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 ALL Tours >> North >> Culture >> Painted Havelis of Sekhawati


Painted Havelis of Sekhawati

Delhi – Bikaner – Mandawa – Jaipur - Delhi (09 nights /10  days)

The Shekhawati region of India encompasses the three modern districts of Sikar, Jhunjhunu, and Churu in Rajasthan. Camel caravans laden with merchandise passed through Shekhawati as they traveled between the coast and Delhi. Rulers and merchants became wealthy and expressed their wealth by painting the interiors and exteriors of their Havelis (mansions) with scenes from Hindu mythology and everyday life.

Today many of the painted mansions are falling into disrepair because their owners have moved away and no longer maintain them. However, tourist potential has rekindled an interest in repairing and restoring these mansions and their murals.

A chhatri, or dome, is a basic element of Hindu architecture borrowed from Islam. In shekhawati chhartri are built on the cremation sites of wealthy or distinguished individuals. Ranging anywhere from a simple structure of one dome raised by four pillars to a building containing many domes and a basement with several rooms, the Chhatri is found throughout Rajasthan. One of the large chhatris we visited in Dundlod contained a Shiva temple. In some instances, the interior of the chhatris are painted in the same manner as the havelis.

Day 01        Arrive Delhi
Meet on arrival and transfer to hotel.

Day 02        Delhi – Bikaner
        (Bikaner Mail – 2230 / 0710 hrs + 1)
Morning proceed for a sightseeing tour of the Old Delhi - a multi - layered city. Our first stop is the Red Fort built by the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan when he shifted his capital from Agra. A short drive brings us to the Great Mosque - The Jama Masjid. Drive on to see the memorial built for Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

Afternoon Sightseeing tour of New Delhi includes a visit to the Qutub Minar - the tallest stone tower in India built in 1191 AD. Chhatarpur Temple - the most popular Hindu temple with blissful tranquility and serene ambience. Continue to Humayun's Tomb believed to have been designed by his widow.  Its plan is based on the description of Islamic paradise gardens and is known to have inspired the Taj Mahal and many later Mughal tombs. Also visit the Bahai Temple - a lotus shaped structure. It is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. It is open to all faiths and is an ideal place for meditation and obtaining peace and tranquility.

Check-out of the hotel and transfer to the railway station in time to board overnight train to Bikaner.
Overnight on board.

Day 03        Bikaner – Gajner (Drive: 45 km / 1 hr)
Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to Gajner Palace. Arrive and check-in at the Gajner Palace. Rest of the day at leisure to explore the surrounding of the Palace. You can explore the estate on Buggies (Horse Carriages) or on open jeeps. Alternatively you can go for nature walk in the nearby forest. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 04        Gajner – Bikaner – Gajner
Morning proceed for a sightseeing tour of Bikaner city visiting the Junagarh Fort, This fort was built by Raja Rai Singhji, the sixth ruler of Bikaner, who ruled form 1571 to 1612 AD. Raja Rai Singhji could Marshal the revenues of a Kingdom increased by the conquest of half Marwar and grant of half Gujrat and made use of ample funds from Jodhpur and Western Deccan for the construction of this fort.
Devi Kund Sagar is situated 8 km in the east of city. The members of ruling family of Bikaner subsequent to Jet Singh, the great grandson of Rao Bikaji, have been cremated here.On the sides of reservoir of water lie the Royal cenotaphs of rulers of Bikaner dynasty from Rao Kalyan Singhji to last Maharaji Karni Singhji as well as those of their wives and other important members of families.There are cenotaphs (Chhatries) of 22 SATIES of royal family prior to Maharaja Gaj Sigh Ji (1745-1787). There is also one cenotaph of a SATA (male sati) of a ruler.The architecture of the cenotaphs is the prime attraction of this place. Maharaja Surat Singh's Chhatri is built entirely in white marble with spectacular Rajput paintings on its ceiling. Close by is a Dargah of Rustal Ali Shah Peer which is held in high esteem by muslim community and other people. Later in the afternoon proceed for sightseeing of Deshnoke Temple. Situated en route to Jodhpur , the temple is dedicated to Karni Mata -an incarnation of Durga. The temple has fascinating huge silver gates and marble carvings that were donated by Maharaja Ganga Singhji The most attractive feature of temple are the rodents who scamper freely within the premises and if one touches your feet its considered auspicious. They are regarded  sacred and devotees buy prasad (feeding) to offer to them.
Evening at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 05        Gajner – Mandawa (Drive: 250 km / 6 hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and drive to Mandawa. Arrive and check-in at Hotel Castle Mandawa. Rest of the day at leisure to explore the quaint town full of Havelis with beautiful frescos. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 06        Mandawa – Nawal Garh - Mandawa
Morning drive to Nawalgarh Founded in the 18th Century by Nawal Singh, it has some of the finest frescos in the Shekhawati region. A huge fort with colourful bazaar and numerous havelis with elaborate architecture makes it an interesting destination for a 1day / 1 night stay. There are a few prominent havelis like Anandilal Poddar Haveli, Aath Haveli, Hodh Raj Patodia Haveli etc., which are to be visited, and so are the two forts and the palace hotel Roop Niwas that is a beautiful heritage property and is renovated with modern facilities. The Palace offers spacious painted rooms, Luxurious interiors, graceful hospitality and great thematic evenings with sumptuous cuisine. The registered painting in their Art Gallery is a treat to the visuals. Evening return to Mandawa. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 07        Mandawa – Dundlod – Mandawa
Morning drive to Dundlod. The Fort of Dundlod is an embodiment of cultural amalgamation of Rajputana and Mughal School of Art and Architecture. Its motif of flowers and foliage, minarets, mythological paintings, archaic furniture, wall hangings of arrows and shields have remained unchanged since hoary past. Here commercialism of artificial world could not slip in. Staying in Dundlod Fort is almost like living through the days of James Tod who described the splendors of Rajasthan. On every dawn the first ray of the sun befalls over the fort as an eternal bliss to the land of mystique and charisma. Later return to Mandawa. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 08        Mandawa – Jaipur (Drive: 151 km / 3 ½ hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and drive to Jaipur.  Arrive Jaipur and check-in at the hotel. The Rose Pink city founded by Maharaja Jai Singh II (1693-1743), is the capital of Rajasthan. It is a major attraction for the first-time visitor. Jaipur, is surrounded on all sides by rugged hills, crowned with forts & enclosed by embattled walls. Houses with latticed windows line the streets with their rose pink colour lending enchantment to the scene which is salmost magical at sunset.

