As a traveler, I am always curious to visit unexplored regions to discover something unique. This time my research led me to Mahansar in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. The whole region is brimming with old colorful havelis (mansions) decorated with eye-catching murals, built by rich traders during the 18th to 20th century. These murals depict mythological and historical events with images of Hindu Gods, Animals, Battlefields, Kings etc.
We drove (approx. 270 kms) from Noida, UP and reached our destination in about 6 hours. It took us longer than usual as we were lost in between and took a route with road work in progress. Otherwise, road conditions are very good and its advisable to know the exact route through web search before traveling. Those traveling from other cities can come to Jaipur by air or train and hire a taxi to reach Mahansar. The landscapes and highways leading to the region are totally worth a drive. At times, you witness massive green fields and then you suddenly come across barren & unwelcoming pieces of land, accompanied by the magnificent Aravali hills.
Some of the destinations (if you have interest in wall paintings & old havelis) one can explore in the Shekhawati region are Mandawa, Nawalgarh, Mahansar and Churu. I chose Mahansar because I could manage to book a stay at the fort itself. Although, the whole region has quite a few decent accommodation options.
Our stay at Mahansar Fort was wonderful, solely due to the impeccable service provided by our hosts, Bhagwati and Seema Singh (owners of the fort). They took care of everything themselves and made sure that we felt comfortable. Food was also prepared by the hostess, all by herself, and I must mention that she specially included a non-veg delicacy in our dinner menu since we proclaimed our love for chicken while talking! Coming to the taste of it, I found the food simple and very homely.
Post lunch, we went out to explore the village which was a typical Indian village with various old temples and havelis. The nearby Mandawa region is also well-known for its havelis, so I would recommend others to explore the same. We stayed at the Fort for one night and completely enjoyed the hospitality of our royal hosts (Bhagwati Singh is a direct descendant of the Thakurs of Mahansar).
We were also offered some local wine by our host which I felt was infused with cardamom and had a strong flavor. Though we wanted to stay longer to see the famous havelis, we couldn’t do so this time. In fact, Bhagwati helps his guests in exploring the village and enlightens them with historical trivia about the place. I believe, had we stayed back we could have cherished the artwork. That gives me a reason to go back…♥
Earlier, I had no fascination for Rajasthan and now I keep scouting for more and more remote villages and forts. That’s the aura of Rajasthan, it just sweeps you off your feet. This time we ended our trip too soon, but in my next visit I would capture the artwork of old havelis for sure.
Visited – 6th Feb, 2015