“A wall may fall, but a Rajput stands firm.” ~ Rajput war proverb
Our road trip through Rajasthan included Mandawa, a dry arid town, located in the Shekhawati region. Known for its many havelis (mansions), decorated with beautiful painted frescoes, the entire area can be called an “open air art gallery.” I’ll explore this in my next post.
Situated in the middle of town is the Mandawa Fort, now converted into a heritage hotel. With its unique medieval charm, this was to be our home for one night.
Mandawa, a remote feudal principality in the center of the Shekhawati region, was a trading outpost for the ancient caravan routes that stopped here from China and the Middle East. The Rajput ruler of Mandawa, Thakur Nawal Singh, built a fort in 1755 to protect this outpost. The township that grew around the fort soon attracted a large community of traders, who settled here. When the caravan traffic ceased in the late 18th century, the traders created business empires in other parts of the country, but returned to Mandawa to build palatial mansions in their hometown.
As Ron and I explored the castle/fort with its winding stairways and narrow halls, I marveled at this preserved historical outpost.
The Diwankhana, the formal drawing room, is decorated with family portraits and has a cosy feel. The frescoes adorn the walls and ceiling, adding a beauty of its own in contrast to the harsh exterior with its turrets and bare ground.
I couldn’t help but imagine the camel caravans that arrived here and the experiences these merchants exchanged. It was these stories that inspired the artists all over the region to create their version of daily life that adorn the walls of the fort, as well as the surrounding mansions (havelis).
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And what a trip! 🙂
Indeed it was, Meredith. Where do I begin? 🙂
Well, that’s a good start … and you hinted at the next post. I’m looking forward to it, whatever you decide 🙂
This hotel is incredible!! Was it expensive to stay there for the night? I am so looking forward to all of your posts from your trip to India. We are headed to Ecuador for the month of May, so I may not be able to read all your posts right away. But, I’ll be sure to save them for when I return.
I’m not sure of the hotel’s price as our trip was a package price. I’m excited that your trip to Ecuador begins right away. Will you be at the Napo Wildlife Refuge and will you be seeing Lisa? I look forward to your posts on your adventures as well. Safe travels.
What a sumptuous place to stay the night, Lynne, and with so much fascinating history attached to it. The decor is really out of this world. Was the food good too? 🙂
The food was buffet style and delicious; so many choices. This place oozed with history as well as two palaces we stayed in. It’s good to see these architecturally, culturally and historical places put to use instead of allowing them to crumble away. 🙂
Looks wonderful! Wow! 🙂
Oh, it was. The marble bathroom is bigger than my living room. Sigh!! 🙂
Ah-haha! Sigh, yes! 🙂
Enjoyed reading and viewing!
Thank you, dear friend. We enjoyed sharing India with you and Robert and now you can eventually see some pictures.
Stunning pictures, Lynne, and wonderful details. I can’t wait for the next post!
Am glad you like the photos and history. More soon.
“open air art gallery” indeed. How rich with history and artwork. And what a fabulous place to stay. I too look forward to more, Lynne!
Quite a region and history, Tahira. I’m almost ready with another post that explains the process. Great place to stay and off the beaten path. That’s its appeal.
You could simply loose yourself in all those mosaics, Lynne! Beyond words! 🙂
I was absolutely spell bound by the colors and subject matter of the frescoes. I believe these have been touched up and the owners can afford it. My next post will show what weather and centuries do to them as well as the process. 🙂
Wonderful images and reading of a totally different world.
Greetings from Norway,
You are so right, Dina. a totally different world from yours and mine. Thanks so much for your visit and comment.
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Looks fabulous!! That state is littered with forts and palaces. It isn’t called Rajasthan for nothing! 🙂
You are right about that and we missed plenty. But what we did see was a feast for the eyes. 🙂