Hāthigaon: A settlement of Elephants and Mahouts

By Sanjeev Vidyarthi, Megha Bhatnagar, Gaurav Bhatnagar and Rajan Bhatt

With a reflective essay by Rahul Mehrotra

This monograph illustrates the processes of conception, planning, and building of Hāthigaon – a settlement for working elephants and the families that care for them in the Indian city of Jaipur. It highlights how the adoption of a strategic, design-centered approach can help create both contextually-appropriate habitation and an overall armature for all human and animal life to flourish in line with contemporary design sensibilities.

This book would not have been possible without proactive collaboration among the authors, RMA Architects and the Architecture Foundation.

Browse the book:



Hāthigaon: A settlement of Elephants and Mahouts


25 x 25cm


Sanjeev Vidyarthi, Megha Bhatnagar, Gaurav Bhatnagar, Rajan Bhatt




Architecture – Planning – Ecology


Soft cover with flaps





About the authors

Dr Sanjeev Vidyarthi

Architect Sanjeev has long, fruitful ties with Jaipur. He did foundational work along with his friends establishing the city’s leading design practice—Aayojan, which sponsored the state’s first school of architecture in 1998, before turning to other intellectual pursuits. Author of several books and essays illustrating the nature of Jaipur’s city planning and physical development over time, Sanjeev is currently a professor of urban planning and policy at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Megha Bhatnagar

Born and raised in Jaipur, Megha is a leading architect of the city today. Her practice pays particular attention to crafting simple and elegant designs suited to the cause and context. Her well-known design firm, established in 1998 with husband Gaurav Bhatnagar, has been widely awarded for a variety of meaningful projects. Megha cares deeply for her hometown and seeks to conserve and advance its rich architectural traditions via purposeful design and outreach work.

Gaurav Bhatnagar

After completing architectural studies from MNIT, and apprenticing with several architectural firms, Gaurav established a progressive design firm with Megha Bhatnagar at Jaipur in 1998. Several regional and national awards, recognizing their passionate practice and professional commitment to meaningful design work, quickly followed. Gaurav’s growing interest in Nature and Nature photography, which started as a mere hobby, increasingly impacted his design outlook by providing an enhanced understanding of multidimensional relationships between architectural ideas, building design and physical landscape. He has, since then, turned attention to designing ecologically-friendly and environmentally-sustainable projects.

Rajan Bhatt

Rajan is an architect and industrial designer by training, and passionate about touring, art and photography. He believes design plays a crucial role shaping the human life and better design can enhance the quality of how we live, work, and play.
He heads a multidisciplinary design firm called Bezel Design, which he founded; the firm provides comprehensive design and build services in the fields of spatial design and visual communication. Rajan grew up in Jaipur and established Mool Foundation, city’s premier art & design forum as a tribute to his father who was the Rajasthan state’s Chief Town Planner and an artist at heart.

Rahul Mehrotra is the founder principal of RMA Architects and chairs the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Trained also as architects, Ela Singhal serves as the Executive Director of Architecture Foundation, an organization committed to promote awareness of Architecture in India.

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