Shekhavati Journals

Shekhavati: The Open Air Art Gallery

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A May 2004 trip to Shekhavati by phileasfogg

Ornate archway in a haveli Photo, Shekhavati, India More Photos
Quote: In the desert state of Rajasthan in western India, lies Shekhavati. Shekhavati’s USP is its array of early 20th century havelis (mansions), each profusely decorated with frescoes. This area has been called an `Open Air Art Gallery’, and with good reason. We’d heard about it, but the experience surpassed all descriptions.

Shekhavati: The Open Air Art Gallery

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Overview

Ornate archway in a haveli Photo, Shekhavati, India
Quote:
Shekhavati’s dotted with towns and villages, each with its own spectacular havelis. The main towns are Mandawa, Nawalgarh, Fatehpur, Jhunjhunu, Mukandgarh and Dundlod. And in each of these are dozens of havelis, most of them pretty similar. There are some, however, that are a cut above the rest, and if you want to see good, well-maintained (and sometimes delightful) frescoes, these are places you should include in your itinerary. In both Mandawa and Nawalgarh, check out the Chokhani havelis; the inner apartments of the havelis are closed to the public, but the façades are extensively painted. Within Mandawa, by at the Jhunjhunwala haveli, which boasts of a room profusely pa...Read More

The Piramal Haveli

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Hotel

The Piramal Haveli Photo, Shekhavati, India
Quote:
Shekhavati’s chockfull of heritage hotels, some avoidable, some so-so, and some good. But when it comes to unostentatious elegance, the Piramal Haveli in Baggar wins hands down. Tiny Baggar has few havelis; but the Piramals made this village what it is today- a prosperous hamlet- so it is perhaps fitting that Baggar’s biggest draw is the erstwhile home of the Piramal patriarch, Seth Piramal. Chaturbhuj Makharia.Seth Piramal Chauturbhuj Makharia made his fortune in Bombay, trading in commodities that included cotton, silk and opium, After having accumulated a fair bit of wealth, he headed back to Shekhavati, to channelise some of that wealth into philanthropy. And into building a lovely mansion in B...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 13, 2004

The Piramal Haveli

Shekhavati, India
(015) 92-221-220

The Dr Ramnath A Poddar Haveli Museum

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Attraction

The Dr Ramnath A Poddar Haveli Museum Photo, Shekhavati, India
Quote:
The Dr Ramnath A Poddar Haveli Museum has a fine-sounding name; and located as it is in one of India’s most colourful states, you’d expect it to be quite spectacular. Well, lower your expectations. This small museum’s collection is none too great. Our half-hour trip was disappointing. The museum’s seven galleries depict various aspects of Rajasthani culture, and look more like a hastily built-up collection created just to fill the haveli. The galleries include the Musical Instruments Gallery (a roomful of musical instruments used in Rajasthan- all with names stuck on neatly, but without any other information- a trend that’s followed throughout the museum); the Gems and Jewellery Gallery(...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 13, 2004

The Dr Ramnath A Poddar Haveli Museum
Rambilas Poddar Road
Shekhavati, India
(0159) -742-2137

Hunting havelis in Shekhavati

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Story/Tip

An ornate archway at Chokhani Haveli, Nawalgarh Photo, Shekhavati, India
Quote:
All the main towns of Shekhavati lie within 15 or 20 kilometres of each other, a manageable enough area as far as distances are concerned; you needn’t travel much to reach the next major attraction. There are local buses that travel down the main roads, but unless you’re the adventurous sort that likes breakneck speeds and crowded transport, these are best avoided. A better bet -- and one we found convenient (though expensive) -- were the numerous cars that can be hired (only chauffeur-driven; no self-drive cars are available here). Check with whichever hotel you’re staying at, and they’ll arrange for a car for you. We hired one for about three hours, to go from Baggar to Mukandgarh and back -- a ride...Read More

An unlikely place for amateur birding

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Story/Tip

A peahen at the Piramal haveli Photo, Shekhavati, India
Quote:
Shekhavati is typical Rajasthan terrain: an arid region of loose soil, swept into dunes and earthbanks by hot winds. Pretty much devoid of vegetation, this land barely manages to support tussocks of grass and knobbly keekar trees, their bitter, thorny leaves providing fodder for the camels. A colourless land, one might think -- colourless and lifeless.Interestingly enough, not so. We’ve barely driven a few kilometres through this forbidding landscape when things begin to happen. . . ornithologically interesting things. A burst of deep blue and turquoise flashes swiftly across the road, and we realise that we’ve just glimpsed an Indian roller -- a blue jay. A couple of rotund partridges scurry past,...Read More