Distance : 50km southwest of Churu, 40km west of Fatehpur
Ratangarh, though counted among the
painted towns of Shekhawati, falls under the administration of the
state of Bikaner. Founded by Surat Singh of Bikaner in the late 18th
century, it was shaped and toned up by his son, Ratan Singh. The town
also bears the name of Ratan Singh and not of its founder. In order to
bring it to commercial limelight Ratan Singh invited Jeevan Ram
Poddar, a trader from Churu, in the 1820s.
The most interesting part of the town is that its bazaar is laid out
in the design of a cross with shops painted like the town. The shape
of the market suggests the fact that the city was planned before
construction. Like in most Indian towns, the Clock Tower is at the
main crossing of the bazaar. The town also has a wonderful johara
(step well) built by the Chandkothia family, but what it is best known
for are its painted havelis.
¤ Havelis Attractions
Taparia Haveli (c.1900) has mostly religious paintings aprt from the
one in the forecourt which is that of a railway station and a train.
The Thard Haveli (c.1860) with its exquisite paintings lies just
opposite the Raghunath Temple ( Ram Mandir ) and close to the Vaidnath
Haveli. This family mansion has about 300 wooden windows and
Bansidhar Poddar Haveli
The Bansidhar Poddar Haveli , now shared by the family descendents,
was built during the final years of the 19th century. The forecourt of
the haveli has several murals including those of Lord Krishna as a
baby on a leaf, a man massaging a horse and wrestlers showing their
The Bhuwalka Haveli has some impressive frescoes; folk stories of
Heer-Ranjha and Sassi-Punnu, Lord Krishna sitting in a palanquin made
of women, and Arjuna and Lord Krishna in a chariot destroying the
Dhansukhdas Bhuwalka Haveli
Built in 1905, the Dhansukhdas Bhuwalka Haveli has mirrorwork inlaid
in plaster while the courtyard has some telling religious paintings.
Apart from the havelis Ratangarh has the double chhatri of Jeevan Ram
Poddar and his wife. This cenotaph was built around 1850 and also has
some exquisite paintings in its domed ceiling.
¤ The Fort Remnants
The town once had a massive fort built in 1820 by the Raja of
Bikaner, Ratan Singh. But now the original fort has nothing left
except for a few ruined monuments that have survived the test of time.