A small semi desert region in north Rajasthan Shekhawati is situated entirely within the triangle formed by Delhi-Bikaner-Jaipur. Shekhawati represents an entire region and is not just a town or fort. The region derives its name from its ruler Rao Shekha. Shekhawati means the garden of Shekha.
The towns of Shekhawati region are well known for their amazing painted havelis. So varied and architecturally rich are the havelis that this region is also named as the “open art gallery of Rajasthan” by the art-lovers. Enriched by the painted Havelis in rich artistic tradition really fascinates the visitors. Most of the buildings are dated from 18th century to early 20th century. The Shekhawati region is dotted with so many havelis that tracking them is something akin to a treasure hunt. Various forms of fine art decorates the walls and the ceilings of these structures as a contrast to the otherwise flat and barren land. The havelis are noted for their frescoes depicting mythological themes and huge animals. Some later day frescoes reflect British influence in the form of steam locomotives and trains depicted on them. Thus the place is named as open air art gallery by the art lovers.
Places to see at Shekhawati: The exceptionally beautiful painted havelis are the major tourist attractions in the Shekhawati region.
The 18th century town of Mandawa is famous for its enchanting havelis. It is located in the Jhunjhunu district. A painted archway decorated with Lord Krishna and his cowherds leads to the bazaar. The terrace of castle Mandawa offers a panoramic view of the town. It also has a magnificent fort, now a hotel, with excellent paintings and a small museum. The most attractive havelis in Mandawa include Chokhani, Saraf, Goenka, Ladia and Gulab Rai havelis, all of them displaying some of the finest murals in Shekhawati on both the exterior and interior walls.
Located in the centre of the Shekhawati region, Dundlod is famous for its 18th century fort and havelis. The Fort’s Diwan-e-Khana is furnished with stained glass windows and good paintings. The Jagathia and Goenka havelis with beautiful frescoes courtyards are the major tourist attractions in Dundlod.
Nawalgarh is famous for some of the finest frescoes in the Shekhawati region. This town was founded in 1737 by Thakur Nawal Singh, The town has a fort and a number of beautiful havelis including the Aath Haveli, Anaadilal Poddar Haveli, Jodhraj Patodia Haveli, Bansidhar Bhagat Haveli, and Chokhani Haveli.
Built around a temple square, a few kilometres from Nawalgarh, Mukungarh has a magnificent fort, which is now converted, into a resort hotel with all modern amenities. There are a few prominent properties here in the form of havelis of Kanoria and Ganriwal, which carry fine examples of fresco paintings.
Jhunjhunu is a serene location in the Shekhawati, famous for its beautifully painted havelis. The 18th century Khetri Mahal, BiharijiTemple and Mertani Baori (step-well) with beautiful paintings are the major tourist attractions in Jhunjhunu. Among havelis the Modi Haveli has some of the best paintings in the Shekhawati area. The 19th century Tibrewala Haveli in the main bazaar has many murals on it and colored glass windows.
Bhopal Singh, the founder of Khetri is believed to have built it in 1770 AD.Located behind a series of lanes Khetri Mahal is one of the finest examples of Shekhawati art and architecture. Though now desolate the beauty and symmetry of its elegant arches can still be appreciated.
Once a small village, it is now famous for being the hometown of the premier business and industrial family, the Birlas. The town is also known for The Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS, Pilani), an all-India Institute for higher education. Its engineering college is reputed to be among the top ten colleges in India. Late Mr G.D. Birla – an eminent industrialist and an associate of Mahatma Gandhi founded the Institute. Other places of interest are The BITS Museum, Shiva Ganga, Saraswati temple and the Pachwati. Pilani is connected by road from Delhi and Jaipur. Its nearest railhead is Chirawa. Pilani also has good hotels.
Churu is also famous for its excellent havelis. Here the major tourist attractions in Churu the Kanhaiya Lal Bagla Haveli (1870), the Kothari Haveli (1915) and the Surana Haveli with more then 1,100 doors and windows. Churu Fort is another not to be missed attraction here.
Once ruled by the Muslim Nawabs, Fatehpur is a historic town in Shekhawati, famous for its beautiful frescoes. The frescoes on the Devra and Singhania havelis are an outstanding combination of Indian and Western styles. Goenka Haveli has excellent paintings on its walls, including several depicting Krishna’s pastimes.
