means the land of Shekhs. Its name is derived from Rao Shekha,
who belong to the Kachhwaha family of Jaipur who ruled from 1433
- 1488 AD. Shekhawati is a historical area which is situated in
the north eastern part of Rajasthan. It is situated in the
triangle between Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner. It is dwelling of
India’s mercantile community, the Marwaris, Marwaris are now
running their own businesses in different parts of the country
and the world. The marwaris built various havelis. Shekhawati is
well-known for painted havelis that represent a rich artistic
custom of the region. Shekhawati was a part of the Jaipur state
earlier, now it covers the districts of Sikar and Jhunjhunu.
Languages which are spoken in Shekhawati are Rajasthani, Marwari
In the area of Shekhawati the prominent attractions are the
wonderful havelis which were built by the Marwaris who were the
rich merchants of the region. Founded to ensure protection from
the heat of the harsh and long summers these havelis exhibits a
distinctive architectural style and have attractive wall
paintings. Havelis of Shekhawati were painted in maroon, green,
blue, indigo and yellow colors in the mural style of Shekhawati.
The style of mural painting is known as ala gila. The colours
mixed into a paste were applied on to the damp wall with a
plaster of lime paste through polishing, burnishing and beating.
Jhunjhunwala Haveli: Jhunjhunwala haveli displays a
prominent gold leaf which is a painted room positioned to the right
of main courtyard.
Murmuria Haveli: The paintings of trains, cars, George
V, and Venice were executed on the walls of this haveli during the
1930s by Balu Ram, one of the last working artists of the region. In
pictures - like Lord Krishna with his cows in the English courtyard
and a young Nehru on a horseback, holding the national flag - this
haveli uses a unique theme blending the East with the West. The
haveli also features a long frieze depicting a train with a crow
flying above the engine and much activity at the railway crossing.
Hanuman Prasad Goenka Haveli:
This haveli has a painting which exhibits Lord Shiva on his Nandi
bull and Indra Dev on an elephant.
Goenka Double Haveli:
Goenka Double Haveli exhibits two gates which have a monumental
façade of horses and elephants. Havelis balcony, walls and storeys
are decorated with different paintings and patterns which vary from
religious patterns and traditional Rajasthani women to Europeans
wearing stylish hats and other Victorian finery.
Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli:
Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli is situated in the south of town of
Shekhawati where the ornamentation of the inner and outer walls is
finest in Shekhawati. Blue washes in the haveli depicts 20th century
restriction of the erotic scenes that were commonly acceptable one
hundred years ago.
The subjects of the Shekhawati wall paintings (1830 AD - 1900 AD)
were altered over the period of time but were based on variety of
tales of rulers and scenes of great battles, and photographs of
well-known rulers were painted in the chhatris of the wells or in
the castles of the Rajput feudal chiefs who look after small
feudatory states in this area.
Religious: The main
entrance and interior spaces of the haveli consists of religious and
fabulous images. Indian religious myths and tales were the main
subject of these havelis so that whole canvases could be covered
with the marriage parades of gods. In the circular ceilings below
grounds the myths of Krishna and Ras Leelas can be seen.
Secular: External walls
of Shekhawati are painted with the aspects of daily life and were
clearly inspirational and depicts their lifestyle clearly. These
include scenes of processions of caparisoned elephants of celebrated
lovers such as Maru and Dhola and trompe I’oeil paintings which
creates suspension of belief in disbelief. Among the paintings
wonderful representations are a camel straddling a small window, the
women peeping out of windows and a staircase turning into an
elephant with the balustrade in its trunk. The turn of the 19th
century saw the appearance of new designs due to the British Raj’s
influence upon the Indian culture. Wall paintings of Shekhawati were
collapsed by 1930 which resulted in the migration of the Marwari
Floral: The work was very
simple earlier, very few colours were used which consists of floral
motifs. Then, floral work was generally reserved for arches and
pillars. The floral designs were used to create frames and unite a
complete section, within which There are canvases of paintings. Only
floral representations of foliage can be found in the few Muslim
Places in Shekhawati
Important tourist places in Shekhawati are Jhunjhunu,
Sikar, Fatehpur, Dundlod, Lachhmangarh, Khatu Shyamji, Chirawa,
Mukundgarh, Mandawa, Nawalgarh, Pilani and Shakambari. There are
various heritage hotels in Shekhawati. Some of these historic hotels
are perfect illustrations of the fortifications of the area. These
are the true fortunes of Rajasthan’s open air art galley.
Jhunjhunu: Jhunjhunu is
the capital of Shekhawati, it is one of the biggest town of the
district. It was built in the mid 15th century AD by the Kayamkhani
Nawabs and remain under their control. In 1730 AD it was taken over
by the Rajput ruler Sardul Singh. Jhunjhunu has some magnificently
painted havelis. Ishwar Das-Mohan Das Modi, Khaitans and Nar Singh
Das Tibriwal are easily reachable from Jhunjhunu. Most well-known
temple of Jhunjhunu is Rani Sati temple. The most attractive
monument of Jhunjhunu is the Khatri Mahal (the Wind Palace) which
dates back to around 1760 A.D. Sri Bihariji Temple is famous for its
Sikar: The largest "thikana"
(Feudal state) under Jaipur is Sikar, which was founded in the late
17th century. Important places to visit in Sikar are the fort and
temples of Raghunath, Gopinath and Madan Mohan, Madho Niwas Kothi,
Biwani Haveli, Jain temple, Jubilee Hall, Sodhani Haveli. Sikar also
has a large market which is worth to visit.
Fatehpur: Fatehpur was
built by Fateh Khan, a Kayamkhani Nawab in the mid 15th century.
Fatehpur is well-known for beautiful havelis and supreme
wall-paintings. Havelis of Fatehpur offers a blend of the Indian and
the western styles of architecture. Some of the prominent havelis
are Singhania and Chamariya havelis. Many wealthy merchants are
attracted towards Fatehpur due to its central location. It is one of
the finest sources for observing some of the supreme art in the
foundation of Lachhmangarh was laid by Raja Lachhman Singh of Sikar
in the early 19th century. modeled to resemble the city plan of
Jaipur, Lachhmangarh offers a bird’s eye view of the town.
Lachhmangarh is one of the most magnificent forts in the Shekhawati
region. The town of Lachhmangarh has a lot of unusual subjects which
are painted on its remarkable havelis.
Khatu Shyamji: Khatu
Shyamji is well-known for the Shri Shyamji Temple which was
constructed in white marble.
Shakambari: Shakambari is
enclosed by hills on three sides. It is a perfect place for picnic.
It is well-known for its 7th century temple which was devoted to
Nawalgarh: The foundation
of Nawalgarh was laid in the 18th century. Nawalgarh has the finest
of Shekhawati’s paintings. Two palace and forts hotel of Nawalgarh
with fountains and garden along with a host of temples are
well-known for their architecture and wall paintings. Famous havelis
are Bhagats, Dangaichs and Poddars.
Mandawa: The foundation
of Mandawa was laid in the 18th century, it is the heart of the
region of Shekhawati. Some of the wonderful havelis in Mandawa are
Ladia havelis, Saraf havelis and Chokhani. A medieval fort dominates
the town of Mandawa which is now changed into a heritage hotel. This
fort has a painted arched gateway which is decorated with Lord
Krishna and his cows. A Shiva temple with a rock crystal lingam is
also a prominent place to visit.