Shekhawati The large arid region of North Rajasthan has several old ghostly looking towns interspersed between sand dunes within reasonably small distances from each other. Each town has own peculiar feature having almost all the 100-200 yrs old mansions richly painted with frescos of varied intricacies. These old mansions with larger than life overhanging delicate balconies seem to get alive with every falling ray of sunlight. It's a great experience to wonder around street after street of such town, peeping in the courtyard of many such mansions and visually experiencing what can easily be called as "the largest open air art gallery of the world'. Mandawa is the most famous town of Shekhawati.
Mandawa Castle or Castle Mandawa- It is one of the finest castles of Rajasthan is now a beautiful hotel. Mandawa provides the visitors with a sense of discovery at every turn; battlements that offer spectacular views of the town below, a whimsical peacock weather van, and an arched window that overlooks the verdant garden visited by peacocks. Most importantly, the fact that here, no two rooms are same in the palace. In the zenana (women's) quarters, one room offers antique murals, another has a marble fountain, and the turret room boasts of walls that are seven feet thick. Looking out from the window of the turret room, it is easy to imagine the marauding bandits that once roamed freely here. Little wonder then that the family crest contains the motto, 'Veer Bhogya Vasundhara', which translates into 'the brave shall inherit the earth'.
The Binsidhar Newatia Haveli has some curious paintings on its outer eastern wall-a boy using a telephone, and a European woman in a car driven by a chauffeur. The Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli has some defaced erotic images.
Excursions from Mandawa
Nawalgarh is situated around 37 KMS south of Mandawa and is famous for its fort, built in 1737. Other attractions here include havelis of Anandi Lal Poddar, Aath Haveli, Hem Raj Kulwal Haveli, Bhagton Ki Haveli, and Khedwal Bhavan.
Parsurampura is located some 43 KMS south east of Mandawa and has the distinction of having the best-preserved and oldest paintings in the Shekhawati region.
Mukundgarh is around 25 km southeast of Mandawa and is a tiny village famous for its fort and havelis.
Dundlod is situated around 30 southeast of Mandawa and is famous for its fort and havelis. The attractions in this place include the Jagathia Haveli, Satyanarayan Temple, and Tuganram Goenka Haveli apart from the Dundlod fort and palace.
Fatehpur was established in 1451 as a capital for Muslim nawabs but was taken by the Shekhawat Rajputs in the 18th century. Some of the attractions include the Mahavir Prasad Goenka Haveli, Gauri Shankar Haveli, Nand Lal Devra Haveli, and Harikrishnan Das Sarogi Haveli apart from a 17th century baoli.