Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Bohras of Sidhpur,Gujarat

I thought I had been posting regularly last month and then took a break due to lack of time.So much to write and then left with no time.A visual journey of Ahmebdabad  is still not over anfd I take you today to visit the Bohras of Sidhpur.Being in Ahmedabad ,i wanted to so see the Town of Sidhpur,having read about it extensively about the Bohra households in the Henry Wilson Book "India,Decoration Design " and in the anniversary issue of Traveller ..I was wanting to see the magnificient buildings which were once upon a time built and deserted...
We reached Sidhpur at around 4 o clock in the evening ,travelling by car to the town of Sidhpur via Patan..It was hot even if it was in the month of October.We visited the Suntemple of Modhera on the way,the step well of Patan and then reached the magnificient town..The delicately ornamented building blocks in colurful play of muted colour tones,colourfully lined,almost all of them locked up and I looked up at them with sigh..beautiful is the word for each ornamentation and each of them is distinct in its work is similar,but as a whole the neighbourhood developed on its own with ease in the twentieth century..we gazed at each of them and stood hours looking upto each work which has been beyond perfection and could imagine the ambition in which  they had been built.Emptier the streets and i could see among the 200 odd  houses,only one of them housed a doctors clinic which they denied permission inside to shoot..there where some of them that were occupied in the streets down..
The Bohras are an old Shia Muslim trading community,with a distinctive economic,social and cultural background
" A very small ‘grilled’ shaft of open air, called the chowk, runs up through the central room of all the floors bringing in a controlled amount of sun (and when the gods so decree, rain) and provides visual connection across the different levels. Decorative wooden extensions of the upper storeys often project out from the building line, in the older vohrawads particularly, and together with similar projections on the other side of the street, help keep the sun out from the street floor. Even by day, then, the street is a cool, shaded space. No wonder the otlas, or extensions of the high plinths, are carefully designed to be lounging spaces, particularly once the sun weakens. All this is, of course, much like in any other old settlement in the hot and dry landscapes of the country(excerpt from "Traveller ")

So much has been said and heard about the town that I had no idea how many images I took and you please have your time to look at the images and take your time to read them..
the first scene as we got out from the car

on to the left of us where the magnificient buildings stood
towering buildings and ornamented glasses

lovely roofs
looks straight from a movie set

loved the long railings,much more Brtish influences could be seen here
this building has the maximum number of windows
the locked gates and creepers over them

some kind of board ,gujarathi on the doors

the back doors of the buildings..

lovely grills

ornamentation and look at the year mentioned
rows and rows of beautiful deserted houses..

loved the roses on them..imagine the time taken to build them and then they got abandoned
loved how M,A and P is written 


loved all the muted colours used

closed windows

a street at the end of the road

loved the peacock...a night lamp could have been there..a lovely decor idea

lotus on the windows,loved them

loved the light

these shadows

i spotted a dish on top/....wonder who has put it??the house looks deserted though

i love this idea of a box window projecting out...

the lonely traveller among the house

windows and designs

windows  and their work resembled some of them in south

the only one house which i saw was opened..the great Zainab Mansion
Below are some of the amazing images taken by the world famous photographer Henry Wilson for the Book "India,Decoration,Design"I am a fan of his photographs and books.

All images copyright:Lakshmi Arvind,Henry Wilson
Images from the Book India Decoration Design by Henry Wilson


  1. beautiful...1 I came to know about Bohras a few weeks back...I am in awe with the origin of these communities and the cultural variations seen in a state..!

  2. Beautiful clicks , Lakshmi... It is sad that they are not well maintained.. But still they retain their charm... !!! Wonderful architecture... Love the ornamental work especially... I love the way you have documented this post - very informative with lots of pics... !! Hoping to see more and more posts like this ;-) ;-) .

    Have a great week ahead !!

  3. How beautiful, a place that I dream to visit one day. I enjoy your blog so much, your posts are full of elegant photographs.


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