o Shekhawati : Weekend Getaway from Delhi - Things to do in Shekhawati, Sightseeing, Fact File, How to Reach Shekhawati
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Weekend Getaways from Delhi: Shekhawati

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Weekend Getaways from Delhi - Shekhawati
| Places to see | Places to Stay | How to Reach | Fact File |
Shekhawati Quick Facts
  • Shekhawati, open-air art gallery in Rajasthan
  • Recommend for artists and art lovers
  • Nearest City – Jaipur, 120 km
  • Best time to visit from Oct – March

If you are planning to spend your weekend getting an insight into the rich cultural heritage of the country then head towards the Shekhawati region for a crash course in Rajasthani  haveli paintings.

A semi-arid region located in the northeast part of Rajasthan, Shekhawati is an art connoisseur’s delight. The Shekhawati region lies on the triangle of Delhi-Bikaner-Jaipur route also known as the “open-air art gallery of Rajasthan”, and is famous for its forts, temples, wall paintings and plethora of beautiful painted havelis. These havelis constructed between the early 18th century and the 20th century, first by the Shekhawati Rajputs and later by the wealthy Marwari business men. The havelis are noted for their frescos and murals depicting mythological scenes from the epics. Though, with the coming of the British, western influences began to make their appearance and foreigners in hats, suits and gowns, cars, trains, airplanes, ships and, telephones etc found their place on the walls along with scenes from Lord Krishna's life.

The Biryani Haveli with their unusual blue and white colors (Sikar), the Roop Niwas, Poddar Haveli and Saat Haveli (Nawalgarh), the Modi Haveli and the Khaitan Haveli of Jhunjhunu , the Gulab Rai and Binsidhar Newatia Haveli of Mandawa are some of the noteworthy havelis that are known for their beautiful paintings and themes.

Given below are some of the places of the Shekhawati region known for their havelis. If you have ample time you can cover the entire region over a large period or select one particular area for a weekend.

Places to see in Shekhawati

The capital of Shekhawati and the largest town of the district, Jhunjhunu has a number of beautiful havelis and temples. Most of the havelis show predominate western influence. The Modi Haveli shows a lady sitting in front of a gramophone while the Kaniram Narsinghdas Tibrewal Haveli (1883) shows a goods train laden with livestock cross a passenger train. Breathtaking floral motifs in Muslim style can be seen in Narudin Farooqi Haveli while the Mohanlal Ishwardas Haveli has the legends of Krishna.

Other attractions include the small Khetri Mahal or the Wind Palace (1770) with its beautiful arches; the Bihariji Temple (1775) for its lovely Ramayana murals and the Mertani Baori - one of the best step-wells in the Shekhawati area. Other places worth visiting include – Badalgarh Fort, Jorawargarh, Kamruddin Shah ki Dargah, Birdi Chand ka Kaun, Ajit Sagar and a Jain temple.

Jhunjhunu is easily approachable by train and road from Jaipur and Delhi. It has decent accommodation to stay and is an ideal base to stay while exploring the Shekhawati region. Check hotels

Hem Raj Kulwal Haveli, NawalgarhNawalgarh located in the district of Jhunjhunu, has some of the finest frescos of the Shekhawati region. It has a few well preserved havelis. The Hem Raj Kulwal Haveli, built in 1931 depicts at the entrance, the portraits of the Kulwal family and also that Indian leaders like Gandhi and Nehru. An ornate silver gate leads to the inner courtyard, which has some fine paintings mostly on religious themes. Adjacent to it is the Khedwal Bhawan, which features some beautiful mirror and blue tile work at the entrance to the inner courtyard. A few wall frescos depict a train crossing a bridge and a woman on a swing enjoying the festivities of Teej Festival. Also seen is the story of legendary lovers Dhola Maru on an outside wall. As opposed, the Morarka Haveli is known for its religious themes. It depicts scenes from the Ramayan as well as various Krishna legends. The Anandilal Poddar Haveli, Aath Haveli, Hodh Raj Patodia Haveli, Jodhraj Patodia Haveli, Bansidhar Bhagat Haveli, Chokhani haveli, Bhagton ki choti Haveli, Parusrampuria Haveli, Dharni Dhakra Haveli, Chhauchharia Haveli, Hira Lal Sarowgi Haveli and Geevrajka Haveli are some other notable havelis known for their fine frescos and murals.

In addition to the havelis, Nawalgarh also has two old forts and a palace with garden and fountains that has been converted into a luxurious heritage hotel. The Bala Qila (Fort) built in 1737 by Thakur Nawal Singh is largely disfigured by further accretions. Only one room in the southeastern sections of the fort retains beautiful mirror work and paintings of scenes of old Jaipur and Nawalgarh. Other attractions include temples and a colorful bazaar.

Located on the north-eastern part of the state, Sikar is noteworthy for the Gopinath Temple, Raghunath ji Temple, Hanuman Ji Temple, Khatu Shyam ji Temple, Harsh Nath Temple and the Jeen Mata Temple. The forts of Raghunathgarh and Deogarh and the Deen Dayal Biyani, Somani, and Murarka havelis are other attractions.

Sikar is 116 Km away from the Jaipur, 320 km from Jodhpur, 240 Km from Bikaner and 301 km. from Delhi and is easily accessible by both road and rail.

