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Gurgaon’s ‘Peace-at-a-cost’ Retreats

Painted Havelis (Mansions) of Shekhawati

A four-hour bone-rattling drive for most of the 185 km stretch on pitted roads gets one from Gurgaon to the Shekhawati region in north Rajasthan, known for its crumbling havelis richly painted with now-fading images of gods, aeroplanes, gramophones, locomotives, and cars. Despite its trash-cluttered, and often dilapidated streets, the place casts a spell. Shekhawati region has several little towns and villages – Nawalgarh, Mandawa, Bagar and Fatehpur to name some of the well-known ones. Shekhawati is famous for its painted havelis (stately homes) built by Marwaris (described best as traders from Rajasthan) who have become India’s most successful entrepreneurs and long since moved out of these magnificent homes. Some of the well-known business families originating from this region are Goenkas, Singhanias, and Poddars, Shekhawati once lay along important trading routes. Many of the abandoned havelis were built in the 19th century and their owners had them painted with eclectic imagery – at times sacred and at times whimsical. These havelis are no longer lived-in, their owners and their descendents having moved to Kolkata and Mumbai, and some even to Chennai.

Piramal Haveli and its interiors

Every nook and corner of Shekhawati has a haveli – but there is one that one can stay in – the Piramal Haveli in the village of Bagar. A grand haveli with three courtyards enclosed by pillared verandas, it was built as the home of Seth Piramal Makharia in the 1920s, who made his wealth trading commodities in Bombay in the first half of 20th century. The eight rooms in this haveli-turned-hotel are simply furnished with no TV sets. Frescoes of flying angels and gods in motor cars adorn its walls.Shekhawati is known popularly as the open-air art gallery.

Tariff – Rooms from Rs 1500 to Rs 2000 per night. Some have A/Cs.

Meals: Fixed vegetarian menus. Per head charges for Breakfast (Rs 150), Lunch (Rs 250), Dinner (Rs 300)

Phone: (01592)-221220















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