Desert sand dunes, speaking havelis, cheerful people and authentic Rajasthani dance. Churu spells exuberance in the very heart of Rajasthan. The much abandoned child of the desert, this quaint town marvels with the historic tale that captivates tourists the moment they step in.
I visited this place long before the lockdown and thank my lucky stars to have witnessed a town of mystery and cultural exuberance.
Churu is literally a living mural that has expressed itself on the walls of the havelis (mansions) of the rich trading classes. Mystery unfolds its classic epilogue as each haveli has a tale to tell. A district town with a population of about 1,00,000, Churu is surrounded by sandy desert and boasts temperatures ranging from below freezing at dawn in winter to 50°C in the heat of summer.
Although Churu is easily approachable by road, the journey is less tiring by train. Boarding a train from Delhi gives the much pleasurable journey as the train takes you through magnificent green paddy fields and the majestic mountains.
How to reach Churu by Train
The DEL-BKN SF EXP departs daily from 11:50 and arrives at 04:10 taking approximately 4.5 hrs from Delhi. Tourists who love road journeys can take the route from Gurgaon – Rewari – Narnaul – Singhana – Chirawa – Jhunjhunu– Churu.
As the train chugs its way to the platform of Churu, the vibrant colors and aroma evoke my senses. Flanked by my host, I am ushered towards my awaited destination, Malji ka Kamra, a historic splendor built in 1920 that is maintained by Deepak Balan, the owner.
Aged for about a century, this Marwari haveli has a history of serving the visiting dignitaries to Churu. The moment I caught attention of the vibrant haveli, I was spellbound with the architecture and colors that gave life to it. The spectacular masterpiece is an amalgamation of European architecture and Shekhawati style fresco paintings.
Delectable dishes served with hospitality at the Haveli The lavish spread of greenery looks beautiful as we walk towards the convivial haveli. Warm welcome by the courteous staff brush aside the dust gathered from the journey. The rooms of the Malji ka Kamra are dressed appropriately combining the modern facilities while keeping the heritage values intact.
Each room of the haveli is tastefully decorated restoring the 20th century charm with masterpieces of the ancient era. As I freshen up after a quick shower, a warm Rajashtani meal awaits me. The delectable fare has warm vegetables and lentils served with hot rotis and rice. Havelis with small Jharokhas speaking tales about the city
A walk in the streets of Churu is what my heart longed for! And we set off to measure the grandeur city with its majestic havelis at each turning corner. Churu indeed makes you introspect the by-gone era with the aesthetic masterpieces on each haveli. The small windows and jharokha of each haveli depict the privacy the women had in those days. The high ceilings, gigantic main doors, huge rooms all reflect the opulent lifestyle of the rich Marwari trader families. Each haveli had small staircase that were dark and claustrophobic leading to huge terraces. While the climb to the terraces were a task, the breathtaking view was worth it. The mesmerizing view of the dark blue sky with pigeons in the air murmurs the classic tale of this beautiful city.
The haveli which caught my eye was the Banthia Haveli. Dating from the early 20th century painted haveli it has some very exquisite pictures of Jesus smoking a cigar and a Scotsman riding his motorbike. Owned by Jain merchants, this haveli is unfortunately not maintained well. The other havelis were the Poddar Haveli and the Mantri Marg haveli.
Sethani ka Johra
It was time to be whisked off for a high-tea at a surprise location. Deepak and his staff made special arrangements to make the tea drinking experience an unforgettable one. We reached a place called the Sethani ka Johraa; a reservoir that was constructed by the widow of Bhagwan Das Bagla during the Chhapan Akaal, the terrible famine of 1899 AD.
Served as one of the relief projects, this historic site was a few kilometers on the western side of the Ratangarh Road. Known for exotic birds and mammals like the Nilgai or blue bull near the huge water body, this unexplored place was just the place I was looking for. A lavish tea session under the chhatris made it all look enchanting and intriguing. Warm comfortable beds in one of the rooms The surprise never ended.
The crew of Malji made sure we were satiated to the last drop. Later, the jeep took us to the sand dunes with a desert bornfire. The beautiful site under a gigantic umbrella of stars was very alluring. Lucky for us, we could witness the meteor shower that night. Succulent kababs offered by the hospitable servers of Malji made the desert bornfire experience a memorable one.
The excitement and fun had to end and soon we were ushered to the haveli. Warm, soft beds at Malji ka Kamra was just the thing I needed after an exciting day and night at Churu.
Prem sarovar – The venue for our royal lunch The next morning included the tour of Ramgarh city. Barely 20 minutes drive from Churu, it takes travelers through majestic sand dunes, camels, exotic birds flying and the Rajasthani fervor. A brief tour around the lanes of the city gave us an awesome view of shani-dev temple along with some more havelis. The next stop was lunch at Prem Sarovar, another Johraa. The team of Malji made sure that everything was taken care of. The backdrop of the lake reflected the blue sky while the sun shone at its brightest.
The tour was yet to conclude on an enchanting note. We were taken to skilled craftsmen who represented their ancestral wealth of showcasing their talents through handicrafts. Mr. Malchand
Jangid, a renowned craftsman settled with his family crafts the most discerning sandalwood decorative pieces that reflect beauty and charm. A family legacy of acquiring maximum awards, the humble craftsman earns a meager amount by showcasing art pieces to the world.
We were lucky to be showcased yet another skilled craftsman. The lac bangle maker settled in his small shop makes the most exotic bangles that look beautiful. Enchanting in design and easy to handle, these lac bangles are affordable and accentuate any attire.
That was the last stop which brought us to the end of the majestic tour of the city. The Malji Haveli with it’s spell bounding sculptures in the city of Churu has left an everlasting impression on my mind. I take back memories of a grandeur celebration of the by-gone era reminiscent of a past that evokes mystery.
Address: Naya Bass, Churu, Rajasthan 331001
Phone: 091664 83777