Saturday, May 31, 2008

Shekhawati, north-east outpost of Rajasthan!

Havelis (5 pics.); and forts of Badalgarh (1 pic.), Mandawa (2 pics.) and Dundlod (3 pics.), Portraits:top: the Thakur and Thakurani of Dundlod; below: the Rawal of Bissau. (there is a very complex family structure of these nobility of Shekhawat, but they all trace descent from Rao Shekha-see below.)

The Shekhawati region, occupies the north east corner of Rajasthan, (some 180 kms north of Jaipur), the largest Nizamat ( roughly sub-kingdom/fief) of Jaipur State. The Shekhawat chieftains of the region retained a nominal loyalty to the Kachhawaha Rajput's capital state of Jaipur, who in turn honoured them with the hereditary title of Rawal (ruler.); a typical royal lineage see this link

Shekhawati derives its name from the Rajput Kachhawaha chieftain Rao Shekha , hence this Rajput clan is called Shekhawat. The story of Shekha's birth is interesting to understand the origin of Shekhawati. Mokal Ji and his wife were troubled as they had no son for several years. They heard about the miraculous powers of Sheikh Burhan, a Muslim saint. They decided to pay the man a visit. After receiving the blessing of this saint, a son was born to the couple. In honour of the mendicant, the couple named their son Shekha!
For full details of the Shekhawati region see link.
To an Indian familiar with his great business and industrial families and groups, he would be surprised that Mittal (one of 4 richest in the world-Forbes), Bajaj, Birla, Dalmia, Goenka, Poddar, Singhania and many others are from the Shekhawati region!!!
Places of tourist interest, with forts, palaces and havelis, erstwhile sub-kingdoms include Bissau, Dundlod, Mandawa, Fatehpur,
Nawalgarh (see above link.) here are links to some of these antiquated places: Dundlod;
this link is a superb haveli (houses within an enclosure of sorts) restored & converted to an art gallery ;
one more link that covers the Shekhawati region.
and this superb link with pictures of paintings on Shekhawati havelis/houses
hotel booking link 1
hotel booking link 2

Shekhawati region, getting there

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Samode, palace and fort nestled in the hills!

2008 138

Samode Palace, situate in the hill town of the same name some 42 kilometers north of Jaipur, is now a heritage hotel. The Nathawats, who are the ruling thakurs (local lords and landowners) of Samode are descended from Gopal Singh, one of 12 sons of Maharaja Prithviraj Singh who ruled the Amber-Jaipur kingdom in the 16th century. Later members of this family served as prime ministers of Jaipur, and made Samode one of the wealthiest regions of Rajasthan. Samode palace is worth a visit; nestled in the hills, with steep hillsides rising immediately around the walls, and an ancient fort on a hill top; the palace is now a luxury heritage hotel with all the interiors preserved in their original, the pictures tell it all. Here is the right link

Top photo: the Rawal of Samode (left)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Jaipur Heritage Palace Hotels

One detailed look at this site, Hotels Jaipur-Amantran Tours (Jaipur) ,and I told myself this must be a must inclusion in my blog...........the pictures, at least most of them, are courtesy Amantran Tours. For more details go to the site. These opulent palaces are now heritage hotels, and you can relive the past, the superb lifestyle of the royals of Rajasthan. The reason for this large number of photos here is for those viewers who may have no inkling that they have a wide choice of opulent heritage palace hotels, where the royal past is so spendidly revived! These heritage hotels also entertain guests with Rajasthani ethnic folk dances, puppet shows, and the cuisine includes local delicacies and drinks etc.

Some of these palace hotels have very interesting stories, and display the family heirlooms, rare portraits and other collections.

(1st. top photo,Umaid Bhavan, a haveli hotel-see link