Saturday, November 17, 2012

Glimpses of Rajasthan

These are from a hectic 10 day tour of Rajasthan, which I undertook recently. The trip was not about me, or for my study purposes, I was essentially entrusted with the care of a very close elderly person, who was often wheel-chair bound. I was privileged to be doing that, and loved carting the wheelchair up steep slopes and down long passageways of the ancient fortresses that Rajasthan is dotted with, but whenever I had an opportunity I also tried to make quick sketches with my watersoluble sticks and crayons. These are done in approx A4 size pages...

1. Co-passengers and air stewards on the flight... done with compressed charcoal and sanguine conte. I thought the latter (lower left) were quite smartly dressed in smoky, deep blue uniforms.

2. A view from inside the huge courtyard of Amer fort, Jaipur. I'm not fond of sketching architecture, but a young man from Delhi thought this was good and took a picture of me while I was sketching :/ There was an elephant walking up and down the courtyard ferrying awestruck tourists (mostly foreigners), but I wasn't free to walk alongside her for a quickie sketch :) Twice she passed me by as I sat sketching this inside view, and I could tell she's coming by the smell, LOL!

3. This grand looking gentleman is Mool Singh, guardian of one of the galleries in the Mehrangarh fort. He posed for approx 15-20 mins, during which I engaged him in chit-chat to keep his attention from wavering. Kind man that he was, he delayed his lunch break for 5 mins (and assured me not to worry in case I needed to sketch longer).. and later on, even invited me to lunch. Now that was an absolutely rare honor, being invited to his quarters to share his self-cooked meal (his family lived in the village while he was working here, and had to cook his own meal :P). However, I had to regretfully decline his invitation, as I had other engagements :(

4. I had some time to kill, while sketching this huge metal urn... basically was waiting for couple other members of my entourage to return from viewing the various exhibits in the fortress. This was next to a main entrance-way (where, once upon a time, elephants and camels and horses used to march past alongside fierce-looking soldiers in regal processions)... and was mobbed by an army of school-children tourists who asked all sorts of questions including why the heck was I doing whatever I was doing there :D

5. The lady was sketched in a restaurant at Jodhpur, overlooking the shoulder of a co-traveller sitting in front of me. The figure below is a sculpture of a single-headed, five-bodied entity on the ceiling of a temple inside the Jaisalmer fort ('Shonar Kella', or golden fortress, as it is called in Bengali... alluding to the yellow sandstone used in its construction).

As I sat sketching inside the temple, frequently looking up at the ceiling, I overhead an amusing comment from a passer by - 'They should've charged this man for his arms, or his arms should've been left outside!' :P He was obviously referring to the temple policy of no photography inside, or photography for a hefty fee only.

6. This is again from inside the Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur. I barely had 10 mins to do a sketch while standing before him, supporting the sketchbook in the crook of my elbow, before I was mobbed by tourists (both national and international) and had to flee - I don't blame the tourists, they were out to take in whatever they can, and watching an artist draw/paint something, be it good or bad (mostly bad, in this case!), is always an irresistible attraction.

7. I'm afraid I don't remember his name, but this kind gentleman with his grand moustache and turban was the guard/greeter at a nice restaurant cum hotel on the way to Jaisalmir (or was it Bikanir?). He sat for me for about 15 mins (I added the colors later on) while the food was being prepared. I was surrounded by a group of tour-cab drivers and other guards while drawing him - this was outside the main.gate to the place. I was deeply honored when at the end of the session, he gave me an elegant salute :)

8. Again, in order to while away some time, I sketched this nearly five feet high metal horse, on display inside a  restaurant.

9. You can live inside tents in Rajasthan, close to the desert (and ride on a camel if you want to), and the organizers of the camp had arranged for an evening's entertainment of folk music and dancing for the guests. This very talented lady was probably in her mid-thirties, and was a very graceful dancer. In the background you can see the singers and the musicians.

10. Another talented, younger dancer from the group... sketched mid-motion.

11. Sketched from the window of a budget hotel in Jodhpur...  I liked how the 8 a.m sun fell tangentially on the wall.

10. This, again was in Jaisalmir... the figure on the left is a sculpture on the conical ceiling of a temple inside the Jaisalmir fort. The gentleman on the right was playing his stringed instrument outside the main gates. I paid him some money out of gratitude after he had played for a while, and sketched him quickly while he was playing. He then tried to (a bit pursuasively) sell me a CD of his music :D

There were three young ladies (again, tourists from Delhi) who met me in the narrow alleyways of the fortress. They had obviously seen me sketching inside the temple, and wanted to talk to and take a picture alongside me. Haha, I almost felt like a celebrity! :D In case you guys (the concerned ladies I mean) are also reading this blog, thank you so much for your very kind interest :)

11. Lastly, the amazing camel farm in Bikaner! Although I had my fill of riding a camel at Sam Dunes, I was astounded upon seeing the hundreds of camels in this breeding/research farm. I wish I had time to make some detailed drawings and paintings, rather than these 5 minute quickies.

Thanks for giving this a look/read :)


  1. Ohhhh Geees,.....Your amazing what can I say but that ...?!

    1. Thank you my friend :) its an honor to have you look in.

  2. Brilliant! Felt like I was there ! The younger dancer and the camels ... ah!

    1. Hey GS! :) that's so kind of you. Knowing how well you draw gestures (I'm reminded of the birds) your comment is all the more special - thank you!


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