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Shekhawati is a semi-arid historical region located in the northeast part of Rajasthan, India. Shahpura Being the Head Seat of the Shekhawati.
Shekhawati is located in North Rajasthan comprising districts of Jhunjhunu, Sikar, Churu and a part of Nagaur and Jaipur. History has it that in the 17th to 19th centuries, Marwari merchants constructed these grand havelis in the Shekhawati region. Steeped in wealth and affluence, these merchants got busy outdoing others in building more grand edifices – homes, temples, step wells which were richly decorated both inside and outside with painted murals. It is bounded on the northwest by the Jangladesh region, on the northeast by Haryana, on the east by Mewat, on the southeast by Dhundhar, on the south by Ajmer, and on the southwest by the Marwar region.
Its area is 13784 square kilometers. The inhabitants of Shekhawati are considered brave, sacrificing and hard working people.
Sekhawati was first mentioned in the book Bankidas ki Khyat. Contemporary of Bankidas was Colonel W.S. Gardener, who used the word Shekhawati in 1803. Later James Todwrote the first history of Shekhawati. The term Shekhawati was used frequently in Vamsh Bhaskar. This suggests that the term came in use about two and half centuries ago. Shekhawati is named after Rao Shekha.
Shekhawati is a dialect of the Rajasthani language and is spoken by about three million speakers in the Churu, Jhunjhunu, and Sikar districts of Rajasthan. Even though it is a very important dialect from the grammatical and literary points of view, very little work is carried out on it. In 2001 a descriptive compendium of the grammar of Shekhawati was published. Shekhawati, like the Bagri dialect of Ganganagar and Hanumangarh districts, has a parallel lexicon which makes it very rich from the lexicographical point of view. Word order is typically SOV and there is an existence of implosives. The presence of high tone at suprasegmental level classifies it with other dialects of Rajasthani. It has contributed a lot to the development of Rajasthani language and linguistics.
There are many excursions in Shekawati but Laxmangarh Fort, The Prince Haveli, Manadawa Fort and Nawalgarh Fort are most popular which are being given below:
A town in the Sikar district of Rajasthan in India, Laxmangarh is located on the National Highway - 11, at a distance of 30 km to the north of Sikar. The most imposing monument in this small town is the Laxmangarh Fort, built by Laxman Singh - the erstwhile Raja of Sikar.
Besides housing the famous Laxmangarh Fort Laxmangarh is also well known for the Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) and several havelis featuring the famed Shekhawati fresco paintings and Chhatris. One of the prominent Forts and Palaces in Rajasthan, Laxmangarh Fort stands majestically on the western side of Laxmangarh town.
Laxmangarh town came into existence in the year 1862. Earlier, the place where the town stands was known as Bergaon village, which served as the capital of the Meel Jats. Rao Raja Laxman Singh of Sikar Thikana built the Laxmangarh Fort Laxmangarh during the early part of 19th century, after Kan Singh Saledhi besieged the flourishing town. This magnificent fort was built by the Raja as part of his defense strategy, in order to protect the small town of Laxmangarh from the attacks of neighboring Rajput Rajas. Plan a tour to Laxmangarh Fort in Laxmangarh Rajasthan and marvel at this exquisite specimen of ancient fort architecture.
The Laxmanagarh Fort Laxmangarh stands tall as the most impressive building in Laxmangarh town, looming majestically over the well laid township on its western side. An exceptional specimen of fort architecture in the entire world, Laxmangarh Fort is built upon scattered pieces of colossal rocks.
Laxmanagrh Fort is a private property now, owned by a local businessman, and unfortunately, the entire fort is not open to the public anymore. However, while on Tour to Laxmangarh Fort in Laxmangarh Rajasthan, you can climb up the ramp before the main entrance to the fort to reach a temple which is open to the public. The top of the ramp offers a fascinating bird's eye view of the Laxmangarh town modeled to resemble the city lay out of Jaipur - Rajasthan's bustling capital city. Enjoy a magnificent view of the layout of the double Char Chowk Haveli below from the ramp of Laxmangarh Fort Laxmangarh. This haveli with its exquisite frescoes is another must visit site in Laxmanagrh. You must visit this beautiful haveli after you descend from the ramp of Laxmangarh Fort.
In the heyday of the 19th century Silk Road , the Nand Lal Devra family built a home which would become part of the rich landscape of the Shakhawati economic crossroads. The merchants of the era built their homes with the fortunes gained from agriculture, stone mines, woven fabrics and sometimes even opium!
