A number of Shekhawati’s havelis, traditional townhouses common to the region, have now been restored and opened as museums. Most, however, remain in a state of picturesque dilapidation and are still occupied by local families, while others have been abandoned, and are now empty apart from a solitary chowkidar (caretaker-cum-guard). Visitors are welcome to look around inside some havelis in return for a small tip, while others remain closed to outsiders. If in doubt just stick your head in the front door and ask, but remember that you’re effectively entering someone’s private home, so never go inside without permission. Visiting times are usually between sunrise and sunset. Be aware of “guide touts”, who accost you on the street with offers of haveli tours. They might take you to a haveli or two, but they are not licensed guides, and their sole objective is to get you to a shop that pays them commission.

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