Jaipur: Among many tourist attractions in Rajasthan's capital Jaipur, is Tikam Chand Pahari's more than a century-old box camera. But, unlike the city that is witnessing the re-emergence of local tourists after the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted, Pahari and his camera are still waiting for the foreign tourists who were his major clientele.
Pahari informed that his grandfather bought the camera in the 1860s, and since then it has been the bread earner of the family for three generations.
"This is my grandfather's camera, who bought it in the 1860s. This is known as a mint camera or box camera. It's been in the family for three generations. My grandfather identified a place near Hawa Mahal that was frequented by tourists and was near government offices. So, earlier people used to come here to get passport size photos for official work, and tourists used to come to preserve their memories," he said.
The camera that is patched, repaired and mended about a hundred times can produce an iconic black and white photograph in five minutes | ANI
The camera that is patched, repaired and mended about a hundred times can produce an iconic black and white photograph in five minutes.
Pahari said that now, the material required for the camera is no longer manufactured in India, and he has to import paper and chemicals used for the development of photographs from France.
"Due to COVID-19 restriction, the foreign tourist footfall is very less in Jaipur. Now, foreigners are my main clientele. Indian tourists don't appreciate the history associated with it much. They come and see it, but don't get it photographed by the camera. Only history and photography enthusiast Indian mostly want to get clicked by my camera," he stated.
Indian tourists don't appreciate the history associated with it much. They come and see it, but don't get it photographed by the camera | ANI
Pahari's who's the camera was part of various Bollywood movies like "Bhool Bhulaiya" has also captured various politicians and celebrities. Today, the owner of the historic camera is struggling to maintain his livelihood and is seeking help to survive.
"I want to requested tourists to show appreciation for the piece of history and be part of it by getting themselves photographed by me," he added.