Places of Interest In Jhunjhunu
¤ Badalgarh Fort
Let's begin with the contribution of the Kaimkhani nawabs. Looking at
Badalgarh protected within high walls and perched atop a rocky hill,
you'd easily count it as among the most impressive forts of
Shekhawati. It was built by Nawab Fazl Khan at the close of the 17th
century, but not as a fort but as a stable! Well, horses and camels
were precious for the kings those days, for they didn't have F-18s or
Stealth Bombers, you see. and it was only fair that these animals have
a place to stay befitting their status. Naturally, Badalgarh doesnt
enclose those grand baradaris (pavilions) or sheesh mahals (mirror
palaces) that you would find in the Amber Fort Palace or the Jaisalmer
Fort, but it's an interesting site to explore anyway.
The views from the walls of Badalgarh are especially good. There are
also three makbaras (tombs) of the Kaimkhani nawabs in Jhunjhunu. To
the east of the town is the Tomb of Nawab Samas Khan (reigned
1605-1627), and to the west is the Tomb of Bhawan Khan built by
Rohella Khan. The Tomb of Rohella Khan is like a solid block topped by
¤ Shekhawat Rajput's Chhatris
The Shekhawat Rajputs, too, put in their bit to build Jhunjhunu. The
cluster of memorial chhatris of Sardul Singh's sons are now used as a
school. They've whitewashed the place which, sadly, has erased some of
the historic murals. The inscriptions, too, have been obliterated.
However, there still are some remains of paintings on the inner walls
of some of these. Sardul Singh's eldest son, Zorawar Singh, built a
fort for himself. This was Zorawargarh, built in 1741. Most of the
fort is in ruins, but the better buildings house government offices
and the town jail. The Zenana Complex in which dwelled the lovely
royal ladies, now lies bare and broken.
¤ Mertaniji Ki Baori
The Mertaniji ki Baori is the oldest and finest of Jhunjhunu's step
wells. It was built by Sardul's widow in 1783. Step wells are real
architectural feats in the desert state of Rajasthan and building them
was considered a great act of generosity and benevolence. They served
as community centres, where people gathered to help themselves to the
most precious commodity water. The Mertani Baori is a beautiful
structure with flights of steps descending through arches.
¤ Khetri Mahal
But perhaps the finest architectural heritage of Jhunjhunu is the
Khetri Mahal, also known as the Wind Palace. It was built by Bhopal
Singh, founder of Khetri and grandson of Sardul Singh, in 1770.
Wherever possible, marble pillars take the place of walls, allowing
the maximum flow of air through the building. A ramp ascends through
the Mahal from the entrance right up to the terrace, so that the
Rajputs could ride up on their horses. Inside are lovely halls with
graceful arches and pillars. The Khetri Mahal was so beautiful a
monument that Sawai Pratap Singh of Jaipur got inspired by it and
built the grand Hawa Mahal in 1799.
¤ Forsterganj- A British Establishment
After the Shekhawat Rajputs had their high time in the power game,
came the British. and with them came Major Henry Forster to Jhunjhunu.
He built a mosque and a temple in the part of the town which he
created Forsterganj. This lies in the east of Jhunjhunu and was
the headquarters of the Shekhawati Brigade. Forster's Jama Masjidis
painted in white and green, and is a pretty fresh looking structure.
There are other reminders of the well-loved Major in town, like the
stone tablet installed by the Major himself.
¤ Kamruddin Shahs Dargah
Kamruddin Shahs dargah (shrine) is a complex at the foot of the
Kana Pahar hill. A ramp leads to the imposing gateway, and the views
from the rooftop are really good. This dargah is the tomb of
Kamruddin, a Muslim saint (born 1784). It was built in the mid-19th
century and also houses a mosque, a mehfilkhana (concert hall) and a
madrassa (Koran school). Traces of murals of floral motifs are seen
around the courtyard. There's also a little pyramid like structure
within the complex erected for Major Forster's infant son who died in
¤ Scenic Location of Jhunjhunu
That is not all you have for sightseeing in Jhunjhunu. Carry on along
the roads where donkeys are seen pulling enormous loads until you
reach the Birdi Chand Well in the north west of the town. It's not an
ordinary well from which you draw water, drink and get going; the
surmounting four handsome minarets here will make you stop awhile and
wonder. and since water is such a precious commodity in Rajasthan,
wells and baolis (step wells) are treated almost like temples. So it's
not surprising that there is a little temple here at the Birdi Chand
Well, which is dedicated to Hanuman (the monkey god of Hindu
mythology). A few kilometers further north from here is the
picturesque artificial Ajit Sagar. This johara (lake), located near a
hill, was built by Jitmal Khaitan in 1902. There are lovely minarets
here too, making the place a pleasant retreat away from the crowd.
Steps lead to the hilltop temple, from where you get a good view of
the distant town.