At first glance, this series of earthen huts planted in the arid desert of Rajasthan hardly makes you want to stay there. And yet, this is perhaps the most fascinating contemporary India has to offer. Designed by the couple of talented architects Revathi and Kamath Singh, from Delhi, the Mandawa was created to introduce the traveler to the simplicity and beauty of Indian culture, without depriving them of true Western comfort. . Revathi and Kamath are strong supporters of earthen construction, a material particularly suited to the environment and culture of Rajasthan. The huts of this hotel camp are installed like the houses of farmers, potters or weavers, in the street of a traditional village. On the outside, they are plastered with dried clay, with openings, doors and windows, simply outlined with white friezes. But the interior conceals magnificent (and very sober) rooms, well appointed, decorated with Indian handicrafts, brightly colored hand-woven silks, and provided with the most modern comforts, with bathrooms where local stone has been skilfully used. The Mandawa is undoubtedly one of the most exotic hotels on the planet, but its strength is that it was designed not to be exotic, but to be authentic. This business was born the day the Thakur of Mandawa, a high-ranking member of the local nobility, called on the Singhs to help him carry out one of his projects. He had already succeeded in the hotel business by converting his palace into a hotel, and now wanted to open another on a strip of desert he owned, just outside Mandawa. To explain to them what he planned to do, he showed them a photograph of a Canadian motel. Horrified by this heresy, but nonetheless interested in the prospects and challenges that such a project offered, Revathi and Kamath Singh did not cease to convince the Thakur to conform to the local culture and aesthetics, and even, why not, to dare to build the hotel in earth. Thank goodness they did. And the American-style motel turned into this dirt village that does not offend the tradition of Rajasthan. Impressive assembly of textures, colors and decorative details intended to evoke a tribal village, the Mandawa introduces the traveler to this art of living characteristic of Rajasthan, made of richness and great simplicity. The beauty (ethnic tendency) of this camp does not detract from its comfort. Of course, this is a clever staging, but it does not require the participants to give up comfort. In large fresh spaces, one can feast on Indian cuisine. Essentially vegetarian, it is nothing like the one served in most Western restaurants. There is a swimming pool for those who want to relax from the heat of the desert. The rooms are air conditioned and the camp is close enough to the village of Mandawa so that we can go there to do some shopping and immerse ourselves in a more frenetic atmosphere. The tribal tradition of adorning door and window frames with Sanskrit motifs is a ritual that is repeated every year at Mandawa. At the end of the rainy season, when the monsoon has washed away the clay that covers the walls, they are plastered again and all the buildings are repainted. This work, undertaken by women from the village, is as much symbolic as it is decorative because these ornaments are invested with a sacred and protective power. Needless to say, since its inauguration, a little over ten years ago, the Mandawa has enjoyed extraordinary success. There is a very rare respite from the immense tide of human agitation that threatens to engulf you everywhere in this subcontinent. As you would expect, most Indians do not live in palaces.
Address: The Desert Resort Mandawa, District Jhunijhunu, Shekhawati, Rajasthan 333 704, lnde
Phone: + +91 98110 95698
Website : http://www.calippichotels.com/