The tourists can stay in any of several heritage hotels in Shekhawati that were once feudal castles. Many of these historic hotels are beautiful examples of the painted walls of the region. These are the true treasures of Rajasthan's open air art gallery.
Shekhawati is situated in the north eastern part of Rajasthan. It is situated in the triangle between Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner. It is also the home of the Marwaris. Shekhawati is famous for these painted havelis that depict a rich artistic tradition of the region. Shekhawati means the land of Shekhs. It derives its name from Rao Shekha, a section of the Kachhwaha family of Jaipur who ruled from 1433 - 1488 AD. Earlier a part of the former Jaipur state, it now comprises of the districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar. Hindi, Rajasthani and Marwari are the common languages which are spoken here. The turn of the 19th century saw the appearance of new motifs, due to the British Raj's influence upon the Indian culture. Trains, cars, balloons, telephones, gramophones, portraits of English men in hunting attires and their memsahibs, some walking their dog, and others engaged in needlework and portraits of the haveli owners were painted all over the walls. By 1930, the Shekhawati frescoes were degenerated and this resulted in the migration of the Marwari families.
The murals and several examples of beautiful art were further devastated. Major Places in Shekhawati the tourists can stay in any of several heritage hotels in Shekhawati that were once feudal castles. Many of these historic hotels are beautiful examples of the painted walls of the region. These are the true treasures of Rajasthan's open air art gallery. Some of the major places in Shekhawati are Mandawa, Lachhmangarh, Fatehpur, Khatu Shyamji, Shakainbari, Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Nawalgarh, Mukundgarh, Chirawa, Dundlod and Pilani. Mandawa: Mandawa was founded in the 18th century and is the heart of the region of Shekhawati. The Chokhani and Ladia havelis and the Saraf havelis are some of the splendid havelis in Mandawa. A Shiva temple with a rock crystal lingam is also a worth visiting place. A medieval fort dominates the town of Mandawa. This fort has a painted arched gateway which is adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows. The fort is now converted into a heritage hotel.
Lachhmangarh: One of the most imposing forts in the Shekhawati region, Lachhmangarh commands a bird's eye view of the town modeled to resemble the city plan of Jaipur. Lachhmangarh was founded in of temples known for their architecture and frescoes add the early 19th century by Raja Lachhman Singh of Sikar. The town of Lachhmangarh has a lot of whimsical subjects painted on its impressive havelis.
Fatehpur: Fatehpur was founded in the mid 15th century by Fateh Khan, a Kayamkhani nawab. The town is noted for unmatched frescoes and exquisite havelis. It is one of the richest sources for observing some of the finest art in the region. Its central location has attracted many wealthy merchants. Havelis offers a combination of the Indian and the western styles. Most famous havelis are the Chamariya and Singhania havelis.
Khatu Shyamji: Khatu Shyamji is famous for the Shri Shyamji Temple, built in white marble.
Shakambari: Shakambari is famous for its 7th century temple dedicated to Shakambhari Mata. The town is surrounded by hills on three sides. It is an ideal picnic spot.
Jhunjhunu: Jhunjhunu, the capital of Shekhawati is one of the largest town of the district. The district town has some splendidly painted havelis. Easily accessible of these are those of Nar Singh Das Tibriwal, Ishwar Das-Mohan Das Modi and the Khaitans. The most interesting monument is the Khatri Mahal (the Wind Palace) dating back to around 1760 A.D. with elegant lines. Rani Sati temple is the most famous temple of Jhunjhunu. The Sri Bihariji Temple is noted for its lovely murals.
Sikar: Sikar was founded in the late i7th century. The fort and temples of Gopinath, Raghunath and Madan Mohan with commendable frescoes are worth visiting. The jubilee Hall, Madho Niwas Kothi, Biwani Haveli, Sodhani Haveli, the Jam temple and a large market are other places of interest.
Nawalgarh: Nawalgarh was founded in the 18th century.
Nawalgarh has the finest of Shekhawati's frescoes. Its two old forts and palace hotel with garden and interest to the town. The prominent havelis are of the Poddars, Bhagats and Dangaichs.
Muknndgarh: Mukundgarh is known for its fine havelis. The fort of Mukundgarh is now a heritage hotel. It is a small settlement which is easy to walk around when viewing fresco art.
Dundlod: Dundlod is known for its fort, palace and chhatri frescos. The palace of Dundlod is now running as a heritage hotel. Havelis of the Goenka family are also famous in Dundlod.
Churu: Though, Churu is not a part of the Shekhawati region, but it has havelis which are mainly known for their flamboyant architecture.
Harsh Nath Temple: Harsh Nath temple, an ancient 10th century temple is situated on the Harsh Nath hills and is about 10 km from Shekhawati town.
Jeen Mata Temple: Jeen Mata temple is believed to have been built a thousand years ago. The temple is the venue of a colourful fair held twice in a year during 'Navaratras'.
Chirawa: Chirawa is a popular trading town between Churu and Loharu. Chirawa is famous for huge havelis. Dalmias, Kakranias and Nemanis Havelis and Poddar wells are worth visiting places in Chirawa.
Pilani: Pilani is the home of the Birlas, the leading industrialists of India. It has a large campus of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) which is famous all over the world. A beautiful Saraswati Temple, BITS museum, Panchwati and Birla Havelis are various places in Pilani.
Alsisar and Malsisar: Alsisar was founded in the late i8th century while Malsisar was founded in the mid i8th century. The angular style of frescoes in various colours make the trip to these town a memorable one. These two towns are distinguished by the blue and red colour of their frescos.
Bissau: Bissau was founded in the mid i8th century. Bissau also has a fort and the Chhatri of Hammir Singh, with paintings.
Mehansar: Mehansar was founded in the mid i8th century. The Sone-Chandi ki Haveli and Raghunath temple with beautiful paintings of the Bikaner School of Art are worth visiting places in Mehansar. The finest interiors can be found here in a former jeweller's showroom and are rich in their use of colours and gilding.