"Desert Town" Top 5 Page for this destination Mandawa by Hui-Hui

Mandawa Travel Guide: 35 reviews and 180 photos

Arrival, Castle Mandawa and desert

Mandawa was our first stop in India. We arrived at around 9:00am and when I got off the bus, I felt a little uncomfortable with bright sun. The sun in India in Oct. was still so big. We first had breakfast in a fancy restaurant with beautiful pattern of flowers in Castle Mandawa. It was such a happy moment to have my first meal (sour pancake with vegetables and fried potato sticks etc.) in India!

The castle was built by King Thakurnawal Singh in 1755. There were 70 rooms in the hotel. The design of each room was different and non of them were alike. Some rooms had been for king & queen, some for prince & princess and some for servers etc. Two guys of our group stayed in a huge room including living room and a large underdground bathroom with tub. Most of us like my sister and me were not so lucky and just had a less decorated bedroom with a shower room.

After few-hour rest and lunch, we left hotel in the afternoon. We rode camels or took camel vehicle passing down street and desert to The Desert Resort (a hotel owned by the same king). My sister and I first took camel vehicle. To our surprise it was at quite good speed... On the street a lot of local people stared and waved hands to us and we did the same to them. But a women with a child in arm fellow our vehicle and kept asking money to my sister for some minutes. She touched my sister several times and said "Madam" and "see, see, see" (see the child)...

The desert in Mandawa was not like enormous one in Sahara.
It was not pure sandy and even some trees and plants grow. However, it was still a very special scene for me, an island girl from subtropical zone. We kept seeing animals like dogs, goats, cows, donkeys, wild pigs…and also sadly some tents for poor people.

The Desert Resort, camel ride and Havelis

Our destination was The Desert Resort. At the entrance everyone was pointed a tikra (rond for female and long for male.) on the forehead. The color was made of plants with spicy smell. All the buildings there were simple in color of soil with white-line decoration. Especially there were some lovely houses in circle with grass roof and a tree in the middle. We entered one of them and it stunk inside…

On the way to the opposite direction it was my sister and my turn to ride camel! We chose the biggest, strongest and also mildest one. When other camels moaned loudly while kneeing down, ours was very calm. When it stood up, my sister and I couldn’t help to scream due to such a huge shake. I was so nervous holding the handle tight and feared to fall down… But since my body got used to the rhythm, I felt comfortable and was able to take pictures and shoot films on the top!

We got off our lovely camel in front a Haveli house and then started our Haveli lesson. Most of Havelis of 3 floors fellew Islamic style and contained a courtyard with a fountain in the center. Especially the exterior walls were decorated with colorful paintings of gods, animals and life history etc. The colors were all made of plants and still beautiful. It was a pity that mostly the houses were empty and no one maintained them except a leisure room where people had used to lie and drink tea. By the way, some people lived there for possibly guarding the property of the owners.

Unforgottable open-air dinner in the castle

When it started getting dark, we walked back to our hotel. It was so interesting to see big Mammiferous animals like cows and donkeys walking on the street and we had to give way to them… I also noticed that there were no gutters. Holes full of water and trash were common to see… But probably because of the dry climate, they didn’t stink.

Our dinner started at 7:30pm. It was an open-air dinner in the square of the castle! The light brightened up the building and candle light shined at the table. The dark-yellow-color atmosphere was just fantastic and made me finally realize that I was in a real vacation! The buffet offered more various kinds of dishes than breakfast and lunch and waiters were very friendly and patient to explain me the ingredients of the dishes. I was a big fan of spicy hot food and they also introduced two very hot spices—One was a kind of dark chili sauce and the other were small fresh cutting pieces of a light-green kind of plant. They really challenged my limit because they (especially green pieces) were super HOT!

The waiters were very warm-heated refulling water/tea and asking if we need any drinks. My sister and I ordered a bottle 650ml of Indian beer Kingfisher (sales only in Rajasthan) and a glass of screw driver. (The bar was on an old wagon ) The beer tasted very fresh and light without bitterness like Taiwan beer... I felt so good drinking...especially enjoyed watching two shows. In the first show an old man danced with two firebrands. A simple band played traditional Rajasthan music as background. The guy moved his body very slow and his facial expression looked funny with big turning eyes and raising moustache. It was strange but also very interesting! The second show was not so good. A little girl danced and a women sang in traditional music. Unfortunately the girl was too lazy to dance well...

We kept drinking and chatting in such a beautiful evening until 10:00pm. When I was back to the room, I felt very ill because of too much alcohol and then vomited... I was really too happy and drank too much! :-D

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:exotic & lovely town in desert, friendly servers in castle Mandawa
  • Cons:very dirty on some streets, some beggars who do touching
  • In a nutshell:lovely desert town at countryside
  • Last visit to Mandawa: Oct 2006
  • Intro Updated Oct 31, 2006
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Reviews (5)

Comments (4)

  • MikeySoft's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    Hi, I was just looking up Mandawa so I know what the photos I took are. :) Don't feel lonely.

  • schlumpf's Profile Photo
    Nov 6, 2006 at 7:10 AM

    Wow, look awesoem!! I have not been there, but I would have to go there instead of where you know..

  • umashanker's Profile Photo
    Oct 29, 2006 at 5:44 AM

    Great page on Madawa in the Shekhawati region.

  • tremendopunto's Profile Photo
    Oct 12, 2006 at 5:31 AM

    Magnificent Mandawa - one of the few places I missed in Rajasthan. How could I?!?Beautiful!


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