KHETRI TOURISM GUIDE
Map: Khetri Tourism, Rajasthan, India
Location: 120-kms From Jaipur, Rajasthan
Significance: Known For Exquisite Rajasthani Paintings.
Best Time To Visit: October-March
An Open – Air Rural Art Gallery
If Rajasthan is endowed with the valorous mantle of India, Shekhawati is its colourful hub. Just as local lore is redolent of heroic deeds, Rajasthani painting displays decorative forms vividly composed in colourful schemes. Be it the forts, havelis, cenotaphs or temples, nowhere is such a profusion of frescoes to be found as in Shekhawati, sometimes known as the ‘Open Air Art Gallery’ of Rajasthan.
Many names on the Shekhawati circuit have attained the top end of the visitor’s priorities. Nawalgarh, Dundlod, Mandawa and Lachhmangarh are among these. Somewhat different in feel, just a few hours from Delhi beyond the Mahendergarh district of Haryana, lies the Shekhawati settlement of Khetri.
Legends abound here. One of them relates to the medieval chieftain Mokal Singh of Barwara. Attributing the arrival of his heir to the benediction of a certain Sheikh Burhan, the child was named Shekha. When the young lad ascended the ‘gaddi’ or the throne with the exalted title of Rao Shekhaji, not many would have predicted his rule would last 43 years.
That is how the region came to be known as Shekhawati, or the garden of Shekha, extending across the districts of Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu in northeast Rajasthan. While the centre of Shekhawati power was subject to the vicissitudes of fortune swings from the Rajputs to the British, it was the doughty Marwaris who ensured the survival of the local art from.
In the arid rural setting, the ebb and flow of life is best embodied by the camel. In winter, the air is crisp and the time is right for savouring the visual delights of Shekhawati. To begin with, a first-hand initiation to the traditional mode of transport is recommended : for a relatively moderate sum, a camel driver will present the opportunity to ride his stately steed. As one tries one’s hand at ceremonially tying a turban, one notices that the manner in which the spoken word is rendered in truly dignified.
Reputedly the second most wealthy ‘thikana’ owing allegiance to the old court of Jaipur, Khetri reveals its finest frescoes in the Raghunath Temple. From the resident priest, one will learn that even as Shiva and Durga are revered, it is the frolicsome Krishna who holds presiding status in worship. One of the highlights in the religious calendar is the Geendad dance, performed during the colourful festival of Holi. Within this unique culturally kaleidoscopic forts, art, music, festivals and cuisine, the most enduring Shekhawati images are without doubt, its frescoes. Virtually every inch of space in the edifices displays a mastery of technique. The original craftsmen were potters and masons who used vegetable pigments. Re-inforced by mixing in lime water and pound to plaster, the material did not fade and endured harsh climatic variations.
HOW TO REACH KHETRI
Air: Nearest Airport Jaipur at 120-km.
Rail: Closest railhead is Jhunjhunu (45-km away).
Road: Nearest cities accessible from Khetri are Delhi (130-140-km approx.) and Jaipur (120-km).
PLACES TO STAY IN KHETRI:
Heritage hotels, guesthouses and hut accommodation are easily available in Khetri.
NEARBY CITIES OF KHETRI: