Exploring different mediums is fun. I was a bit apprehensive though when Saif from Musafir Stories approached me for a podcast ‘coz I’m not used to public speaking and was pretty sure I would make a fool of myself. It didn’t turn out to be bad at all though, maybe because I spoke about a place I loved – Shekhawati.
I hope you enjoy the podcast (just click ‘listen on audioBoom’ in the picture on top). If you want to visit the towns of Mandawa, Fatehpur, Nawalgarh or Jhunjhunu in Shekhawati or are looking for more information on havelis, you can find a travel guide including how to reach there, where to stay etc on the link here and if you want to know what is the connection of these havelis to famous Indian businessmen of today from Singhanias to Birlas, click here.
A lesser-known region in Rajasthan, Shekhawati has some of the quirkiest mansions or havelis. Of course, Jaisalmer has prettier havelis with elaborate stonework like Patwon ki haveli and Jaipur has more refined art work like that at its City Palace, but Shekhawati’s narrow lanes and its throwback ambience transport visitors to a different era altogether.
Take a look at these pictures and you’ll know what I mean.
As I write this, I recall a camel cart blaring away Bollywood music as it negotiated an impossible bend in one of these lanes, Rajasthani women dressed in dupattas (stoles) and lehengas (skirts) going about their daily routine with the strength and resolve typical of Indian rural/town folk, steam coming off huge kadhais (cooking vessels) as customers waited for piping hot samosas and jalebis, and the quintessential symbols of ‘India’ in the minds of tourists – cows and sadhus – sprinkled into the chaotic mix of the marketplace.
Shekhawati, I will visit again.