All guidebooks and people who have visited Jaisalmer rave about its beautiful golden fort, the grand havelis, camel rides, sunset among the dunes, its Jain temples, cenotaphs, etc. But none (at least I haven’t come across any) talk about the unique wall art of Jaisalmer. When I saw the first one (see photo below), my reaction was one of horror: how could something like this be painted on the walls of an old haveli?
Then I saw more of these and then some more. In fact, almost every house in Jaisalmer has such announcements painted near the entrance. The announcements are of weddings, upanayan ceremonies, housewarming ceremonies… And realised that this is a custom, a tradition in Jaisalmer and one that is unique to this city, as its residents kept telling me. Almost all these “announcements” have auspicious symbols accompanying it like the kalash, the swastika, and Ganpati.
A small selection of Jaisalmer’s wall art in Jaisalmer is presented below:
Wall art, street art, graffiti … are a completely different genre of artistic expression and every city has it in some form or the other. And it is often this expression of art that differentiates one city from another. Jaisalmer’s wall art is part of a tradition that has been around for centuries and one that contributes to the uniqueness of the city. Once I had gotten over my initial horror of what I thought was “defacement”, I had a good time reading the wall art and trying to imagine the people behind the announcements.
I was in Jaisalmer earlier this year in February year as part of a trip through various places in Rajasthan. And wished I could have spent more time there. And guess what, my wish is coming through and I leave for Jaisalmer tomorrow. Watch this space for more 😀