LESSON IV – THEGREAT INDIANDESERTThe Thar Desert is by far the largestdesert in India; a barren, dry andempty place. And yet many millionslive there and have done forcenturies….
The Thar desert covers a vast area of land inNorthwest India, and makes up for most of the state of Rajasthan
The desert is a famously difficult place to live andsettle, and yet thousands of people decided tomake it their home…
The desert provides opportunity for many typesof industry. Despite being a difficult place tolive, it is the only place with enough area to herd•cows, goats and camels• Other industries include:• Quarrying stone• Mining gold and jewels (the Thar desert is famous for its rubies and emeralds)• Harvesting water – when something is rare and precious, people will always be able to make money from it…• Traditional textile manufacture and textile printing• A huge and successful tourist industry• Elephant farming
Camels are an important part of everyday life…what are they used for? How does the use ofanimals affect the architecture of the region?
The great palaces of Rajasthan and the Thar had to buildenormous long „ramps” or wide walkways leading up andaround the mountains they were on. What were they for?
As we can see, the widespread use of animals had adramatic effect on the designs of buildings…
Rajasthanis… the modern nomads of India• Why would people become nomadic?• Why would people stay nomadic? India has changed almost completely over the past 100 years… why are so many of the people who live in Rajasthan still living nomadic lives?• What might we expect a nomadic culture to be like? How might we describe a nomadic culture? What other differences are there between nomadic and non—nomadic people?• What can we guess about their homes and architecture?• What materials must they use, or have access too? What must their properties be?
One perhaps unexpected material withmany, many important uses…. What is this house made of? It isn’t mud or clay… This is one of the most versatile and widely used nomadic materials…
What would the religions and temples of thedesert cultures be like?• Let’s think again about what a deity or temple iconography needs in order to be created…• What would this culture essentially worship?• What might the icons of this deity be?• What would be feared/respected/misunderstood etc, and how could this be represented?
Agni – god of fire and weather, who lives in the clouds…
What would be the most logical way to build atemple to a fire and sky god?
Modern Rajasthan is a blaze of colours• Split between two main cities, Jaipur and Jodhpur, it is famous around the world for its colourful culture, its palaces and forts, and beautiful designs and buildings.• Colour has always been important in desert cultures. Why might this be?• Certainly Jaipur and Jodhpur are two of the most distinctive cities in the world, known respectively as the ‚pink’ and ‚blue’ cities of India, sitting in the ‚golden triangle’ of Rajasthan.• As with most of India, ancient tradition sits next to modern development, and nowhere is this more obvious than the desert cities.
The ‚flat tower’ of Jaipur. What might the function ofthis building be? Why is it in this shape?
The blue city of Jodhpur. What does the colourblue represent?