The Shekhawati, Rajasthan's "open art gallery" of Painted Houses
The Shekhawati, a region of Rajathan a little over three hours north of Jaipur, is known for its frescoed Havalis. The Marwari merchants that settled this area prospered from the trade routes that crossed the region. Between 1830 and 1930, they erected Havalis (mansions/palaces) in Shekhawati, as evidence of their success. As the ultimate symbol of their opulence, the Marwaris commissioned artists to paint the insides and outsides of those havalis. The results can be visited as many of these buildings are now hotels or museums and others present their outer walls as lively decorated archtecture. We hired a car in Jaipur and spent two nights in an eco tourism B&B (http://shekhawatiguesthouse.com/) visiting Fatehpur, Mandawa, Ramgarh, Dundlod and Sikar in two days. We could have stayed more. A good book on the area is "Shekhawti, Rajathan's Painted Homes" by Pankaj Rakesh and Kaoki Lewis, Lustre Press which is available on Amazon.