Imagine a township with havelis which have works of art painted on them. You'll find it in Shekhawati, a colourful fantasy also popularly called the 'open- air art gallery.

Shekhawati, meaning the land of Shekha's Clan, derived its name from Rao Shekha (1433-1488 A.D.) a scion of the Kachchhwaha family of Amber. Earlier a part of Jaipur State, it now comprises the districts of Jhunjhunu and Sikar.

Initially, a blank monochromatic region, but with subsequent historical and social developments, it blossomed into a colourful profusion of art and life over two centuries from 1750 to 1930 A.D.

built by rich merchants, the havelis, splashed with blues, yellows, greens and indigo have breathtaking paintings on the walls. They display a unique architectural style as well, ensuring privacy for women folk and protection from the scorching heat of summer.

The earlier wall paintings (1830 A.D-1900 A.D.) were mythological in content, depicting local legends, animals, portraits, hunting and wrestling scenes. With the turn of the century, new motifs made an appearance. Cars replaced elephants, traditional Indian miniatures mingled with western painting styles producing hybrid results. Trains, balloons, Telephones, gramophones, English men in hunting attire and portraits of haveli owners primely dressed appeared on the walls.

Founded in the 17th century, Sikar was the largest 'thikana' (feudal state) under Jaipur. Worth visiting are the temples of Gopinath, Raghunath and Madan Mohan with their commendable frescoes. Other attractions include the Jubilee Hall, Madho Niwas Kothi, Biyani Haveli, Sodhani Haveli, the Jain temple along with the large market. Do come, and shop around.

Places of interest:-

Harsh Nath Temple (11 kms): An ancient 10th century temple situated on the Harsh Nath hills.

Jeen Mata Temple (29 kms): Believed to have been built a thousand years ago, the temple is the venue of a colourful fair held twice a year during 'Navaratras'.

Lachhmangarh (30 kms): One of the most imposing forts in the Shekhawati region, Lachhmangarh commands a bird's eye view of the town modelled to resemble the city plan of Jaipur. Founded in the early 19th century by Raja Lachhman Singh of Sikar, the town has some lovely havelis.

Ramgarh (75 kms): Founded in the late 18th century by the Poddars. The Shani Temple dedicated to Saturn God has delicately painted frescoes. Marvellous cenotaphs of the Poddars have exquisitely painted ceilings. The Ganga temple and some beautiful havelis add interest to the town.

Fatehpur (52 kms): Founded in the mid 15th century by Fateh Khan – a Kayamkhani Nawab, the town is noted for unmatched frescoes. Its central location attracted many wealthy merchants and has some exquisite havelis-a combination of the Indian and the Western styles. Of particular note among these are the Chamariya and Singhania havelis.

Khatu Shyamji (60 kms): The village is famous for the Shri Shyamji Temple, built in white marble.

Shakambhari (56 kms): Famous for its 7th century temple dedicated to Sakrai Mata, the temple is surrounded by hills on three sides. An ideal picnic spot.


The capital of Shekhawati, it is one of the largest towns of the district. The town was founded by the Kayamkhani Nawabs in the mid 15th century A.D. and remained under their control until it was taken over by the Rajput ruler Sardul Singh in 1730 A.D. The district town has some splendidly painted havelis. Easily accessible of these are those of Narsingh Das Tibriwal, Ishwar Das Mohan Das Modi and the Khaitans. The most interesting monument is the Khetri Mahal (the Wind Palace) dating back to around 1760 A.D. with elegant lines. The Sri Bihariji Temple is noted for its lovely murals. Other places worth visiting include Badalgarh, Jorawargarh, Mertani Baori, Kamruddin Shah ki Dargah, Birdi Chand Ka Kuan, Ajit Sagar and a Jain temple.

Places of interest:-

Mandawa (25 kms): Founded in the 18th century this medieval fort dominates the town with a painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows. The Chokhani Goenka and Ladia havelis and the street with Saraf havelis are some of the splendid examples of this region.

A Shiva temple with a rock crystal 'Lingam' is also worth a visit. The fort is now converted into a heritage hotel.

Mukundgarh (27 kms): Known for its fine havelis, the fort is now a heritage hotel.

Dundlod (32 kms): Known for its fort, and a palace now running as a heritage hotel. Havelis of the Goenka family are also famous.

Churi-Ajeetgarh: This small town is famous for erotic paintings in the havelis.

Nawalgarh (40 kms): Founded in the 18th century, it has the finest of Shekhawati's frescoes. Its two old forts and palace hotel with garden and fountains along with a host of temples known for their architecture and frescoes add interest to the town. The prominent havelis are of the Poddars, Bhagats and Dangayachs.

