Photo Essay| Folk Musicians of Rajasthan

Text and Photos: Apoorva Katikaneni

Around this time last year, a work assignment took me to the land of all things colourful— Rajasthan. I was there for a month, and this gave me ample time to travel around and experience the regal beauty of the place. 

When you think of Rajasthan, most often the first things that come to mind are the regal forts, all the silver jewellery ever, daal bhati churmalaal maas, the many royals who lived in luxury, and of course, the desert dunes. What caught my eye the most though, through all my ambling in every city that I managed to visit during the thirty odd days, were the folk musicians. 

Performing casually in and around Rajasthan's many historical forts— either alone or in some (endearing) cases, with their families— these artistes became indispensable to the place's ambience.

Here are some that I loved listening to and could photograph, after some especially long, satisfying days of work behind me. 

Amber Fort, Jaipur: A teenage musician playing Ravanhatta, a traditional string instrument.
Amber fort, Jaipur:  A snake charmer and his very friendly (haha) looking snake.
At Amber fort, Jaipur
Mehrangarh fort, Jodhpur— He had his wife for company and I think I caught a glint of a smile, through her pretty leheriya dupatta. 
In the ever-colourful aesthetic of Rajasthan, these artistes make sure not to leave the Ravanhatta far behind; this Rajput musician picked pearl and pom-pom decorations. 
(TLJ loves his scarf)
Jaswant Thada, Jodhpur: Another well-decorated Ravanhatta. 


Apoorva Katikaneni is a healthcare consultant. When she's away from home for weeks, on the field, it's her camera that's her constant companion. She gives her dad the credit of inspiring her to see the world in frames.