Shekhawati is one of the less visited and lesser known parts of Rajasthan though it’s full of art & history, its located in Northern part of Rajasthan approx 260 Kms from the national capital of Delhi and approx 100 Kms from the city of Jaipur. Rajasthan tourism is also not promoting Shekhawati region. It’s still a somewhat offbeat destination. During my trip, I do come across some foreign tourist but no Indian traveler.
Unlike main cities of Rajasthan, this part is not well connected by public transport.There is no Volvo bus service if one doesn’t want to drive and train service is also, only state transport’s local buses ply on this route.
I have been planning to travel to Shekhawati for quite some time. Traveling here between April to September is not a good idea because the area is hot and arid like most of Rajasthan. Finally, I managed to go there in the month of October, it was pleasant during my trip. From my google research, I came to know that Mandawa is a very touristy place and most people visit it because its well know town of Shekhawati region and it was the first town developed for tourists. After checking all options, I had decided to skip Mandawa and instead explore Nawalgarh. Since I was traveling alone, so driving was never an option for me and taking a taxi for 4 days was coming very expensive. The bus was not a good option as it was taking too long so, I decided to travel by train to Nawalgarh. The train started plying on this route twice a week, a couple of months before my travel. When I boarded the train early morning it was almost empty. The AC 3 compartment had only two other passengers, I felt very uncomfortable, lonely and unsafe. So I decided to change my compartment and shifted to Sleeper class, it was also half empty but at least there were some families. I occupied one side lower berth next to an elderly couple. They were nice and chatty. The weather was pleasant and I could see the landscape more conveniently from my open window. By the time I reached Nawalgarh, it was mid noon.
I had decided to explore the haveli’s after lunch and took a guided walking tour guide from my resort to conveniently locate / explore the Havelis. I visited Murarka Haveli, Chokhani Haveli, Bhagat Haveli, couplePoddar Haveli, Chudi wali Haveli, Morarka Haveli, 8 Haveli, Sheesh mahal couple of temples (I forgot the names as these came in between haveli’s walking tour). Some of the haveli’s were closed but most of them were open. Finally it started getting dark so I decided to explore on my own next morning as I got familiar with the area and know location of haveli’s.
Next morning after breakfast I went to the town to explore some haveli’s again, which I liked from my previous visit. The best maintained haveli is the Poddar haveli. They have maintained the fresco’s well and even have a in house guide to explain the history of haveli.
Since I could not do anything there so, I started for my next destination Ramgarh. Took a bus but it drove at medium pace because on highway almost half of the road was occupied by devotees walking towards Salasar balaji (Hanuman Temple) due to some auspicious days of the year. For them volunteers and some religious organisations have arranged stalls on sides of roads, where they were giving refreshment and water to the people walking toward temple.
In some well areas, you will see small Chhatris which were used as resting place in earlier days for village people. Apart from temples, you see wells with four pillar on sides of roads also.
Ramgarh is also famous for the business of Handicrafts and furniture, there are more than 2 dozen handicraft industries.
Next day, I had train from Churu so I decided to explore the town before leaving. After an early breakfast, I took a taxi for Churu. There are few haveli’s in town but again most of them are either closed or converted to hotel or are in process of becoming a hotel. There was hardly anything to see in town so, I started for Sethani Ka Johara which is in outskirts of city, again same story of no maintainace. I came back to narrow lanes of town, where I knew I can atleast one place the Golden temple of Jains. It is small but beautiful temple. The interior of temple are decorated with glass and paintings, when priest switch on lights it looks even more beautiful. This place was highlight Churu. I did some shopping of Ker, sangri and couple of local items before boarding my train for Delhi.
It was a short trip but I came across lots of new things and heritage structures, which are unique character of this region.