Imagine a Bollywood film shoot. A song and dance sequence that has transported the hero and heroine to a faraway location. The heroine is in a sultry chiffon saree singing and dancing on what looks like a snow-covered mountain somewhere in Switzerland.
The director finally shouts, “Cut!”
The heroine’s assistant runs to her. But instead of a thick coat to keep her from freezing, he hands her a bottle of cold water and a towel to wipe off the sweat on her forehead.
While the above situation is something I didn’t witness personally, it’s entirely possible that it happened in the small town of Kishangarh, situated in the state of Rajasthan, an hour and a half away from Jaipur and roughly six hours from Delhi.
The city gets its name from Kishan Singh, the prince of Jodhpur who founded the state in 1602. Madanganj-Kishangarh is also culturally known in the art world for having its characteristic style of miniature art as seen in the famous Bani Thani painting by Nihal Chand.
Over centuries though, the city remained a hub for different kinds of businesses, until recently when its popularity amongst the building community across India rose for having the largest marble market in the country. Now, a drive though Kishangarh consists of passing by rows and rows of shops, more than 25,000 in total, displaying stacks of marble sourced from across the world.
However, the town’s claim to fame is something completely different. With all the cutting of marble that goes on in Kishangarh, the locals were starting to face a rising problem of the accumulated waste. As a result, the local association along with various governing bodies came together in 2005 and developed an area for disposing of the marble slurry properly.
Once the designated land for dumping was ready, 50-60 feet deep wells were dug to pour in the slush. But since there was so much of waste, eventually this led to a formation of a plateau that over time became a unique tourist destination.
The slurry from all the marble cutting resulted in a landfill that is now a vast sea of white. Presently, it acts as the perfect backdrop for fashion shoots and in some cases substitutes snow when the budget of a film is on the lower side. The ground has a snow or chalk-like feel to it, and although there are no hard-marble pieces around, one should still take care while walking around.
A human-made marvel of marble, the Kishangarh Marble Dumping Yard is a little excursion that sees people from all walks of life visit this location, be it for a few minutes or hours depending on their level of interest.
Cars and motorbikes can go all the way to the top of the hill, and there’s a festive mood in the atmosphere no matter the time you visit. The morning hours are typically the best or else around sunset during the winter months. The monsoon season leaves behind small puddles of blue which are equally pretty to photograph, although the area does get a little mushy.
Entry into the marble dumping yard is free. There are usually food vendors selling samosas and drinks, should you feel peckish upon arrival. The area is quite expansive, and you are bound to find large groups of families, friends, and young kids running around or taking photos.
Even though there are rules around dumping the slurry that everyone needs to follow, to keep the pollution levels low at the yard, the air is a little thick around here, and you can feel the particles in your mouth and nose after spending a little time. It might be a good idea to carry face masks if you plan to stay for longer.
The Kishangarh Dumping Yard is not a day-trip worth taking from Jaipur, and certainly not from Delhi, but if you happen to drive through the region, it is recommended that you take a detour and check out this unusually dramatic tourist spot.
Kishangarh Marble Dumping Yard
Timings: 10:00 AM – 18:00 PM
Location: Link on Google Maps