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  • houndbee
  • Posted: SwB Team
  • Dated: 28 February , 2014
  • Responses: 0

Shekhawati And Murshidabad

Shekhawati: The Havelis of the Merchant Princes by Abha Narain Lambah from The Marg Foundation.

Among the most vibrant clusters of architectural neighbourhoods in India, the  towns of Shekhawati have a distinct structural vocabulary blending Rajput and Islamic forms. But what characterizes this region as no other is its abundance of exuberantly painted havelis. Part of the erstwhile Jaipur state, Shekhawati today comprises Jhunjhunu, Churu and Sikar districts in Rajasthan.

This volume focuses on the region’s heritage, left vulnerable by the waves of out-migration of the original community, to examine the challenges that face its survival. The authors study the history of the region, the emergence of the Marwaris as a formidable financial power on the national map and their diaspora throughout the world while still maintaining strong ties with the homelands.

They explore Shekhawati towns such as Ramgarh, Lachhmangarh, Fatehpur, Mandawa, Dhundlod and Churu vis-a-vis the colonial cities of India, studying the palatial homes of rich merchant families, sumptuously decorated with paintings or “Shekhawati collages” on a range of subjects, and the architectural typologies of havelis, joharas, mandirs, chhatris, dharamshalas, wells and forts. Also included are chapters on the architectural styles adopted by Marwaris who settled in Shahjahanabad and Hyderabad, and the pressing need for a conservation policy to preserve this legacy.

In our Art and Architecture section, Rs. 2800, in hardback, 112 pages, ISBN: 9788192110684

Murshidabad: Forgotten Capital of Bengal by Neeta Das And Rosie Llewellyn-Jones from  The Marg Foundation.

Very little has been published on Murshidabad, the last independent capital of Bengal, while the British capital of Calcutta has been the subject of numerous books. Murshidabad was a place of great importance in the first half of the 18th century. The wealth of its nawabs was fabled and the region produced luxury goods which first attracted European trading companies. Murshidabad at its peak was extravagantly compared to London for its bustling trade, fine buildings and numbers  of merchants.  Its position, on the Baigarathi river made it an ideal trading post, when the majority of goods moved by water.

Although by the mid-18th century political power had left Murshidabad, this did not slow down the building of even more extravagant palaces, the most recent of which is the ‘New Palace’ of 1904. The old palaces were not demolished, they were simply vacated. Descendants of the Nawabs still live here, although in reduced circumstances.

This book presents a lively account of Murshidabad’s fluctuating fortunes, the lives of its residents – the nawabs and the British, the Jain merchants and bankers – down to the present day, and brings to light the region’s manifold splendours, from architecture to painting, textiles and crafts. It is hoped this publication will draw more travellers to explore its varied attractions.

In our Photography section, Rs. 2800, in hardback, 136 pages, ISBN: 9788192110691

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