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Things To Do In Mandawa
The small desert city of Mandawa is known for being an important trade post of eras bygone. This economic prosperity helped convert these wastelands into one of the most beautiful regions in the state of Rajasthan. The era saw beautiful havelis being set up at an overwhelming pace, and they spread throughout the Shekhawati region. Today Mandawa stands as a reminder of those glorious times. Being a very small place, there are limited number of things to do in Mandawa, so you could plan just a day trip to this town. But there are some advantages to staying overnight too. Here are all the possible options for you to explore at Mandawa.
The best way to go about this would be to ask the hotel at which you are put up to arrange for a tour guide; since there are quite a few havelis located all over the city and they could provide you with details that you would miss otherwise. However, the adventure of searching the streets and running into havelis that you didn’t know existed is undeniably exciting. There are a number of havelis that have gained popularity for a number of reasons; here are a few of them.
Murmuria Haveli: One of the more recent havelis, it is known for its intriguing collection of frescoes that depict things from all over the world such as George the fifth, Jawaharlal Nehru in the midst of your typical Rajasthani elephants and local deities.
Hanuman Prasad Goenka Haveli: This well maintained building from the 18th century is one of the most popular havelis around. The haveli features traditional Rajasthani art work and is most famous for its statues, especially those of the Hindu God Shiva and his bull Nandi.
Goenka Double Haveli: Another ancient haveli, it is adorned by paintings depicting life in a desert. The façade features camels and elephants. It also has numerous paintings of men and women in their traditional attire going about their daily life.
Bansidhar Newatia Haveli: Another 20th century haveli, known for its unique portrayal of the modern world. The frescoes include sights like trains, telephones, aeroplanes and other modern wonders alongside amused Indian audience.
Chokhani Double Haveli: The two buildings of the haveli stand in one complex and make for an interesting work of art. It is unlike most havelis and lacks the colourful touch that they usually display. This one blends right into the desert backdrop with its exquisite sandstone finish decorated by intricate floral arabesque and other techniques often encountered in the region.
There are, of course, a handful of well-known havelis beside these and all you need is a little exploration to find them.
Feel like Royalty
What was once the Mandawa Fort is today a grand heritage hotel going by the name Castle Mandawa Hotel. The red sandstone structure is a gorgeous sight standing in the middle of the main town area. From afar, one can see its massive walls, turrets, pillars and domes peeking into the sky. The converted castle exhibits many parts of the castle, including vast courtyards and gardens, winding staircases and brightly lit hallways guarded by decorative arches. The rooms within have the ever-so-familiar frescoes painted all over the walls and also display some interesting mirror work that is typical to this region. Though a night stay at the castle is recommended, you can also just visit here as part of a day tour for a small fee.
If you are in Rajasthan, you definitely want to do this and there couldn't be a more interesting place to safari than in Mandawa. The camel safari can be booked at Castle Mandawa Hotel and some other hotels and is a well-organized affair. It includes a safari through the haveli lined streets of Mandawa on the beautiful dunes of Thar, and even has a night stay in a tent! The food and everything else you would need is arranged by the organizers of the trip and can potentially make this the highlight of the vacation. Some of the more daring safaris have trips all the way from Jaipur ro Mandawa with camping during the nights. This is definitely a fun way to travel to Mandawa.
Enjoy Local Cuisine
As is the case with most parts of Rajasthan, the food here is to die for. Even a simple meal can be quite refreshing. The Bungli Restaurant is especially popular among tourists and they cater to an interestingly diverse menu. Another place that has established its name is Monica Rooftop Restaurant. They serve great Rajasthani food and have the ambience to go with it. There are a couple of other great restaurants to choose from like the Shekhawati Restaurant and the Paawana Restaurant.
Shop at the Local Market
Though the markets don’t offer a great many things as most other places, it can be compensated by the unique products available here. The Shekhawati region is known for some particular forms of art work such as lac bangles and a kind of leather footwear. Dye fabrics are another specialty of the area. They use interesting knot techniques to form patterns while dying the material. Some places sell wood carvings and paintings as well.
If you are staying at Mandawa then this is a great opportunity to explore the nearby region. Most places lying between the cities of Shekhawati are small villages dotting the never-ending desert landscape. The drive can be refreshing and there are sights to be explored for the adventure thirsty. About 30 km away from Mandawa is Jhunjhunu or about 40 km away is the historic town of Parsurampura, both great places for a day visit.