11 December 2008
Our final port of call of our three week tour of Rajasthan was Mandawa, a small town in the Shekhawati region that is well known for its havelis and its colourful murals. Mandawa was a trading outpost for the ancient caravan routes that stopped here from China and the Middle East. It was here that we would spend our last night in Rajasthan – our last outpost for this part of our trip.
Upon arrival, we were told that our original booking had to be canceled at the heritage hotel because it was fully booked due to some function. So we were taken to a decrepit hotel on the outskirts of the town. The fountain in the front had dried up, there were weeds growing in between the cracks in the pavement, the paint was peeling off the walls and we seemed to be the only guests there. Finding a gecko in the room behind the curtain, I decided it was all I could handle and called Mansoor our agent back in Delhi. He lived up to his nickname of 007 since he told us at our first meeting that he could make anything happen and that he did. He promptly got us a room at the other heritage hotel in the center of town which was beautifully preserved. It was an old haveli with a courtyard in the middle and rooms that had been decorated with murals and old wooden doors. We walked around the town and had dinner on the roof. We decided to have an early night since we had to leave for Delhi at 5am the next morning to make it in time to get our train tickets from Mansoor and in time for our train to Varanasi at 11h00.