There are many reasons for visiting Rajasthan. One of them is Shekhawati. Nowhere else in the world is there such a profusion of wall paintings, so intricate and finely executed, in hundreds of havelis, temples, cenotaphs, well and forts, as in this region. Shekhawati is today known as the open air art gallery of Rajasthan. This region has been the home of the Marwari community, which for more than a century has been the backbone of commercial entrepreneurship in India. The semi-desert Shekhawati region lies in the triangular area between Delhi, Jaipur and Bikaner. Starting around the 14th century, a number of Muslim clans moved into the area and the towns which developed in the region became important trading posts on the caravan routes emanating from the ports of Gujarat. Some of the fortified settlements of this land provide accommodation in ancestral homes, their atmosphere being far more important than any claims to service that they can provide. A few of these include castle Mandawa, Dera Dundlod Quila and castle Mukundgarh. The principle towns in Shekhawati area include Fatehpur, Ramgarh, Mahansar, Mandawa, Dundlod, Mukundgarh, Jhunjhunu.
Sikar is now one of the two districts of Shekhawati, the other being Jhunjhunu. Worth a visit is Sikar’s large market , the clock tower and the painted Biyani havelis. Other attractions include Sagarmal Sodhani haveli, Madho Niwas Kothi, Jubilee Hall and Fort. The jain temple and the temples of Gopinath, Raghunath and Madan Mohan are worth visiting. Areas closeby are Jeen Mata Temple and Harsh Nath Temple.
Nawalgarh is the town where the finest of Shekhwati’s frescoes can be seen. Its havelis still bear witness to the rich and prosperous Marwari era of the 19th century. Nawalgarh has a college with British clock tower and hundreds of painted havelis, old and new. Worth visiting are the Aath (eight) Haveli complex, Anandilal Poddar haveli, Jodhraj Patodia haveli, Chokhani haveli and hotel Roop Niwas Palace.
Lachhmangarh has one of the best forts in the region of Shekhawati. The imposing Ganeri-wala or Char Chok Haweli speaks volumes about the prosperity and life style of a Marwari household. Worth visiting are the fort, Sanwat Ram Chokhani haveli, Mirijamal Kyala haveli, Banshidhar Rathi haveli, Keshardev Sarraf haveli, Kedia haveli & Sanganeria haveli.
Dundlod: The small charming town of Dundlod had an enlightened thakur who modernized his rugged fort. It now houses a well stocked library and portraits done in European style. Converted into a hotel, its offers the tourists large rooms with four poster beds. he Goenka havelis of Dundlod have some very impressive frescoes.
Mukundgarh is where one can shop for local handicrafts. Besides textiles, it is renowned for brass and iron scissors. Worth visiting are the Kanoria and Ganeriwala havelis.
Khetri is famous for its exquisite frescos found in the Raghunath temple. The Bohpalgarh fort is worth exploring. Worth visiting are Panna Lal Shah Ka Talab (water tank), Ram Krishna Mission, Sukh Mahal and Hari Singh temple. Excursions include – Ajeet Sagar, Rameshwar Das Baba Ka Ashram at Bassi and Baghor Fort.
Mandawa: The medieval fort of Mandawa gradually rises on the horizon like a mirage. A painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows leads to the bazar. A breathtaking view of the town can be seen from the terrace of Castle Mandwa. The Mandwa family has a collection of traditional ceremonial costumes.
By Air: The nearest airports are at Jaipur and Delhi.
By Bus: The entire area is well connected by deluxe and other buses to the rest of the state, as well as to neighbouring areas.
By Train: The major towns are connected by slow trains to Delhi (via Rewari), Jaipur, etc.