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Shekhawati Rajasthan - The Land of Multi-Hued Frescoes

Shekhawati is world renowned for its painted havelis and paintings, noted for their frescos depicting mythological and historical themes. Wherever you sight, frescoes smile back. Its floral representation on painted forts, chhatris (cenotaphs), temples and havelis (mansions), add everlasting charm to visit this region again and again.
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Historical Past of Shekhawati !!!
Various nooks and corner of the town will sojourn you to the simple lifestyle of Shekhawati Region. Explore this simple, quite town, keeping alive the rich heritage in form of its fascinating painting gallery. Shekhawati dwells into the semi-barren arena of the northern Rajasthan, lies in the triangular belt between Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner.
Hot Tour Packages - Heritage Tour with Heritage Hospitality
Its history dates back to the 14th century, when some of the Muslim invaders with their caravans moved in the deserted town, which they developed according to their needs and businesses. Later on with their efforts, this semi-desert emerged as an important trading centre from the port of Gujrat. The arena of Shekhawati literally means the "Garden of Shekha," which is derived from one of its prominent ruler Rao Shekha in the ancient times. At the time, when Mughal Empire fell into decline after the death of Auranzeg in the year 1707. The descendants of Rao Shekha, who were already ruling the territory to the east of Aravalli Range, emerged powerful in front of various clans to occupy the regions of north and west.

Factroid
You know some of the richest merchants of Kolkotta hailed form the tint region of Shekhawati. Some of India's wealthiest industrialists of the 20th century, such as the Birla, were originally Marwaris.
The crowned head "Rao Sheka" retained a nominal loyalty from the Rajput state of Jaipur, who in turn honored him with the title "Tazimi Sardar". The landed immigrants of Shekhawati were ferocious warriors, sacrificing and hard working folk. In fact this region provides the highest number of persons to the Indian Army. Whereas the Shekhawati soil also produced large number of Marwaris, who were driving the economy of India since decades. Today Shekhawati has immerged as a painting gallery well preserving its historical heritage. Havelis, beautiful paintings, architecture wonders, which act as an eye opener for most of the excursionist and tourist. Presently, Shekhawati covers an area of some 30,000 square kilometers and hold the administrative districts of Chura, Jhunjhunu and Sikar. As one walk down the narrow lanes or simply drive through the outstretched towns of Shekhawati like Nawalgarh, Dundlod, Mukungarh, Jhunjhunu, Salasar, Balaji, Mandawa, Sikar, Fatehpur, can see the brilliant works of art. These are some of the real treasures offered by the Rajasthan's open art gallery.

The Touch of Maharajas !!!
When the Marwaris made their first foray with the Maharajahs and Thakurs, whom they served, they found that there was money to be made from establishing business in distant centres. Under the British their prosperity aspired even higher, and they took their business to Calcutta and Surat and other pockets of influence. With the money they made, they ordered lavish havelis back home, and in order to make them attractive, had them painted in what has come to be defined as the Shekhawati fresco style. A sense of competitiveness brought in excess, since this provided the worth of the owner's presumed wealth.

Off- Treck
In the 18th and 19th centuries, Marwari merchants sent back their vast fortunes to their families in Shekhawati to construct grand Havelis - traditional, ornately decorated mansions, to show their richness in the society.
The havelis are guarded at the entrance by large wooden doors. Within these, a smaller door is normally used for daily movements. Intricate wooden carvings with fancy brass iron fittings demonstrating the owners wealth. The ground floor is normally recessed in such a way that balconies overhang the street. It was from the latticed windows on the balconies and over the courtyards that women were able to get a glimpse of the mens world. The facade, the gateways, the courtyard walls, the parapets and ceilings, were all covered with frescoes.

Getting There !!!
Airways : Jaipur's "Sanganer Airport" is the nearest Airdrome, lying 120 km far from Shekhawati. The domestic airport is regularly serviced by a number of airlines. Several flights connect Jaipur to cities like, Delhi, Mumbai, Udaipur. Once in Jaipur, the tourist can look for RSTC buses that ply regularly to Shekhawati in a regular intervals of time.

