Nawalgarh, is a small town in Shekawati. During my trip through this region it was one of the places I stayed. A good choice since the town has both typical Shekawati attractions like brightly painted town houses, mausoleums, temples and city gates as some of the best street scenery I have seen in India.

The market

The center looks like one big market with stalls, loose carts, fixed stores and sidewalk vendors crowding along the unpaved streets, squares and alleys. Past it and through it moves a chaotic mix of pedestrians, cars, motor rickshaws, honking scooters and donkey carts with melons, cement, cabinets, beds, hay, potatoes and whatever else can be transported.

Jewelers, selling bracelets to both colorfully dressed Rajasthani women and Muslim women in black chadors. Tailors operate their sewing machines in small 'hole in the wall shops' or on the street. Stores display thick strands of rope, toilet brushes, toy cars, big plastic sheets, tin buckets and wooden brooms. Invariably the quantity is so high that it makes you wonder how much of it will actually be sold in the coming years. The smell of roasted peanuts and curries rise from carts on bicycle wheels. The India of your dreams.

The crafts

A man sitting in a small workshop manufactures lockable tin boxes. With his bare foot he holds a piece of metal that he then bends, rotates and shapes with his hammer. Within fifteen minutes a box with a hinged cover is created from a used tin of cooking oil. This almost medieval-looking craft is practiced next to a shop where SIM cards are issued and mobile phones repaired.

Drugs are handmade by mixing powders next to modern pharmacies, tea shops that also sell ten pairs of shoes on the side. There are dairy shops, candy shops, money lenders and gold shops. And the hammering, sanding, painting, scraping, forging, cutting, sewing, carving and cooking seems to continue through the day.

It is this India of markets and crafts on a small scale and the mix of the almost medieval with the contemporary which evokes the sense of wonder that traveling should.

More & Info

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