Mandawa, part of the Shekhawati region, came into being in 1756, when Nawal Singh built the fort that has now been turned into the hotel called Castle Mandawa. But it became a full-fledged town only after Nawal Singh's two grandsons decided to make it their home at the close of the 18th century.
Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli
The murals of Gulab Rai Ladia Haveli are exceptional, especially in the variety of their themes. It is quite a mixed basket – scenes from the life of the owner with the fort in the background; a curly-headed Greek 'portrait'; a woman giving birth; mirror images of a tiger and a horse; a bird tending her eggs; a couple making out in a train compartment and another on a chair. It's difficult to say if this 'eroticism' was at the owner's request or the artist's rebellion against an oppressive society. Whatever the reason, these bold strokes provide a refreshing counterpoint to the sometimes tediously ubiquitous portrayals – gods, royals and colonialists.
Bansidhar Nevatia Haveli
The Bansidhar Nevatia Haveli shows the Wright Brothers' maiden flight and a European making a telephone call – presumably reproduced from magazines. A rather nationalistic tug-of-war between a strongman called Prof Ramamurti and a motorcar driven by an Englishman is also portrayed in a painting.