Hotels in Rajasthan and Chennai, for those in pursuit of art
For those who like to wake up to art, the Justa chain of hotels and resorts continues to enhance the travelling aesthete’s experience of colourful Rajasthan. Chitrashaala, their art initiative curated by Anirudh Chari at Lake Nahargarh Palace in Chittorgarh, enters its second year. The hotel invites emerging and established artists from around the world to create art on their scenic property located in the middle of a private lake.
Last year, 33 Indian and international artists from places as varied as Spain, Norway, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Bengal and Bundi brought to life their political, abstract, realistic, folk and other artistic expressions at this erstwhile royal hunting lodge. This year’s edition, held from the 17th to the 20th of October, brought together 40 artists from around the world once again. These included names such as Bibek Santra, Reiner Langer (Germany), Ashraf Abdel Kader (Egypt), Ahmad Abou Zainah (Syria), Malak Jamil (Iraq), Tanya Wolski (USA), Deepak Rajbhar, and Dhiraj Choudhury, among others. For those who missed the works-in-progress, completed artworks go up on the walls of the hotel. Meanwhile, Ummed Mahal, the beautiful palace in the nearby town of Bundi, houses the original Chitrashaala that inspired Justa’s initiative. This gallery of magnificent frescoes dates back to 1739 and showcases the Hadoti style of Rajput art.
Two hours away from Lake Nahargarh Palace and about an hour from Udaipur, Justa’s newly opened Brij Bhoomi in Nathdwara is likely to be of interest to those keen on exploring the Pichwai style of art. The hotel was launched amid the colours of Janmashtami this year and although intended as a resting place for devotees of the neighbouring Shrinathji temple, it allows for a rich, artistic experience to those who seek it. The Pichwai style, dedicated to Lord Shrinathji, is a dying art form that goes back a few centuries, and only a handful of Pichwai painters remain in the temple town today.
Meanwhile, Justa’s recently opened Design Hotel in Chennai is a world away from Rajasthan. A mall is not exactly a purist’s location of choice, but the hotel is high on the design quotient. Conceptualised by noted designer Pronit Nath, each room in this 26-room hotel located in Phoenix City Mall is a contemporary interpretation of traditional South Indian art. Think Tanjore painting, Kolam rice art, the thousand pillars of the Madurai temple, infinity mirrors and an endless ‘Maya’ or ‘Illusion’ themed floor.