The semi desert region of
Shekhawati holds a fascination all of its own. 'The open-air art
gallery', as it is popularly called, is famous for the plethora
of plain red havelis, all commendable pieces of the rich artistic
tradition of this region. 'Shekhawati ', meaning "the land of
Shekha 's dan " derives its name from Rao Shekha (1433 AD-1488
AD) a scion of the Kachhwah family of Jaipur. Earlier a part of
the former Jaipur state, it now comprises of the districts of
Jhunjhunu and Sikar.
Initially, the region had a blank monochromatic look but with
subsequent historical and social developments, it has blossomed
into a colourful profusion of art and life for almost 2 centuries
from 1750 AD to 1930 AD.
Havelis at Shekhawati built by rich merchants of the region,
display a unique architectural style that evolved around the
courtyards to ensure safety and privacy of the women folk and
protection from the heat of the long and harsh summers.
The havelis, painted predominantly in blue, maroon, yellow green
and indigo have beautiful wall paintings that adorn their
The earlier wall paintings (1830 AD -1900 AD) were largely based
on the mythological themes, depicting local legends, animals,
portraits, hunting and wrestling scenes and a glimpse of everyday
The turn of the 19th century saw the appearance of new motifs, an
outcome of the Raj's influence upon the Indian culture. Now, cars
replaced elephants and traditional Indian miniatures mingled with
naturalism of western paintings to produce interesting hybrid
results. The mythological themes depicting gods, heroes, epics
and legends were substituted by European oleographs, lithographs
Trains, cars, balloons, telephones, gramophones, English men in
hunting attires and portraits of the haveli owners primely
dressed, were painted all over the walls - thus making the
havelis interesting for both Indian and foreign travellers.
Air: Jaipur is the nearest
airport, 120 km away from shekhawati.
Train: Mainline railway joining Delhi, Jaipur,Bikaner crosses
Road: Shekhawati is 120 km by road from Jaipur. THis is the most
convenient way to tour Shekhawati and surrounding areas.
Local Transport: Jeeps and local buses are available for
commuting locally. One may also hire a taxi from Jaipur or Sikar
to visit Shekhawati.