In the heart of Shekhawati region of Rajasthan is the tourist hot-spot Mandawa, known for its beautiful forts and havelis. Mandawa founded in mid 18th century used to be a market town of Rajasthan where some of the richest merchants resided and built magnificent havelis.
With Forts, Havelis , frescos and wall paintingsat every turn all over the town, Mandawa is often referred as the Open Art Gallery of Rajasthan.
The Hanuman Prasad Goenka Haveli is known for a picture that can be either interpreted to be Indra on an elephant or Shiva on a bull. It depends on the way you see it.
Across the road, there is Goenka Double Haveli. The two entrance gates and monumental pictures of elephants and horses on the façade would take you back to the ancient royal era.
Murmuria Haveli nearby would give you a glimpse of European art and images by local artisans. The sandy courtyard in front of the Haveli would give you a grand view of the wall of the adjacent double haveli with a painting of a train and a crow over the engine. Apart from that, it also depicts the hustle and bustle at the railway crossing.
You must visit the absolutely mesmerizing Harlalka Well. The Jhunjhunwala Haveli has an impressive gold leaf-painted room to the right of its courtyard. You cannot miss out to visit this beautiful piece of architecture.
Mohan Lal Saraf Haveli and Lakshminarayan Ladia Haveli are also worth visiting. The pictures on the walls of these havelis would surely leave you spellbound. Chokhani Double Haveli has some brilliant paintings of mournful Britishers and flower intricacies.
Binsidhar Newatia Haveli, which is a bank now, has an external eastern wall accessible through the bank with amazing paintings of a European woman in a car driven by a chauffeur, a man on a bicycle, the Wright Brothers in their aeroplane looked at by astonished women, a boy with a telephone and many more.
While you are at Mandawa, do not forget to enjoy camel and horse rides. You can get the facility of longer safaris too from the reputed hotels of the town.
Do visit Nawalgarh, Jhunjhunu and Lakshmangarh when in Mandawa. All these places of historical importance have attractive havelis and forts to make your trip even more memorable.
Stay and Food
There are a number of hotels and heritage desert resorts in Mandawa. You can even get accommodation in the havelis renovated as hotels and have a lavish stay.
The food in Mandawa is all about freshly cooked local Rajasthani cuisine.
The nearest airport is in Jaipur at around 167 kilometers from Mandawa. Jhunjhunu is the nearest railway station with trains from Delhi, Bikaner and Jaipur. Mandawa is well connected by road from Delhi and all major cities of Rajasthan.
The regal heritage of Rajasthan is quite evident from the gorgeous havelis of Mandawa. If you want to have a detour into the past and have a delightful experience, Mandawa is the right destination for you.