Visited an interesting Haveli in Fatehpur, Rajasthan, that’s being restored and maintained by a French painter – Nadine Le Prince.
She was horrified to see the condition of the Havelis back in the 90’s and decided to purchase and restore one of them in 1998. The one she bought was built in the 1840’s by the Deora family who were opium merchants, was in a state of utter disrepair and being used as a stable for goats!! She had fallen in love with Shekhawati and India and planned to make it a cultural center for French and Indian artists to meet.
The Haveli is now part museum, part cultural center and part hotel/restaurant. You can visit and get a detailed guided tour of it, if interested you can also check out their collection of paintings – including those of Nadine as well as those of other painters. There are always some prolific European art students in residence there, helping Nadine restore the frescoes. A fee of Rs 200/- is charged for the tour, and this money is used for restoration.
Met a very friendly and passionate French art student – Lorraine, who took me around the Haveli and explained a lot of things. Like Nadine, she also loves Shekhawati and India, and is planning to stay on for a few months and study Indian art.
Some of the rooms are now being rented out and you can stay there as well. They apparently have a great restaurant as well, but I didn’t get a chance to dine there since we were staying in Mandawa and had to drive back.
I also noticed another fabulous newly restored Haveli behind the Le Prince Haveli. However it was closed when we reached there. You might like to check that out as well. Thanks to a few passionate people like Nadine and others, the Havelis of Shekhawati are finally getting their due 🙂 🙂