INTRODUCTION

Rajasthan is a colourful state in India which reminds us about the kings & queens, camels & sand dunes, desert & winds; it also reminds us about forts, Havelies and cenotaphs that describe the ancient culture and tradition of people in the State. It is one of the most vibrant States of our country. It was earlier called as Rajputana. Rajasthan was the major Regional Capital of Indus valley civilization and today it is a major tourist spot carrying a lavish architectural heritage.

Rajasthanís architecture is a beautiful blend of colonial, Islamic and Hindu architecture; however it was also influenced by Muslim and Jain architecture. It also carries the touch of European interior. The unique characteristics of the architecture seen in the havelies and Forts of Rajasthan depended on Rajput Architecture school which was the blend of Mughal and Hindu structural design. These havelies and forts are ornamented elaborately with carved walls. The vividness and assortment of the architectural heritage of the Rajasthan is stunning. The Rajputís were prolific builders and it has some of the most glorious buildings in the arid Aravali land escape. Each and every haveli and fort tells the bygone era of former royal seat of the Rajputs. These buildings enthral the visitors by the scrupulous intricate works of murals and frescos, painting from scenes of everyday life, carvings, mosaic and detailed minute mirror work splattered all over the walls. The architectural wealth of these havelies is no surprise considering the fact that it is a best blend of Hindu and Mughal architecture.

With the passage of time, this architectural heritage of the state is at the verge of extinction. The condition of these blissful heritages, forts and palaces are deteriorating and hence require proper maintenance. It is the need of the hour that we should awake and make them realize the importance of Rajasthanís culture & tradition. It is the high time to educate the people and generate a keenness for the renovation and preservation of Havelies and forts. After preserving this priceless heritage of Rajasthan, we can promote Shekhawati region (Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu) as the tourist spot. Some of the Havelies in Shekhawati region are abandoned, ruined or locked up, while most of them have care takers. All these Havelies, Forts and Cenotaphs are privately owned and hence receive no support from the government. Some families that do continue to inhabit these Havelies donít have the funds for restoration work.

Before moving further, let us define the two important terms-"FRESCOS" and "HAVELI" which we would be using several times during the development of this project.

FRESCOS :
Fresco is a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly-laid, or wet lime plaster. Water is used as the vehicle for the pigment to merge with the plaster, and with the setting of the plaster, the painting becomes an integral part of the wall. The word Fresco is derived from the Italian word. Fresco means "fresh", and may thus be contrasted with fresco-secco or secco mural painting techniques, which are applied to dried plaster, to supplement painting in Fresco.

HAVELI :
The word Haveli, which is of Persian origin, means 'a surrounded or an enclosed place'. The great era of the Shekhawati Havelies was the middle and late 19th century. The finest Havelies enclose two courts, an inner courtyard for the womenfolk and an outer forecourt for the men. Havelies with only a single court have an enclosed compound, combined with a wing extended from the facade which serves as the forecourt. Some Havelies even have four courtyards.

Most of these havelies are east facing so that the family could pray to the Sun god at the walk of the dawn. The flooring is most of the time black & white like chess and walls being adorned by colourful arabesques in their best form.

These courtyards serve as a light well and an effective ventilation strategy for a hot and dry climate of Rajasthan. The Tulsi plant is placed in the centre of the courtyard to bring prosperity in the family. Most of these havelies have numerous windows called Jharokhas which would allow ventilation in the entire haveli. The material used in the construction of the havelies normally includes sand stone, marble wood, plaster, baked bricks and granite. The Frescos and the paintings are influenced by various local culture and traditions.

Havelies and Frescos can also be seen in our Indian movies also like one of them shown below -

Click here

(Sources : Movies - Mughal-E-Azam and Paheli)

Hence our objectives are -
1. To rescue the past to build our future by understanding and then uniting.
2. To observe and study the present status of art of Frescos in Havelies and Mansions of Shekhawati region.
3. To observe the impacts of Society, Culture and Religion on Frescos with the passage of time and to do comparative study.
4. To observe and study the impacts of Mughal and British rule on the Shekhawati Frescos.
5. To find out the reasons of decaying of the prestigious heritage of Frescos.
6. To compare and contrast Indian Frescos with the Italian Frescos.
7. To make the people, owners and the government aware to save this heritage.
8. To find out the best possible ways to save the heritage.


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