If you're an art lover, or even someone who's into architecture and history, the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan is well worth including on your itinerary. Located in the triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner, many people overlook it in favor of more popular destinations in Rajasthan. However, this unique region is often referred to as the world's largest open air art gallery.
Far less visited than other parts of Rajasthan, the Shekhawati region is most famous for its extraordinary painted havelis (traditional, ornately decorated residences), highlighted with dazzling, often whimsical murals. Part of the region's appeal and mystique is due to these works of art being found in tiny towns, connected to each other by single-track roads that run through lonely, arid countryside. Today it seems curious that such care, attention and finance was lavished on these out-of-the-way houses, but from the 14th century onwards, Shekhawati's towns were important trading posts on the caravan routes from Gujarati ports.
What makes the artwork on Shekhawati's havelis so fascinating is the manner in which their artists combined traditional subjects, such as mythology, religious scenes and images of the family, with contemporary concerns, including brand-new inventions and accounts of current events, many of which these isolated painters rendered straight from their imagination.
How to Get There
The Shekhawati region is best approached from Jaipur or Bikaner, in Rajasthan, or Delhi. If you want to take the train from Delhi, Indian Railways trains depart from Delhi Sarai Rohilla station and go via Churu (on the outskirts of the region) to Bikaner or Jodhpur. Travel time is approximately 4.5 hours. There are more frequent departures from Jaipur, and they conveniently stop at Nawalgarh. Travel time is approximately 3.5 hours. The nearest airport is in Jaipur, around 150 kilometers away. Hiring a car and driver is recommended and facilitates easy touring of the region. From Jaipur, V Care Tours and Travel provide top quality car and driver services. Their cars are new and clean, and the very courteous drivers are uniformed and English speaking. If you don't have a car, you can explore by everything from horseback to bus. Viator also offer this Two Day Private Tour to Mandawa from Jaipur and Six Day Golden Triangle and Mandawa Private Tour from Delhi. Both tours are easily bookable online! For a longer and more in depth experience of the Shekhawati region, this Straight from the Art trip from Breakaway is recommended, departing from either Delhi or Jaipur.
When to Go
The main tourist season extends from October until March, when the weather is the coolest and driest. If you go in early February, you'll be able to catch the annual Shekhawati Festival that takes place in Nawalgarh. Winter nights are cold though, so do pack warm clothing!
Places to visit in Shekhawati
There are many towns to see in Shekhawati and roam around to witness the beauty of this painted land. Here we have listed the best places to visit in Shekhawati, the main points of attraction in the region are Alsisar, Mandawa, Dundlod, Fatehpur, Ramgarh, Bissau, Mahansar, Khandela, Jhujhunu, Sikar, Khetri, Nawalgarh, Mukundgarh, Bagar, Chirawa and many more We also covers parts of Churu and other adjoining districts of Shekhawati region where the art and culture attraction points are relevant to the visitors traveling this area of Rajasthan.
Festivals of Shekhawati
This area of Rajasthan is famous for celebrating festivals with grandeur and in high spirits. The main festivals celebrated here in Shekhawati are Teej, Gangaur, Holi, Diwali, Navratri (twice in a year). There is one annual event namely "Shekhawati Festival", which is organized by Morarka foundation every year in the month of February. Shekhawati Festival is being held from last 18 years in Nawalgarh. Shekhawati festival hosts organized rural tours, arts and crafts fair, cattle fair, organic food court and concludes with an award ceremony to recognize local craftsmen and artisans.