Famed as the ‘open-art gallery of Rajasthan’, the semi-arid Thar Desert region of Shekhawati is an amalgam of several tiny and medium-sized villages as well as towns. One of the most popular destinations of the royal state, it is famed for its stunning architectures, rich culture, and breathtaking frescoes and paintings. It is flocked by travelers from all around the world in huge number every year and is dotted by several heritage Havelis and forts, some of which have now been turned into heritage hotels of Shekhawati.
The special havelis with unique architecture have been adorned with old painted sculptures. Commissioned by Rajput rulers and rich people of Marwari community, the step wells (baolis), mansions (havelis), cenotaphs (chhatris) are a proof of their affluence and their interest in building some great structures. All these are decorated with various kinds of paintings, ranging from mythological to some interesting things like Gods and Goddess, telephones, trains and so on.
History of Shekhawati
As the name suggest, Shekhawati is known to be the land of Shekhawat Rajputs. The founder of this place is MahaRao Shekha Ji. Shekhawati is a combination of two words- Shekha+Wati, translated to the garden of MahaRao Shekha, descendants of Shekha. The region was ruled by Shekhawat Rajputs for over 500 years. Along with the Rajputs, an important part in the prosperity of the region was also played by the Marwaris who were the business class, and the Jats and Malis who were the Agrarian communities.
People of Shekhawati
The people of Shekhawati region are extremely friendly. This place is known for being home to colorful and warm people. The men and women are clad in colorful traditional attires. Some of the men also wear vibrant turbans. Also known as the ‘Land of Braves’ or Veer Bhoomi, it has been famed for sending its sons in the Indian military services. Along with military, business and agriculture are the chief source of earning. Marwari community of Shekhawati, making a mark around the world, is known be extremely rich, prosperous and influential.
Places to visit in Shekhawati
The region of Shekhawati is dotted with innumerable towns and villages, which are worth-visiting. To get an insight into the attractions and culture of this place, here is a list:
A flourishing town of Shekhawati area, Nawalgarh has been named after Thakur Nawal Singh, the founder of the town. He was the son of Shardul Singh, the most successful ruler of the region. Prosperous business families of India, including the Goenka family, found their origin from this place. The main attractions of Nawalgarh are its mansions - Anandi Lal Poddar Haveli, Khedwal Bhawan, Aath haveli, Murarka Haveli, and Bhagton ki Haveli. Architectural wonders, these havelis are adorned by several murls and frescoes. Ganga Mai Temple is another attraction here.Explore Packages
Dundlod is a small town in Shekhawati that is popular for a tiny 18th century fort that was commissioned by the youngest son of Sardul Singh, Kesri Singh. It has now been turned into a heritage hotel. Some of the interesting features of this fort are a small library and a Diwan Khana housing antique furniture and portraits. Located 7 km northwards of Nawalgarh, Dundlod has other attractions too such as Jagathia Haveli, Tuganram Goenka Haveli, and Satya Narayan Temple.
Founded in the 15th century by Fateh Khan, a Muslim Nawab, Fatehpur was taken over by the Shekhawat Rajputs in the 18th century. This town has some of the best havelis with fresco paintings of Shekhwati but most of them are generally locked. Geori Shankar Haveli, Mahavir Prasad Goenka Haveli, Jagannath Singhania Haveli, and Nand Lal Devra Haveli are some of the popular mansions of Fatehpur. Jagannath Singhania Chattri with striking garden is also worth-visiting.
Established by a group of prosperous Poddar merchants during the 18th century, Ramgarh is located at a distance of 20 km from Fatehpur. With ceilings painted with important events from the Ramayana, the most popular attraction here is Ram Gopal Poddar Chhatri. Lord Shani temple with frescoes is another attraction here. You must also visit these gems like Tarachand Ghanshyamdas Poddar Haveli, Ganga temple, and Baij Nath Ruia Haveli
One of the most popular places in Shekhawati and a district head quarter, Jhunjhunu was fouded in the 15th century by Kaimkhani Nawabs. Modi Haveli, Kaniram Narsingh Das Tiberwala Haveli, MohanDas Ishwar Das Modi Haveli and Narudin Farooqi Haveli are some the important havelis of Jhunjhunu town. The other attractions include Rani Sati Temple, Badani Chand Well, Dargah of Kamrud-din Shah, Bihariji Temple, Mertani Baoli, Khetri Mahal, and Badal Fort.
