An open art gallery in Rajasthan? Surprised… but yes, it does exist, in the form of colourful frescoes, painted on old havelis. Come and fall in love with these mesmerising frescoes by taking a tour of Shekhawati. Let’s start our sojourn:
These havelis are found in vast spread nine villages of Shekhawati which are Mandawa, Laxmangarh, Fatehpur, Nawalgarh, Ramgarh, Bissau, Chirawa, Dundlod and Mahansar.
The colourful frescoes come with themes which are dominated by Indian mythology, local festivals and love stories.
There are many beautiful havelis luring all with their magnanimous aura.
Seth Arjundas Goenka Haveli:
Situated in Dundlod, is one among these which was constructed way back in 1875. With 20 rooms, it comprises fortified gate and also houses a museum. Find on Google Maps
Ramgarh Fresco Hotel:
It is yet another haveli which speaks story of traders who collected vast wealth and spent it to beautify their havelis. Ramgarh houses the largest number of frescoes in Shekhawati. Earlier, it was called as old Khemka Haveli but the Khandelwal family converted this century-old Haveli into the Ramgarh Fresco Hotel. It organises walking tours around the painted town. Find on Google Maps
Built in 1928 by Seth Piramal Chaturbhuj Makhania, it accommodates a big garden with two pillared courtyards. The colourful wall tiles and pretty kitsch frescoes,depicting flying angels and gods in motorcars, will engage you. It is restored by the Neemrana group. Besides these, there are many more havelis luring discerning tourist with their well-crafted walls. Find on Google Maps
Shekhawati once had 22 ‘crorepatis’. The Oswals, Mittals,Birlas, Goenkas, Singhanias etc once had their roots here.
Almost all havelis in Shekhawati used natural colours till the 19th century. Lime was substitute for white, while indigo, vermilion, ultramarine, verdigris,etc had their usein prayer rooms and bedrooms.
Shekhwati region’s story takes us back to the 15th century when Rao Shekhaji (1433-88)conquered north region of Amer, called as Shekhawati. This region scripted success story of many businesses. Housing many painted havelis, Shekhawati, undoubtedly, remains the largest open-air gallery in Rajasthan.
About the Author
Archana has been a freelance writer for in-flight magazines such as Vistara, Go-Getter and Rail Bandhu. She has also written for Trans India Holidays (TIH), a national award winner company.
She worked as an editor in a leading travel media house for seven years. Archana has also worked with esteemed groups such as Free Press and Network 18.