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Khetri Mahal Mertaniji Ki Baori Badalgarh Fort

Khetri Mahal
Khetri Mahal Jhunjhunu

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.


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.


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 doesn't 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 a dome.


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