Near the iconic Hawa Mahal and City Palace, the brothers Tikam Chand and Surendar have been using their antique box camera to take instant photographs for anyone who is willing to wait several minutes and pay a price for an one-of-a-kind vintage experience. Known as Pahari Master, the grandfather of the brothers was the former maharaja’s photographer. Given as a gift from the maharaja, the 1860 German made Carl Zeiss Jena camera was Pahari Master’s apparatus to make a living. Gone were the days when Jaipur was ruled under the maharaja. The 1860 Carl Zeiss camera had since then become a family heirloom from Pahari Master to his son, and then to the brothers Tikam Chand and Surendar. In the last three decades, the brothers had been taking instant photographs for people in the historical heart of Jaipur. Bloggers and media outlets such as CNN and LA Times have written about the brothers and their grandfather’s antique camera. In recent years, their photo stall has become a small tourist attraction in its own right. For us, checking out the 150-year camera and having a photo of ourselves taken by the vintage machine was a top priority in Jaipur. Fortunately we made it just on time to be Tikam Chand’s last customer of the day, before it get too dim for photography.
At 5pm, we left the City Palace and began our quest of the 1860 vintage Carl Zeiss camera. We found our way through the Jaleb Chowk Square and Naqqar Khana ka Darwaza (Drum Gate). In the old days, court musicians would station at the upper level of the gate to announce the arrival and departure of the maharaja.
Then through Naqqar Darwaza Gate we finally stepped out of the former royal compound and arrived at the market streets of old Jaipur.
Known as the pink city, many buildings in old Jaipur have been painted in the iconic pink colour.
The market streets of old Jaipur are full of merchandises of all sorts. As the capital of Rajasthan, many people in the desert state come to Jaipur for shopping.
Before sunset, we finally found Tikam Chand and his 150-year Carl Zeiss camera.
While chatting with Tikam Chand, we sat down on a bench and get ourselves ready for the one-of-a-kind vintage photo shoot.
Many think a vintage 1860 Carl Zeiss Jena would be locked up in a glass display box in a museum. It was hard to believe that this valuable artefact could actually work properly after 150 years.
Looking into the back viewfinder we could see an upside down image.
Tikam Chand first took a negative portrait of us, and developed the photo in a small box at the back of the camera. Then he took another shot of the negative to get a positive image as the final product.
Newspaper cutouts and vintage photographs served as the best advertisement for the brothers.
By the time we bid farewell with Tikam Chand and the 1860 Carl Zeiss camera, darkness had already fallen upon. Just a stone throw away, we stumbled upon the magnificent Hawa Mahal, or Palace of the Wind.
The picture perfect Hawa Mahal is perhaps the most published image of Jaipur.
At Hawa Mahal, we flagged down an auto-rickshaw for Peacock rooftop restaurant, a popular dining venue that we discovered from online research.
The Peacock rooftop restaurant was neatly decorated based on the peacock theme.
The food was decent and the cozy atmosphere was enhanced by the lovely live music.
Established in a former mansion, Arya Niwas was the mid range hotel where we stayed for the night.
The old wing of Arya Niwas had its old school charm.
Posts on 2018 Rajasthan:-
Day 1: Jodhpur
DAY 1.1: IN TRANSIT TO RAJASTHAN
DAY 1.2: PAL HAVELI & THE OMELETTE MAN, Jodhpur
DAY 1.3: SPLENDOR OF THE SUN FORT, Mehrangarh, Jodhpur
DAY 1.4: SUNSET OVER THE BLUE CITY, Mehrangarh, Jodhpur
DAY 1.5: SADAR MARKET AND GHANTA GHAR CLOCKTOWER, Jodhpur
Day 2: Jodhpur, Osian, Jaisalmer
DAY 2.1: MARBLE CENOTAPH JASWANT THADA, Jodhpur
DAY 2.2: MEDIEVAL STEPWELLS, Mahila Bagh Ka Jhalra, Gulab Sagar, & Toorji Ka Jhalra, Jodhpur
DAY 2.3: PILGRIM OASIS IN THAR DESERT, Sachiya Mata Temple, Osian
DAY 2.4: SUNRISE AT THE FIRST GATE OF GOLDEN FORT, Jaisalmer
Day 4: Jaisalmer
DAY 4.1: RESERVOIR OF THE GOLDEN CITY, Gadsisar Lake, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.2: ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL OF RAJASTHAN, Patwon Ki Haveli Part 1, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.3: ARCHITECTURAL JEWEL OF RAJASTHAN, Patwon Ki Haveli Part 2, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.4: DESERT HERITAGE, Hotel Nachana Haveli and Thar Heritage Museum, Jaisalmer
DAY 4.5: LAST STROLL IN THE GOLDEN CITY, Jaisalmer
Day 8: Bhangarh, Abhaneri & Agra
DAY 8.1: ON THR ROAD TO AGRA
DAY 8.2: HAUNTED RUINS, Bhangarh, Rajasthan
DAY 8.3: CHAND BAORI, Abhaneri, Rajasthan
DAY 8.4: THE ABANDONED CAPITAL OF MUGHAL EMPIRE, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 8.5: FRIDAY MOSQUE, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
Day 9: Agra
DAY 9.1: CROWN OF THE PALACES, Taj Mahal, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.2: AGRA FORT, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.3: RAWATPARA SPICE MARKET, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
DAY 9.4: SUNSET AT MEHTAB BAGH, Agra, Uttar Pradesh