One of the most charming towns in the Shekhawati region, Mandawa is celebrated for its numerous havelis (traditional mansions) and its fort, which is adorned with intricate frescoes. The 18th-century town feels like something out of a Rajasthani fairytale, and its havelis are often collectively referred to as the "open-air art gallery" of Rajasthan.
Mandawa's main draw is its frescoes, many of which portray scenes from local history or religious stories. Visiting with a guide can be helpful, particularly for travelers not versed in Hindu mythology, in gaining greater insight into the significance of the works on display here. That said, it’s not the most popular stop on fixed-itinerary Golden Triangle tours, so travelers looking to spend time here may want to visit on a daytrip from Jaipur.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring plenty of water and sun protection, as Mandawa can get hot.
- This is great for history buffs and art and architecture fans.
- Wheelchair users might find getting around Mandawa challenging.
How to Get There
Mandawa is located in the Shekhawati Region of Rajasthan, about a 4-hour drive from Jaipur or a 5-hour drive from Delhi. It’s frequently visited by people traveling between the two cities, usually in conjunction with other area attractions, such as the nearby city of Jhunjhunu, a 45-minute drive away. Although there are busses connecting Mandawa to all major cities in the region, it’s much easier to come here by car or as part of an organized tour.
When to Get There
While Mandawa is a year-round attraction, it’s best visited from October through March, when temperatures are cooler. April and May can be oppressively hot; June through September aren’t always much cooler—they’re just more humid due to the monsoon season, and the area can get some heavy downpours in June and July. Most of the havelis in Mandawa are open daily during daylight hours.
One of Mandawa's major attractions is its 18th-century fort, now a heritage hotel. It's full of beautiful old frescoes, many focused on Lord Krishna, and it’s worth visiting even if you don't plan to spend the night. They’ll even waive the admission fee if you come for a meal at the on-site restaurant.