Salasar Balaji refers to famous temple of Shankatmochan Hanuman, which is located in a small town called Salasar. The holy temple requires no introduction to Hindus any where in the world. The history of this temple dates back to 1811 AD. In a village called Asota a farmer while ploughing his field struck a rock under the earth and recovered it. When it was cleaned by his wife, it emerged as an idol of Lord Hanuman. The Thakur of that village dreamt of being asked to shift the idol to Salasar. At the same time, a devotee of Lord Hanuman called Mean Das also had an identical dream. The idol was thus sent to Salasar with all care and devotion for installation. The village came to known as the Salasar Dham. There is now a well developed concrete temple with a large complex. Lakhs of followers from all over the world visit this holy place all the year around.
The legend of this immensely popular Krishna temple can be traced back to the epic, Mahabharat ,where Barbareek, the son of great Pandav brother, Bhim and Nag Kanya (snake princess) displayed his great martial skills. This pleased Lord Shiva who gave his blessings in the form of three infallible arrows (‘Teen Ban’) and Agni Dev (fire god) gave him a bow to enable him to conquer all the three worlds. In order to watch the famous war of Mahabharat he rode towards the battle field and in between his tryst with Lord Krishna in disguise became a vital part of history and thus the incarnation of Khatu Shamji.
Is another small town of fluctuating fortunes. Keshri Singh founded the town. It fell into anarchy when his grandson Shyam Singh extorted huge sums of money from the local merchants. The merchants packed up and fled the town and the local Thakurs indulged in looting and theft. However, after the death of Shyam Singh, his heir restored normalcy and the merchants were encouraged to return.
The famous temple of Maa Bhagwati Shakambhari, also known as Sakarai Mata, is situated in Sikar district of Shekhawati region. The temple is 56 kms east of Sikar located amidst the green valley of the Aravalis.
Nearby attractions from Shekhawati: From Shekhawati you can make a visit to places like
The pink city of India is just 8km from Shekhawati. This is one of the most favoured tourist destinations in India. The city is filled with forts, monuments, palaces, gardens, temples and museums.
Bikaner is another popular tourist spot that is just 5hrs from Bikaner. The place is famous for its sweets namely the Bikaneri Bhujia. The city has several important tourist spots such as Junagarh Fort and Lalgarh Palace. There are other prominent tourist spots such as Laxmi Niwas Palace, Shivbari Temple, Karni Mata Temple, and Gajner Palace.
Things to do in Shekhawati: While visiting Shekhawati, you can enjoy a range of leisure activities like taking a leisure walk trip of havelis, Horse and Camel Safaris and shopping for imitations of art pieces from the havelis on cloth, decorative items or carved furniture such as chests, chairs, cradles, low tables, stools and wooden doors. The colorful Shekhawati Festival held every year in the month of February is another must see attraction in Shekhawati.
Best time to visit Shekhawati: The prime time to visit Shekhawati is from October until March, when the weather is the coolest and driest. If you go in early February, you’ll be able to catch the annual Shekhawati Festival that takes place in Nawalgarh.
How to go ?
Sanganer Airport Jaipur (150 Km approx.) is the nearest one after Indira Gandhi International Airport of New Delhi (250 Km approx). Direct flights from all the major cities of the world touches DelhiAirport. Hence it is easy for one to reach Shekhawati from any corner of the world by first arriving at Delhi and then taking either Rail or Road route to reach Shekhawati.
The nearest Railway Station is Jhunjhunu Railway Station which is connected to the all major cities of Rajasthan like Jaipur, Sariska, Delhi, Indore and Pune through Rewari-Sikar Passenger, Shekhawati Express and Sadulpur Passenger.
Just 8 Kms from Jaipur, Shekhawati is very well connected to various major cities by road.
Where to stay ?
Not many accommodation facilities are available in Shekhawati. Some options are:
Tourist Bungalow ( RTDC): +91-1592-238266
Hotel Apani Dhani Tourist Lodge: + 91-1594-222239 Website: www.apanidhani.com
Hotel Shekhawati: +91- 01592-223036 Website: www.hotelshekhawati.com
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.