Interview with Mitul Sharma, Student at University School of Architecture and Planning, Delhi, India
1. Can you introduce yourself and tell us your connection with the Shekhawati region?
Hi, I am Mitul Sharma. My grandparents live in Shekhawati and so I have visited this place often. I study architecture in Delhi. I did an internship at the Le Prince haveli to help make some change in the current condition of the heritage here. It has always attracted me with a feeling of familiarity and I am attached to it because it's my tradition.
2. Why did you decide to do this?
I have been visiting Rajasthan since I was really young. I have seen the buildings deteriorate from bad to worse in a very short period of time. It’s sad to see them in this condition when they have so much potential and beauty and people are unable to take care of them due to lack of means or care. It’s important to save these buildings which signify the origins of our culture.
3. Can you talk about the architecture and planning of a town like Fatehpur?
The havelis in Fatehpur have the typical haveli layout, with the public and private courtyards, the symmetrical plans, the evaporative cooling techniques and the stack effect cooling technique, along with the use of stone masonry and araish finishes and the beautiful frescoes. This architecture is specific to the region of Rajasthan.
4. What do you see in a town like Fatehpur in regards to the planning and architecture?
The havelis in Fatehpur are not in the best condition currently because of several reasons. People are attracted towards the modern building techniques because it's expensive to maintain the havelis. The planning of Fatehpur has changed from being linear to organic. A lot of small shops and houses have come up between the havelis, spoiling the original drainage and roadway plan. The havelis in Fatehpur have gone down in level due to the multiple layers of concrete roads that have been made since. I think it's important to pay attention to the planning before working on anything else. The government and local authorities should be involved because during monsoon, the waterlogging ruins the frescoes.