Railways : There are several rail connections to Shekhawati. The 9734 Shekhawati Express leaves Nawalgarh at 10.00 pm, arriving Delhi's Sarai Rohilla Station at 5.30 am. Another train is 9733 Shekhawati Express leaves Nawalgarh at 6.33 am, reaching Jaipur at 10.00 am. Jaipur and Bikaner are the two major train depot near Shekhawati. Number of important trains link these stations with Jodhpur, Udaipur, Delhi and Mumbai.

Roadways : An extensive network of roads covers the region. The best way to access Shekhawati by road is from Jaipur or from Bikaner. Both of the cities are well networked by roads with many other cities in Rajasthan and northern part of India. Some important distances from Shekhawati are Bikaner is 237 km, Jaipur is 205 km, Jodhpur is 316 km, Sikar to Delhi is 299 Km via Jhunjhunu, Sikar to Jaipur is 114 Km, Jhunjhunu to Jaipur is 182 Km, Jhunjhunu to Bikaner is 230 Km and Jhunjhunu to Churu is 52 Km.

Local Transport : The most suitable mode of transportation within the open art gallery of Rajasthan "Shekhawati" are bicycles, cycle rickshaws, city buses, auto rickshaws, which are easily available at various important and major junctions of the town.

... Safaris      

The Gracious Royal Havelis !!!
Havelis - the royal mansions, one of the prime most attractions of the Shekhawati. There are clusters of stunning Havelis in this semi desert town, which were once build by the Royal Ratputana
Hot Tour Packages - Heritage Tour with Heritage Hospitality
and wealthy merchants, decked with rich carvings, painted murals, temples, courtyards, stone inlays, ornamental lattice and unique architecture. Some of them have bent the wheel of time and are in excellent condition even today. The word Haveli literally means enclosed place. In earlier times, havelis were generally the town houses, also known as the kothis or garden houses of suburbs. The original function of a haveli, apart from providing a residence, was to wall-in the domestic life of a family. The most interesting feature of Shekhawati Havelis is, most of them are having two courtyards, the outer (Mardana) and inner (Zanana). The outer courtyard serves as an extended threshold, since the main gate is seldom shut. The inner one is the domain of women who are entirely occupied with household chores.

Factroid
The most popular paintings of Shekhawati depict the legend of Dhola Maru - the Romeo and Juliet of Shekhawati. The lovers decided to elope from the kingdom but were chased to death by their own people.
Shekhawati Paintings - Obtaining of these Rare Masterpiece !!!
The Havelis of Shekhawati are adored with superb pigments, which were obtained from iron rich sediments (greens, yellows, ochers), lampblack (black), indigo (blues), stone powder (red), saffron (orange) and chalk (white). The process of creating the frescoes was tedious. A wall was given two layers of clay plaster, a third of mortar into which finely cut pieces of hessian were added, and followed by a coat of plaster using lime, gravel or brick dust. Another coat of lime also used marble dust. The final coat consisted of sieved lime dust made into a paste using sour buttermilk and jaggery. This was the basic surface on which the painters had to draw and fill in colours while the uppermost layer was still wet. This was then polished with smooth agate and dry coconut rubbed in to seal in the paintings. The exercise may have been arduous, but it ensured that the paintings lasted over a century, their only damage being man made more than being wrought by nature.

Considering that most of these paintings are out in the open, this is all the more surprising. The subjects of the Shekhawati frescoes ranged across a variety of themes and changed over time, from the late 18th century when it began, to the early 20th century by when it had almost totally degenerated. But the fabulous work of painters is still alive to set your heart on it and one can easily find himself spending hours on gazing at the various corners of the magnificent Havelis.

