Thursday, September 14, 2017

Jaisalmer Havelis

Jaisalmer is a small town on the western border of India. Part of the state of Rajasthan. Famous for its Havelis.

The word Haveli is derived from Arabic word haveli means 'Partition' or 'Private Space' popularised under Mughal Empire and was devoid of any architectural affiliations. Later the owrd haveli came to be used as a generic terms for various styles of regional mansions, townhouse and temples found in India.

Jaisalmer was a major town controlling trade between India and Middle East. Traders here had riches  to support an opulent lifestyle. The fact is reflected by richly decorated havelis of Jaisalmer. Sometimes these havelis are not a part of itinerary...but please please please...dont miss this marvel. Sacrifice your lunch time but do visit these havelis.

Patwon ki haveli is a major tourist attraction in Jaisalmer. This is group of 4 5 havelis in a narrow lane. Entrance looks as below.
View of the first haveli from below. This is exactly above the entrance verandah

Not all the havelis are open for tourists. The first one is the most decorated one and also open for tourists.First floor of the haveli has exquisite glass work and ceiling paintings. Can't call these fresco as fresco is the one painted rapidly on wet plaster.

Glass is an important medium used in Rajasthan. Availability of ample sunlight and preserving privacy (so that available light is reflected in the room)  were the main reasons behind use of glass in the decoration.

Look at the peacock on the wall . You can also see a part of the wall open and without decoration. This was the hidden safe deposit vault. Concealed by a stone slab.

Look at the internal galleries. Stones were friends to these craftsmen. Not a single inch left plain and without decoration.

Facade looks something like this from a side view

Roofs of some of the rooms are really worth watching. The golden colour you see is actual gold foil used in the paintings.

These designs are created using actual gold foil. Remind you of Versailles Palace of France.

Patwa Haveli is a small museum. The family has displayed some old artefacts on display. This one is a traditional dress worn by the male and female on festival of Gan-gaur

Music room and some musical instruments

Once you come out of haveli, verandah is a place of activity. This used to be a place where visitors were greeted. Some children in traditional wear playing.

My lens could not accommodate entire view ....the facade is amazing carving.

Women of the house used to be under veil. The windows are wide open but blocked by intricate designs that blocked the inside view.

Verandah has some beautifully carved pillars.

These havelis are situated in a narrow lane blocking a complete single view of all the havelis together.

Balconies and designs of these balconies is another interesting feature of the havelis. Even the bottom of the balconies, an area which we normally do not notice is also carved intricately.

Too see the detailing and consistency in artwork, look at the pic below. You can see a different design for each square.

Outside haveli is a shoppers paradise....lot of  handicraft items to choose from.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Shivthar Ghal

Shivthar Ghal is a place of historical as well as religious importance for Maharashtrian people. A "Ghal" is a cave or hollow space in a mountain. Shivthar Ghal is a place where Saint Ramdas, Guru of Chatrapati Shivaji stayed for a period of 11 years.
He wrote is well known book "Das-bodh", his contemplation over life and spirituality during his stay here. Shivthar Ghal is around 155 Km away from Pune. Actually this place is in Mahad tehsil of Raigad District. You need to travel through Varandha Ghat to reach Shivthar ghal. Enjoy some snaps
Our first stop was at Bhor. This is Necklace Point. The river takes a lovely turn here. You have a perfect vantage point here to take snaps. This location has featured in a famous Marathi Movie "Katyar Kaljat Ghusali"

Varandha Ghat is full of clouds during these days. You have entered Sahyadri ranges now.

Clouds and number of can stop at any point to enjoy the beauty...
Now you know why Western Ghat is called a biological hot spot......lush green valleys...full of wild life

Finally we reach at Shivthar Ghal. The place is still serene and has pristine beauty

Actual location of the cave is just beside the waterfall but you can not see the cave from any of the points. You have to go there only.

Some 20-25 steps and you enter a Ramdasi Monastery. After crossing the hall (red roof) you enter the cave. Since it was quite dark there, I could not click snaps. Photography is not allowed at some religious places.

Lots of monkeys at the place to give you company. Do not open your food packets here otherwise these will surely snatch it from you.

Some of the psalms by Saint Ramdas. Middle one is an interesting one. There are some lines. First alphabet of each line (marked in red) conveys the message that a knight has been dispatched from Vijapur to attack. Ramdasi monks traveled though out the country and passed on a lot of intelligence to Shivaji Maharaj. It is also believed that when Shivaji Maharaj escaped from Agra captivity, it was Ramdasi monks who provided them with food and fresh horses during the return journey to Maharashtra.

You can see a house on the hill. This is residence of Chandrarao More. More was royal family who owned this area...called as Jaawali, during Shivaji days. Location of the house is nothing short of a forest, waterfall and peace...

Konkan landscape....

Away from maddening crowds...small hamlets...curved roads... paddy fields...full of life

U - PIN bends. the road to Varandha is narrow one. At times two buses facing each other can not pass.

Epic view...

Velvet patterns on the grass. Fifty shades of green :)

The wind is so powerful that water does not reach the grounds also.

Shivthar Ghal is a full day picnic from Pune. You get hot rural lunch at Shivthar ghal. The Ghat offers some tea, pakora, corn cob stalls on the way. So enjoy your day watching awesome Sahyadri ....