Shekhawati is a desert region located in the north-eastern part of Rajasthan and is of prime historical significance to Indians. There are several references of Shekhawati in the epic of Mahabharata, and it is strongly believed that the holy texts of the Hindus, The Vedas, were written in this region. Shekhawati derived its name from the Shekhawat Rajputs who were the dominant rulers of the region.
Popularly known as the “Open art gallery of Rajasthan”, Shekhawati is famous for various painted havelis, forts and other historical structures. Haveli Nadine Prince, Morarka Haveli Museum, Dr. Ramnath A Poddar Haveli Museum, Jagannath Singhania Haveli and the Khetri Mahal are some famous havelis present here.
The Haveli Nadine Prince was built in 1802 and has now been converted into an art gallery and cultural centre by its new owner, a French artist. Dr. Ramnath A Poddar Haveli Museum houses several galleries on Rajasthani culture. The Morarka Haveli Museum is known for a 250-year old fort, while the Khetri Mahal has a very sophisticated structure that dates back to 1770 and provides a magnificent view of the architectural expertise of the bygone era.
The Mandwa Fort, Mukundgarh Fort and Dundlord Fort hold important positions among the famous fortress of the region. The Mandwa Fort has been converted into a heritage hotel, whereas the Dundlord Fort houses a world famous library of European paintings. The Mukundgarh Fort is spread over an area of 8000 sq m and houses a large number of courtyards, verandas and balconies.
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Several unique mosques and a deer sanctuary present in the region are also worth a visit. Enjoying the beautiful view of the desert on a camel safari is a popular trend among tourists coming here. A large number of palaces in the region have been converted into heritage hotels which ensure to give a mesmerizing experience to visitors.
Fairs Fests And Fun
An annual desert fair, known as the Shekhawati Festival, is held here in the month of February and attracts a large crowd to its various cultural programmes. It is organised under the joint supervision of the State Tourism Department and the District Administrations of Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu.
Camel and Jeep safaris form a prominent part of the fun and festivities of the Shekhawati Festival, a fair that provides an insight into the rural lifestyle of the people of this region.
Various rural games, haveli competitions, cultural events, farm visits and fireworks form the major attractions of the festival that is spread over four venues, namely Nawalgarh, Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Churu. Nawalgarh, which is the main venue of Shekhawati Festival, is easily accessible by rail and road from Jaipur which is located at a distance of 150 km.
The best time to visit Shekhawati is from November to February as the weather is cool at this time of the year. Since the summers are extremely hot with temperatures soaring as high as 43⁰ C, it is not considered the right time for visiting this region.
The region is mostly inhibited by Rajasthanis and Marwaris, and the local language of the place is Rajasthani.