Jagannath Singhania Haveli, Fatehpur

Fathepur is known for its opulent Goenka Havelis. Constructed by the wealthy merchants, the Mahaveer Prasad Goenka Haveli built is 1885 has some of the best frescos in perfect match of colour and design. Geori Shankar Haveli is a good example of mirrored mosaic ceiling while the Haveli Nadine purchased by a French artist Nadine Le Prince has some good painting in predominantly red and blue shades. Other notable havelis are the Jagannath Singhania Haveli with some fine paintings of Radha and Krishna and British men holding guns, the Harkishan Das Saraogi Haveli, Choudaharia Haveli and the Vishnunath Keria Haveli. The town is a good base to visit nearby towns of Lakshmangarh and Mandawa.

A small sleepy market town located 190 km off Jaipur in the north, Mandawa is best known for its fort and havelis. An impressive fort built in 1755 by Thakur Nawal Singh dominates the town. Now turned into a heritage hotel, it has a painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows. The rooms are spacious and have intricate wall paintings and mirror work with an open terrace that offers a panoramic view of the whole town. The fort also has a museum that displays the royal family's ceremonial costumes, beautiful curios and precious arms with handles of jade besides their unique paintings and antiques.

Shekhawati Home Décor
The Shekhawati is famous for its furniture as much as for its frescoes. The handcrafted carved and decorated chests, the famous low-legged Shekhawati chairs, cradles and tables & stools are simply a steal as are the metal utensils, tie-dye fabrics and the various murals and frescoes that are recreated on paper and cloth.

In addition to the fort, Mandawa also has the largest concentration of painted havelis and mansions. The Gulab Rai Haveli (1875) has some of the best murals in Shekhawati on both the exterior and interior walls while the Binsidhar Newatia Haveli has interesting paintings on its outer eastern wall. It shows a small boy using a telephone and a European lady been driven around in a car by a chauffeur. The Lakshminarayan Ladia Haveli and Chokhani Double Haveli are some examples of the region's finest fresco painted havelis. A Shiva Temple with a rock crystal lingam, the Harlalka Well, Thakurji Temple, Tanu Manu Saraf Haveli, Akhramka Haveli and Goenka chattri are other sites worth visiting.

A small town situated in the Jhunjhunu district, Dundlod lies seven km north of Nawalgarh in the heart of the Shekhawati region. The Dundlod fort built in 1750 AD represent a fine amalgamation of the Rajputana and Mughal Schools of art and architecture as evident in its motifs of flowers and foliage, minarets, mythological paintings, archaic furniture, wall hangings of arrows and shields which have largely remained unchanged since ages. The Diwan-e- Khas built as per the Mughal architectural style is well furnished with Louis XIV century furniture, stained glass windows and good paintings. Above Diwan-e-Khas lies the Duchatta, from where the ladies watched the court ceremonies in purdah.  Currently, a part of the Dundlod Fort has been converted to a heritage hotel.

The main entrance to the havelis is usually an intricately carved wooden gate that leads to a small courtyard which in turn leads to a larger courtyard. Practically every nook and corner of the havelis - facades, gateways, windows, courtyard, walls, the parapets and ceilings are either intricately carved or are embellished with murals and frescos paintings.

Dundlod was home to the wealthy Goenka Merchant family, whose success is best evident in their richly fresco painted havelis. The Tuganram Goenka Haveli, though often locked is still worth a visit for its beautiful frescos and the fine mirror work above the windows on the upper walls of the courtyard. The Jagathia Haveli and Satyanarayan Temple built by the Goenka family are the other major attractions of Dundlod as is the beautiful Chhatri of Ram Dutt Goenka whose frieze shows Krishna dancing with his gopis. A peep through the village on a camel safari is recommended

Besides the above mentioned places, there are other areas within the Shekawati region like Surajgarh and Kajara, Ramgarh, Churu, Bissau, Chirawa, Ratangarh, Mahansa, Roopangarh, Sardar Shahar, Dudhwa Khara, Khetri and Tal Chhapar which have some beautiful havelis and temples renowned for their paintings and frescoes.

Places to Stay in Shekhawati

There are a number of hotels in Shekhawati, which provide comfortable accommodation to tourists. Shekhawati Hotels range from high end luxury hotels to heritage hotels and budget hotels. Check hotels in Shekhawati

How to reach Shekhawati

By Air: Jaipur is the nearest airport and one can take cabs, taxis or buses from Jaipur to any one of the Shekhawati region.

By Rail: The Shekhawati region is well connected by rail from Jaipur, Delhi and Bikaner.

By Road: Shekhawati has a good network of roads that connect it to the other cities of Rajasthan. It is 120 km away from Jaipur. Jeeps, Taxis/Cabs and local buses can be used to commute locally in Shekhawati.

Some important distances are: Sikar-Delhi - 299 km via Jhunjhunu; Sikar-Jaipur -114 km; Sikar-Jhunjunu - 70 km; Jhunjhunu-Delhi - 231 km via Singhana, Namaul, Dharuhera; Jhunjhunu-Jaipur - 182 km; Jhunjhunu- Bikaner - 230 km; Jhunjhunu-Churu - 52 km; Sikar-Ladnu - 90 km.

About Shekhawati: Shekhawati Information & Fact File
Altitude 408 meters
Summer 41 (Max) & 27(Min) Degrees Celsius
Winter 30 (Max) & 10 (Min) Degrees Celsius
Best time to Go October -March
Monsoon July to September
Summer April to June
Clothes April to June
Nearest Airport Jaipur, 120 km away
Nearest Railway Station Jaipur
Bus Station Jaipur
Places to see Havelis, Forts, Mansions
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