Mandawa, part of the Shekhawati region, came into being in 1756, when Nawal Singh built the fort that has now been turned into the hotel called Castle Mandawa. But it became a full-fledged town only after Nawal Singh’s two grandsons decided to make it their home at the close of the 18th century.
Sightseeing Places in Mandawa
Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli
The murals of Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli are exceptional, especially in the variety of their themes. It is quite a mixed basket – scenes from the life of the owner with the fort in the background; a curly-headed Greek ‘portrait’; a woman giving birth; mirror images of a tiger and a horse; a bird tending her eggs; a couple making out in a train compartment and another on a chair.
It’s difficult to say if this ‘eroticism’ was at the owner’s request or the artist’s rebellion against an oppressive society. Whatever the reason, these bold strokes provide a refreshing counterpoint to the sometimes tediously ubiquitous portrayals – gods, royals and colonialists.
Bansidhar Nevatia Haveli
Famous Excursions Form Mandawa
The Bansidhar Nevatia Haveli shows the Wright Brothers’ maiden flight and a European making a telephone call – presumably reproduced from magazines. A rather nationalistic tug-of-war between a strongman called Prof Ramamurti and a motorcar driven by an Englishman is also portrayed in a painting.
Nawalgarh is one of the biggest and busiest towns of Shekhawati. Founded in 1737 by Nawal Singh, a son of Shardul Singh, Nawalgarh saw a series of rulers who managed, by dint of their sharp political acumen, to keep the state together as many of their neighbors gradually came apart. Therefore, it was able to attract a number of rich Marwari merchants who built many richly painted havelis here.
You’ll find good frescoes at the Gopinath and Venugopal temples in Mukundgarh, and at Ganeriwal Haveli. Look out particularly for the erotic frescoes, though you may need help spotting them.
How to reach Mandawa
About 7 km from Mukundgarh on the road to Nawalgarh, Dundlod is a small and relatively tiny town, which was founded in 1750 by Keshri Singh, also the founder of Bissau.
Nearest airport, Sanganer, Jaipur, is connected daily to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.
The Shekhawati region is served by several stations.
Shekhawati lies within the angle formed by NH8 and NH11, which connect Delhi to Jaipur and Jaipur to Bikaner respectively.