A place so affluent yet abandoned, colorful yet deserted, and historically rich yet forgotten! Shekhawati region, once ruled by Shekhawat Rajputs and prospered by Marwar merchants, is not just another town which used to be a part of ancient silk route but is also the world’s largest open-air art gallery.
The districts of Churu, Jhunjhunu, and Sikar combine to make Shekhawati region which carries the legacy of iconic merchants in the form of grand Havelis, who eventually moved to the bigger towns of Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata during the decline of silk route, leaving their mansions abused and in disuse. Every single inch of these Havelis is adorned with beautiful fresco paintings which depict amusing stories from the lives of merchants, kings, and queens. The pictures also depict the borderless imagination of artists and the merchants as some of them are a perfect amalgamation of real & unreal, tangible & intangible, and Indian & Western. The doors are made from the sturdy teak wood imported from Myanmar (then Burma), and Belgian mirrors grace some parts too. Some of these mansions have been restored to beautiful heritage hotels, a few are managed by their caretakers, and others have their great assets unlocked behind big doors. Rajputi and European architectures have a significant influence on their construction style which comes as a result of travels of the owners to the various parts of the world for their trade.
Let’s embark on a journey Shekhawati, also known as abondoned India, to unravel the rich and amusing history of this region, to give a visual treat to our eyes and click some Instagram-perfect shots. Be ready to explore the unexplored and be amazed by this hidden gem in the state of Rajasthan!
1. Havelis: We will visit many mansions during heritage walk in Mandawa, Churu, Ramgarh, and Nawalgarh. The grand entrance doors with the most intricate woodwork to these marvels are very inviting, and the interior charm is bound to keep us captivated. The feeling of visiting the most beautiful yet abandoned is indescribable in words.
2. Cenotaphs: Cenotaphs or chhatris are a type of monument created by wealthy Rajasthani families to honor their dead. We will visit the Poddar group of Chhatris where mesmerizing murals depict the scenes from Ramayana and the life of Lord Krishna.
3. Podar Haweli and Museum: It was initially built as a residential place, but later converted into a museum to bring the cultural heritage of Rajasthan under one roof. Podar Haveli has 750 frescos spread over 11, 200 sq meters. The galleries of museum showcase the forts, fairs, festivals, gems & jewelry, bridal costumes, turbans, paintings, handicrafts, etc. The most innovative gallery is the ‘Rajasthani Living Style’ which exhibits the ‘baithak’ in the house of a typical Marwari merchant.
4. Morarka Haweli: Built in 1900 by Shri Jaichandji Morarka, it is one of the best preserved Havelis in Shekhawati. The owners haven’t consciously renovated or re-painted the frescos so that visitors get to experience the taste of originality. One see the murals of birds, animals, flowers, gods, and the various murals telling folktales from local life.
5. Camel Ride and Sunset in Desert: A visit to Rajasthan is incomplete without visiting desert, right? We will visit the desert area near Mandawa where particpants will be given an option to do a camel ride. Not to mention that witnessing the sun going down and seeing the sky turning reddish against the yellow color of sand is captivating.
6. Visiting Local Artisans: Rajasthan has many artisans who create marvels from various art forms such as patchwork, miniature wood carving, pottery, block printing, lac bangles, etc. We will visit these artisans to understand how their generations have been associated with one single craft and how it brings livelihood to them. If time permits, we can also try our hands on some of those skills.
7. Visiting the school for differently-able: We believe in impacting communities with the help of travel wherever we can. A special school in Churu was started by a mother to a special child. The school aims to train these kids with all the skills needed to make them independent. We will visit the school to have a little interaction with them facilitated by the school principal to bring a few smiles on the faces of kids, and of course ours. After all, it gives us joy too when our travel cause the positive impact in the life of someone.
8. Evening group games and social activities: Stay curious and excited for this!
Depart from Delhi in private vehicle at 6 AM
Mandawa Heritage Walk
Sunset and Camel ride in desert
Cenotaphs of Ramgarh
Visiting School for special kids
Churu Heritage Walk
Visit local artisans
Podar Haveli & Museum
Start driving back to Delhi
Halt for evening Tea
Arrival in Delhi
Transforming Travels offer a great travel experience coupled with a fantastic social experience as well. All our group leaders are globetrotters who deeply understand the travel and know how to bring together a group of strangers into a family like bonding. Earlier this year, our trip was covered by an eminent travel blog named ‘I Love Tripping’. You can read the full coverage here: Shekhawati – A Road Trip to Abandoned India.
Ex – Delhi
Early-bird offer: 7000 INR (if booked on/before Sep 15 for Oct 19-21 trip and Dec 18 for Jan 12-14 trip)
Regular Tariff: 7900 INR
1.The group size will be limited to a maximum of 15 people: 14 participants + 1 facilitator and a minimum of 7 people: 6 participants + 1 facilitator
2. Please note that for January trip, there will be two pick-up points:
a. 7.00 AM: Hotel Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport (near Mahipalpur)
b. 7. 20 AM: IFFCO Chowk Metro Station in Gurgaon
Participants are requested to arrive 15 min prior to the pick-up point.
• 60 days before the trip: 90% refund
• 60-41 days before the trip: 70% refund
• 40-21 days before the trip: 50% refund
• 20-11 days before the trip: 30% refund
• 10-5 days before the trip: 10% refund
• Less than 5 days before the trip: No Refund
You need to follow these terms and conditions while traveling with Transforming Travels.