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Shekhawati: The Land Of Havelis (Mansions)

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By Abhijit Bhomia:

Shekhawati derives its name from the ruler Rao Shekha. Shekhawati means the garden of the Shekha. It is located in the North West Rajasthan as the heart of Delhi-Bikaner-Jaipur triangle. The region is semi-desert and comprises of many towns and villages that were once inhabited by people who loved to paint events and scenes on walls. This region is mainly famous for its amazing havelis richly painted and decorated and for this, it is known as the “open art gallery of Rajasthan”. Shekhawati is rich in its heritage, its culture and its traditions which its people and the havelis duly represent. From painted murals to carvings to mirror work, these havelis have their walls and ceilings adorned with numerous forms of fine art, the havelis are full of frescos, depicting culture and tradition of the region. Apart from the havelis, the Shekhawati region is full of temples, mosques, forts, small castles and royal cenotaphs (chhattri). This area has produced the maximum number of soldiers in the Indian Army, who are more courageous than anyone else and are ready to fight and die for the country. That is why Shekhawati is known as the Scotland of India as Scotland is famous as the land of brave soldiers.

The famous places in Shekhawati are Nawalgarh, Mandawa, Fatehpur, Dundlod, Surajgarh and Pilani.

NAWALGARH:

The Havelis in Nawalgarh are a big tourist attaction. Image via surajgarh.com

It is named after its founder — Thakur Nawal Singh. This town boasts some of the finest frescos in the Shekhawati region. One of the best haveli to watch out for is the Murarka Haveli, it is full of paintings on walls, windows and ceilings. The town is also having a fort and adjacent to it is the famous AATH Haveli which shows the change in the wall paintings with the passage of time. 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 which has been converted into a museum, full of wall paintings and different kind of artwork. The town is also the origin of the famous family of the Goenkas. One can also visit Roop Niwas Kothi which is a place where you can experience the Rajasthani cuisine, hospitality and comfort at the optimum level. Nawalgarh is the best location in Shekhawati for a person, traveler, photographer or an art lover to spend his leisure time.

MANDAWA:

The town is renowned worldwide for its havelis and frescos. Mandawa is the richest in terms of havelis, the kind of artwork and

One of the many forts in Mandawa

hospitality. It is home to a beautiful fort widely known as Castle Mandawa, which has been converted into a heritage hotel. Castle Mandawa is a perfect blend of old and new with old architecture and modern comforts in rooms. The beauty of Mandawa is also shown in the movie Jab We Met, where a part of the movie has been shot. It is the favorite destination of the foreign tourists in the Shekhawati region.

DUNDLOD:

A small village in the Shekhawati region which is known for a small fort built in the 18th century by Kesri Singh. The fort has a Diwan Khana with portraits and period furnitures as well as a small library. The fort now serves as a heritage hotel. Other attractions to be visited here are Tuganram Goenka Haveli, SatyaNarayan Temple and Jagathia Haveli. This village is 7 kilometers north of Nawalgarh.

FATEHPUR:

The place is home to some of the best fresco paintings of the region; however, unfortunately, the havelis housing them are more often locked. The worth seeing havelis in this place are Geori Shankar Haveli, Mahavir Prasad Goenka Haveli, Nand Lal Devra Haveli and Jagannath Singhania Haveli. There is also the Jagannath Singhania Chattri with beautiful garden which is worth visiting.

SURAJGARH:

Surajgarh is famous for its splendid fort turned into a heritage hotel which shows the royal grandeur of the Shekhawati region. The hotel’s walls are full of the frescos with the rooms magnificently decorated. The old materials like doors, windows and painting are duly preserved and are taken into use for the decoration. The hotel is also having a lavish swimming pool and conference facilities for its travelers. The hotel’s food is one of the best which numerous Rajasthani dishes and also famous dishes from all over the world. The workers of the fort are handy with a lot of foreign languages like French, German and Spanish and as a result, travelers from these countries who visit Surajgarh fort don’t have any problem in conversing with the hotel staff.

PILANI:

Saraswati Temple close to BITS, Pilani. Image via hubpages.com

Pilani is not home to a lot of havelis as the above mentioned placed are full of, but it does have some havelis in ramshackle conditions. This small village gained prominence as the home of wealthy Birla family. Today, the place is more known for its educational institutions. It has one of the best public school of India, one of the best girls school of India and India 5th best engineering college. For tourists sightseeing, there is Birla Museum, Shiva Ganga, Saraswati Temple, the Panchwati and a small hill with a Hanuman temple built on it and from top of the hill one can see the scenic beauty of the small town.

India is a hub for tourists as it depicts its culture and it tradition in various form like art, music and dance. Shekhawati is the small region which has a rich history of culture and hospitality and it continues to be the same. Shekhawati is a region where you can find history and culture depicted on walls, ceilings, doors and windows.

Do not miss a chance to visit Shekhawati region if you are having an opportunity, otherwise you will miss to see the paradise on this earth… the paradise of paintings.

Lead image courtesy: http://www.indialine.com/travel/rajasthan/shekhawati/

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