Mandawa is one of the smallest towns of northern Rajasthan.
It used to be a remote feudal principality and an outpost for the trading route starting from China to Middle East. In order to protect this outpost, they constructed a fort and the town started to grow around it, attracting a large community of traders who settled here.
These merchants, who became quite wealthy as a result of trade in the region, built many havelis. This was a symbol of their wealth. These rich business people commissioned artists to paint frescoes on their homes as a sign of opulence.
And so, havelis appeared all over the desert landscape. In time, along with the trade routes, more and more families settled elsewhere, letting many havelis abandoned, locked up and neglected.
Once we reached the city we had a tour to discover the famous frescoes with religious motifs.
So we started to walk on the old streets of Mandawa.We stopped and entered to see the interior of one haveli – Sneh Ram Ladia Haveli.
On the outer walls the painted patterns were washed by time.
But inside the haveli, the walls are decorated using frescoes based on themes from the Ramayana, painted in bright colors. Once you step inside, it transports you to a different world.
We entered the main entrance consisting of a wooden gate into the outer courtyard, known as the mardana (men’s courtyard).
In the Mardana there were two rooms, on the left and on the right hand, surrounding a small courtyard. It is said that the male owners were spending their day here, and only during the nights they were entering the house.
From the outer courtyard – mardana, we entered the inner women’s courtyard, known as the zenana, where the women of the household spent the majority of their lives.The rooms around this courtyard served as a kitchen, bedrooms or storage rooms and the stairs led to upper levels, which mostly contained bedrooms. The haveli provided everything for the women living here and there was no need for them to venture into the outside world.
We then went up to the terrace where we saw a panoramic view over the small city.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit more from what Mandawa, has to offer, due to luck of time.
But we have an idea about the past of this once rich city.