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Farm Eco Tourism
Background: Shekhawati region in Rajasthan was given partial treatment by Mother Nature which is reflected in its semi-arid conditions. The Shekhawati culture responded to this challenge and compensated very beautifully in its rich tradition of folk arts, handicrafts and life styles. The cultural values also inculcated a deep sense of resilience and entrepreneurship in the sons of the soil reflected in top successful business houses of India originating from Shekhawati. This is evident in creation of magnificent havelis, philanthropic institutions and running of various altruistic activities by the segment of population for more than one century. It led to a rich heritage worth interest for serious tourism by outsiders.

Shekhawati is a region comprising of three districts in Rajasthan namely Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Churu. Situated North-West of Jaipur at a distance of 132 kms and South-West of Delhi at about 190 kms, it is now known as one of the largest OPEN AIR ART GALLERY in the world. Frescoes on every wall of over 5,000 havelis, also offers a unique essence of the countryside, its people, food, dance, music and livelihood activities in Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Cottage Industries.

Tourism promotion in Shekhawati began with the organizing of first Shekhawati Festival, way back in 1995.

Frescoes on every wall of over 5,000 havelis, also offers a unique essence of the countryside, its people, food, dance, music and livelihood activities in agriculture, animal husbandry and cottage industries. The Morarka Foundation, in its efforts to introduce new economic opportunities, identified tourism promotion. With the result in 15 years in Shekhawati alone from 50 odd rooms in 2-3 hotels, today there are about 1000 rooms available to the tourists.

Shekhawati Festival:We made a small beginning, by organizing first Shekhawati Festival in 1996. This event enabled us to focus on many facets of Shekhawati culture that could become an experience sharing opportunity for visiting tourists.

The local traditional games such as Satolia, Rounder Balla, Hardara and Lunkyar continue to generate huge participation by rural youths. The folk art forms such as Mehandi, Mandana and Bandhej added colors to the festival.
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Organic Food Festival: Since many years anew and unique event "Organic Food Bazar" has also been added. About 40 farm families practicing organic management were invited to cook and serve their traditional food to the visiting tourists. This event attracted very-very large number of local residents as well.

Heritage Conservation:The initiatives to document the cultural heritage of Shekhawati has been taken one step further. A major restoration and conservation effort is under progress at Morarka Haveli Museum. The leading expert Dr. Hot Chand is reviving the traditional techniques. The institute like facility has also been created at Morarka Haveli Museum to train young unemployed youths.

Some of the significant activities at the museum continued during the year are:
  • Filling and filleting of plaster at the damaged portions.
  • Cleaning of wall surfaces.
  • Cleaning and treatment of wooden doors and windows.
  • Cleaning and treatment of metal surfaces.
  • Cleaning and chemical coating of preservative on painted surfaces.
  • Consolidation, filling and filleting of flooring and roofing surfaces.
  • Reintegration of paintings by traditional methods.
  • Toilet facilities
The flow of tourists to the Haveli Museum has also increased significantly. The new Heritage Train on Meter Gauge has also included Morarka Haveli Museum in their itinerary.

Farm Eco Tourism:All the tourists visiting Morarka Haveli Museum has now also started appreciating the conservation works, especially when they compare the conservation works being carried out by other Haveli owners.

The small efforts made to develop Farm Tourism have also started picking up. With Gangabari being first organized tourist destination, today there are at least 40 more similar kind of destinations on offer to the tourists. Here, the tourists mean outsiders interested in knowing, understanding and learning about Organic Agriculture in Shekhawati.

Success Stories

1. Rural Tourism Success Story 2012