Tucked away within the northern desert reaches of Rajasthan, Shekhawati remains suspended in time, dotted with grand havelis with beautiful frescos and murals, and ancient temples and stepwells adorned with intricate carvings. a mirrored image of the opulent lifestyle of the rich merchants of the region, Shekhawati boasts the legacy of the traders who bestowed it with its architectural gems. A photographer’s dream, every nook and cranny of the district is alive with the vibrancy of colourful paintings that are almost sort of a picture story, revolving around religious legends, folklore and highlights of its lavish past. Most of those havelis were abandoned by their owners, once they migrated to other parts of the country for trade. Today, they need been restored and became museums, heritage resorts and hotels.
The history of Shekhawati is rooted within the Matsya kingdom and has also been mentioned within the ancient Indian texts of Rig Veda and Manusmriti. Rao Shekha from Dhundhar established Shekhawati with its capital at Amarsar. He divided the region into 33 villages that were fortified with mud and stone forts. A prominent trading centre of the 14th century, Shekhawati is now a tourist hub in Rajasthan.
How to get there
The nearest airport is at Jaipur, about 2.5 hours away.
The place is well-connected with State Highway 8, 37 and 41 that provide direct routes to Jaipur, Delhi and Bikaner.
The nearest Railway station is the Jhunjhunu Railway station that is connected to major cities like Jaipur, Delhi, Indore etc.
Attractions In Shekhawati
Perched atop the Aravalli Hills, the Mandawa Fort is one among the architectural gems of the region. Such is that the grandeur of the fort that it’s often been the backdrop of flicks like Bajarangi Bhaijan, Love Aaj Kal, Mirzya and Jab We Met. inbuilt 18th century, the fort houses many rooms, featuring antique decor, beautiful paintings of Lord Krishna and other gods and goddesses and complex mirror work. Its painted archways also are a treat to the eyes.
Founded by a chieftain named Mandu Jat, the Mandawa Fort grew under the Shekhawat Rajputs. It speaks tons about the rich history of the region and boasts unique features of Rajasthani architecture. Visitors can shop within the local market in Mandawa, which offers magnificent brass items, colourful textiles and handicrafts. Further, the royalty has been supporting a girl's school here wherein the visitors can interact and participate by obtaining the required permissions. Other notable places to go to include Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli, Lakshminarayan Haveli, Mohanlal Saraf Haveli and Chowkani Haveli, which are adorned with beautiful fresco paintings.
Sethani ka Johara
One of the best reservoirs within the area, Sethani ka Johara, attracts variety of birds and animals, including nilgai which will often be sighted near it. From here, visitors can get picturesque views of the dipping sun because the water reflects multiple hues of sunlight and therefore the skyline looks drenched orange.
The layout of the reservoir is such it's various arched entryways that cause the water body via steps. Though it's now in ruins, one can almost imagine the grandeur of the structure in its golden times because it is well preserved. The reservoir was inbuilt the year 1899 by the widow of Bhagwan Das Bagla as a neighborhood of the famine relief projects, which were financed by the merchants.
Built by Surat Singh in the18th century, the Ratangarh Fort is understood for its grand gateways, monuments and a tower referred to as the Ghantaghar. Surrounded by ethnic villages and brilliant stretches of landscape, the fort makes for a beautiful tourist stopover. The Ratangarh Fort has been named after Maharaja Ratan Singh, son of Surat Singh.
it's said that it had been attacked twice by Thakur Prithvi Singh, the son of Churu king, with the support of Maharawal Laxman Singh of Sikar in 1815 and 1816. While guarding the fort, its caretakers, Lal Shah Syed and Purohit Jethmal, were killed. This has been mentioned within the inscriptions within the fort. The grand fort is found within the middle of the town and has four gates and boundary walls. It lies at a distance of about 200 km from the town of Jaipur.
Kanahiyalal Bagla Haveli
Built around 1880, the Kanhaiyalal Bagla Haveli may be a gorgeous structure that boasts intricate lattice-work. Lying to the south of the most bazaar, it’s the best architecture altogether of Shekhawati. The mural paintings and wall paintings tell love stories of Dhola – Maru, a few from the folks tales who fled on their camel. One also can see paintings showing the evil Umrah-Sumra, Sassi and Punu chasing after them on horseback.
As per the story , Dhola was a prince and Maru was a princess and therefore the two were married once they were toddlers. However, when Dhola's father died, the young prince got engrossed with taking control of his kingdom. As he grew older, he forgot Maru and married another. When he heard a folk song made by Maru, he remembered his beloved and assail a steed to bring her home. However, fate intervened and on the way that they had to encounter many problems. At last, the 2 reached the prince's kingdom and lived happily ever after. Other attractions nearby include Jama Masjid and alittle haveli.
