Imagine township with havelis which have works of an painted on them.You’ll find it in shekhawati,a colourful fantasy also popularly called the open air art gallery. [Rajasthan tour, travel to India, budget tour in rajasthan, camel tour]
Shekhawati,meaning the land of Shekha’s clan,derived its name from Rao Shekha(1433-1488) a scion of the Kachchhwaha family of Amber.Earlier part of Jaipur state,it now comprises the districts of Jhunjhunu and sikar.
Initially,a blank monochromatic region,but with subsequent historical and social developments,it blossomed into a colourful profusion of art and life over two centuries from 1750 to 1930 A.D.
Built by rich merchants,the havelis,splashed with blues,yellows,greens and indigo have breathtaking privacy for womens folk and protection from the scorching heat of summer.
The earlier wall paintings(1830 AD-1900AD) were mythological in content,depicting local legends,animals,portraits,hunting and wrestling scenes.With the turn of the century,new motifs made an appreance.Cars replaced elephants,traditional Indian miniatures mingled with western paintings styles producing hybrid results.
Founded in the 17th century,Sikar was the largest ‘Thikana’(feudal state) under Jaipur.Worth visiting are temples of Gopinath,Raghunath and Madan Mohan with their commendable frescoes.Other attractions frescoes.Other attractions include the Jublie Hall,Mardha Niwas Kothi,Biyani haveli,Sodhani Haveli,the Jain temple along along with the large market.
Harsh Nath Temple:An ancient 10th century temple situated on the Harsh Nath hills.
Jeen Mata Temple:Believed o have been built a thousand years ago,the temple is the avenue of a colourful fair held twice a year during ‘Navaratras’.
Lachhmangarh:One of a most imposing forts in the Shekhawati region,Lachhmangarh commands a bird’s eye view of the town modelled to resemble the city plan of Jaipur.Founded in the early 19t century by Raja Lachhman Singh of Sikar,the town has some lovely havelis.
Ramgarh:Founded in the late 18th century by the Poddars.The Shani temple dedicated to Saturn god has delicately frescoes.Marvellous cenotraphs of the poddars has exquisitely painted ceilings.The Ganga temple and some beautiful havelis add interest to the town.
Fatehpur:Founded in the mid 15t century by Fateh Khan-a Kayamkhani Nawab,the town is matched frescoes.Its central location attraced many wealthy merchants and has some exquisite havelis-a combination of the Western styles.
Khatu Shyamji:The village is famous for the Shri Shyam ji Temple,built in white marble.
Shakambhari:Famous for its 7th century temple dedicated to Sakari mata,the temple is surrounded by hills on the three sides.An ideal picnic spot.
Mandawa :Founded in the 18th century this medieval fort dominates the town with a painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows.The Chokhani Goenka and Ladia havelis and the street with Saraf haveli are some of the splendid examples of this region.
A Shiva temple with a rock crystal ‘Lingam’ is also worth visit.The fort is now converted into a heritage hotel.
Mukundgarh:Known for its fine havelis,the fort is now a heritage hotel.
Nawalgarh:Founded in the 18th century,it has the finest shekhawati frescoes.Its two old forts and palace hotel with garden and fountains along with a host of temples known for their architecture and frescoes add interest to the town.