Town with havelis in Shekhawati
Address: Nawalgarh, Shekhawati, Rajasthan
Visit duration: People typically spend 1 to 1.5 days in the Shekhawati region
Nawalgarh is one of the biggest and busiest towns in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. Home to several spectacular havelis or merchant’s residences, Nawalgarh is often referred to as the City of Havelis. It is also called the Open Art Gallery because every nook and corner of the town showcases exclusive artwork in the form of havelis, temples and other monuments. The town is famous for its distinguished and finest fresco and wall paintings infused with forts and havelis.
The havelis found in the arid and isolated countryside of Nawalgarh create a contrast to the metro life. The architectural workmanship and the dazzling and whimsical mural artworks are proof of the prosperous era of the 19th century in Nawalgarh. The town is a treasure trove for art enthusiasts that demands meticulous exploration. The havelis depict through the paintings their admiration for their Lord Krishna and Radha. Drawings of elephants and horses and fighters on their walls can be perceived in every corner of the town.
The havelis are still dwelled by the royal bloodlines for generations. Most of the havelis are home to ingenious wall paintings and art skills of Rajasthan that are now rare and are fading with time. The incredible drawings on the havelis are done by extraordinary artisans who lived to paint. The scenes and events on walls showcase valuable historical and cultural heritage that needs to be protected against time. Explore the exceptionally finest craftsmanship of Nawalgarh among the numerous havelis.
The Podar Haveli Museum is located on the eastern side of the town. The haveli was built in 1920. It is one of the oldest and largest havelis which is among the few havelis in the town that has been maintained thoroughly.
The Podar Haveli is a cultural jewel with a collection of Mughal paintings, armours, ornaments, skeletons, mummies and fossils. A library to the rarest antiques, the haveli holds the pride of ancient Rajasthan. The vivid coloured illustrations and the murals of the haveli express the traditional arts of Rajasthan.
The Bhagton ki Choti Haveli belonged to the Bhagats of Nawalgarh, successful traders in the region. The haveli was constructed in the second half of the 19th century. The Bhagton ki Choti Haveli has an enormous carved wooden gate that extends into a courtyard that ushers to yet another courtyard. The second courtyard leads into the haveli. The rooms, hallways and corridors are all wrapped with elaborate paintings.
The Bhagton ki Choti Haveli portrays some magnificent frescos and wall paintings. The paintings illustrate diverse topics ranging from local folklore, regional fables, and scenes from Hindu mythology. Miniature artworks exhibit fragments of war, hunting and other exotic scenes.
The frescos on the walls of the haveli depict a locomotive and a steamship while the gopis of Lord Krishna performs the Raas Leela and another one with women dancing during Holi. The chief colours used for the artworks are golden, blue, indigo, green, and maroon which offer a mesmerising sight.
The Aath Haveli specifically belonged to one of the rich merchant families which is evident from the maintenance of such massive and panoramic mansions. The Aath Haveli is situated on the western side of Nawalgarh Fort which is a stunning creation of traditional architecture. 'Aath' translates to eight which alludes to the eight havelis combined to form the Aath Haveli. The haveli has a big courtyard surrounded by several rooms.
The Aath Haveli is among the best havelis in Rajasthan bragging about its finest artworks of murals and frescoes which is rare in the modern era. The incredible and detailed paintings of elephants, camels and horses and fresco designs of vibrant colours of red, golden, yellow and green on the walls are captivating and reminisce the skills of the bygone workers. The paintings of the steam locomotive engine mark the transition period.
The Khedwal Bhawan Haveli is known for its vast mirror and tile work with turquoise colour at the doorway to the inner courtyard along with outstanding and impressive paintings that decorate the ceilings, walls, courtyards and gateways with fresco illustrations. These paintings and mural work are a mix of antique and contemporary topics with western style. It is a pleasurable experience to see the haveli.
The paintings on the walls of the Khedwal Bhawan Haveli display various drawings like the Teej festival or a locomotive crossing a bridge. It also narrates various stories like the story of Dhola Maru where one wall depicts the couple riding a camel while being chased by soldiers and another wall showcases Maru shooting arrows and Dhole taking control of the camel.
Nawalgarh is reached in 30 minutes by car from Mandawa. The drive from Jaipur takes about 3 hours.
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You have to purchase tickets to enter Dr Ramnath Podar Haveli Museum. The cost for Indian visitors is ₹75 and for foreign visitors, it is ₹100. a nominal charge for a camera is ₹30 the visiting time for the museum is 8.30 am to 6.30 pm.
Yes, there are large markets where you can shop for some local handicrafts as souvenirs.