Factroid
You know some of the Haveli walls are painted from the ground to the eaves, with some of the unique scenes featuring modern inventions, such as trains and airplanes, painted by artists who had never seen them. Krishna and Radha are seen in flying off in a Rolls Royce, isn't it amazing.
Composition of Great Shekhawati Art !!!
Floral Representation : The early work tended to be simple, using fewer colours, and consisted of floral interpretations of motifs. Later, floral work was mostly reserved for the more awkward elements of architecture, such as pillars and arches. More commonly, floral motifs were used to create frames and unite a complete section, within which were canvases of paintings. In the few Muslim havelis, only floral representations of foliage are to be found.

Religious Faiths : A great body of the vast amount of work, particularly in interior spaces and around the main entrances, tended to be a mythical and religious record of the people. The subjects, however, were not always painted in idolatry form, but used subjects from Indian religious legends and fables, so that entire canvases could be covered with the marriage processions of gods, or their great wars with the demons or depictions from the Ramayana. The legends of Krishna, and in particular Ras Leela, find representation in the circular ceilings below domes.

Historical Spot : Tales of valour are omnipresent and consist of a historical cast as well as scenes of great battles, and portraits of well known rulers. Mostly, these were painted in the chhatris of the wells or in the castles of the Rajput feudal chiefs, who used to control small feudatory states in this region. Most of the external walls represent aspects of life that were clearly aspirational or a commentary on their lifestyles. These consisted of scenes of processions of caparisoned elephants, of celebrated lovers such as Dhola and Maru. Women peeping out of windows, a camel straddling a small window, or a staircase turning into an elephant with the balustrade its trunk, these were some of the more delightful representations.

Factroid
The paintings became the livelihood of the Shekawati rural folk generating employment within the safe home environment, besides protecting from the heat of long and harsh summers.
Adventurous Thrill - Royal Rides Sat on Horse Back !!!
Shekhawati horse safaris are amongst the best safaris arranged for tourists in desert dunes of Rajasthan. In fact horse safari is better way to reveal the diverse images of the dazzling countryside in Shekhawati region. At every corner it will feast you with the superlative impressions for rest of your lives. There are number of safaris organized from Sep - to March, the fall of tourist seasons, when swarm of travelers converge on this beautiful countryside just to get the picture of desert fun and frolic on horse back.

Tourists can enjoy a fabulous 7 Days horse safari, organized by Rajasthan tourism and various other agencies in the town beginning at Nawalgarh and terminating at Salasar. A tourist must plan a trip to Shekhawati during the second week of February to be a part of the chromatic Shekhawati Festival, which allow rattling opportunities to discover the rural villages and lifestyles of villagers. The incredible horse safaris are lifetime experience for millions of travelers across the world to step into the past of Shekhawati. Exploring Shekhawati on horseback allows you delightful views of the colourful and lively regions that can not be seen else where in the world.

HaveliHalf Haveli
Hotel Castle Mandawa
Hotel Castle Mandawa
Heritage Palace Hotel
Hotel Castle Mandawa, is the best place to discover the legacy of Shekhawati in the form of comfort and joy. Like any other historical monument, Hotel Castle Mandawa is a curious blend of both old and new bindings. Explore Castle Mandawa at your own pace, you can also spend a leisurely hour over a drink in the colonial verandah of the hotel or relax in the cosy comfort of the Diwankhana, even the formal drawing room of the hotel is decorated with family portraits, antique cannons and arms, which add vibrant colours to this family-run resort where tradition still runs strong.

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Hotel Alsisar Mahal
Hotel Alsisar Mahal
Heritage Palace Hotel
No other Heritage Palace Hotel would be more luxurious than this Alsisar Mahal. It is one the most demanding and appealing abode for tourists around the globe. Alsisar Mahal is none other than bringing back to life the grandeur of the old days and is a memorable regal Rajasthani experience for most of the guests. The hotel has 36 elegantly appointed rooms, each one of them have well furnished modern facilities to transport you in a regal splendor.

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