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Tourist Places To Visit In Mandawa
Mandawa can be described as one of the most off-beat places to visit in Rajasthan. Located in the Shekhawati Region of the state, Mandawa was one of the richest places until a century ago. The whole region is known for its havelis and Mandawa is the most tourists friendly of them all, with comfortable accommodations and a relatively concentrated cluster of havelis. The main tourist places to visit in Mandawa are almost all its magnificent haveli’s. Such is its love for havelis that the town is often referred to as 'Open Air Art Gallery.'
The Mandawa Fort is the oldest and probably the most preserved of all the buildings you will find here. Built in the mid-18th century, the fort is proof of the prosperous times the city had found itself in. Mandawa was an important trade post for traders coming all the way from the Middle-East and China, so much so that the construction of a fort became imperative. The fort is an architectural and visual delight with its stairs, corridors, decorative windows, courtyards and the beautifully intricate frescoes and mirror works. Though the fort is now a heritage hotel and some parts of it are completely locked away you can still do some exploration for a basic fee.
The more recent of the all the famous Havelis, this one features interesting frescoes of the innovations of the time like trains, cars, telephones side by side with Indian Deities. The haveli also has renowned people from the eastern and western world, like King George the Fifth and Jawaharlal Nehru meeting on its wall. Like most other havelis, this one also has all the traditional features like courtyards and a maze of rooms with walls brimming with detailed frescoes.
Hanuman Prasad Goenka Haveli
One of the first Havelis to pop up, the haveli is one of the few that is still under the possession of the Goenka Family who constructed it during the 18th century. Unlike most havelis, you will find the architecture and the art work are different here. The elements in this particular haveli are more influenced by the styles of the neighbouring Rajasthani cities than most other havelis. In addition to the many frescoes, there are carvings and sculptures decorating the beautiful mansion, the most important of these being the sculptures of Lord Shiva and his beloved accomplice Nandi, the bull.
Goenka Double Haveli
The double here refers to the double entrance to the haveli. The most impressive feature of the haveli is the façade that is decorated by camels and horses, again embracing the Rajasthani culture. Within the massive structure are paintings and various other art works that represent various aspects of Rajasthani life as was experienced by the folks from the 1700s. One such example is the fresco depicting men and women in their tradition clothes.
Bansidhar Newatia Haveli
Constructed during the early 20th century, when the city was at its declining phase, this haveli is no less intriguing. It is, in fact, one of the best examples of artistic brilliance. The haveli captures the change that most of India was undergoing at that point, the change of globalisation. The frescoes at this haveli depict fascinating scenes from the western world from the perspective of the then Indian population, such as the first plane by the Wright brothers flying by an on-looking Indian lady. While the old havelis are fascinating, this one is sure to keep you interested in its own special way.
Chokhani Double Haveli
This is one of the prettiest of all havelis. The dual structures were made side by side to accommodate the brothers who built it. The haveli is in great condition, although it must be admitted that it is fairly new compared to the other havelis. This haveli is decorated with beautiful arabesques of floral patterns on its walls and painted with very mellow colours unlike its counterparts in the region. The style of architecture reflects Rajput influence and this can be seen in its windows, courtyards and rooms, which display a rectangular sort of architecture.
Open Air Art Gallery
The most interesting part of the trip would be just wandering about Mandawa. There were so many havelis during the golden age, some perished and many of them still remain. Over the years many of the havelis have suffered greatly thanks to negligence, but these can still be viewed for their distressed beauty. Just wandering through the markets and lanes, you are sure to chance upon some haveli that is not locked up. A few of them have been converted to heritage hotels. These are usually the best maintained buildings. They are on the higher end when it comes to prices, but it is still worth the experience.
Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli
A grand mansion in Madawa, Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli is all about vintage art and Rajputana pride. Not only its skilfully made interiors but also its intricately crafted murals, showpieces and paintings enrapture the visitor. The boldness in their strokes makes the visitor sit up and take notice of how adventurous the artists of that time were. Do explore the haveli on a leisurely day, touching upon its carved wooden gates, paintings, windows and ceilings.
A patent Shekhawati haveli, Saraf Haveli is one of the most well preserved mansions in the town of Mandawa. The paintings on its walls are unique, in that, they depict the different stages of life. Its various aspects -- beautiful and ugly. Reminding you of the Shakespearean ‘Seven Ages of Man.’ What’s more, these paintings let you take a peek into the rich livelihood of traders and merchants of 19th Century.
The Harlalka Well
Harlalka Well is ancient, said by many to go deeper than even the great Indian Ocean. Even so, the water levels in the well remain intact through most seasons. The well is rimmed by four huge pillars but no railing or walls are built around it so tread carefully while exploring. The local people of Mandawa have also put their faith in this well and believe that a wish made standing by it comes true. Do try it while there!