AtoZ, Blog Challenge, RajasthanTravelStories, Travel

[A] April Fools | #atozchallenge 2017 |

 ** April fools day falls on 1st April everywhere and is celebrated by playing jokes/pranks on each other. **

India is exceedingly rich in heritage treasures – be it monuments, textiles, culture or artifacts we have some of the most exquisite hand crafted treasures.

But sadly we lack the sense, pride, joy or the finances to preserve them for posterity.

So it’s not uncommon to come upon a monument in the midst of a garbage strewn slum or the walls of a pristine preserved ASI heritage site to be desecrated with ridiculous graffiti or streaked with the lushness of tobacco spit or simply marked out as a favourite pee spot; dogs n men alike. 🙁

Being a history and architecture enthusiast, my heart grieves at these transgressions. One such heartbreak happened at Shekhawati – a heritage rich region of Rajasthan (the desert state of India) which is touted to be the largest open air art gallery (in India or is it Asia?) courtesy the stupendous frescos painted on the external walls of 90% of the buildings.



They weren’t kidding!!! I roamed the streets in stunned appreciation and wonder, pausing to click a few snaps now and then. One moment I was ecstatic with joy while in the next I mourned the decrepit state of the buildings.



Some of these are humble adobes of tenants/owners who continue to dwell simply, unaffected by the legacy surrounding them while some have been preserved and handed down as family heirlooms like this one.


The best (or should I say the worst) was this old crumbling haveli that my homestay manager sneaked me into with several injunctions of being careful. Though the entire building looked it will fall around my ears any moment now, its soulful air drew me in to admire its trellises, arches and beautifully painted walls.




Stepping into one of the chambers, I was zapped into submission for the crimson painted walls with detailing in gold had scores of convex mirrors embedded within which multiplied images; a true sight to behold.


“It’s the master bedroom”, whispered my reluctant guide as I stood transfixed with conflicting emotions of marvelling at the exquisite workmanship while lamenting the ruin and crumble which will one day eat away this beauty.


And just standing there, I was hit by the thought that aren’t we such glorious fools to let our gorgeous heritage lay in ruin and waste? It seems as if we are playing a hoax on ourselves by letting this astounding handiwork (which should be treasured) be lost forever to ruin and obscurity!



Travelling is a fool’s paradise – Ralph Waldo Emerson


Yell April Fool!, if you agree with me my dear readers. 

What do you reckon should be a solution to this?

Fact File:

  • Shekhawati is a sub region of Rajasthan, India and is connected by roads and railway network with the major cities. (Sikar, Jhunjhunu, Nagaur, Churu – are some of the cities falling under it)
  • Nearest airport is at Jaipur – the capital city of Rajasthan.
  • Do take the time out to notice motifs ranging from Hindu gods, British to telephones and trains and many more.
  • Many ancient havelis have been revived into homestays by the owners. Check out the one I stayed in


Bewitching B comes up on the 3rd of April 2017

For the uninitiated, AtoZ challenge is a blogging challenge wherein one has to write on every alphabet from A to Z and post on all days of April, except sundays. Usually its better to devise a theme as it makes it easy to write the posts. Plus readers have a reason to stay hooked too.

The A to Z Challenge is created by  Arlee Bird of Tossing it Out
and co-hosted by

Alex J. Cavanaugh of Alex J. Cavanaugh

Jeremy Hawkins of Hollywood Nuts

Heather M. Gardner of  The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Zalka Csenge Virág of The Multicolored Diary

John Holton of The Sound of One Hand Typing

J Lenni Dorner of  Blog of J. Lenni Dorner


Shekhawati open air gallery haveli frescoes rajasthan india north india architecture history travel TTOT

You can hop over to read my other posts of my travels to some more unique and exotic destinations in Rajasthan, India here:

Facebook Comments

50 thoughts on “[A] April Fools | #atozchallenge 2017 |

    1. Thanks so much Natzy – you ar my first feedback on this post and am so happy it’s you. Boosted my courage a bit Cheers ☺️

  1. It’s heartbreaking to see our rich heritage and architecture crumble due to neglect, maybe the state government should have invested more effort in preserving these havelis that earn so much revenue for them from tourism.
    Beautiful shots! Loved your travelogue.

    1. Thanks so much Era. Yes it’s such a pity-big only someone would steal it to sell off to genuine collectors. At least that ways it gets preserved. ☺️

  2. Indeed a sad situation Shalz…May be because they are private properties ASI thinks that it’s the onus of the owners.Hope the Tourism board eakesnup to this.Well written and looking forward to reading about many more hidden gems.

  3. How beautiful. There are so many beautiful heritage buildings all over India. Such a pity they aren’t maintained. But on the other hand, perhaps their beauty also lies in their ruins.

  4. Do you know what I loved the most about this piece, Shalini? The soul you’ve put into capturing the beauty of the haveli as well as the despair that this is all going to waste. As long as we have people like you who care, we have hope.

    Splendid, incredible pictures. One of the best blogs so far this year.

  5. have upheld a problem that is present in my country too. our local heritage sites are filled with romeo and Juliet initials into the walls. i mean so stupid. they do not know how to respect the place that our ancestors left for us. so..sad and frustrating. other than that..loved the photos..

  6. Yes, it is sad that there are hundreds of beautiful havelis and gadhis in Rajasthan that are abandoned and are in a dilapidated state. Many are up for sale too. Love the way you have captured the lost glory of these havelis so beautifully!

