Known to some as the ‘open art gallery’, the Shekhawati region, and in particular Mandawa, has become famed for its colourfully adorned mansions (havelis) that have lavishly painted walls. The wealth of the Shekhawati region flourished after trade routes from China to the west were diverted from the Silk Route to the ports of India. The Shekhawati region was ideally located along the route from central Asia to the ports of western India. Soon after the diversion, the traders (known as Marwaris) spread themselves across the entire sub-continent, controlling much of the trade. Every few years the Marwaris would return to their native towns to re-paint their houses, simply to remind each other where home was. Although the towns are no longer important in terms of trade, they have not lost the uniquely painted havelis that are the key attraction nowadays. Most of the buildings date back to the 18th-20th centuries and are absolutely beautiful. Mandawa is by far the most frequented destination in the Shekhawati region, but compared to some of Rajasthan’s most visited destinations it seems rather serene and is well worth a visit.