Shekhawati

Shekhawati has been sometimes dubbed the Open Art Gallery of Rajasthan. This semi arid region lies in the triangle formed between the cities Bikaner, Jaipur and Delhi and is replete with Havelis adorned with beautiful wall paintings belonging mostly from 18th and 19th centuries. Shekhawati also has various small fortresses, minor castles, mosques, wells called baolis and a deer sanctuary. Many of the Palaces have been turned into luxury hotels with royal facilities and services. Some of the historical monuments are Mandawa Fort, Dundlod Fort, Roop Niwas Kothi Palace, Mukundgarh Fort, Narain Niwas Castle, Alsisar Mahal and Dera Danta Kila. Shekhawati is well connected by road with the nearest airport in Jaipur and nearest railhead at Jhunjhunu.
Best time to visit: October to March
Languages spoken: Hindi, Marwari
Climate: Extremely hot summers and pleasant winters
Heritage sites: Mandawa Fort, Dundlod Fort, Roop Niwas Kothi Palace, Mukundgarh Fort, Narain Niwas Castle, Alsisar Mahal, Dera Danta Kila, Castle Pachar, Surajgarh Fort, Arooka Castle, Havelis with wall paintings
Activities: Camel Safari

Crowning glory of Shekhawati: Haveli of Nadine Le Prince (Fatehpur)

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Then Lia brought us to the cultural center. It had mainly three sections. The first section was dedicated to paintings and the tribal art. Each frame was magnificent. Nevertheless, two pictures really attracted me. The first was the paining on goat skin, depicting of “Ram hunting”. The richness of its colour was excellent. It was done by an unknown tribal artist.

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Cherishing Shekhawati Cuisine: Food Tour

Cherishing Shekhawati Cuisine: Food Tour

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The all-India favourite dish called “पानीपूरी” (a flatbread filled with water) was also prevalent in Shekhawati. It has retained its charm over the masses because of its tangy taste and mouth-watering recipe. Many a times, this street food had to face the wrath of the puritans

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Classic Nawalgarh : Transport Museum in Poddar’s haveli

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Such passenger-carts had generally flat open surfaces on top so as to accommodate many passengers. I can think of only one plausible reason for such open carts, which can be attributed to the basic structure of our rain-based agrarian economy. As the people were busy during the rainy season, it prevented the mass from travelling from one place to the other in that season. But, just for the sake of fun, let’s imagine the scene of a drawing room of any transporter of 18th-19th Century. Their discussions on selecting the best model of the passenger-carts might have revolved around the durability of their design, availability of open space for carrying more number of people with their respective luggage and the probable cost of travel.

The bigger challenge, however, is to guess the complex mechanism of pricing their so-called “tickets”. How to fix the charge or the cost of travel, when the eating habits and the quantity of edible food of the animal differed from one transporter to another!

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Classic Nawalgarh : Special Frescos

Classic Nawalgarh : Special Frescos

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In medieval period, the inhabitation in Shekhawati was in the form of walled cities having gates at different directions. The role of the ruling royalty was to give protection to the citizen living under their dominions. Similarly, the role of the business families was to trade and pay taxes to the royalty for the maintenance and protection of the cities. However, the administrative structure was changing fast.

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Sundari Sekhawati

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The Aravallis cut across Jaipur and Sekhawati regions in North Rajasthan. The climatic conditions in the region are very harsh and extreme, ranging from sub-zero Celsius in winter to more than 50°C in summer. People of this region are known for their bravery and hard work and it is a fertile breeding ground for Jawans in Indian Army! Two districts of modern day Rajasthan, i.e. Jhunjhunu and Sikar can administratively be considered as the constituents of “Sekhawati” region. However the Churu district is equally important as the Sekhawati dialect is also spoken here and famous painted Havelis and Forts are omnipresent in all these three districts. The Haveli was to Banias, what the Fort was to Rajputs, an abode.

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