Mandawa, Rajasthan’s open art gallery town

Mandawa is one of the most beautiful and significant towns in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan state. The town is popularized in many Bollywood & Hollywood movies and documentaries. A significant tourism destination on the Rajasthan Tourism circuit, the town has many palaces, mansions, and streets in this small town that amaze tourists from all around the world. Once a major trading outpost, today the town is majorly dependent on farming, cattle herding, and tourism. Let us explore more about Mandawa, Rajasthan.

Mandawa is a historical town in the Jhunjhunu district of Rajasthan.

Mandawa Jhunjhunu
Mandawa Jhunjhunu by ShekhawatiTourism

Where is Mandawa?

The small town of Mandawa is located in the northwestern part of Rajasthan. It lies amid the arid semi-desert area of the Shekhawati region famous for its vibrant culture and hospitality. It is approximately 168 km away from the state capital Jaipur.

Why is Mandawa so famous?

The small town is the blend of Rajasthan culture, unique architecture, grand forts, and beautiful Havelis. The heritage hotels in the city are the perfect getaway for couples and groups. The view of turban clad men and women draped in colorful traditional attire will take you to the era of Maharajahs.

Stay in one of the famous three-star heritage hotels in Mandawa and forget about all your worries.

Frescos in Mandawa
Frescos in Mandawa by Nicolás Pérez

History of Mandawa

It is believed that ‘Mandawa’ name is derived from Mandu Jat who founded the village. The town is located on the silk route between China and middle-east. Later the ruler of Nawalgarh Thakur Naval Singh Ji recognized the significance of the outpost and built a fort in the year 1755 AD. This fort provided protection to traders and businessmen traveling through the route. Soon the town started to grow around the fort and it was inhabited by an affluential businessmen community from Rajasthan.

Mandawa Tourism

Mandawa is a gem in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan state. The unique culture of the city, magnificent places and one of a kind forts and Havelis make it a desirable place to visit in Rajasthan. The town has many of the Havelis with beautiful murals and frescos. Here are some places to visit in Mandawa for tourists:

#1 Mandawa Fort – As mentioned earlier, the fort of Mandawa was founded by Thakur Nawal Singh in the 18th century. It is situated amidst the Aravali ranges overlooking the great Thar Desert. The fort is classically decorated with murals and frescos dedicated to Lord Krishna and the religious characters. These frescos are the signature styles of the Shekhawati region and Mandawa clearly dominates the region when it comes to the mural art. Today the fort has been converted into a heritage hotel and you can book your stay in the hotel for a dream holiday.

Additionally, the mirror work in a royal darbar hall and rooms can leave any onlooker awestruck.

#2 Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli – We promise you will be spellbound with the beauty of this haveli. There are many depictions of religious characters and erotic scenes on the blue walls of this mansion in Mandawa. Gulab Rai Ladia haveli adorns the southern part of the town. No wonder many people claim this to be the finest in the entire Shekhawati region.

Ladia Haveli Mandawa
Ladia Haveli Mandawa by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

#3 Goenka Double Haveli – You will find the giant monuments of elephants and horses guarding the entrance of the Goenka Double Haveli. These exotic animals are symbolic of the lavish lifestyle of the owners of the mansion. The architecture of the haveli is a mix of Rajput and European styles which could be seen in the overhanging, balconies, and many windows.

#4 Hanuman Prasad Goenka Haveli – This mansion is clearly devoted to Lord Shiva. Vibrant frescos depicting Shiva, Nandi bull, elephants, and Indra Dev could be seen on the walls of this mansion. Many art lovers visit this place and spend hours noticing the details of the wall paintings.

#5 Murmuria Haveli – This haveli could be considered as the most interesting one of the entire region. The painting work could be credited to Shri Balu Ram in the decade of the year 1930s. You can see the painting of George V, cars, vehicles, and Venice on the walls of Murmuria Haveli. Also, the intrinsic mention of Lord Krishan with his cows could also be seen. This is a perfect blend of the two cultures of the east and west.

#6 Jhunjhunwala Haveli – If you want to witness the original Rajasthani art then we recommend you visit this Haveli in Mandawa town. Jhunjhunwala Haveli was built in the year 1859 AD. It is mesmerizing to see the latticed windows, decorated doors, and unique architectural design. This mansion is one of the most visited places in Mandawa, Jhunjhunu.

A Haveli in Mandawa
A Haveli in Mandawa by Clément Bardot

Bansidhar Nayatiya Haveli, Laxminarayan Ladia Haveli, Aakharam Haveli, and Chokhani Double Haveli are some of the other must-visit places in Mandawa, Rajasthan.

Apart from wandering in the streets of the town, you can also see the local shops, rural life, taste local food, and visit some of the local markets to see the real India up and close.

Because of the many beautiful mansions the town of Mandawa is also referred as ‘the open art gallery of Rajasthan’.

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Food in Mandawa

The area of Mandawa may be dry and arid but the people are excellent hosts. And when it comes to food in Mandawa, you will be left amazed with some lip-smacking delicacies of the region. Rajasthan’s traditional Pyaj kachori, Dal-bati churma, Gatte ki sabzi, Lahsun ki chutney, Malai ghever, Makhaniya lassi, bajre ki roti are some of the dishes that you must try while in Mandawa. Apart from these, don’t forget to taste the yummy milk sweet ‘Pede’ made especially in the region. These are prepared using milk and sugar and the dish is loved by the locals as well as travelers.

Food in Rajasthan
Image by Anirudh Chordia

How to reach Mandawa, Rajasthan?

Mandawa is connected to major cities in Rajasthan via a network of roads. It is best to hire a cab or taxi from Jaipur to Mandawa. The beautiful journey could be covered in 2:30 hours only. Additionally, the rural life and landscapes of the great Thar Desert are a treat to the eyes.

Alternatively, you can also board a bus from Jaipur to Mandawa.

Best time to visit Mandawa?

The summer season in Rajasthan is unforgiving hot. On the other hand, winters are pleasant. Therefore, it is best to visit Mandawa in the winter season. The best time to visit the historic town is from October to March.

That was all you need to know about planning a trip to Mandawa in Rajasthan. So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, and let’s explore the historical town of Rajputana

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