The Old City (Known as the Pink City) is a great place to wander around . The whole city was painted in Pink colour by Maharaja Man Singh II when Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, visited Jaipur in 1876. Today, every home with in the city is obliged by law to maintain his facade. The City is laid out in a grid pattern. It is a very well planned city and was designed by a Young Bengali, an engineer and scholar by the name "Vidyadhar Bhattacharya".

Jaipur was and remains the only city in the world symbolising the nine divisions of the universe, through nine rectangular sectors subsiding to, Jaipur is a royal city, & this is its most noticeable aspect, small Buildings & festivals testify to it. Jaipur & its surroundings are rather like an endless museum. The city also offers an endless variety of crafts. Jewellers here still fashion the beautiful enamel-on-gold pendants, studded on the reverse with precious stones or pearls & turquoise that one sees in miniature paintings. Jaipur's lacquer bangles are famous all over the world. Arrive Jaipur and check-in at the hotel. Evening at leisure to explore the local market. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 09        Jaipur
Morning Proceed for an excursion to Amber fort. The Amber Fort in Rajasthan built in 1592 by Raja Man Singh, is one of the finest examples of Rajput architecture. Perched high on a barren ridge, it commands extensive views over a deep narrow valley and the wider plains beyond.

The building was finally completed in the early18th century when the threat of Mughal domination was receding. Amber was once, the capital of the Mina tribes, believed to be the original inhabitants of this region.

Located up on the hills that surround Jaipur, the fort, sprawled along the Maotha Lake, boasts of a massive complex gateways, courts, stairways and pillared pavilions, and palaces that recall the glory and wealth, of Amber's association with the Mughals. This complex was built by Raja Man Singh, Mirza Raja Jai Singh and Sawai Jai Singh, over a period of about two centuries.

Later in the day proceed for a city tour of Jaipur visiting The City Palace - a visitors delight. Within the walls are several Palaces and museums resplendent with collections of the princely era. Outdoor Observatory – the Jantar Mantar- built in 1726 by Jai Singh, a notable astronomer King. It houses instruments of astonishing accuracy, which give accurate predictions to this day. Drive to the Palace of Winds (Hawa Mahal) - a five story high Palace having a facade of windows and latticed screens which allowed the Ladies of the Court, in bygone days, to sit and view the streets of the city.

Evening at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.

Day 10        Jaipur – Delhi (Drive: 265 km / 5 ½ hrs)
Check-out of the hotel and drive to Delhi. Arrive Delhi and transfer directly to the International airport in time to board flight for onward destination.

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