20 Stunning Images from Shekhawati – In Monochrome

You may think I am out of my mind by even thinking of something like this, turning this colourful region into black and white images. I am on my umpteenth trip to this region (This is home!) and this idea has taken root in my head. It is indeed very surprising to see that the details got pronounced as soon as the colour was taken away, perhaps the eye can only see as much.

Typical forecourt of a Haveli, just before the courtyard – Across Shekhawati.
A mural of the first train in India.

The fresco paintings are a curious mix of Indian and European features. It is said that no two frescoes across the huge area of Shekhawati are the same. That could potentially mean more than a million different works of art. Wow. I am astounded to know that.

In a show of outdoing one another, wealthy Bania merchants constructed there havelis in the 19th century. A door in Shekhawati.
A baori (bowri) or step-well, a feature of some towns of Shekhawati. Usually the ruler financed the construction of these step-wells to help with water troubles of the summer that the desert invariably brings.
Inside the main structure, windows overlooking the courtyard. Men and women had separate areas known as Mardana and Zenana.
Opulence : The tall arch of a haveli, the forecourt entrance is seen too. These mansions served as residences and also where important business dealings and meetings took place.
Try as I may, I can’t find a reason for this huge door here that leads to nowhere. This is right on the street in Mandawa.

The paintings and murals depict characters and stories from history, Hindu mythology culture and life, erotica, and sometimes funny notions of science fiction!

Mural showing a wedding procession : Elephants shower bride and groom with flowers and petals while horses comprise the party. In Nawalgarh – one of the most important towns with regards to Havelis of Shekhavati.
Door frames were either made of stone or wood. Here is an elaborately carved door of the zenana portion of a haveli in Shekhawati.
Never shy of making a quick buck the Rajasthani banias made money as merchants transacting with the British and many had their businesses in Calcutta, the signboard indicates that the owners of this particular Haveli also had their base in Calcutta. (Now: Kolkata)
While this entrance may seem royal; it is from one of the smaller havelis in Shekhawati. While the outsider may be in awe, the truth is every second home in the entire region of Shekhawati is a Haveli and that it may take years for a person to see the entire area.

Murals depicting 1. A steamer ship 2. The first horse drawn carriage in India.

All in a photograph : A painting of Krishna as child flanked by figures above an intricately carved door, an imported watch hangs, while the huge vessel used for cooking is seen. Havelis usually had joint families living in them and a typical haveli would easily house more than 20 people.
The Hindu Swastika with seemingly European designs; on the street in Nawalgarh – this used to be a rich merchant’s Haveli once upon a time.
Fresco depicting Lord Krishna in one of his naughty acts. He has taken away the clothes!
Even the temples are in the Shekhawati style, and full of frescoes. This is the Raghu Nath temple in Mandawa.
Another image of a rich door; can’t exactly remember if it was Dundlod, Churi Ajitgarh or Mukundgarh.
I wonder about the goings on there! Erotic painting did exist originally in Shekhawati, although most of them have been defaced.
I found it difficult to believe such beauty has been in existence for over 100 years! Somewhere in Nawalgarh.
Entering the courtyard; the small windows on both sides act as the watchman door to see who has come and which side of the Haveli should be opened.
Very very British; this structure in Nawalgarh has been converted to a heritage hotel by the name of Koolwal Kothi. That really may be the future of these havelis that are being ravaged by time and familial disputes.
Surprises galore; when my last name ensured I was invited for lunch inside the ‘Mansingka Haveli!’ Yeah, 😀 Caretakers have scant regard for the heritage and the haveli dies a slow death.
Leaving you with some colour!

Also check : Shekhawati, in colour

Even after umpteen visits, it is clear that Shekhawati is a treasure trove for lovers of art and architecture. Someday, I hope to bring you stories from other lesser known places that only I as a local can find.

I would love to know your thoughts on this monochrome idea and how it went.

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27 Comments Add yours

  1. Raghav Modi says:

    No harm in going B&W. Like you said, the architecture is more prominent, because the colours certainly take away from the design.

    1. Well said; this was my first attempt at monochrome and apparently quite well received by my readers 🙂 Thank you.

    1. Glad! *Big smile*; thank you so very much for the appreciation.

  2. The colours sometimes produce a distraction to the mind, here the scope is limited and hence, eventually, the viewer’s attraction is held completely to the detailing of the pictures and the architectural excellence…. 🙂

    1. Thats a very precise take on it; thanks Maniparna 🙂

  3. arv! says:

    what an idea to turn pictures into monochrome! Great…I’m sure we’ll get to see many more monochrome pictures henceforth!

    1. Yay! Many thanks Arvind bhai for the appreciation. Frankly, the monochrome idea came by mistake when I was seeing some filters and it became black and white. I liked it and thought why not experiment. Sure hope to do more monochrome posts 🙂

      1. arv! says:

        That’s great. I have made few post in monochrome as well. But that was long back.

      2. Would love to check them out.

      3. arv! says:

        Sure will send you a link

  4. R says:

    Black and white pix have their own character and amazing stories to tell. What a delight to see them! Keep posting more of them

    1. Thanks R for the appreciation. You made my day 🙂 Definitely shall be doing more posts in monochrome photography.

  5. Excellent detailing, Shubham!

    1. Thank you so much, I was skeptical whether it was a good idea or not! Now that I know, it was a super idea.

  6. Jatin Chhaba says:

    Now its a city worth visiting… Nice collection Shubham

    1. Thanks Jatin. Glad you like it. Also, Shekhawati is an entire region – not just a city. 🙂

  7. Aakash Mehrotra says:

    They look absolutely stunning in monochrome, need to try that 😉

    1. Yay! So so glad you liked them Aakash 🙂 Thanks.

  8. eniee says:

    nice collection of images!

    1. shubhammansingka says:

      Thanks so much! Glad you liked the photographs.

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