Rajasthan was to be part of my inspiration page :) But it won't fit. Because it is not proportionate. Because it is just simply too large and significant a part to be given a mention 'along with' so many other things. I owe Rajasthan, and its artisans, and its kings, its heritage, its history ~ what I do today. So much of what I hope to capture and represent is only a tribute to what has already been done, so beautifully and so masterfully.
I have been to Rajasthan many times and much much before I started making my products and I have always come away with so much respect and awe for the innate artistry in all the people of Rajasthan. I have stood in palaces, in halls of heartbreaking beauty, in places where photography is not allowed and imagined the utter love and respect that would have prompted the artists to create with such vision and intricacy. Because creativity can never be enforced, it can only be nurtured and it can only be inspired. No amount of money promised can ensure creativity or love. So what was it about soil and the Kings of Rajasthan that inspired this kind of work.
The artistic heritage and talent in this city is formidable and is seen across the biggest palaces to the smallest homes and hotels. In the lanes of Bikaner lined with beautiful Havelis and the crammed with beauty and character and yellow sandstoned Jaisalmer, in the colourful neon sarees the women wear to the skillfully wound turbans the men wear. And the food. The food of a place speaks so much about the people. Predictably Rajasthani food is always beautifully spiced and packed with flavour.
Below are pictures of a much smaller hotel in Bikaner, called Bhairon Vilas. Scale is not a prerequisite to grandeur in Rajasthan. This beautiful property is quaint and yet has so much character packed in. Below are pictures of the Reception and some passages in the Hotel. Very charming.
The Jain temples of Jaisalmer with their stunning architecture, intricately carved domed ceilings and in many cases exquisitely painted interiors are another example of the Rajasthani's love for artistry. These Jain temples dating back 12th and 15th centuries are an example of the 'Dilwara' style of building from the Mount Abu Dilwara temples.
While in Rajasthan we will get to see the entire spectrum of colour used in different colour combinations, what warms my heart is a certain fearlessness in using bold colour and design. A certain comfort with making a statement. This attitude fosters creativity and really pushing the envelope. How will it look? Will it be too bold and too loud - was a needless constraint the Rajasthani artisan and connoisseur seem to have freed themselves from. And yet parts of the same palace that houses boldness also has spaces of such visual subtlety and quietness that it takes our breath away.
Walls of Junagad Palace, Bikaner, Rajasthan
Rajasthan will always be very special to me because whether it is a temple, palace, a hotel, a street wall or a humble home this state wears its heart and art on its sleeve.