by The Editors of Condé Nast Traveler
Assouline's weighty new book, Rajasthan Style--written by Laure Vernière and photographed by Anne Garde--is a love note to the lively spirit and the drop-dead gorgeous natural beauty of Rajasthan. Located in India's northwest, the state of Rajasthan is a mix of cultures that date back to 405 B.C., and it is famous for its temples and forts, its bazaars and palaces, its jewels and colorful veils and saris. But Rajasthan also boasts a modern economy that includes engineering firms and prodigious oil production. As these photos reveal, Rajasthan is a microcosm of all things that define India.
1. "In Rajasthan," Vernière writes, "both men and women wear jewels. Here, a merchant's hand is covered in jewelry: His gold pendant depicts Durga, the Invincible Goddess."
2. An alcove in the Chavi Niwas probably reserved for women; toward the back of the room a pointed arch window features a trellis pattern that is cut directly into the marble.
3. Women in jewel-toned saris stop for a break on the road to Mount Abu, a "hill station" (summer retreat) wherein the higher altitude keeps the temperature cooler than neighboring valleys and plains.
4. This street artist has abundant facial hair, a symbol of virility and Rajput pride, the mustache especially. In Rajasthan, a man who is dishonored must shave his mustache.
5. The color gold dominates this room, lavishly decorated in the Mughal style, located on the private floors of Chandra Mahal in Jaipur. All the magic of Rajasthan is contained in this room, a place for music and dancing, where the maharaja relaxes with family and close friends: walls inlaid with mirrors and colored glass, silk-covered sofas with embroidery, ceilings decorated with Persian motifs.
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