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Shekhawati havelis, the lost grandeur of time in Rajasthan

Beautiful Painted havelis appeared all over the desert landscape

Shekhawati (rajasthan) Nov 15 (UITV): If you love art, or even someone who's into architecture and history, the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan is unmissable  spot to visit included on your journey. Situated in the triangle of Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner, many people ignore preferred to other more popular destinations in Rajasthan. However, this distinct region is often referred to as the world's greatest open air art gallery.

Over the last centuries, many people from the neighboring Marwar community shifted to Shekhawati and made it their home. These rich business people appointed artists to paint frescoes on their homes as a sign of richness. Thus, beautiful Painted havelis appeared all over the desert landscape. The art was kept alive for nearly 300 years. However, in due course, most families settled elsewhere. These days many homes are uninhabited, locked up, and stranded.

The old havelis (mansions), with walls adorned with elaborately detailed painted frescoes, are the key attraction in the Shekhawati region. The region's background is captivating. It was confirmed in the 18th century along a caravan trade route, and ruled by the Shekhawat Rajputs. The region was a thriving one, with over 100 villages, and 50 forts and palaces.

As the Shekhawati region extends over to nearly 100 kilometers (62 miles), it's a wonderful idea to opt for a base for yourself, keeping in mind that the roads from north to south are in much better condition than the roads from east to west. One can mostly find that a few days in the region are enough, honeslty, the painted havelis are similar and some people find that viewing one after another gets to be tedious. If you feel like relaxing though, Shekhawati is a peaceful region for some time.

Nawalgargh and Mandawa are two recommended bases. Mandawa is feasibly the better option, as it's located at the centre for exploring the region and is popular with travelers.

Nawalgarh: Nawalgarh is a colourful town with a high mix of accommodation scopes that are absent in smaller towns and villages and painted havelis, which outnumber in the hundreds. The alluring frescoes can be found here. Some of the most extremely beautiful havelis are the Aath (eight) Haveli complex, Jodhraj Patodia Haveli, Bansidhar Bhagat Haveli, and Chokhani Haveli. For shopping fanatics, the town's vibrant bazaar and fort too must be checked out. The Morarka Haveli Museum is an indicator and represents the multiple motifs widespread in the frescoes. The Dr Ramnath A Podar Haveli Museum, constructed in the 1920s on the eastern side of town, also has lively murals. If you want to explore the Shekhawati region on horseback, Nawalgargh is the place to begin from.

Mandawa: The small market town of Mandawa has more of a rural Rajasthani village feel and dozens of decorated Shekhawati havelis. However, some of them are sadly dilapidated. The town is dominated by an imposing fort, turned into a hotel. For a panoramic view over the town, head up to the terrace of the Mandawa Castle. There are plenty of attractive accommodation options in Mandawa.

Other Places Worth Exploring
Jhunjhunu: The ancient Capital and biggest town in the region. Situated in the north, it has a number of painted havelis, along with an old palace and several temples. However, it is deficient of the charm of the smaller villages.
Fatehpur: Fatehpur, established in the mid 15th century and undetaken by Shekhawati Rajputs in the 18th century, has many painted havelis. Unfortunately, again, many haven't been well maintained. Check out the at the frescoes on the walls of the Devra and Singhania Havelis, which combine Indian and Western styles. Unexpectedly, the mirror work at the entrance has Japanese tiles with images of Mount Fuji. The Nadine le Prince Haveli is also a significant point of interest. This haveli was bought and restored by a French artist, and was recently transformed into a boutique hotel. There are several art galleries inside. You can have a look around by paying an entry fee is 500 rupees, which covers the expenses of the guided tour you'll be given by a French student.

Ramgargh: This was once one of Shekhawati's affluent towns. The temples are specifically interesting and offer variation from the havelis.
Mahansar: The preety small town of Mahansar was settled by the prosperous Podder family who dealt in opium and floridity. The town flourished until one of the Podders lost his livelihood when ships carrying opium sank. The two key attractions are the Mahansar Fort and the Sone ki Dukan (Golden Shop) with its gold painted murals that narrates the stories from Hindu mythology.
Dunlod: To the south of Mandawa, towards Nawalgarh, Dunlod has a small number of havelis with majestic murals as well as a fort at its center.
Mukundgarh: This town is a renowned craft center. In addition, you'll find one of the greatest havelis in the area there, as well as a fort.