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.
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.
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
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.
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 !!!
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
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
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.
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
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
Shekhawati Paintings - Obtaining of these Rare
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
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.
Composition of Great Shekhawati Art !!!
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
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
Thrill - Royal Rides Sat on Horse Back !!!
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.
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