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)

By

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.

Read More
Cherishing Shekhawati Cuisine: Food Tour

Cherishing Shekhawati Cuisine: Food Tour

By

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

Read More

Classic Nawalgarh : Transport Museum in Poddar’s haveli

By

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!

Read More
Classic Nawalgarh : Special Frescos

Classic Nawalgarh : Special Frescos

By

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.

Read More

Sundari Sekhawati

By

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.

Read More

Classic Nawalgarh, The Morarka Haveli – Anatomy of a Shekhawati Haveli

By

It was gradually becoming more interesting. Though the guide could address many of my curiosity, I was still left with one more. I knew that 150-200 years ago, the motorized transportation had not begun with full swing. People used to travel on foot, on dolis, on animals etc. So, I wanted to know about their provisioning in the havelis.

“Where did they keep their horses, carts and elephants? And what were the facilities for their maintenance?” I asked. My guide took me to an open space, adjacent to the main mansion. It was the place for facilities like keeping domestic animals. There were also the rooms for servants or animal-keepers. This area was also equally decorated with frescoes. There he said, “This is called “नोहरा”. It was here they kept their cattle and other domestic animals. The means of transport like horse-carts or camel-carts were also kept here only.”

Read More

Charming Jhunjhunu: Top Must See 7 Monuments

By

I feel that water harvesting was the most important aspect of the life in Shekhawati. Mainly three methods were used to harvest the rainfall. They constructed ornamental well near their locality to collect the water underneath the surface of the earth. They also constructed Step-well (bawri) to collect more water partly above the earth surface and partly underneath. Thirdly, they used to construct Johara, which was an alternate of artificial pond. The following picture of Johra was taken near Fatehpur.

Read More

Charming Jhunjhunu: Rani Sati Temple

By

After paying our tribute to all the twelve sati, we went inside the main mandapam of the Rani Sati. It was huge structure similar to those found in the Rama Krishna Mission temples. Lots of space was available for people to sit and pray. There was no statue of any sati. Instead a simple trident depicting the Goddess was placed for devotees to pray before her. The walls and columns of the mandapam were again beautifully painted. Two or three purohits were helping the devotees in offering prayers there. The followers of Rani Sati trace her origin from the times of Mahabharata, in which she was the wife of Arjuna’s son Abhimanyu. Her name was Uttara. She wanted to perform the rites of sati, when Abhimanyu died in the Mahabharata battle. Then, Lord Krishna persuaded her not to do so, giving her a boon that she would get an opportunity to perform Sati in her next birth. As prophesied by Krishna, she was born in modern-day Rajasthan (Shekhawati) and Abhimanyu was born near modern-day Hissar in Haryana. Her name was Narayani and Abhimanyu’s name was Tandhan. He had a beautiful horse, which was also eyed by the King’s son. However, in the battle for the horse, king’s son was killed. Further, an infuriated king killed Tandhan in the battle. The brave Narayani, after killing the King in revenge, performed sati at the pyre of her husband. She was supported by the caretaker of the horse, named Ranaji. For his efforts, the brave sati granted Rana Ji a boon that his name would always be remembered before her vey name. Thus, the name “Rani Sati” came into existence.

Read More

Charming Jhunjhunu: Making of Lac Bangles (Shekhawati style)

By

If the second craftsman was satisfied with the measurement, his next function was to join the two ends of the rolled lac to make it into a bangle. For this, he brought both the ends of the rolled lac over the coal-burner and heated it for appropriate state of melting. The lac then binds itself and both ends join together. However, to make the joining spot invisible to the naked eyes, the craftsman had to rub off the uneven surfaces and make it smooth. He used a wooden handle for that function. Now, the bangle of the basic shape and size was made. It was handed over to another set of craftsmen for designing and sticking of semi-precious or artificial stones/glass pieces so as to make it attractive.

Read More