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  • Writer's pictureUrvashi Singh

Rediscovering the Pink City with Bharat Singh

In the face of overwhelming modernisation, most Indian heritage cities today are stumbling urban relics, rapidly decaying despite our bids to revive their complex enigmas. Heritage tourism is working hard to breathe new life into the cities’ ancient pockets, while the discerning citizen ruefully dismisses Indian negligence towards its treasure troves. “Had we been a European nation, this would have been preserved with a vision and infrastructure that we Indians lack”, is what I have often heard well-meaning tourists say to me in conversations around the decay of Indian urban heritage.  Jaipur, the Pink City is no exception to this norm. From being a character-driven metropole steeped in history, urbanisation has demanded that it sprouts out high rises and glass panelled buildings. In a nearly one-sided duel between the city’s decrepit oblivion and its unattractive contingencies, we all know what has been and will be gaining precedence. But despite fewer odds favouring aesthetic upkeep over inexpensive functionality, smaller forces whisper idealistic words of hope. One such voice that’s revisiting, rediscovering and reviving the optimism for the city’s heritage is Bharat Singh with his newly-launched venture, Jaipur Houses. 


In tandem with similar labels sprouting out of India’s various other cities such as Calcutta Houses, Houses of Bengaluru, Delhi Houses and the like, Bharat’s label, Jaipur houses was launched in 2022. With its Instagram following reaching nearly 30,000 followers, Jaipur Houses is Bharat’s act of heritage documentation for a city that he grew up in, and truly cherishes. Rajputana Collective is proud to feature the story behind this venture of Bharat’s, and exploring the journey that helped him revisit what he terms as ‘Jaipur Deco’. 


Bharat Singh

Rajputana Collective (RC): What was the story behind Jaipur Houses? How did it all begin?

Bharat Singh (BS):  I started Jaipur Houses with the idea of creating an archive of all the old houses and structures in and around the city. Rapid development and urbanisation is slowly changing the cityscape of Jaipur from a quaint town full of character to just another metropolitan city with high rises and glass buildings. Jaipur Houses would serve as a document for future generations to experience what the city originally looked like. Furthermore, there are numerous structures in and around Jaipur, hidden step wells and crumbling cenotaphs that lie forgotten. Jaipur Houses would help bring these lesser-known sites more attention. I had always been going around taking pictures of houses and heritage structures, and this idea motivated me to create a page on Instagram as a basic archive to begin with. RC: Has heritage documentation been a mere hobby for you until now? What sparked your interest in dedicated blogging of the subject?  BS: Heritage and history has held my interest since I was a child. My parents and family helped instil the awe and fascination I have for anything old, especially old structures and objects. The fact that so many old houses and heritage structures were and still are being demolished sparked something in me to start documenting these houses before they all vanish. I believe something similar has happened in many medieval cities around India. I did want something to show my nieces and nephews what Jaipur looked like when I was growing up so they can share the wonder me and so many people have had for the magnificent city.


RC: Jaipur is a rapidly metamorphosing cityscape. What part about it do you find to be the most intriguing and why?  

BS: The rapid metamorphosis is what I am worried about most, haha! Unfortunately, development is happening without taking into account the heritage fabric of the city. The fact that such basic ideas of sustainable development are ignored for a World Heritage City during the state of metamorphosis is disappointing and that saddens me more than intrigues me.



A corridor in the Indo Saracenic Albert Hall.

A baradari at a private farm just outside of the city.

A 120 year old mansion being dismantled and demolished to make way for a multi-storey

RC: You’ve coined the term ‘Jaipur Deco’. What does it mean to you? 

BS: This was due to the cosmopolitan nature of the city, its founders and the communities that chose to settle here, a brilliant melting pot of cultures. This eclectic style that characterises the city and its architecture is what I call “Jaipur Deco”.


RC: Do you put in a concerted effort to walk around the city and document its various heritage buildings, or does it come more organically? In other words, what does your blogging routine look like? 

BS: It’s a mix of both depending upon the time I have in hand. Usually it’s more organic, where in I choose a locality or colony to visit and just stroll around. Some time it’s more targeted, where I know of or heard of a house or structure that’s crumbling and head there. Nowadays, I am fortunate to be invited to a lot of places by the owners, as they want to be featured by Jaipur Houses. This is very encouraging as it helps me build a relationship with the stakeholders and discuss restoration and conservation and the issues that come with it. Also, so many of my followers on Instagram as well as friends and family give me tips on places to visit for the archive. I usually take pictures and videos of the house, its architectural elements and art, trying to find more information on when it was built, who built it and other interesting trivia about its history, through direct or indirect sources. Books on Jaipur really help!


RC: Is there any particular spot in the city that is your current favourite? 

BS:  Apart from the walled city that is a treasure trove with something to see on every nook and corner, my favourite part beyond the walls is New Colony located just off the Panch Batti Circle on MI Road. Due to being the newest colony outside of the old city, the area is full of beautiful bungalows and mansions, each with its distinct eclectic style of what I mentioned is “Jaipur Deco”. Sadly the colony is changing character and the old houses are slowly being demolished to make way high rises and commercial complexes.

Apart from the walled city that is a treasure trove with something to see on every nook and corner, my favourite part beyond the walls is New Colony located just off the Panch Batti Circle on MI Road. Due to being the newest colony outside of the old city, the area is full of beautiful bungalows and mansions, each with its distinct eclectic style of what I mentioned is “Jaipur Deco”.

An old shop in the walled city of Jaipur


RC: Lastly, do you have any related plans in the pipeline (eg: heritage walks?) What in your opinion would be an effective way of reviving Jaipur’s decaying architectural heritage? 

BS: I have always wanted to create a book, maybe a coffee table book (with various volumes) highlighting the heritage houses and the families that built and live there. It could help instil a sense of pride and value to these old crumbling structures and encourage people to restore and preserve these spaces rather than demolish them. I am working on curating these strolls around the city, in Amer and Ghat Ki Guni which will be a more interactive and immersive experience for anyone attending, highlighting not only the history and architectural elements of the place, but also bring into light lesser known or forgotten structures in those areas. The idea is to promote Jaipur, and its fabulous eclectic character through these heritage spaces, the popular as well as the forgotten ones and show people why so many others and me are fascinated by the city. In the future I would like to create a channel to fund the restoration and conservation of the lesser-known heritage sites and maybe work on creating a curated travel experience for people visiting Jaipur, which would be less touristy and gimmicky and more immersive and interactive. Lots of potential for anyone passionate about these things and hopefully more people will get involved which will open more and more avenues in the heritage conservation, documentation and management field.

The idea is to promote Jaipur, and its fabulous eclectic character through these heritage spaces, the popular as well as the forgotten ones and show people why so many others and me are fascinated by the city.

Jaipur Houses can be followed on Instagram


The newly restored “Sum Jaipur”, part of the former mansion of the Thakuran of Chomu

Jacob House, a British bungalow in C Scheme which serves as a Montessori school

The opinions expressed in this feature, along with all illustrative photographs are the sole property of Bharat Singh. Rajputana Collective makes no claim over his intellectual rights, neither does it infringe upon any copyright material or content. This feature is for representational purposes only and strives to promote the person and venture in focus.




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