Historically, Mandawa was on the famous Silk Route to China and many rich merchants built havelis and adorned them with gorgeous paintings of folk, social, religious and historical themes on the internal and external walls. Because of these paintings, Mandawa is now referred to as an 'Open Air Art Gallery'. The Mandawa Castle is also an impressive building worth a visit. Made in white marble, blues and reds, each room has been decorated with frescos and antique furniture. This castle has been converted in to a hotel so here is your chance to live life king size!
The fort of Mandawa was founded in the 18th century. Thakur Nawal Singh, son of Shardul Singh, founded the fort in vikram samvat 1812 (1755 AD). The fort dominates the town with a painted arched gateway adorned with Lord Krishna and his cows. Built as per a medieval theme, the castle of Mandawa is adorned with beautiful frescoes.Rooms in the palace are decorated with paintings of Lord Krishna, exquisite carvings and amazing mirror work. The palace's Durbar Hall houses a number of antiques and paintings. Situated in the middle of the town, the Mandawa Fort has been converted into a heritage hotel.
This town has been referred to as the "open art gallery" of Rajasthan because the entire Shekhawati region and not just Mandawa is dotted with fascinating mansions(havelis) that have lavishly painted walls.
Sewaram Saraf Haveli
This 100 year old Haveli is famous for its architecture and paintings, Bollywood's Favorite Destination for Movie Shooting, PK, Bajrangi Bhaijan, Mirza Sahibaan and many more
Ram Pratab Nemani Haveli
The Haveli has been recently converted into a Heritage Hotel where one can experience untouched frescos dating back to the 18th century. Vivaana Culture Hotel is a captivating twin haveli adorned with fascinating paintings. Both the exterior and interior boast of superb and rare artifacts and frescos. The over a century old haveli has been lovingly restored and renovated maintaining the old world charm.
Hanuman Prasad Goenka Haveli
This haveli has a painting depicting Indra Dev on an elephant and Lord Shiva on his Nandi bull.
Goenka Double Haveli
This haveli, with two gates, has a monumental facade of elephants and horses. The outer walls, jutting balconies, alcoves and overhanging upper storeys are replete with patterns and paintings, ranging from traditional Rajasthani women and religious motifs to Europeans wearing stylish hats and other Victorian finery.
The paintings of trains, cars, George V, and Venice were executed on the walls of this haveli during the 1930s by Balu Ram, one of the last working artists of the region. In pictures - like Lord Krishna with his cows in the English courtyard and a young Nehru on a horseback, holding the national flag - this haveli uses a unique theme blending the East with the West. The haveli also features a long frieze depicting a train with a crow flying above the engine and much activity at the railway crossing.
The haveli features a striking gold leaf painted room located to the right of main courtyard.
Mohan Lal Saraf Haveli
A picture of a Maharaja stroking his moustaches beautifies this haveli.
Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli
This haveli is located in the south of town, where the decoration of the outer and inner walls is perhaps the finest in Shekhawati. Blue washes here and there betray twentieth-century censorship of the erotic scenes that had been commonly acceptable one hundred years earlier. The Binsidhar Newatia Haveli, Lakshminarayan Ladia Haveli and Chokhani Double Haveli are some of the other painted havelis in the area. Murals in the Thakurji temple, located opposite the Goenka Double Haveli and the Murmuria Haveli, include soldiers being shot from the mouths of cannons, a reflection of the horrors of the Mutiny of 1857. Further west are a couple of chhatris, and a step-well, still used today and bearing paintings inside its decorative corner domes.
Aakharam ka Haveli
This more than 100 year old haveli is located in main market of the town, near sonthaliya darwaza.