The lived mini-histories of Bikaner
Although Bikaner was part of the Rajputana bloodline, historically it charted quite a different course. After the Maharaja of Jaipur and his son, Raja Rai Singh of Bikaner is said to have been the ‘highest ranked Hindu’ in Akbar’s court. In fact the Mughal influence on the Rajputs, led to a reinvented royal portrait. Bikaner was one of the first schools to adopt this style. The Rathore-Mughal friendship flourished at many levels, especially during Akbar’s reign. One of those influences lives today in these Bikaneri homes. Whether it be the local painting styles called Matheran, Aala-gilla and Usta on the walls. It has a composite blend of European touches, Mughal flourishes and Rajput miniature style. Some of the massive courtyards are decorated with murals, golden work and antique paintings. The ceilings, mostly wooden, are embossed with paintings. On Bikaner’s foundation day later this month, a town founded in 1488, we bring you one part of its historical wealth – the stunning havelis in the walled city which are in part quite lived in.
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