Known for its mesmerising shifting sand dunes, the tiny city of Churu is that the gateway to the Thar desert. Dotted with grand havelis that boast 50-100 rooms, adorned with intricate fresco paintings, interestingly, Churu has no royal history. These havelis were homes of rich and prosperous merchants, who inhabited the world . The paintings within the havelis are a mirrored image of the owner’s lifestyles, or an outline of the style of that point , like travelling during a car or a train.
you'll almost feel the past knocking at the door, such is that the great thing about the paintings, which appear as bright as if they were painted yesterday. The doors of the havelis also are intricately designed and one can spend a whole day admiring them as no two of them are alike. Churu provides a gorgeous landscape, where the skyline bursts with colours during sunset on one side, and therefore the moon peeps out of the water on the opposite .
Founded in 1620 AD by the Nirban clan of Rajputs, Churu connects Pali to Ambala. it's also a spiritual seat of the Nath sect of Sadhus, who worship the marble statues of their deities. Other places of attraction include a 400-year-old fort, which is found at the centre of the town . Mantri Haveli is yet one more noteworthy spot to go to within the area. Churu is additionally noted for chhatris ( elevated dome-shaped pavilions). With an outsized number of girls engaged in hand embroidery, one can get a plethora of handmade products that reflect the cultural ethos of the region. Shekhawati was a neighborhood of Bikaner before independence and has beautiful temples of Salasar Balaji and Babosa Maharaj.
Nawalgarh is rightly mentioned because the outdoors Gallery. there’s art all around. Nawalgarh is renowned everywhere the planet for its exquisitely painted havelis that are beautifully designed and carved. The havelis are the mansions that boast of the beautifully carved wooden gates and therefore the painted walls. The ornate iron and brass fittings revealed the affluence of the owner of the haveli.
The marvelous murals are painted on both the edges of the walls. The paintings were further decorated with small pieces of mirror, gold and silver leaves. The religious nature of the people is revealed within the paintings that revolve round the themes for the life and times of Lord Krishna. actually there are a variety of topics that get covered on the walls of the havelis at Nawalgarh. The list of must visit havelis at Nawalgarh comprises of the Anandilal Poddar Haveli, the Jodhraj Patodia Haveli, Bansidar Bhagat Haveli, Chokhani Haveli, the Aath (eight) Haveli complex, Chhawchhariya Haveli, Murarka Haveli, Hem Raj Kulwal Haveli, Bhagton Ki Haveli, and Khedwal Bhavan. The traders and merchants constructed most of the havelis within the 18th century and therefore the early 19th century. The business of silk and opium brought during a lot of wealth to the merchants. So inspect these finest frescoes within the Nawalgarh!
While at Nawalgarh you want to visit British tower at the school . The tower may be a major landmark in Nawalgarh, which is that the heart of the Shekhawati. Then there are two famous forts of Nawalgarh. The dome of the Nawalgarh fort has an aerial view of Jaipur painted thereon . The Ganga Mai temple near the gate of 1 of the forts may be a major tourist attraction.
At Nawalgarh you'll even avail a cushty and opulent occupy the residence of the Thakur of Nawalgarh.The Roop Niwas Palace is that the right choice at Nawalgarh for the royal experience of your retreat. There are the gorgeous green garden and therefore the fabulous fountains which will not fail to comb you off your feet. For recreation you'll even enjoys pool and billiards. Camel also as horse rides also can be opted for. There are as many as thirty well-appointed and equipped rooms to form your stay an unforgettable one. The charming combination of the Rajput and therefore the European architectures of the Roop Niwas Palace are captivating. Off late the royal residence has been converted into a heritage hotel.
Jhunjhunu is one among the oldest towns within the state of Rajasthan. It lies at a distance of about 186 km from Jaipur. What draws tourists here are the massive vacant havelis with intricate frescos. These havelis, which are each a piece of art, has earned the region of Shekhawati, under which Jhunjhunu is found , is that the nomenclature of being the world’s largest open-air gallery .
the foremost popular among these mansions are Kaniram Narsighdas Tibrewala haveli, Ishwardas Mohandas Modi haveli and Naruddin Farooqui haveli. These houses, once the residence of rich merchants, stand as a sworn statement to the previous grandeur of Shekhawati. The well-preserved frescos, which can are created within the 19th century, in brilliant colours depict snapshots of life from that era and also include images of Hindu gods and goddess. it's said that over the decades, as trade routes altered, the merchants migrated to other towns and cities, leaving their resplendant houses behind.
The main spiritual attraction here may be a temple dedicated to Rani Sati Dadi. The grand structure may be a sight to behold and therefore the walls of the inner sanctum depict the story of the local deity Rani Sati. The ceiling of the temple is formed of mirror and mosaic tiles, while the most hall boasts silver repoussé work. The multi-storey temple has 300 rooms where devotees can stay.