First published as The Guide to Painted Towns of Shekhawati in the painted town of Churu by Arvind Sharma in 1987, this edition soon sold out. Two years later, Mapin of Ahmedabad decided to publish it: it took them five years (1994) to bring out a coloured edition as The Painted Towns of Shekhawati. This is long out of print. Prakash Books of New Delhi brought out a rewritten, updated edition of The Painted Towns of Shekhawati in late 2008


THE PAINTED TOWNS OF SHEKHAWATI: ISBN 817234171-7, published in 2008 by Prakash Books India Pvt Ltd, 1 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi 110002, India. sales@prakashbooks.com  tel. (0091) 011-23247062-65. 215 pages, 89 colour photographs, 11 drawings and 12 maps all by the author. The first half of the book includes a description of the region and its history. It describes the Marwari and Rajput patrons, the buildings they commissioned and the painters who decorated them. It also outlines the method of constructing and painting the walls, the paintings and the subjects that were portrayed. The second half is a description of, and guide to, the region and the main painted towns and villages.



The Rough Guide to India. “…with the help of Ilay Cooper’s excellent ‘The Painted Towns of Shekhawati’… you should be able to find interesting sites in every town or village you pass through.”
Footprint India Handbook:. “Recommended Reading ‘The Painted Towns of Shekhawati’ by Ilay Cooper, a great Shekhawati enthusiast, …has numerous colour photos and maps…”
Lonely Planet India “For a full rundown of the history, people, towns and buildings of the area, it’s worth investing in a copy of ‘The Painted Towns of Shekhawati’ by Ilay Cooper. …The book gives details of the buildings of interest in each town, along with fine sketch maps of the larger towns in the area.”
Eric Newby in The Observer: “Without a knowledgeable guide in Shekhavati one is more or less sunk. Fortunately, there is a very good guidebook… by Ilay Cooper…His book deserves a wider public.”
Indian Review of Books
Review by Shobita Punja:
“Cooper has a light, humorous, very personal style of writing which is very ‘reader friendly’….The guidebook has a very neat, interesting description of the history of this area; how the mercantile community moved away from this region in search of lucrative trade, how they ploughed back their money into their mansions, decorating them with murals, how neighbours vied with each other for the best, most profusely painted havelis which ultimately led to this explosion of colour amidst the Rajasthan desert sands. Cooper has provided a colourful account of the patrons of Shekhawati, the painters, and their families.”
“How the murals were executed, the technique and the styles are also adequately outlined. The subject matter of these murals is the most interesting. Details and sections of the paintings, and where the murals are placed on the walls of the building are illustrated by colour photographs. This aspect is the most entertaining part of the book…in conclusion…having read Cooper’s guidebook I am eager to visit Shekhawati.”


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Author : Ilay Cooper

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ISBN : 817234171-7

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