Shekhawati, a beautiful region of Rajasthan

Sometimes referred to as Rajasthan's very own open air art gallery and located approximately 185 kms from Jaipur, Shekhawati is the name given to the area covering the districts of Churu, Jhunjhunu and Sikar. There really is no other way of describing Shekhawati apart from declaring it as astoundingly beautiful. No matter in which direction one allows one’s gaze to fall, you are greeted by frescos not to mention the sheer explosion of colours.

In Rajasthan, colour lies at the very heart of the people, a means of compensating for the otherwise bleak and arid surroundings. Whether by intent or not, this fusion of every conceivable colour, has without doubt, made Shekhawati one of the most beautiful places to visit in India. Unfortunately, it was not until 1982 when a photographic essay titled, “The Painted Walls of Shekhawati” was released, that this colorful marvel was exposed to the world of international tourism.

The open art gallery
Having once appeared no different in artistic flare, to any other town or city in the region, Shekhawati, over a period of some two hundred years, transformed itself into a kaleidoscope of colour, a living, life sized, work of art, which remains unrivalled anywhere else in the world. As one gazes upon these historical representations of the region’s artistic traditions, one cannot avoid a sense of wonder towards these magical spectra.

The unrivalled splendor of the havelis or mansions in this region now attracts a different array of travelers than it did in years gone by. Instead of traders, tourists and art lovers arrive to feast on this visual delight, a testimony to the merchants who traded here centuries ago. Visitors can marvel at the intricately carved wooden entranceways, latticed windows, many of which have been beautifully carved to combine murals and mirrors. Colorful frescoes adorn all aspects of the havelis, including the walls, facades, gateways and walls while luxurious carvings serve to remind us of the owner’s vast wealth.

Here visitors can stay at a delightful 18th century fort which has been converted into a hotel, complete with period furniture, library and magnificent portraits.

This 18th century town has a multitude of havelis, reputed by some, to be the most splendid in the region. Visitors can also stroll around the colorful bazaar or visit the old fort.

Recommend sights include the painted havelis as well as the clock tower and market. In addition, visitors can also visit numerous temples as well as a 17th century fort, built during an era when the area was still an important trade center.

Of particular interest to visitors, is the Surana haveli consisting of more than one thousand windows and doors. Together with this, there are many other prominent havelis in the area as well as a wide variety of temples.

Other popular areas in the region include:
Mukandgarh, Khetri, Jhunjhunu, Mandawa and Bissau all of which, have numerous havelis and temples.

Jeen Mata Temple
This temple is said to be about one thousand years old and is host to a wonderfully colourful fair held twice every year.

Lachhmangarh Fort
An imposing 19th century fort popular with visitors as a view point, as it allows, for breathtaking views over the entire town.

While an attempt has been made to highlight many places of interest in this beautifully artistic region, visitors will do well to remember that there are many more such places which have not been included here.