Located 32 km north-westwards of Jhunjhunu, Bissau is a small town that was founded by Kesri Singh. The gems that you can visit here are Motiram Jasraj Sigtia Haveli (now a junior school), Haveli of Girdarilal Sigtia, and Chhatri of Hammir Singh.
Placed 6 km from Bissau, Mahansar is a small village that was founded in the 18th century by Nawal Singh. This place, though does not has several attractions but some its havelis must be visited. Sona ki dukan haveli with its exotic Meenakari work and Sahaj Ram Poddar Chhatri are prime attractions here.
One of the most- visited places in Shekhawati, Mandawa became popular in the 18th century. One of the best attractions here is Castle Mandawa, an impressive fort. It has now been turned into a heritage hotel of Mandawa. The town also has some stunning havelis belonging to Nevatia & Ladia, Saraf and Chokhanias.Explore Packages
Parasrampura boasts of housing some of the most stunning and oldest paintings in the Shekhawati region. Gopinath Mandir, Shamji Safarh Haveli and Thakur Shardul Singh cenotaph with superb paintings on the inner side look wonderful.
Once the largest feudatory or thikana in the Jaipur state, Sikar is now a district headquarter. Sagarmal Sodhani, Madho Niwas, and havelis of Murarka, Biyani and Somani, Madan Mohan temple, Gopinath temples, Jublee Hall, Raghunath temple and Sikar fort are popular attractions in and around Sikar.
Founded around a temple square, Mukundgarh is a small town that houses the Mukundgarh Fort, which is now a heritage hotel. You can shop here for handicrafts for high-quality textiles and brass objects along with visiting Kanoria and Ganeriwala Havelis.
Although this place doesn’t falls in the Shekhawati region but Churru still is connected due to the history of its traders and caravan outpost connects. Here you can explore Churu Fort, Jain temple, Ganga temple, Poddar haveli, Kothari Haveli, Kanhaiya Lal Bagla Haveli, and Taknet Chhatri.
Founded in the 18th century, Khetri is the second richest feudatory in the Jaipur state. Here, you can visit a number of attractions such as Hari Singh temple, Raghunath temple, Ram Krishan Mission, Panna lal Sha ka Talab, Sukh Mahal, and Bhopgarh Fort.
Pilani is a small village that shot to fame because of being the home of the affluent Birla family. In the present times, the place is also known for housing one of India’s best educational institutions. For the purpose of sightseeing, there is Panhwati temple, Saraswati temple amd BITS museum.
How to reach Shekhawati
Sanganer Airpot in Jaipur is the nearest airport to Shekhawati that is located at a distance of 150 km. This airport is well-connected to important cities of India like Delhi and Mumbai. The nearest international airport is the Indira Gandhi International Airport of Delhi.
The major nearest railway stations close to Shekhawati are in Jaipur and Bikaner. The other nearest railway station is the Jhunjhunu Railhead. Trains to Shekhawati are available from Jaipur and Delhi. Fatehpur and Sikar are located on the Jaipur–Bikaner road. Whike Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Nawalgarh are on Jaipur-Delhi railway line, Churu is on Delhi–Bikaner.
Reaching Shekhawati by road is easy. Buses are available from Delhi to Shekhawati from Dhaula Kuan, ISBT and Sarai Kale Khan. Frequent Rajasthan State Public Transport buses and buses by private owners are also available from Bikaner, Jaipur and other places within the region.
Weather in Shekhawati
The best time to visit Shekhawati is between the months of October and March. The temperatures remain on the lower side at this time making the duration conducise for sightseeinf and other activities. Also the annual Shekhawati Festival is organized every year in the first half of February, at Nawalgarh. Avoid the summer months as the temperatures go as high as 45 to 47 degree Celsius.
Festivals of Shekhawati
Rajasthan is extremely popular for its festivals that are celebrated with a lot of zeal, pomp and enthusiasm. These festivals are the best time to savor and enjoy the rich culture, the sumptuous local delicacies, witness the wonderful arts and crafts and be witness to a number of competitions. Gangaur, Teej, Navratri that comes twice a year, Diwali and Holi are the main festivals of Shekhawati region. Another popular event here is the Shekhawati festival that is celebrated every year in February by Morarka foundation. This event is held in Nawalgarh.