Window Seat: Rangila Rajasthan

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | January 28, 2024 IST

Rajasthan, India

Mrinal Chatterjee

Spanning across an area of 342,239 square kilometers, Rajasthan (literally the land of the kings) is the largest state in India. Renowned for its majestic palaces, forts, colorful traditions, and arid landscapes, Rajasthan holds a unique place in the hearts of travelers and historians alike.
 
Home to several powerful Rajput dynasties, each leaving behind a legacy of magnificent forts and palaces Rajasthan offers a glimpse into the bygone era. The Amer Fort in Jaipur, Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, City Palace in Udaipur and countless other forts and mahals (palaces) stand as testaments to the architectural prowess and grandeur of Rajasthan's rulers.
 
Rajasthan is a kaleidoscope of colors, reflected in its vibrant festivals, traditional attire, and lively folk art. The state's folk music and dance, including the famous Kalbelia and Ghoomar (remember the ghoomer song and dance of Deepika in Padmavat), showcase the artistic prowess of its people. The traditional attire of men, the colorful turbans, and women, the vibrant ghagras (skirts) and odhnis
(scarves) and multi-colour bangles, add to the visual splendor of the region.
 
It is not for nothing the state is known as ‘rangila (colourful) Rajasthan. I recently visited a part of Rajasthan- thanks to an academic assignment, which took me there.
 
Kishangarh
 
I went to Central University of Rajasthan, which is located at a place called Bandar Sindri- about 92 km from Jaipur on the way to Ajmer. Kishangarh, now as the marble city of India is just 20 kms away. I heard about Kishangarh in the context of art and paintings, especially the Bani Thani painting. The theme of this style is the representation of the affection between Krishna and Radha. Kishangarh style of painting was essentially a synthesis of Mughal and local style.
 
Kishangarh State was a princely state of India from 1611 to 1948. It was founded by the Jodhpur prince Kishan Singh in 1609. Before Kishan Singh, this area was ruled by Raja Samokhan Singh. Kishan Singh was a courtier of the Mughals, and was rewarded for services rendered to the emperor of Akbar.
 
One of the most iconic structures in Kishangarh is the Phool Mahal, a palace built in the 19th century known for its stunning architecture and intricate frescoes. Since it has been converted into a hotel, public entry is barred. I wanted to see the fort. I thought since it has been converted into a hotel, I can at least visit the restaurant.

I was wrong.
 
I was denied entry by two affable looking guards, 'Only hotel guests, Sir'..
 
I said, I'll take food at the restaurant.
 
- Only hotel guests, Sir.
 
- I'll book a room.
 
- No spot booking here. Only online booking, Sir.
 
So I returned without going inside; but promised myself that one day I would stay in this hotel- even if as a bhoot (ghost).
 
Snowscape in Rajasthan

Look at the photograph closely. No. I am not in Alaska, not even in Kashmir or Ladakh. This is at Kishangarh in Rajasthan. And it is not an ice field or frozen lake. It is a marble dust dumping yard, now a tourist and photo shoot (pre-wedding, post-wedding, film, web series, etc.) destination.
 
Kishangarh, has been a business hub for marble and marble-made sculptures since long. It has recently transformed into one of India’s largest marble processing and sales hub.
 
This transition began in 2003 when the idea of a dumping yard was conceived by RICCO (Rajasthan State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation) and the Kishangarh Marble Association. Initially it was intended as a place to dispose of leftover marble waste. But the amount collected grew so vast that it formed hills. This massive accumulation gave rise to what is now called “Dumping Yard of Kishangarh.”
 
Interestingly, this peculiar site has become an unexpected tourist attraction in Rajasthan due to its resemblance to snow-covered terrain. The white slurry created by the marble dust gives an impression of pure white snow blanketing the area. Thus, Dumping Yard Kishangarh has earned another name – Snow Yard – drawing visitors intrigued by this unique sight.
 
The Dumping Yard Kishangarh, a massive landfill spanning approximately 220 acres of land, was constructed by the govt. in 2009 as part of the Cluster Project to address waste management challenges effectively. Two hundred tankers specifically designed for dumping slurry waste were pressed into service. The project was completed in 2015.
 
Surprisingly enough, rather than being regarded solely as a wasteland, this peculiar location has gained widespread fame as a tourist destination for its unique characteristic – milky white mountains formed entirely from discarded marble slurry.
 
Presently it has become a popular choice for fashion shoots, videography sessions, photography enthusiasts seeking captivating backdrops, and even low-budget films where it occasionally doubles as an unconventional substitute for snowscapes.
 
Visit this place in all seasons, especially in the winter and rainy season, pits filled with water, transforming into small ponds, and creating an island-like appearance. If you visit at a time, when there is bright sunshine- wear dark spectacles.
 
The Flag-Sellers
 
I reached Rajasthan on 21 Jan. the day before the consecration of Ram Janmabhoomi Temple. On my way I saw flags with the picture of Hanuman and Ram-Seeta being sold almost at every bazaar and traffic posts.
 
I returned on 25 Jan. the day before 75th Republic Day. On my way back to the airport I saw National Flags being sold. And the same people were selling them.
 
We could not meet
 
French President Macron was visiting Jaipur on the day I was leaving the city. He was arriving around the time I should have been at the airport. However, on my way to the airport I was caught in a massive traffic jam.
 
So we could not meet.
 
It was a different issue, that the traffic jam was caused because of the security bandobast for his arrival.

Disclaimer:

This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.

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