Although my mum couldn’t stay in India for a long time, she was able to spend around 10 days here recently. This meant that we could go on a short trip somewhere after my nephew’s wedding. But where to?
Since my mum had never been out of Mumbai, I had the whole of India to choose from. But, since India is such a diverse country with so many varied and remarkable attractions, it wasn’t going to be an easy choice. I wanted to her be amazed and in awe, and to see some sights that she’d read about. I thought about my favorite Indian city, Udaipur, with all its lakes and palaces. Yet, I also wanted her to be able to experience India away from the city. After much deliberation, I decided on the Shekhawati region of Rajasthan, and Jaipur.
What convinced me of this plan was that my mum loves to paint and draw, and Shekhawati is full of old painted havelis (mansions). It’s actually possible to stay in one! Since the region is only three hours drive from Jaipur, this would enable us to visit some of Jaipur’s attractions such as Amber Fort and the Old City as well. And, I also wanted to take my mum to the magnificent Rambagh Palace to celebrate her birthday with an unforgettable lunch.
We arrived at the small market town of Mandawa in the dead of the night, after taking a flight from Mumbai. It was dark and deserted, and I’m sure my mum wondered where the heck I was taking her and what we’d be staying in. But then, the beautiful Mandawa Haveli hotel greeted us. My mum’s reaction, of pure delight and wonderment, made me feel SO happy. It was then that I knew she would love Rajathan and we’d have a fabulous time.
We spent the next day exploring some Shekhawati villages, and their havelis, temples, and forts.
We even went for a camel cart ride into the famed Shekhawati desert for sunset.
My mum was once again overwhelmed by the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur. Even though lunch was costly (2,500 rupees per person for non hotel guests) it was totally worth it to give my mum an experience that she’ll treasure… and of course make her fall in love with India want to come back again soon! (It worked).