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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in India

Dera Mandawa, Jaipur’s top heritage homestay

We offer typical Rajasthani hospitality; guests feel like part of the family and enjoy mingling over dinner in the courtyard…

By Thakur Durga Singh
Thakur Durga Singh, owner of Dera Mandawa

Dera Mandawa is a Jaipur heritage property that’s been in our family for five generations. The home was built by my great grandfather, Thakur Jait Singhji, and my father restored it in the 40s; when I was growing up, we’d often visit during the summers and I now live here with my family. The house lies just 500 yards from Jaipur’s old gate but when you pass through the archway into our home, you enter another world with peaceful gardens and courtyards – we even have cows!

The architecture of the house is traditional of the region, with Rajasthani awnings, arches and pretty courtyards. We’ve maintained the original character in our nine suites but added modern facilities such as air-conditioning and en suite bathrooms. We offer typical Rajasthani hospitality; guests feel like part of the family and enjoy mingling over dinner in the courtyard. Our homestyle cooking experience, led by my wife Usha, is extremely popular and includes a shopping trip with us to the veg and spice markets for ingredients. We can also organise kite flying sessions, henna art and you’re welcome to join us at our evening temple ceremony.

I’ve also installed a lot of eco-friendly features at Dera Mandawa such as a solar cooker, rainwater harvesting system and a biogas plant which runs two stoves for about six hours a day. People are amused to learn that they’re powered by cow patties! Most of our staff are local; my father believed social change must come from within society so he was passionate about employing women who wouldn’t otherwise find work. So, we have two ladies who’ve been widowed working in our housekeeping team – they live here and are part of the family, just like our guests.

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Alfred & Thakur Durga Singh

Thakur Durga Singh hails from the aristocratic family Mandawa, of north-east Rajasthan. After completing a degree in agriculture in Udaipur, Thakur converted his home in Jaipur into a family-run heritage hotel, Dera Mandawa. Thakur has diverse interests that range from philosophy to farming and folk music - he's loved by guests for his charisma and wonderful sense of humour.  
Thakur Durga Singh, Dera Mandawa