The majestic Devra Haveli was abandoned in the1950's when the commerce of the region was displaced to the great ports of India. The haveli fell in to a deep sleep in the hot sands of the Thar Desert and for many years served as a home for a gardien and his goats.
Until 1998, when the French painter Nadine Le Prince, attracted by the melancholic beauty of the Marwari architecture, discovered the Haveli and decided to to buy it from the Devra family. It would take Nadine more than 5 years to restore the haveli.
The enticing mixture of the tales of «A thousand and One Nights» and «Sleeping Beauty», Nadine was swept away by the charm of the lieu, to the point where she consecrated all of her energy to the faithful and authentic restoration of the frescoes in order to bring back to life all the past splendor of the Haveli.
The Haveli contains an Art Gallery where Indian and French art works are exhibited. Nadine's son Joel Cadiou has added tribal artisana and crafts as well as his photographic work from his numerous journey's across India.
The rooms have been decorated in the original style of the epoch with objects and furniture coming from antique dealers throughout Rajasthan. Today, Le Prince Haveli opens its rooms to guests and travelers looking for a refreshing break and an authentic, warm and relaxed experience.
The Mandawa Fort is one of the most famous forts in Mandawa. It is located in the midst of Aravalli Hills in Rajasthan. The Mandawa fort is such a great attraction for tourists as it helps in revealing a lot about the rich history of the place along with revealing the unique features of Rajasthani architecture. Adorned with beautiful frescos, Mandawa Fort presents a sight to behold. Frequented by many tourists, the fort offers innumerable matchless experiences.
Fort was built at Mandawa in 1755AD. Today, Mandawa houses a legacy full of Heritage and Rajput Art. Any trip to Shekhawati region is incomplete without a trip to Mandawa. The interiors of Mandawa Fort are influenced from Seesh Mahal of Amber Fort, with lots of mirror work in the walls and the ceiling. The Durbar Hall is a grand portion of the Fort. The other buildings of the town were built by the wealthy merchants Marwaris. At this time, Mandawa Fort has been converted into a heritage hotel.
A tributary Thikana, founded by Thakur Nawal Singhji Bahadur, younger son of Thakur Sardul Singh of Jhunjhunu, and who first laid the foundation of a fort (Bala Kila) in 1737 at the village site of Rohili on the banks of a pond. Nawalgarh was encircled by high walls (Parkota) comprising of four gates (Pols), facing different directions, namely, Agoona Darwaja, Bawadi Darwaja, Mandi Darwaja and Nansa Darwaja, each having an iron door. Bala Kila Fort was situated in the centre of the Thikana and Fatehgarh Fort was outside of the parkota, serving as an out post. Nawalgarh was noted for its Rasala of well bred horses, and was also a Hathiband Thikana, that is, a thikana where elephants were kept, with the Nawalgarh Royals having their own. Traditionally a coronation of a new ruler or the birth of a son to the Thakur Sahib or the marriage of a daughter was announced with a cannon salute. Each ruler minted his own stamps. Thakur Nawal Singh wisely encouraged the settlement of traders from Jaipurs within his new estate, and to set up shops for the trading families who settled here. Land and houses were allotted free of cost for residential and business purposes by the Thakur Sahib. Today, Nawalgarh is considered to be one of the most attractive of Shekhawat Thikanas.
Thakur of Nawalgarh 1742/1780, born 1715, fifth son of Thakur Sardul Singh of Jhunjhunu, and his third wife, Thakurani Bakhat Kanwar, he was granted the title of Bahadur and a mansab of 3000 zat and 2000 sawars in 1775, built Bala Kila Fort and Fatehgarh Fort both in Nawalgarh, built Dalelgarh Fort in Dalelgarh, later renamed Pilani, built Mandawa Fort in Mandawa; married 1stly, Thakurani Udawatji, daughter of Thakur Sangram Singh, and grand-daughter of Thakur Sabal Singh of Deh in Nagour, married 2ndly, Thakurani Bikawatji, daughter of Thakur Himmat Singh, and grand-daughter of Thakur Man Singh of Dadrewa in Bikaner, married 3rdly, Thakurani Champawatji, daughter of Thakur Hindu Singh, and grand-daughter of Thakur Amar Singh of Auwa in Jodhpur [or daughter of Thakur Harnath Singh of Auwa], married 4thly, Thakurani Bikawatji, daughter of Thakur Devi Singh, and grand-daughter of Thakur Mokal Singh of Bhadonda, and had issue, ten sons. He died 24th February 1780 at Singhana where his cenotaph was built.