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Painted Towns Of Shekhawati

Painted Towns Of Shekhawati

A few friends on a roadtrip to Rajasthan come across the painted towns of Shekhawati, the travel bug (which actually led to the friendship)  in all of us decide to take us for a trip to ” Apno  Desh” (Rajasthan).

We leave Gurgaon early morning, general expectation always run high and with the roads around you got to be a realist then optimist. Google maps add to the optimism calculating the time taking average speed of 60 km/hr. Which is very difficult to achieve given the roads in Rajasthan, better then most other Indian states but still difficult to achieve 60 kmph.

The First Destination: Mandawa, Heart of the Shekhawati Region. I myself belong to Shekhawati and hence the personal attachment to this place. I visit it atleast once a year but every time I go there I have some new experience. This is the region where you will meet the brightest (both intellectually and style wise) and most interesting people. You can easily find villagers who speak foreign languages fluently which they have learnt to make a living out of the being a ‘Guide’ to the visiting tourists. Some of the village kids speak French, Russian Spanish so fluently it might make the professors of these languages in good Universities in India shy away.

So lets get down to what Mandawa has to offer and why should you take out time out of your busy 20 day hard earned vacation time to visit it. Some history about the place would help with the background, the shekhawati region was the center of the trade Channel, China – Afganistan to the South India, China – Arabia Sind region. The region was primarily occupied by the flourishing ‘Marwari’ trader community.  This community has lived up to the name and with India’s independence seeking opportunity moved around India with the secret money – making techniques. Compared to the Jews in Europe(No Offense), the community holds close ties to there native land and makes ample donations to the temples in this region which you will find to be elaborate and mesmerizing. The Birla’s, Jindal’s and Bajajs all hail from this part of the country. The heritage ‘havelis’ which the traders build to live in this once flourishing part of India are worth a watch. The architecture and the love for Fine art of the region is better captured in these small Havelis, the fresco on the walls and the ceiling of the house, in some them the residents still live and you can just walk into them to observe the art andinteract with the residents.

The haveli’s don’t have anything Grand like in the rest of Rajasthan but it gives you a homely feel to how people would live in a prosperous village.There are many Resorts and Hotels coming up around Mandawa owing to the tourist crowd getting bigger by the day but the best place to stay would be in the Mandawa town rather then far flunk resorts and just walk around the town to know the culture and art.

If you are of the adventurous type Mandawa has a lot to offer:

  • There are desert camp sites you can camp 
  • You can get your own bikes and ride around the town ( though  Bikes are not available in Mandawa, you will have to get it)
  • Camel Safari: Through the desert around Mandawa ( if you imagination is pyramid like sandunes around Mandawa is not ideal as it is all bushy desert around here for that you will have to go in the interiors of Jaisalmer )

And for those who just want to enjoy the scenic beauty and art there is no better place where you can discover small things and feel lucky:

  • Haveli’s with ancient and colorful fresco
  • Castle Haveli looming over the tiny town
  • Color and aura around the women

Places to visit around around Mandawa:

Fatehpur Shekhawati – 20 KMs (Again a town of Haveli’s, negelected as not used for tourist attractions , illustrous Temple of Laxminath Baba)

Jhunjhunu – 20 Kms (Temple of Sati Mata, a mosque built by the Muslim rulers in the area)

Churu – 30 KM

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