Introducing Northern Rajasthan (Shekhawati)
Shekhawati is a semiarid dreamscape of dazzling fields, fluttering fabrics and open-air picture galleries. A short skip from Jaipur, the region is crisscrossed by narrow near-country roads that lead to half-forgotten villages and wholly hidden havelis. Each stop on the hop-along highways offers secret treasures (some slowly sinking in the sand) lacquered in rich and varied hues.
Shekhawati was formerly a wealthy but lawless land on the trade route between the ports of the Arabian Sea and the fertile Ganges Valley. The Shekhawat thakurs (noblemen), who once were noted for their indulgence in quarrelling among themselves, began to flourish in the mid-18th-century British East India Company when merchants imposed some semblance of order. A century later the British used the skills of local merchants or Marwaris (they’d long since left Marwar, today’s Jodhpur) to improve trade. While the Marwaris settled in the new coastal cities, they built havelis for their families back home.
Until 1947 these mansions were symbols of their success and homes in which their families could live the good life; these days they remain one of Rajasthan’s better-kept secrets.
Northern Rajasthan (Shekhawati) destination guides
Colourful and chaotic, mysterious and exotic - welcome to Rajasthan. Explore the fairytale cities of the desert, travel to beautiful palaces filled with treasures of the maharajah and wander through forts with fascinating histories. Marvel at the grandeur of the Taj Mahal in Agra, travel across the Jaisalmer desert on camelback and witness the romantic 'Blue City' of Jodhpur.
Travel to India and discover the country at its most colourful amid the deserts, bazaars and forts of Rajasthan. This is a land where massive hilltop fortresses loom over cities and where markets are awhirl with locals dressed in the brightest shades of scarlet, gold and rose.