Fascinating Frescos of Podar Haveli

Day 6 (F) ~ #BlogchatterA2Z challenge

All art work is copyrighted by Lonely Canopy.

#BlogchatterA2Z posts:

A , B , C , D , E , F , G , H , I , J , K , L , M , N , O , P , Q , R , S , T , U , V , W , X , Y , Z

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“Aao Kabhi Haveli Pe” – Amrish Puri in Nagina

Podar Haveli, an ostentatious home covered in frescos, was built by Mr. Anandilal Podar in 1902. It is one of the many havelis in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. This region boasts of havelis, built by the marwaris as a symbol of their wealth, with a no-expenses-too-less policy. These mansions had the best tiles, woodworks, furniture, embellishments, and artefacts.

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The unique thing about Shekhawati havelis are the frescos painted both inside and outside the homes. This makes Shekhawati the largest open air museum.

Podar Haveli, now turned into a museum, is one of the restored havelis of the region. It is a 100 feet long house, with two levels, two courtyards, and over 750 frescos. While the lower level is decorated in the Hindu style with some Mughal influences, the upper one is distinctly European.

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Most of the houses in Shekhawati remain in various levels of ruins, echoes of a past grandeur now waiting silently, almost hopelessly. These homes are not deserted because of an ancient curse or evil spirits, but for a much more practical reason – economic growth. The business men who owned these homes were obviously good at their trade and prospered – this prosperity eventually led them to the business centres in India and abroad.

Many houses are embroiled in property disputes and others are simply neglected by the families who have moved much ahead.

Anandilal Podar’s descendants didn’t forget their roots – his grandson, Mr. Kantikumar R. Podar, started to renovate the haveli and turned it into a cultural center.

The frescos on Podar Haveli create a snapshot of life in those days – gods and goddess who blessed them, the traditional attires, the merchants in traditional clothes, mundane tasks, and also the western influence – such as trains, locomotives, gramophones, and women in western clothes.

Because the house is now a museum, with rooms displaying various artefacts of Rajput and Marwaris, it’s easy to forget that once it was simply someone’s home. People grew up in this house and woke up daily to see the murals. Did they stop by and see the paintings … or was it an invisible aspect of their homes?

It would be lovely to see these homes restored, and the stories of the people who lived in those homes documented.

“Haveli is a traditional townhouse or mansion in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, usually one with historical and architectural significance. The word haveli is derived from Arabic hawali, meaning “partition” or “private space” popularised under Mughal Empire and was devoid of any architectural affiliations.[1][2] Later, the word haveli came to be used as generic term for various styles of regional mansions, townhouse and temples found in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The heart of the haveli is the courtyard, the centre point from where all spaces originated.”

From Wikipedia

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34 thoughts on “Fascinating Frescos of Podar Haveli

    1. Thanks 🙂 Glad you liked the illustrations. Even though Rajasthan is a popular tourist places, there’s so much of its culture and marvels that still remain relatively unknown …

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  1. Beautiful write up, Seema! Especially, the illustrations are brilliant. We are marwaris from Shekhawati region too. A few years ago, I had visited the area as I needed to perform some religious rites, and had stayed at a relative’s haveli in Navalgarh. This haveli is also in Navalgarh, right?

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    1. Wow … so glad that someone who’s from Shekhawati region liked the illustrations. That place is a wonderland …

      Yes, this is also in Navalgarh… must be amazing to live inside one such haveli 🙂 Would love to hear about your experiences there.

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  2. Beautiful! “Did they stop by and see the paintings … or was it an invisible aspect of their homes?” This question is lurking in my mind too. Great illustrations, Seema. Great read!

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  3. Beautiful writing, tales and facts. Liked reading. These Havelis are indeed ao enticing.
    The paintings are just awesome. How do you digitalise your paintings?

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  4. So agree. It will be lovely to know the thoughts of people who lived here and how they took it in their daily life. For some reason, I am drawn to Havelis of Rajasthan and I feel they are just charming with a nostalgic scent of history. This was a such a feel good post to read about 🙂 Love how much information you put and then the illustrations 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Shweta for the kind words and the time you spent reading the posts. Havelis and bungalows have always fascinated me … i keep feeling like they are alive.

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