As a part of a bloggers’ trip, we had the chance to spend the night at the luxurious Castle Mandawa hotel. We have penned down a few things from the history of Mandawa, what one can do at Mandawa and our royal stay at the heritage property of Castle Mandawa. So read on and plan your next staycation at Mandawa.
History of Mandawa
Located 167 kilometers from Jaipur, Mandawa is situated in the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan. It has preserved its Rajasthani charm and grandeur. From the paved archways, deigned forts and intricate craftsmanship of the Rajput artisans Mandawa is the ideal destination for tourists on their tour to Rajasthan.
The history of Mandawa states that it was Mandu Jat who founded the Mandawa village. He dug a well over in Mandawa which was completed in the year 1797. From beautifully painted frescos and paintings to the intricately crafted designs, Mandawa speaks volumes about the Rajput craftsmanship. It is considered to be one of the most artistically enriched Indian cities.
There are a number of interesting Havelis in Mandawa which include the Bhagchandika Haveli, Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli and Lakshmi Narayan Ladia Haveli and the Newtia Haveli. The other major tourist places are Harlalka Well, Thakurji Temple, Raj Well, Tanu Manu Saraf Haveli, Harlalka Chattri, Murmuria Haveli, Chowkhani Double Haveli, Akhramka Haveli, Sonthalia Gate, Goenka Double Haveli, Goenka Chattri and the Saraf Haveli. Mandawa has also prove to be lucky for Bollywood. Films like Bajrangi Bhaijan, Jab We Met, PK, Mirzya and Sooper se Ooper have also been shot in this town.
History of Castle Mandawa
Castle Mandawa was built in 1755 AD in a township that was a trading outpost for the ancient caravan routes from China to the Middle East. Castle Mandawa is a part of Mandawa Group of Hotels, a privately-owned hotel company, rich in Rajashtjan’s royal heritage and architecture. The Castle offers 75 outstandingly reinstated grand luxury suites and rooms, which were the chambers of the former Maharajas.
Perhaps the best place to discover the legacy of Shekhawati is through the redefined history and luxury of Castle Mandawa. The Castle which was a fortress has now been converted into a luxurious heritage hotel. It revives the whole idea of luxury in royal yet contemporary elegance. The Castle showcases a mixture of Indian, Mughal and Italian architecture –Medieval turreted towers, palanquin-roofed balconies blend with modern comforts add an old-world charm to the rooms. Family portraits, antique cannons and arms add to the charm of this family-run resort where tradition still runs strong. Even time is measured by a different clock- a huge brass gong struck by the resident timekeepers at the fort every hour.
Highlights of the Heritage Property
The large and airy rooms of the Castle have been converted into charming, well-appointed accommodation, retaining the old flavour using period furniture and local furnishings. The Castle has Deluxe and Suite Rooms.
All rooms have been tastefully designed to reflect the royal luxuries of the old days keeping in mind the modern comforts of the guests. Rooms are equipped with LED TV, Electric Kettle, Tea and Coffee Kit, Jacuzzi and speedy room service.
The castle also has a grand and luxurious pool for adults and children. The pool lights up at night and is a definite attraction to the Heritage Hotel. The unique shape of the pool is what makes a lap around its azure waters an even greater delight!
The Castle has a beautiful spa which offers all kinds of massage treatments, including Ayurvedic Shirodhara by trained masseurs. Guests can avail the different treatments on offer, and couples too can get their massages done in a specially designed massage room. Guests can also select one of the carefully designed beauty therapies that impart nourishment and radiance.
The Castle has a multi-cuisine restaurant (Jai Niwas) and a coffee shop (Sileh Khana) which offers a good choice of Indian and International Cuisine.
Guest can enjoy a candlelight dinner on the lawns or around a bonfire in the rear courtyard. Local folk artistes render beautiful dance performances to the hypnotic beat of traditional drums.
How to Spend the Day in Mandawa
- Camel Ride Sightseeing – guests can opt for a camel ride or travel in camel carts. The rides come equipped with guides who will give you the history of Mandawa and take you to all the nearby havelis for a visit. The journey awakens an old-world charm within you. One will have the opportunity to see traditional murals and Rajasthani paintings; learn the stories of the Havelis and the people who lived in them.
- ATV– one can ride up to the sand dunes and take ATVs for a drive. Awaken the sense of adventure within you with an exhilarating ride and test your riding skills. A ride atop these machines is pretty simple as the machines are fully automatic. Be cautious to shift your bodyweight as the machines may twist and turn on uneven terrain.
- Horse Ride – Unwind yourself and enjoying a relaxing ride on the stable horses. For the amateur rider, the horse can be guided by horse jockey.
Royalty echoed our experience at Castle Mandawa from the word go. As soon as we reached the hotel, we were welcomed in the traditional way with the beating of drums, tilak and garlands. The refreshing welcome drink evaded our weariness of the travel in no time. Soon we were handed out our room key which was quite unique and, in fact, the first of its kind we had seen. In the shape of a bell, the key was rather heavy to lose anywhere as opposed to the modern day swipe keys.
Our suite was situated near the garden which is quite a long walk from the reception. But as soon as we entered the suite, the long sunny walk seemed all the more worth. Our first reaction was one of sheer awe, in a pleasant sense of course! The size of the room just blows away your mind. With two royally huge twin beds, a sofa set, television along with comfortable mattresses and cushions on the side of the room as well, we were more than thrilled to be staying at Castle Mandawa. The bathroom was no less magnificent with a magnanimous shower and a luxurious bath tub.
After a sumptuous lunch we headed in camel baggis to get a feel of town and the beautifully fresco painted havelis. We also saw some popular spots of Bollywood movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Mirzya. After a long adventurous ride on the camel baggis, we reached the much awaited sand dunes. And there waited for us a lot of adventure with horse and ATV rides. If you often feel the urge to have your life in control, do try riding on the ATVs. You’ll feel like you can conquer the world on it. No kidding, really. The view of the sunset from atop was a sight one can’t afford to miss.
After binging on some sandwiches, cakes and the special peda of Mandawa, we finally headed back to the hotel. But the thrill wasn’t over yet as another exciting journey awaited us. Our ride back to the hotel was in open jeeps and that’s one ride we would never forget. As the mighty vehicle made its way through the uneven terrain, our adrenaline rushed its peak. How we wish that jeep ride in the by-lanes of Mandawa never came to an end.
Too tired to do anything else, we decided to take a shower and sip some wine on the terrace of the Castle. The starry night sky, cool breeze and the crisp white wine made for a perfect evening that will remain etched in our memories for a long time to come.
After a lip smacking breakfast of freshly made eggs, baked beans chicken sausages, cutlets, toasted bread and fresh juice, we bid farewell to the splendid Castle Mandawa.
[With inputs from Tusharika Singh]