the Garden of Shekha, Shekhavati reached its political height in the early
18th century during the rule of Shardul Singh. Rao Shekhar, a Kachawaha
satrap who ruled over a large part of this land in the 15th century gave the
name of Sekhawati to this place. With subsequent historical findings and
social developments the monotonous look of the region disappeared to blossom
into a colour extravaganza of art and life.Having a fascination unique of
its own, this semi desert region, more commonly called as the open air-art
gallery, houses a plethora of painted havelis all signifying to the artistic
tradition of the land.
Shekhavati in North Rajasthan is spread across the district of Churu,
Jhunjhunu and Sikar on the Haryana border.
Temperature in summers hovers between 41°C to 29°C, while in the
winters it fall to a low of 10°C. Rainy season starts from July to
September . The best time to visit the place is from September to March.
The Havelis -
The marvellously constructed havelis by
the rich merchant of the region displays a charmed architectural style. The
havelis were built in such a way that it protects the safety and privacy of
the women folk as well as to relieve them of the extreme heat of the harsh
midsummers. The havelis, painted predominantly in blue, maroon, yellow,
green and indigo have beautiful paintings adorning their walls.
The popular design was of fresco painting. The latticed carved windows with
mirror works were decorated with gold and silver leaf. Different from the
Mughal style, the havelis of Shekhavati consist of two courtyards, one outer
and the other inner. The larger ones, however, have up to four courtyards
and are two storeys high. The main entrance is usually through a carved
wooden gate leading into a courtyard, which in turn leads to another inner
courtyard. The exteriors are exquisitely decorated with mural work while
some are embellished with paintings.
Sikar was the largest 'thikana' or feudal state
under Jaipur, founded in the 17th century. The fort and temples of Gopinath,
Raghunath and Madan Mohan with commendable paintings on moist plasters are
worth visiting. The Jubilee Hall, Madho Niwas Kothi, Biwani Haveli, Sodhani
Haveli, the Jain Temple and a large market are other places of interest.
Thakur Nawal Singh founded this town in the
year 1737 AD, and it boasts of some of the finest paintings in the Shekhavati
region. The town has a colourful bazaar and a fort. There are numerous
havelis, prominent among them are the Aath Haveli complex, Anaadilal Poddar
haveli, Jodhraj Patodia haveli, Bansidhar Bhagat Haveli, Chokhani haveli and
Hotel Roop Niwas Palace.
Lachhmangarh Fort -
A full fledged shadow and imitation
from the city of Jaipur , the Fort Lachmangarh commands a bird's view of the
town. It has to its credit some of the beautiful havelis of the times of
Raja Lachhman during 19th century .
Capital of Shekhavati, Jhunjunu is the
largest town of the district built in the mid 15th century by the Kamyakhani
nawabs. It remained under their control till the beginning of the 18th
century. Finally, it was taken over by the Rajputs under Sardul Singh.
Jhunjhunu has a number beautiful havelis and interesting monuments like the
Khatri Mahal or the Wind Palace (dating back to 1760 AD), the Sri Bihariji
Temple, Kamruddin Shah ki Dargah and the Mertani Baori.
Mewari miniatures and paintings, pottery, pichwai can be bought from the
nearby local markets. Imitated art pieces from the havelis on clothsand
carved furniture, wooden artistic door are the favourite.
The colorful Shekhavati Festival held every year in the month of February
is a time when tourists can pick up items of their choice in Shekhavati.