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Mandawa - Shekhawati
The Forlorn Regal Entrada
Rajasthan, the land of noble kings, valiant warriors and supreme sacrifice is also a riot of colours. The kings constantly fought each other, developing a warlike ethos and a defensive style of architecture. Trade sustained these kingdoms, for the trade route into India passed through the deserts of western India. Collectively, these princely states came to be known as Rajputana today it is known as the modern Indian state of Rajasthan.

The fort of Mandawa dominates the town and it was one of the earliest heritage hotels in this area. The Chokhani, Ladia and Saraf havelies should be will find something to fascinate you and hold your interest. If carrying excess baggage does not daunt you, then buy the rustic, carved wooden furniture and other items for your home. Quaint little wooden things that belong to the late 19th century, or may be the early 20th century, can be found all over this region. If pots and pans interest you then do look out for some traditional cooking vessels in the markets.

The semi desert region of Shekhawati is a colourful fantasy having a fascinating uniquely of its own. Often called the 'open air art gallery of Rajasthan', the region of medieval Shekhawati comprises the present day districts of Sikar and Jhunjhunu. No other region, anywhere in the world, has such a large concentration of frescoes. This is even more interesting as the landscape here is totally bare - flat and colourless. Small towns dot these two districts and contain within themselves some of the most elaborated havelis, stepwells and temples. There are some truly marvellous treasures. Most of the villages of Shekhawati have kept their rustic charm intact and a drive around these painted town can be a wonderful experience. The painted mansions and the unique architectural style of the havelis are certainly a focal point here. They are marvels of good design. From outside these havelis looked like huge blocks but were so ingeniouly planned that they provided adequate protection from the harsh summers. The major towns of interest in the region are Fatehpur, Nawalgarh, Mandawa, Ramgarh and Jhunjhunu, although virtually every town has at least a few surviving havelis.