Little jewel in the sand

churuWords: Ambica Gulati

Walk carefully, look at that piece of skin, someone in the group pointed out snake skin lying in the muddy street of Churu. Fascinated, I touched it. It felt scaly, dry, but not creepy. A little ahead, more skin. Ancient and small, Churu’s streets are lined with havelis and donkey carts carry the load. No one honks but you are expected to step aside hearing the sound of wheels and feet.

I looked up towards the wall of a crumbling structure, craning my neck to see the beautiful hand painted works. How old were they? No one knows the exact date but maybe the 1800s going to the times of the Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner. “They are falling into ruins,” lamented our guide Lal Singh, “no one seemed to be bothered about preserving the treasures.”

Churu is the town of havelis, belonging to some famous merchant families such as Suranas, Kotharis, Lohias and even the streets are named after them. The now quiet town thrived centuries back as the merchant families would supply the Maharaja with goods for his army. As you walk through the streets, neck up, most of the times you see the Maharaja looking back at you. Scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata are aplenty. Krishna was the favourite god. And colour is important–reds indicates older times, blues and greens suggest closer to 1900s and stronger blues are of time even closer, was what Lal Singh educated me on… to read the complete article, click here