Ancient and nostalgic – the havelis of Mandawa – a small town in the Shekhawati region of north-east Rajasthan, transports you to the bygone era when Shekhawat Rajputs had ruled the land. Ornate or rusty, the stately heritage standing here adds colour to the otherwise dry canvas of this land.
Shekhawati was one of the routes to the Arabian sea, through which merchant would do trading.
Aesthetically painted frescos with natural dyes and colours are perched on the antiquated walls of all havelis here. Frescos speak to the visitors, presenting them with many tales – some of mythology, others of local folklore and some even depicting the British rulers. The genius and meticulous handiwork is astonishing to say the least.
I went by road from Delhi to Mandawa. While the first couple of hours were just like any other road trip, as I started reaching the hinterland of Rajasthan, much ahead of Jaipur, the topography changed so much that it didn’t resemble rural India. The high Aravalis were cut to make serpentine roads having no potholes.
My car was going up and down in curves as if riding on the back of a huge snake. But the heart-stopping moment was to see two neelgai crashing past me, just when I got off my car to stretch. In that twilight hour casting purple-pink shadows on barren hills, seeing galloping wild neelgai was magical, the surrounding quietude made it more so.
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