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When this magnificent beauty Rajasthan entails into our minds, the very first visual of this grand state comes with the images of iridescent lights and a wide variety of energetic folk dances and enthusiastic music it also reminds us of the desert- stretches, the forts, palaces, the mighty warriors, and royal robes of the rajas and maharajas. Thinking of this princely state also memorises us through the magnificent beauty which is established through the architectural wonders of havelis. The word Rajasthan literary means the “abode of kings’. Its pre-independence name Rajputana meant the homeland of -the mighty Rajputs. An energetic and a vibrant state where royal glory and tradition meets the colors of this world, contradicting the vast area of desserts and sand lies a perfect blend of people, culture, tradition, music, architecture, cuisine all in one pot. Rajasthan’s vast ocean of sand is contradictory to the colourful and vibrant culture and tradition it possesses. Growing generations have seen their cultivated culture of music, art and dance through ages. A vast and wonder-laced state with treasures more sublime than those of fable, the Land of the Kings paints a bold image
People of Rajasthan
There is always an inadequate knowledge of the place without knowing its people. Rajasthan is an anthropological mixture of people who come from varied variety of ethnic, economic, religious, social and cultural background. In the ancient times the caste of the person determined their profession. As times have changed it slowly has adopted a birth based caste system. Many caste and sub-caste reside in this grand state of Rajasthan. The warriors of the clan are the Hindu Rajput constitute major portion of the residents of Rajasthan. The Brahmins and the vaishya also form a part of it. The population also consists of the muslims, Sikhs ,jains and sindhis. Major portion of the livelihood of the tribes like Jat, Gurjar, Mali arises from agricultural based activities. Other are free to choose their profession by will. The dresses and the ornaments used and worn by the folks are greatly influenced by their caste, economic status, climate profession and also history.
Culture of Rajasthan
Music and folk dances of Rajasthan
The living soul of the people lies in there folk music and dance which also add a glamour in their hard lives. People in this state are very fun loving and energetic. They have highly cultivated classical and folk dances which have been a part of their culture for growing generations now. Folk music flourished due to the kings of Rajputana who embodied music in their courts. The music constitutes different flavours of folk music, the hymns and prayers in praise of the Lord, the magnificent stories of the chivalry of the mighty Rajput emperors, the local folk dances and songs in praise of the rain God.
The vibrant gay colours of the attire totally contradict to the backdrop of the plain coloured desert and invoke the feeling of engaging in the dance. All the traditionally based old dance forms are still practiced religiously. Some of the peculiar dance forms are kaibelia dance, Ghoomar dance, Chari dance, Kacchi -Ghodi , fire dance and terah taai. Other types of dances are enforsed during different occasions.
Art and Craft of Rajasthan
This state is well known for textiles, semi precious stones, handicrafts, traditional and colourful art. The local furniture has complex carving and bright colour. There are many prints like block prints, tie and die prints which are the major products which are exported from Rajasthan. The blue pottery in Jaipur is particularly famous all over the world.
We are aware of how much this beautiful state has to offer to tourists. We have however chosen something very different and rare for our DIP research project. We all know that havelis are architectural monuments built by the rich merchants and traders to show off their wealth, and built by the well to do families in the 17th and 18th century to protect themselves from the extreme climatic conditions, in the region known as Shekhawati.
In the semi arid dessert regions of Shekhawati, the day would be boiling hot and the nights would be as cold as freezing ice.
The land and its people
This region of Shekhawati lies roughly between Jaipur, Delhi and Bikaner in the state of Rajasthan. There is little of industrialization that takes place in this region and farming is poor. Some families leave this region due to failure in financial gains, but they return back to their birthplace: either for retirement or to settle down again. Among the few of them that return are the Rajputs, the Shekhawats (whose ancestor gave its name to this land).
The Shekhawati region, unlike most other parts of Rajasthan was never a single kingdom; it remained a loosely held conderation of feudal principalities.
The Shekhawati land, is known for its frescos. What sets this region completely apart are the eye-striking beautifully made frescos.
This part of the desert was once a part of Aryavat, the land of the Aryans who spread too a great extent to the northern part of our country.
Aryans, were the community that composed their sacred texts, the oldest in the world, which are the “VEDAS” here. It would also be interesting to know that archaeologists have found remains of sites contemporary with the Indus Valley civilization dating all the way back to 200 BC.
Our topic for this research project is: Comparative study of architecture of Havelis and their impact on society today.
This topic of the architecture of havelis has indeed interested us as a group and we would love to explore this aspect of Rajasthan.
It has a massive huge number of ancient havelis situated in the region of Shekhawati, where we plan to visit and study and carry out an analysis of the different havelis
The comparative study will be based on the Architecture of the haveli
The interior (frescos, murals, paintings, inscriptions
The exterior (sculptures, doorways, bhaitak -seating area, hathi pol-entrances
The way it has been constructed (Muslim, Hindu , Brahmin, Rajput)
If the Haveli has been constructed keeping in mind the Vaastu (which will not be the same for the havelis that are owned by a different caste
If the haveli has been constructed according to the climatic changes
The materials that were used to construct the havelis
According to us, this topic has a lot to offer to us because each one of us in the group have been interested in the tiny minute details ofÂ
havelis. Havelis do differ from one another on a very huge scale even though they are not always thought of as the same kind.
Where we plan to go, which havelis?
We first plan to visit an area known as Fatehpur. This town is well known for its really high quality of frescos. The havelis we plan to study here are:
Gopiram Jalam haveli.
Nand lal Devra haveli.
Jagannath Singhania haveli.
Our next town of visit will be a region known as Nawalgarh. A town where one can witness a mix of Rajput and European architecture. The havelis we do wish to analyze in this region are:
Radheshyam Murarka haveli.
Pannalal Mansingka haveli.
This brings us to an interesting question, what exactly are Havelis?
Haveli” as a term used commonly has its named derived from a long traced back Arabic origin of the word `hawoleh’ meaning partition.
a related word `hawaleh’ has a slightly different meaning which is `all round’ or `round about’. Through the ages the word havelis has taken different forms. Though for Persian it had the same meaning as the word hawaleh but with the mughals arriving the word havelis changed into being a partition to a piece of land (this is very similar to the word estate whcich is used in the English language).
Since the beginning of the origin of the havelis its definition is only limited to the physical characteristics which makes it inadequate. So far the closest definition of the word haveli is given by the prince of Whales museum, Mumbai.
“A havelis generally means a mansion. But in totality, it symbolizes generation who articulated their life style that includes architecture, customs and manners, `of course arts, crafts and music. The havelis however are the official residences of umraos, princes, thakurs and others such as dhabhai, purohit and sethji who were given a special status by the rana. Havelis has an official recognition”
The term HAVELI is an essentially north Indian concept, and the Persian term implies an “enclosed space”. The havelis were not just built for residential purposes. Their construction increased on a massive scale, because they were in a way known as objects of self-esteem, in a race to score against each other. They got more lavish and they also borrowed elements of Indo-Saracenic architecture that was standing out among the principal British settlements.
Havelis in Rajasthan was primarily developed in 16th century to differentiate their life style from common people. The 2 broad classifications of havelis in Rajasthan were- Rajput havelis and Marwari havelis while the other havelis were mainly based on the caste and occupation. Accordingly there were havelis of the Brahmin caste, Muslim havelis, and havelis of other Hindu sub castes. A basic identification of havelis in any medieval town of Rajasthan is possible by identifying the original owner, his official status, architecture, paintings on the walls of the havelis, sculptures interiors, etc;
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