Photographer's Note

Situated amid picturesque Thar Desert, Jaisalmer is among the major tourist attractions in Rajasthan. It is marvel of beautiful culture and harsh climate conditions. The Sonar Quila fort, made of yellow sand stone is the prime attraction here. But Jaisalmer is not ONLY about the Fort, it is also known for its old mansions, better known as Havelis. Among many of them Nathmal ji ki Haveli is one of the most striking.

This haveli was commissioned to serve as the residence of Diwan Mohata Nathmal, the then Prime Minister of Jaisalmer. Maharawal Beri Sal commissioned the construction of this Haveli.

There is a very interesting story regarding its construction. This haveli was originally built by two brothers Lallu and Hathi working on the haveli from different ends but could arrive at such harmonious symphony in stone. One working on the right side and the other on the left. Though the motif used by one is not similar to the other, yet they are in harmony. One has to look closely to spot any dissimilarities. The boundary however, has been dissolved by a common facade at the front. Exquisite carvings on the 19th century haveli will fascinate the viewer. As most of the construction was done by Muslim artisans, it reflects the popular architecture and in certain aspects resemble the popular buildings made by the erstwhile Muslim rulers.

Barring that, this haveli is still considered the best in Jaisalmer in terms of grandeur. There are other minute details worth appreciation. For example there are two Elephants made of yellow stone. These life-size replicas have been put in front of the main entrance so that it looks as if they are guarding the Haveli. Other than these, there are pictures engraved on pillars and walls. These consist of Horses, Cattle, and depiction of Flora among other things. But the most interesting aspect of this haveli is the drawing of modern amenities such as cars, fans etc. It is said and believed that the Architect brothers did not see these things ever in their life and engraved it with mere help of their descriptions given by people who had seen it.

I concentrated on the 7 chillies and lime (Nimbu Mirchi) hanging from the balcony. You can find the "chilli-lime contraption" all over India. It is used to ward off evil spirits, much like the "blue evil-eye device" in Turkey. The Evil spirits/spirits of adversity are attracted to the "offering" and enter the food. As they (the chillies and lime) dry out, this is seen as a sign that the spirits are being drawn into them. This practise is also similar to the placing of horseshoes by Romans above doorways to ward off Faeries (the Celtic kind).

I also made a different version, the partially desaturated version , which I liked, but decided to post the honey gold colour version as the main post.

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7851 W: 324 N: 16060] (56760)
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