Jhunjhunu is such a musical word that music starts to dissolve as soon as it gets in the ears. Closing your eyes and listening to the words Jhunjhunu, a tinkling toy, a toy that entertains the mind of an infant, comes on the mantle. You may have also seen this word in some people’s surnames. Yes, Jhunjhunwala, who proudly shows that he belongs to this small town of Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan. I had included the name of this city in my travel wish list since I was studying about Shekhawati region of North Rajasthan.
Jhunjhunu is also a district with a city. In ancient Indian literature, this place is depicted as a part of the Matsya kingdom of Mahabharata. It is believed that this is the place where the Pandavas hid their weapons before playing various characters in the Raja Sabha of King Virat at the time of his exile.
If the past history of this place is seen, then this place was ruled by Chauhan dynasty, Islamic rulers and finally Shardul Singh. Shardul Singh is a descendant of Rao Sheikh who named the place Shekhawati after his name.
Jhunjhunu’s colorful havelis
Like other cities in Shekhawati, Jhunjhunu prides itself on its colorful havelis. I saw a few selected havelis from Jhunjhunu’s charming havelis. I am giving you their names and some information about them here:
Modi Haveli is located in the main market of Jhunjhunu Nagar. If seen, the market is adjacent to the mansion. I was pleasantly surprised to see Jhunjhunu library and some books shops in the market. Climbing the stairs on one side of the mansion, I reached inside the mansion.
Above the grand wooden entrance was a statue of Ganesha in saffron color. As I entered through this gate, there was a typical Shekhawati mansion in front of me. By this time, I had seen many such havelis. I was so comfortable with the structure and design of those havelis that even in this mansion, I could roam without any help. The experiment of this mansion meeting is still going on. Its painters are well maintained.
Read more: Graffiti of Shekhawati Haveli – Rajasthan’s Muktangan Gallery
At first glance, Shri Jhabarmal Tibdewal Haveli appeared to be a relatively new mansion. I found this mansion to be slightly different from most of the havelis seen in Shekhawati. Its frescoes are extremely different. I find them somewhat modern because the colors used in them are global rather than typical Indian. Unlike the frescoes of other havelis, these frescoes are not complex and thematic either. Yet within the Chowk they can be called a typical Shekhawati mansion.
Tibdewal is the principal trading family of Jhunjhunu. The keepers of the mansion told me that they still come to Jhunjhunu at least once a year. They often come here during Navratri.
Other places of interest in Jhunjhunu
While traveling in and around Seth Manna Lal Khaitan Marg, I discovered some such places in the city about which not many people know. Some of them are:
Satyanarayan Temple – This temple situated on the first floor gives the impression of a haveli.
Colorful havelis – I saw many colorful havelis here, but I could not know the names of all.
Meera Ambika Bhavan or Khaitan Bhavan – This mansion, built in 14 AD, was donated to ‘Sri Arvind Divine Life Trust’ in 1979. This mansion has beautiful gardens and has a vasigriha like structure inside. On one side there is a statue of Ganesha, which is regularly worshiped. When we arrived here, it was time for lunch. Hence, no one was present to give information about this mansion.
Mansa Devi Temple – It is a small white colored temple situated atop a rocky hill, which is dedicated to Mansa Devi.
Bandaji’s Balaji Temple – This temple is dedicated to Hanumanji.
Fountain – It is a huge and impressive stepwell named after Medtani, wife of Shardul Singh. In the absence of maintenance, it is difficult to see it up close. This long stepwell has several floors that eventually reach a well, just as can be seen in the queen’s wav. It is expected that the local administration will consider it an environmental heritage and pay attention to its maintenance.
Bird poodle – Typical North Indian or Rajasthani food is available in Jhunjhunu Nagar. Being a vegetarian, I enjoyed tasting elaborate vegetarian thali in all places of Rajasthan. Located near the town, Chidawa is famous for its pedas. Its shape is very bizarre, bulging out from the middle and thumb pressed on both sides. This is a perfect dessert to bring from Jhunjhunu or Chidawa.
Read more: Brajwasi’s Mathura Peda – A glimpse of excellent cooking
Jhunjhunu’s Sati Temple
The most popular temple in the city is the Rani Sati Temple. I knew that there are many Sati temples in Rajasthan, but I had not visited any Sati temple till then. So when I was present in Jhunjhunu, I had a strong desire to visit this popular temple. In colloquial language, Sati is the prevalent meaning of a woman who after the death of her husband has decided to voluntarily pour herself into the fire of her funeral pyre. As simple as it sounds or sounds, it was very difficult indeed. Only one who understands the heart of this practice can tell that it was not possible for every woman. The woman who had the ability to do it and had the will power could only get sati. If we go through the history, we know that in ancient times, women of the state used to be sati to avoid the invading army. An example of this is Chittorgarh.
