Shekhawati Festival, a three-day celebration in Nawalgarh, Rajasthan, marks the end of Autumn. During the festival, cultural evening swayed away the hearts of the tourists. This year the festival was jointly organised by M.R. Morarka-GDC Rural Research Foundation, Rajasthan Tourism and Districts administration of Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Churu.
Both local and foreign tourists equally enjoyed the folk music, folk dances, cart race, camel rides, rural sports and fireworks. Musical nights at Sand Dunes near Mukundgarh fort, was the highlight of the festival and added more colours to the already mesmerising days at Shekhawati festival.
Tourists enjoyed the varieties of food served at the festival. This food was prepared from the organic products grown at the Morarka farms. Tourists also visited these organic farms and experienced the rural lifestyle. They met the farmers working at the farms to produce the organic food and saw the agricultural revolution of the villages.
Every year the number of women participants has been increasing due to the introduction of women-oriented items at the festival. Women love to participate in Mehendi and drawing competitions.
Besides these, Shekhawati is famous for Morarka Haveli Museum, also known as the largest ?Open Air Art Gallery? in the world. There are about 5000 Havelis which are open for the tourists as museum. During the years between 1750 A.D. and 1900 A.D., these Havelis were decorated by the artists from different parts of the country. The Havelis were decorated with frescoes in Rajasthani style on wet plastics with pigments from vegetable and earth colours.
The celebration ended with a speech by former Vice President Shri Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, in which he urged the people of Shekhawati to preserve rich culture and heritage of the region with dedication so the world can enjoy it for centuries to come.
The Morarka Haveli, a landmark in Nawalgarh, was built in 1900 A.D. by Shri Jairamdas Morarka?a great patron of Art. This Haveli with an oddly aligned facades is situated in Naya Bazar in between Poddar Gate and Roop Niwas Palace, just in front of Gher Ka Temple.
There are scenes depicting marriage procession, inscribed folk stories, Dhola Maru on the outer facades. Other themes of Krishna Leela, Ramayana, Shiva, Ganesh and Laxmi are abundantly depicted on the walls inside the courtyards of the Haveli.
All the four walls are embellished with Rajasthani frescoes. It has given it a perfect view of an open air art gallery. There is a good decorative art of mirror work on the facades of the entrance gate and main door.
The primary decorative feature of the Haveli is in its exquisite frescoes in Rajasthani style done on wet plaster with pigments from vegetable and earth colours. Indigenous processes of beating, burnishing and polishing are adopted while drying of the painting under the effect of natural carbonatisation.