The word ‘dera’ goes back many centuries in time, having its origin in Persian and later adapted in the Urdu parlance. A place of temporary dwelling was referred to as a ‘dera’. Today the word is still in use as much as the dwellings are. The nomadic tribals - the Sansis - of Rajasthan make tented dwellings on the outskirts of villages. So do the traveling minstrels - the Bhopas - who prefer to sleep under the open skies.
Even the royalty who came to Jaipur to attend their Maharajas’ court to greet him, used to stay in ‘deras’. Such is the beauty of language that it still continues to be used and understood by many Hindustanis. As you step through the pole (entrance doorway) at DeraMandawa, time slows its pace to usher you into the leisurely luxuries of an era gone by. Leaving behind the hullabaloo of the streets of Jaipur, you get transported into the tranquility and hospitality of traditional Rajasthani charm.
DeraMandawa is a confluence of influences, adorned with Rajasthani jharokhas (awnings) and arches mixed with British inspired doorframes. Highlighting the calm mood are the colourful local motifs, quiet nooks and corners with only chirping of birds and scurry of squirrels breaking the silence, and natural light in abundance.
A lesser-known fact about Rajasthani monuments is that rarely were forts, palaces and havelis (large residences) constructed at one go. Each generation added new wings, rooms and arches in an architectural style prevalent during its time. DeraMandawa has also seen such an evolution, as the Mandawa family constantly kept extending the residence over the years.