The Land of Larger than Life Havelis: Churi Ajitgarh!

Attributes: Unusual Travel Places in India, Heritage

The Monsoon is retreating from Delhi and the mercury seems to be receding. Finally, you can give hill stations a break and explore other regions in northern India. For your next weekend gateway, make your way back to Rajasthan. But give the usual destinations of the state a miss and explore Churi Ajitgarh.

About six hours from Delhi, this sleepy village in the Jhunjhunu district is a part of the Shekhawati trail of Rajasthan. This trail, often referred to as the Open Art Gallery of Rajasthan, covers northwestern villages that house Marwari havelis with frescos. The bulk of these havelis are located in and around Mandawa (10kms away) but stay in Churi Ajitgarh if you are looking to beat the weekend crowd from Delhi. Frescos (or mural paintings) that the region is famous for were first introduced in Rajasthan by the Shekhawat Rajputs. However, they were popularised by the Marwaris, who came from the southwestern part of Rajasthan to dominate the business and economy of the northwest areas. They not only preserved the heritage of the havelis built by the Rajputs but also built more themselves, as a sign of their prosperity.

Churi Ajitgarh has quite a few of these havelis, many dating back to the 18th century. Tucked behind fields and thatched-roof cottages, these haveli appears as oasis to tired traveler. Many of the better-maintained havelies have been refurbished as heritage hotels that offer a wonderful weekend retreat.

Their thick stone walls help keep the outside heat away. Away from the heat of the desert, explore the art gallery that these havelis are. Usually built around a spacious courtyard, the golden yellow walls are ornate with frescos, depicting stories from the epics as well as the everyday life. On some walls, the bright floral patterns make way for brave Rajput soldiers riding into battle, while elsewhere we see the young Krishna stealing the gopis’ clothes as they bathe in the river. Some frescos, on the other hand, show the advent of the British rule and some others highlight steam locomotives and train.

Not far from Churi Ajitgarh’s biggest haveli, Ram Pratap Nemani Haveli, are some old step wells (baoris) and cenotaphs from the British rule, besides some crumbling mansions. Hire a camel to ride around the village’s attractions. At the multi-cuisine restaurant at Ram Pratap Haveli, dig into a traditional Rajasthani thali. The early evenings often see travelers gather in the lawns surrounding the restaurant to watch a kathputli (puppet) show or listen to some soulful sufi music played to the tune of the kamaicha (stringed instrument). Head there for a mesmerizing trip!
How to reach: By car from Delhi (6 hours) 
Where to stay: Vivaana Culture Hotel
Phone number: +91 – 9811276231
Room tariff: Rs 5,500 onwards
Hotel Address: 
Churi Ajitgarh, Mandawa, 333701, Rajasthan, India

Author Credit: Lisa Garg

Tags: churi ajitgarh

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