The first sight of Kuldhara village, more a town actually, sends one imagination running to the time it may have been inhabited. Buddha Singh, a local contractor engaged by the Government to renovate a temple and a house to showcase the past, was happy to be my guide.
A well planned settlement, the straight and wide streets ran in grids with houses opening into them. All design elements kept both aesthetics and utility in mind. A kind of a garage opened into the streets to park carts in. Temples, stepwells and other structures were all signs of sound development over the centuries.
Click on any image for a larger view.
Read about the Paliwals of Kuldhara who vanished into the night – click here.
The houses themselves ensured all social norms could be well followed according to my guide. The inner courtyard was the designated area for women. It had a small bathtub and a small structure to grow a tulsi plant, revered by Hindus. The outer area was for men and cows. An underground cellar was used to store valuables, but these lie sealed now. In fact, a few westerners are said to have discovered a lot of gold and other valuables with the help of metal detectors a few years back; they were apprehended before they could make off with the booty though.
The yellow hue of the buildings came from the colour of the local mud and stones. The floors of the houses were plastered with cow dung and clay. Bollywood has even shot movies like Kachche Dhaage and Reshma Shera using the backdrop of Kuldhara.
The village may be abandoned now, but it still seems alive. As if, without warning, you will suddenly see thousands of well decked wealthy people appear out of nowhere and generate a hustle and bustle just like the days gone by.
History is full of its sigh moments.