Saturday, April 25, 2015



       Ladla Street , Manadwa

For a year or so, we were planning a trip to the Shekhawati region - to savour the display of paintings on buildings of this region - under current Jhunjhunu district. Mandawa and Nawalgarh were our choice for visit and photography. In the internet, what I found about Dr Ramnath Poddar Haveli Museum of Nawalgarh  impressed me a lot ! It was, however, built in 1920s, therefore, not old enough from my point of view. Later, during the visit,   we  found Goenka Haveli of Dundlod contain excellent examples of Shekhawati paintings .

 Adorned corridor, 
Dr Ramnath Poddar Haveli Museum of Nawalgarh  

Stylised painting of Krsna, Goenka Haveli, Dundlod.

Owners of the painted buildings  were mostly rich traders. 19th  and early-20th centuries saw proliferation of this practice numerous examples of which stand out to-day. As the owners have shifted out of Jhunjhunu district, building maintenance has become costlier by-the-day, many of the buildings lost the charming paintings on the external walls. I noticed that some owners raise  a portion of the expenditure for maintenance by selling tickets for viewing the courtyards and occasionally,  a specially painted room . Example - a room which has paintings done with gold. Owner of one building ( presently called 'Khemani House' - earlier owned by Laxmi Narayan Ladia)  at Mandawa allowed us to enter the inner courtyard and photograph the well-maintained paintings - but such welcomes are rare and not expected either ,specially if the 'haveli' is inhabited.

 Khemka's Haveli, Mandawa

Initially, I wanted to capture as many scenes from Ramayana , Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana as possible. When in the location itself, I found many interesting subjects beyond traditional mythological scenes .

 Krsna & Radha in kite flying contest !
Dr Ramnath Poddar Haveli Museum of Nawalgarh  

 The Raghunatha temple in middle of Mandawa town has fine examples of paintings in Shekhawati style. This temple may not be very old  , but, a must-visit for those love paintings. Here. I shall add that quite a few hotels here - transformed from old havelis - have decorated both  the exterior and the interior  with paintings in Shekhawati style , thus adding colour to this town's ambiance.

 Vishnu & His Avataras. 
Raghunatha temple, Mandawa.

War scene from Ramayana .
Raghunatha temple, Mandawa.

Painting from Hotel Shekhawati , Mandawa.