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The area of Shekhawati covers several villages and towns in north eastern Rajasthan, which can be approached from Bikaner, Jaipur and Delhi and comprises the Sikar and Jhunjhunu districts. Small towns dot these two districts and contain within themselves some of the most elaborate havelis, stepwells and temples.

The Platter Painting

When you travel around this region,you stumble across some truly marvelous treasures. Even Today the entire region of Shekhawati is known for its exquisite frescoes and popularly called the open art gallery . No other region, anywhere in the world has such a large concentration of frescoes. This is even more interesting as the landscape here is totally bare flat and colourless. Rao Dhekha the founder of Shekhawti, came to power at the young age of 12 and established a reign that listed 43 years.

Dundlod Castle

His power grew steadily and he became a force to reckon with in a very short period. The Rajput nobles who ruled over the small thikanas or fiefdoms, became great patrons of art and financed the frescoes on their havelies. up to the early 19th century the themes were largely religious.

Other historical events personages, battle scenes and folk heroes were also painted in great detail. These paintings were a record of those times. By the end of the 19th century there was a slight change in the patronage. The business community, Marwaris found itself in a position of strength. When the East India company began to make its presence felt in this part of Rajasthan, It opened several avenues for the hardworking and enterprising Marwari. The volume of Trade increased and the Marwaris began to spread their branches all over the country. Even after spending several years away from their homeland these now successful and wealthy businessmen remained true sons of the soil. While they lived austerly in their adopted cities they sent back huge sums of money to their families.

They spent large sums on the welfare of their community wells, reservoirs schools, colleges,Dharamshalas and aushalas were financed. Most of them had left their families behind and they returned to build some huge mansions for them. They were in a position to show off their new status and there was no better way of doing this than commissiong the most intricate frescoes on their havelies.