Bagar (15 kms): Home of the Rungtas-a leading business family, Bagar was founded by Nagar Pathans in the mid 15th century A.D. It has a reservoir built by the Ojha Family.

Chirawa (30 kms): A popular trading town between Churu and Loharu, Chirawa is famous for huge havelis. Of particular interest are the havelis of Nand Lal Dalmia, Phool Chand Dalmia, Tara Chand Dalmia, Mangal Chand Dalmia, Duli Chand Kakrania & Nemanis.

Kakrania and Poddar wells are also worth visiting.

Pilani (45 kms): The home of the Birlas, the leading industrialists of India. It has a large campus of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) with a beautiful Saraswati Temple, Shiv Ganga BITS museum. Panchwati and Birla Haveli Museum are also worth visiting.

Surajgarh and Kajara (45 kms): Surajgarh has an impressive 18th century fort, painted temples and havelis while some beautiful 19th century havelis can be seen in Kajaria.

Alsisar and Malsisar (32 km): Founded in the late and mid 18th centuries respectively, these towns lie at the northern edge of Shekhawati. The angular style of frescoes in various colours make the trip to these towns a memorable one. Besides the fort in Alsisar, the Jhunjhunwala havelis and a well-complex are other interesting structures.

The fort, temples and havelis along the main street are also worth a visit in Malsisar.

Bissau (40 kms): Founded in the mid 18th century, Bissau has splendid chhatris of its Thakurs and finely painted havelis of Sigatia, Khemka, Tibriwala and Kedia.

Mehansar (45 kms): Founded in the mid 18th century, the Sone-Chandi-Ki-Haveli and Raghunath temple with beautiful paintings resembling the Bikaner school of art are worth seeing.

Lohargal & Kirodiji (70 kms): The famous pilgrimage situated in the lap of Aravali ranges.


Famous for the Kothar Haveli (1915 A.D.) Kanhayya Lal Bagla Haveli (1870 A.D.) having immense paintings of Dhola Maru, Sassi-Punnu, etc, and the six storeyed Surana Haveli. The distinctive features of the latter one are its beautiful windows, elegant doors - more than
1,100 in number. Jain Temple is also worth visiting.

Places of interest:-

Salasar Balaji (100 kms): A famous temple dedicated to Hanumanji is located here.

Ratangarh (52 kms): The massive fort, built in 1820 A.D. by the Raja of Bikaner- Ratan Singh, is situated on the Agra Bikaner highway. The market place is in the shape of a cross suggesting that the city was planned before construction. An array of stately havelis can be seen around the Clock Tower at the main crossing.

Sardar Shahar (46 kms): This enchanting desert town has elegant havelis adorned with colourful wall paintings and carved wood work.

Dudhwa Khara (36 kms): A sprawling historical village lying in the Thar desert.Besides enchanting topography, the village has huge exquisitely designed havelis.
One can enjoy the rural life and camel safaris in the village.

Tal Chhapar (100 kms): Home to the endangered species of black buck and some migratory birds.

Shopping: Shekhawati is famous for its exquisite collection of Souvenirs, tie-and -dye fabrics and furniture. There is a thriving industry in old souvenirs.



The towns of Sikar, Churu and Jhunjhunu, headquarters of their respective districts are connected by road as well as by rail with Jaipur, Delhi and Bikaner. Given below are some distances by road; Sikar-Delhi-299 kms via Jhunjhunu; Sikar-Jaipur- 114 kms; Sikar- Jhunjhunu-70 kms; Jhunjhunu-Delhi 231 kms via Singhana, Narnaul,Dharuhera; Jhunjhunu Jaipur-182 kms;Jhunjhunu-Bikaner-230 kms; Jhunihunu-Churu-52 kms; Sikar-Churu-90 kms.; Delhi-Fatehpur Shekhawati (299kms.) via- Rewari-Narnaul- Singhana-Chirawa-Jhunjhunu-Mandawa- Fatehpur. Local Transport: Jeeps, un-metered taxis, auto-rickshaws, cycle-rickshaws and tongas, RSRTC buses ply between various towns and villages in the region. No direct train connection.


Climate: Mean Max. Mean Min.
Summer: 40.5 °C 26.8 °C
Winter: 30.0°C 10.0°C
Rainfall: 45-60 Cm.
Best Season: September-March
Clothing: Summer: Light Tropical
Winter: Light Woollen
Languages: Hindi, English & Rajasthani