

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We spent a couple of hours in a haveli taking pictures; I can imagine this place being the perfect inspiration for a photographer. Each wall seemed to be the perfect backdrop for a great photograph. We certainly were trigger-happy.

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I am not a very practical woman ; so I braved the stairs and uneven surfaces of the haveli with 5 inch heels. Anything for a good picture, right?

Each haveli had three predominant areas: mardana; where men conducted their business affairs, janana; where women resided and a courtyard where animals were kept. As our guide walked us through the haveli, it was evident how the women had no freedom; they were not allowed to mingle with any women except their close friends let alone strangers and men. While that was several hundred years ago, I still felt thankful for my education and the freedom and opportunity to voice my opinion.

We met few local artists outside the havelis who still made a living making and painting little wooden toys. Trying to justify the  purchase as encouraging local businesses in my mind, I bought a couple of wooden elephants, a wooden camel cart and a wooden turtle.

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After lunch, where I changed into more comfortable shoes and enjoyed some traditional Gatte ki sabzi ( here is more on the dish), we walked through the town along small dirt roads. We saw the little bustling market with tiny stores, street vendors and street food; I also sighted 4 peacocks resting regally on the top of an old building. It’s a picturesque little town and walking is a great way to explore the town.

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The best view of the town is definitely from the roof-tops. Right opposite the Koolwal Kothi is a second haveli also owned by the same family. While this haveli is being converted to a heritage hotel as well, visitors could still walk around the haveli and get a bird’s eye view of Nawalgarh from the roof-top.

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Nawalgarh made me realize how much history, beauty and character there is in several little towns in India. While I am glad Nawalgarh is untouched from the typical commercial elements of a tourist location; I couldn’t help but wonder how the economy of the town would be improved by a little marketing and more tourists.

More coming on Jaipur in future blog posts! Thanks so much for reading.

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