This season at Sher Bagh, SUJÁN guests and visitors have had the chance to witness the wonderful transformation of the train station at Sawai Madhopur. Throughout the past four months, more than 7,000 square feet of the stations dirty white walls got a fresh lick of paint and have been covered with beautiful hand made drawings & paintings celebrating the wildlife, nature & history of the Ranthambhore regionThe project was conducted by about 20 artists, and supervised by one of Ranthambore School of Arts’ prestigious painters, Mr Gajanand Singh. The idea is to immediately immerse visitors into the world of Ranthambhore as soon as they arrive at the station. For the thousands of locals that use the station daily- it is also a way to inspire and encourage a sense of pride and responsibility to protect and look after the history, heritage and wildlife & environment that attracts people from all over the globe. By celebrating the animals and the Ranthambhore National Park the project gives importance to the endangered tiger and other wildlife. Paintings of the reserve’s flora & fauna and animals such as hyenas, bears, leopards and birds of all sizes and colours are celebrated throughout the station.
For those visiting Ranthambhore who aren’t travelling by train, it is definitely worth a visit in between game drives and relaxing at camp! When one takes a moment to appreciate the paintings, you are able to recognise certain key elements of the National Park such as the legendary Banyan tree, famous for being the second largest Banyan in the world!This beautiful tree is recognisable due to its roots that are aerial and grow downwards, as they reach the ground, they turn into beautiful solid trunks that add up throughout the years and give the tree a mysterious and surreal aspect.
This unique artistic project was initiated by renowned conservationist Valmik Thapar, whosuggested this makeover as a way to spread awareness and encourage visitors to respect the flora and the fauna of the region. The repercussions of the makeover have been highly positive, as Valmik Thapar said himself for the DailyO : “The station has become a living art museum of wildlife. (…) It is generating awareness and will have other ripple effects”.
As a consequence, this project funded by the World Wildlife Fund India is scheduled to expand, and a similar makeover is now on the go for Bharatpur railway station, illustrating the Rajasthani bird sanctuary. We look forward to seeing this project spread across railway stations throughout the country to educate & give a sense of national & local pride to areas that have so much to offer!