  7. It’s sad to see historical monuments turn into just another building that is going to be ruined. I can’t believe that such a beautiful place is almost crumbly! I do hope that some action is taken to preserve this haveli!

    The pictures you’ve shared are awesome and eye-opening!

  8. Beautiful! I saw a documentary about it on Epic channel and was intrigued as to how the owners or the government let it go waste in ruins rather than be preserved. So true that we are indeed glorious fools!


  9. I felt so bad looking at the condition of these beautiful buildings. They are a heritage!! These would have been preserved and showcased in any other country. Thanks for sharing them.

  10. That’s the state of almost every monument! I’m glad at least nothing of this sort is seen in Taj Mahal or Agra Fort but most of the monuments in our country are dilapidated and now are the remains of what they used to be!

    Didn’t know you’re a History enthusiast! That’s great!


    1. I know what you are saying Geets – its a sad thing to see in India where the art and architecture of yore is of the highest calibre but not preserved well! 🙁

  11. Such great architecture and then the fact that if not maintained well enough, this will all be reduce to rubbles. I loved your pictures and your take that if we can’t protect the heritage we have got, we are fools.

    1. Thanks Parul – I think you are the first to connect the fools part with my entire thought process on this post!! 😉

  12. Wow these pics!!!!
    I need to be a better photographer for sure – that’s what pops in my head after enjoying the lovely clicks!
    Great write up!

  13. Few existing havelis can predate the sixteenth century, but the form of those that survive is probably based on that of earlier buildings. Fundamentally, they have changed little over the centuries. The first havelis evolved in a feudal type of society, where wealth emanated from the courts, and security of house and city was paramount. Later builders emulated earlier forms – thus peaceful nineteenth-century merchants built great gateways, not so much for security, but to ape the prestigious symbols of the old aristocracy. The British Raj introduced both a new peace, and new house types to India. However, while many decorative details, and even new materials such as cast iron, were adopted from the British, the overall house form remained remarkably constant, until the major changes in life style which occurred this century. Many British-period houses were still havelis, lived in in a manner which had evolved only slowly since Mughal times, even if the setting for that life now included classical columns.

    1. Wow! That’s like a history lesson Romz. Not sure if I followed it through
      thank for stopping by darling.
      Cheers for AtoZ.

  14. It may be too late, and there may be too little will or financial resources to save them. They may be structurally unsound and unsalvageable, by now. Do you divert resources from the living to preserve the past? It breaks my heart, too. I wish that we put more value on the kind of craftsmanship, skill, and artistry that it took to conceive of such places, to build and finish them, and to maintain them. Even the wealthy build throwaway McMansions, these days, and don’t invest in such as these.

    1. I hear you Holly. I know it’s not practical to take from the living to take care of the dead. I know funding is always stretched….. but I grieve when I see such beauty go to wast. I longed to take it home with me and put it up on my walls I wish I could have taken a few of it with me to preserve….
      thanks for stopping by Holly.
      Cheers ☺️

  15. Those buildings, paintings, everything are amazing. I wonder if the residents appreciate them. If so, it might be OK. Maybe they’ll get inspired by the history and mastery around them.

    Great start to your Challenge.

    1. Oh how I hope so too Jacqui, that would go a long way. Some of the richer section of the society is patronising a few of them. But for most, obscurity n ruin looms large. It really breaks my heart . Thanks for stopping by. Cheers

  16. Wow! The pictures are amazing. And Shakz yeah, some beautiful monuments are so badly kept that your heart breaks at seeing how we are losing on the beauty and heritage.
    Looking forward to read more of your insightful and informative travel posts. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ramz I love it when peeps appreciate my pics…
      Yes it’s very sad about these gorgeous monuments being destroyed by neglect

  17. How beautiful are these pictures! I was spellbound seeing the intricate designs in Havelis and almost all buildings in Rajasthan. I wish people did something to preserve it. Great start to the challenge!

    1. Thanks Shalzzz. I love seeing you on my blog. Rajasthan is just gorgeous in entirety n every visit there leaves me richer in memories and experiences.

  18. I always get my blood pressure whenever I see such heritages damaged without maintenance
    I only blame on political ministers of the state.
    These are precious hard works left over by our ancestors to protect but we people don’t care.
    I appreciate you for sharing with all fellow bloggers.
    Loved your snaps shalz.

    1. Sigh!!!! Shraesta I hear you there and totally can empathise on this. I wanted to pick them up and take them home to decorate my house. I kept thinking it’s all rubbish now for everyone, seeing as its crumbling apart. But you can’t remove anything from there.
      If I had my way, I would send in a gang of thieves to steal it all and auction it. That ways it will still get preserved

  19. It’s a beautiful place, to be sure. Is there a government or other ruling agency which might enforce the protection of historic or culturally relevant sites such as this? It does seem a shame to let them crumble to dust.

    J — Co-host the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference and Speculative Fiction Writer
    2017 THEME = Speculative fiction story featuring telepathy.

    1. There is a government and other agencies but funding is low and there are far more to conserve and protect. Plus these are owned by private owners, some of whom have managed to upkeep and preserve while others have let it go to ruin due to finances. I wish the latter would sell them walls and columns to collectors – wont that be neat? 🙂

  20. Stunning photographs. Sad to see the state some of these buildings are in. ASI can only do what it’s budget permits, maybe time for private investors to step in?

    1. Thanks Subroto – yes I wish these could be auctioned off even if in bits to be reused in building hotels or galleries or something – they will be preserved and will remain for an eternity!!!

Share your thoughts with me on this post please. Comments will be held in the moderation queue till approved by me.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.