Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Fine Arts in Udaipur

Udaipur was a pleasant surprises. The bus stopped us way way far away from the centre and I had to get a rickshaw to Zostel Udaipur …. Game face time to get it done and after hard bargaining I got it for 60 rupee. It was pretty far and judging by the ride it would have took me 2 hours walking.

Zostel was closed … apparently the place had some water maintenance issue as well as electric current running in the water line. No shit. They recommended Shiva Guesthouse which was just round the corner. Walking into the guesthouse it was empty … no one home …. I decided to wait and a minute later a guy appear from the toilet.

Raj was the owner of the guesthouse and his opening price was 300 rupees for a night. I was genuinely surprised. It is quite rare that in India one encounters an honest businessman. I did not bother to bargain the price and just had a look at the room before agreeing to it. The place was slightly run down but the room was clean and there was hot water and wifi. That was all I need really plus it had a beautiful view of Udaipur lake and palace from its rooftop restaurant (which was close). I was the only guest there the entire 4 days.

Palace in the Center of the Lay of Udaipur
Udaipur was a charming city one of those few places in India where one could just laze back and chill out for a few days. Places after palaces all around with good amenities. Laundry services everywhere, food was abundant and good in taste and price.

Lovely View of Udaipur

Rajasthan Food in Udaipur - India

Markets were for the tourist but not at an exorbitant rate, instead it was better for tourist to shop at the tourist market. Usual market in India is spice market, jewellery market or sari market, things that you see a lot but would not really buy them.

Tourist market means there were lots of handicraft items and in Udaipur it was pretty good quality. It was the best place to get fine miniature paintings and even stone carvings or wood carvings. The variety was abundant and the craftsmanship was refine. I spend a lot of time in many shops in Udaipur looking at handicraft but only bought one Ganesha carving made of jade marble for only 200 rupee. It was a steal.

Paintings Everywhere in Udaipur Building

Painting Everywhere in Udaipur
The second thing I was looking for was fine miniature painting of RadhaKrishna …. There was many but the artist side of me became a critique and rejected most of them. At one of the shop, I lingered longer and when he realized I was looking at the art piece and rejecting them because of the lack of quality (it was already damn good but I was very insistent on finding that perfect one) he offered to show me the special collection.

Special collection was taken from a safe box and boy it was a work of art. I probably can’t afford this I said … I have never asked for a price so far … and he agreed I could not afford it, never even bother telling me the price. It’s not for sale anyway he said.

The place was ART Centre 39 Lal Ghat Udaipur – 9587229030

Piece after piece he took out and I marvel at the quality of the fine art. It was also rare for a shop owner to not mention any of the price. How much is this one I finally asked …..

That one is done by a professor …. not for sale ….

I know but how much is it worth I said ….. 70000 rupees

Some other piece he showed me was of good quality, much better than any that was on display in the shop but never as good as the professors work …..

This is good but not as good I said …

With a smile …. He said it was the work of a teacher level …. So apparently there is three levels in art. An artist then a teacher and finally a professor. He even showed me one that was drawn by his grandfather, a family heirloom and a few miniature that was drawn by him himself.

Why don’t you show this I asked …. All your paintings in the shop is nowhere close to the quality and refine in term of storytelling as these that you are showing me now from the safe ….

He said if these pieces were shown people would take photos and then try to copy them. Plus it’s too expensive anyway that no one would buy them …. Only those who value the work would pay for it so there is no point putting it out for display.

I left after nearly an hour of looking at his collection and chatting with him. Never once did he try to sell me something knowing that the inferior artwork did not interest me and the good ones were beyond my wallet ability. Only regret is that I could not take a photo to post in the blog and show the world.

Apart from the lake palace in Udaipur and a few museum that everyone visits and take a walk around the old city there was one other charm that was rare in India. They had a cultural performance show every night at Bhangali Ki Haveli where for a donation of 100 rupees one could see the vast cultural heritage life show for an hour.

The Building Outside to the Heritage Show - Udaipur
The performance was authentic Rajasthan dying art and culture from singing, dancing, puppet show and the grand finally of a women balancing pots on her head while dancing. When I say pots I means loads of pots …. In fact the pots at final stack of 11 pieces were taller than the woman that was dancing.

Truly a dying art for it was develop by women in the west of Rajasthan whom needed to walk very far to collect water and by stacking them and balancing them delicately on the head they would not have to made so many a trip. The woman whom performed the dance was an elderly women …. It takes years before one can even stack the pots let alone dance with it.

Udaipur Grand Temple



Traveled  on : Aug 2015

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