After seeing some Sati temples of Jhunjhunu, I read their stories. All these temples are dedicated to the historical women who did courageous work some centuries ago. Most of the women had fought themselves to protect their families and had shown courage beyond expectation. I believe that he is highly revered for his descendants because of his courage. The most admirable fact is that all those women are known by their own names and not by their husbands or their family names. She has been given both respect and affection by putting the word ‘Dadi’ with her name.
In the afternoon I reached Bagar which was my resting place in Shekhawati. So during the evening I decided to visit the Rani Sati temple.
Rani Sati Temple of Jhunjhunu
I saw many pictures of Rani Sati temple of Jhunjhunu. In almost all the paintings, the front part of the temple was pistachio green. It is not easy for anyone to guess the exact size of the temple from the picture of this temple seen on the small screen of mobile. When I really stood in front of this front of the temple, its shape made me shocked. It was a very large front section of a very large temple.
Only the front of the temple is visible from outside. Photographing inside is also not allowed. Crossing a beautiful Braj gate I entered the temple complex. I was dazzled after looking at the front view. I was standing in front of one of the cleanest, best maintained and most magnificent temples in North India.
The main temple is built in white marble. The antiquity of temples that are regularly maintained is difficult to estimate accurately. As far as devotees are concerned, the maintenance of the temple is more relevant to them than the antiquity of the temple. In front of many small temples, we go towards the main temple. There are 13 small temples dedicated to 13 sages of the same dynasty. One notice plaque clearly stated that the temple does not support the practice of sati in any way.
Samaj Sati Temple
While interacting with the priest, I first came to know that the Sati temples belong to a particular gotra or community or society. This temple belongs to the Bansal gotra of Agarwal Samaj. She is the grandmother of this society, Sati. Originally the grandmother of the Goyal family, Sati was married in the Bansal family. I felt that as a member of the Goyal Agarwal family, I should have known about this. But I was unaware of these facts.
A face has been created around the trident as a base. As I was hypnotized, I started to see this face of Sati. Sati is not usually depicted in idol form in Sati temples. He is worshiped as Shakti by displaying it as a trident. Devotees sit in front of the goddess with a mehndi, turmeric or kumkum to make a symbol of the swastika and express their wishes. I too made a swastika by sitting in front of the Goddess and expressed my desire to receive a small portion of her divine energy from him.
The grandmother of this temple, Sati, is believed to be the incarnation of Narayani or Uttara, wife of Abhimanyu of Dwapara Yuga. In this era he was married to Tandhan who had a jealous horse. The king of Hisar had his eyes on that horse. With a desire to get this horse, he fought with Tandhan and killed him. After that Narayani made war with the king, killed him and his son and decided to go to Sati as he had wished in his previous birth.
It was near sunset. I took a tour around the temple. There were some small temples in the temple complex. There was a stage on which various forms of matrices were depicted. Here Sandhya Aarti is performed by Shakti Mantras.
An annual fair is held here on the new moon day of Bhadon. I was told that on this occasion, lakhs of devotees come here from this region. Natives of Jhunjhunu spread all over the world also return here to participate in this fair. For more information about the temple, see the temple website.
Khemi Sati Temple
Darshan of the Rani Sati temple made me introspective. After darshan, sitting in the car, I left to return to my rest house. On the way, suddenly I saw another huge temple. My driver told that this is Khemi Sati temple. The darkness was over, yet I decided to visit the temple. You can say that the temple was calling me.
It is also a huge temple built in the typical North Indian style of temple architecture. Going inside, I proceeded to the sanctum sanctorum. I found myself surrounded by various forms of the Goddess who were enshrined in the niches on the reefs leading to the sanctum sanctorum. Two priests were performing aarti in front of the main temple. I sat there and stared at the trident which was elaborately given the appearance of the mouth.
After the Arti, Pujariji informed me that this Dadi Sati temple belongs to the people of Goyal gotra. Then I understood why I was being attracted to this temple. A few moments I had a conversation with the priests. He told that he also runs Ved Pathshala in this temple. He took me to Pathshala, where the young students were chanting the male Sukta of the Rig Veda. I also learned about some social projects run by the temple. Also, I got information about the expansion plans of the temple.
After visiting the temple, I felt as if I was visiting my ancestral house. After seeing it, I came out of there.
Chav Vero Daadi Temple of Bagdar
Piramal Haveli, which was my rest house, had Chavo Vero Sati temple near it. Chavo Dadi is worshiped here. Veero was his brother who got along with him in a battle. When I came here, the work of renovation of the temple on a large scale was going on here. To know more about the temple, see this website.
- Jhunjhunu Nagar is easily accessible from both Jaipur and Delhi cities.
- A full day is necessary for observing the above mentioned sites.
- With these places you can also visit the remaining Shekhawati areas.
- Mandawa and Nawalgarh are more convenient and popular for stay.
Translation: Madhumita Tamhane