About Shekhawati | Tourist Attractions in Shekhawati | How To Reach Shekhawati | Where To Stay in Shekhawati | Where To Shop in Shekhawati
Shekhawati is known not only for its frescoes and beautiful wall painted havelis, thus making it open air art gallery, but also because of its business tycoons and entrepreneurial spirit of its people.
This is a semi desert region in north Rajasthan and it is situated entirely in the triangle between Delhi-Bikaner-Jaipur. Shekhawati is a region and not just a town or fort, it takes its name after its ruler Rao Shekha. Shekhawati means the garden of Shekha.
The towns of Shekhawati are eminent for their amazing painted havelis. Such is the appeal of the havelis that this region is dubbed as "open art gallery of Rajasthan". The plethora of painted Havelis in rich artistic tradition makes it commendable and fascinating.
Most of the buildings are dated from 18th century to early 20th century. The Shekhawati landscape is dotted with so many havelis that tracking them is something like a treasure hunt.
Tourist Attractions in Shekhawati
The key attractions at Shekhawati are the frescoed Havelis and mansions built by the early Marwaris. The buildings painted in rich colors belong to the 18th, 19th and early 20th century. Unlike havelis and palaces built by other rulers, like Mughals, these havelis consist of several courtyards.
The popular design was usually a plain faceted with the accent on the internal courtyard. The main entrance is usually through a carved wooden gate leading into a courtyard, which in turn leads to another courtyard. Unlike the Mughal havelis, the havelis of Shekhawati consist of two courtyards, one outer and one inner.
The larger ones however have up to four courtyards and are two storeys high, the windows are exquisitely latticed and carved. Most of them feature mirror work and mural work while others are embellished with paintings.
The facades, the gateways, the courtyard wall, the parapets and the ceilings were all covered with frescoes. Intricate wooden carvings with ornate iron and brass fittings demonstrate the owners wealth. It was from the latticed windows on the balconies and over the courtyards that women viewed the world.
The havelis, apart from providing a residence, also served to wall in the domestic life of a family. They represented the rigid, but ostentatious lifestyle of the people.
This quaint is in the heart of the Shekhawati region. The fort here dates back to 1750. The fort brings with it the glory of the past and memories associated with the Shekhawats. The fort built in a typical Rajputana style comprises of spacious rooms, minarets, paintings, flower motifs.
There is one compound called Diwan Khana furnished with portraits, hangings and period furniture. It also houses a library and portraits done in European style can be seen here. The fort has now been converted into a hotel.
Amongst the other places to see in Shekhawati, is the town of Dundlod, situated in the center of the Shekhawati region. The main attractions of the town are its fort and havelis, dating back to the 18th century. The famous havelis of Dundlod are Jagathia and Goenka havelis.
Sikar was the wealthiest thikana (feudatory) under the Jaipur state. The 17th century fort here, was built when Sikar was an important trading centre. Sites worth visiting here are the market, the clock tower and the painted Biyani, Murarka and Somani havelis.
There is one Haveli Painted only in blue, quite like the typical Chinese blue and are the Sagarmal Sodhani Haveli, Madho Niwas Kothi, the Jubilee Hall and the Fort. The Jain temple as also the temples of Gopinath and Raghunath and Madan Mohan deserve a visit. In the neighborhood lie the Jeen Mata temple and harsh Nath temple.
Nawalgarh - Havelis:
Founded in 1737, by Thakur Nawal Singh, this town boasts of some of the finest frescoes in the Shekhawati region. The town has a colourful bazar and a fort.
On the west of the fort are a group of havelis know numerically as aath havelis, aath meaning eight. The frescos on these havelis are not the best examples but they show the transition in painting styles through the periods.
One of the paintings depicts a steam locomotive while other show mammoth images of elephants, horses and camels. Opposite these havelis is situated the Muraraka Haveli, which shows off some very fine painting including the miniature paintings from the Krishna legends. The haveli is has no occupants and the courtyard is usually locked unless some function is taking place.
To the north is Hem Raj Kulwal Haveli. Built in 1931 the haveli depicts at the entrance portraits of the Kulwal family and also that Indian leaders like Gandhi and Nehru. The windows are bordered by very colourful architraves.
An ornate silver gate leads to the inner courtyard, which has some fine paintings mostly of religious themes. A local caretaker will let you in for a small tip. Quite close to it is the Khedwal Bhawan, which features some striking mirror and blue tile work at the entrance to the inner courtyard.
Some frescos depicting a locomotive engine crossing a bridge and a woman on a swing in festivities of Teej Festival are seen on some of the walls. Also seen is the story of legendary lovers Dhola Maru on an outside wall. Morarka Haveli, which thrown open its doors to public only recently charges Rs 75 for entrance.
The haveli displays some very well preserved paintings of Ramayana legends. Other notable havelis are Bhagton ki choti Haveli, Parusrampuria Haveli, Dharni Dhakra Haveli, Chhauchharia Haveli, Hira Lal Sarowgi Haveli and Geevrajka Haveli. Dr Ramnath A Poddar Haveli Museum, admission Rs 40, active maintains and adds new wall paintings. Though some painting may be of doubtful legitimacy.
Offering peace and serenity to its visitors, is the town of Jhunjhunu. It is another town famous for its marvelously painted havelis.
One of the known havelis is the Modi Haveli, housing some of the best paintings of the Shekhawati area. Then, there is also the Tibrewala Haveli, having numerous murals on it, along with colored glass windows. Amongst the other tourist attractions of Jhunjhunu, are Khetri Mahal (18th century), Bihariji Temple and Mertani Baori (step-well). These entire stands adorned with exquisite paintings.
The town of Fatehpur was once under the rule of the Muslim Nawabs. A historic town in Shekhawati, Fatehpur has some beautiful havelis. The famous Devra and Singhania havelis of the town are adorned with murals that are of Indo-western style. Another havelis, Goenka has brilliant frescoes paintings, with some of them depicting Lord Krishna.
Other havelis are Ram Gopal Mahavir Prasad Goenka Haveli, Hukmi Chand Choudhari Haveli, Jalan and Bharatiya Haveli.
How To Reach Shekhawati
Fly Away: The nearest airport from the region is in Jaipur, the state capital. The domestic airport is serviced regularly by a number of airlines. Several flights connect Jaipur to cities like, Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur.
On Tracks: Two major Railway Stations nearby are Jaipur and Bikaner. Numerous important trains link these stations with Delhi, Mumbai, Jodhpur, Udaipur and so on.
On Wheels: An extensive network of roads covers the region. The best way to access Shekhawati by road is from Jaipur or from Bikaner. Both of the cities are well networked by roads with many other cities in Rajasthan and northern part of India.
Where To Stay in Shekhawati
Please visit our exclusive section on Hotels in Shekhawati to find the best accommodation in Shekhawati.
Where To Shop in Shekhawati
Painting as a handicraft is a rich tradition in Shekhawati. Skilled artisans in the region paint and recreate fantastic murals on paper and cloth. These serve as excellent items for interior decoration and as souvenirs. You may also gift it to near and dear ones. Do pick up a piece or two while shopping in Shekhawati.
Another popular item for shopping in Shekhawati is furniture. You may embellish your home with the carved and decorated chests, chairs, cradles and low tables & stools are hot favourite with those who go for shopping in Shekhawati.
Do not look for plush shopping malls for shopping in Shekhawati. But you would find many emporium and private shops virtually everywhere. Local artisans often erect roadside stalls near the Major Tourist Destinations. If you are comfortable with little bit of bargaining, give them a shot.
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