Mandu

Mandu or Mandavgad is a ruined city in the present-day Mandav area of the Dhar district. It is located in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh. In the 11th century, Mandu was the subdivision of the Tarangagadh or Taranga kingdom. This fortress town on a rocky outcrop about 100 km from Indore is celebrated for its fine architecture. The town of Mandu, situated at an elevation of 633 metres, is perched on the Vindhya Range extending for 13 km while overlooking the plateau of Malwa to the north and the valley of the Narmada River to the south which acted as natural defences for the fort capital the Paramaras. Mandu, due to its strategic position and natural defences, was an important place with a rich and varied history. It was an important military outpost and its military past can be gauged by the circuit of the battlemented wall, which is nearly 37 km (23 mi) and is punctuated by 12 gateways. The wall encloses a large number of palaces, mosques, Jain temples of the 14th century and other buildings. The temperature here ranges from an average of 42 °C maximum in summer to 12 °C minimum in winter. Winter is the best time to visit Mandu.

History: An inscription discovered from Talanpur (also in Dhar district) states that a merchant named Chandra Simha installed a statue in a temple of Parsvanath located in the Mandapa Durga. The word “Mandu” is believed to be a Prakrit corruption of “Mandapa Durga”. The inscription is dated 612 VS (555 CE), which indicates that Mandu was a flourishing town in 6th century. Mandu gained prominence in 10th and 11th century under the Paramaras. In 1305, the Muslim Sultan of Delhi Alauddin Khilji captured Malwa, the Paramara territory. When Timur captured Delhi in 1401, the Afghan Dilawar Khan, governor of Malwa, set up his own little kingdom and the Ghuri dynasty was established, and thus began Mandu’s golden age. His son, Hoshang Shah, shifted the capital from Dhar to Mandu and raised it to its greatest splendour. His son and third and last ruler of Ghuri dynasty, Mohammed, ruled for just one year till his poisoning by the militaristic Mohammed Khilji. Mohammed Khilji established the Khilji dynasty of Malwa (1436-1531) and went on to rule for the next 33 years. In 1534 Mandu came under Humayun’s rule. Humayun fancied Mandu so he relaxed here for a brief, peaceful interlude Humayun lost the kingdom to Mallu Khan, an officer of the Khalji dynasty. Ten more years of feuds and invasions followed and in the end, Baz Bahadur emerged on top.

Later Mandu came under Hemu the army chief of Adil Shah Suri defeating Baz Bahadur. Akbar killed Hemu in the battle of Panipat. In 1561, Akbar’s army led by Adham Khan and Pir Muhammad Khan attacked Malwa and defeated Baz Bahadur in the battle of Sarangpur. With consecutive war with the Mughals, Baz Bahadur again regained Mandu later to surrender to Akbar. After Akbar added Mandu to the Mughal empire, it kept a considerable degree of independence, until taken by the Marathas in 1732 by Peshwa Baji Rao I.

*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)

Transport:

Airport: Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport (IDR) at Indore is the nearest airport to at a distance of 100 km. Indore is connected to major cities in India by air. It has direct air connectivity with New Delhi, Mumbai, Bhopal, Pune, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Raipur and Ahmedabad.

Rail: The nearest railhead is at Ratlam, 124 km from Mandu. Ratlam station is an important junction on the Delhi-Mumbai rail route.

Road: Mandu is connected to major towns and cities of Madhya Pradesh like Indore, Dhar, Ratlam, Bhopal and Ujjain. A large number of state-run and private buses are available, connecting various cities.

Local: Auto rickshaws are available for transportation within the city. Tour operators provide vehicles for hire.

Tourist Interest:

Roopmati’s Pavilion: A large sandstone structure originally built as an army observation post it is known today as Roopmati’s Pavilion. Rani Roopmati – the love interest of Baaz Bahadur lived here and is said to have gazed at the Baz Bahadur’s Palace – situated below and also at Narmada river, flowing through the Nimar plains far below, a river which the queen revered.

Baz Bahadur’s Palace: Built by Baz Bahadur, this 16th-century structure is famous for its large courtyards encompassed by large halls and high terraces. It is situated below Roopmati’s Pavilion and can be seen from the pavilion.

Rewa Kund: A reservoir constructed by Baz Bahadur for the purpose of supplying water to Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion. The reservoir is situated below the pavilion and hence is considered an architectural marvel.

Jami Masjid: Inspired by the great mosque of Damascus, this enormous structure is striking in both its simplicity and architectural style with large courtyards and grand entrances. At the front of Jami Mosque, there are ruins of Asharfi Palace. There is a seven story winning memorial at the north-east of the Palace, and also a fascinating Ram Temple nearby, which was built by Maharani Sakarwar Bai Pawar in 1769 AD.

Darya Khan’s Tomb complex: Darya Khan was a minister in the court of Mahmud Khalji II, and his tomb lies in a walled complex along with another tomb, a mosque, a pond and an inn. At the centre of the complex is the massive sandstone tomb of Darya Khan. Hathi Paga Mahal or Elephant Leg Palace is located on the south-eastern side of the Darya Khan Complex and is crowned with a massive dome.

Hoshang Shah’s Tomb: India’s first marble structure, it is one of the most refined examples of Afghan architecture. Its unique features include the beautifully proportioned dome, intricate marble lattice work and porticoed courts and towers. It served as a template for the construction of Taj Mahal.

Jahaz Mahal/Ship Palace: Situated between two artificial lakes, this two storied architectural marvel is so named as it appears as a ship floating in the water. Built by Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din-Khilji, it served as a harem for the sultan.

Hindola Mahal: Hindola Mahal – meaning Swing palace is so named due to its sloping side walls. The Hindola Mahal might have been constructed during the reign of Hushang Shah about 1425 C.E. but may date to the end of the 15th century during the reign of Ghiyas al-Din. It is one of a set buildings making up the royal palace complex at Mandu, which consists of the Jahaz Mahal, the Hindola Mahal, the Tawili Mahal, and the Nahar Jharokha. The Hindola Mahal may have been used as an audience chamber. There are a number of other, undated structures surrounding the palace – an evidence of the rich and glorious past.

The Darwazas (Gates): The wall encompassing Mandu has 12 major darwazas or gates. The present road, through which Mandu is reached passes through many of these. Also encountered are smaller gateways built to provide protection to the above-mentioned 12 gates.

Rewa Kund: A reservoir constructed by Baz Bahadur for the purpose of supplying water to Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion. The reservoir is situated below the pavilion and hence is considered an architectural marvel.

The other places of interest are Taveli Mahal, Champa Baoli and others which are located within the Jahaz Mahal compound. While the other places are the group of Jain Temple, Eco point, Malik Mughith tomb sarai, Bagh caves at a distance of 50 km from Mandu and others.

Tour Planner:

This tour planner is made on the basis of the location of the destinations. One can make changes as per their interest, convenience and accessibility and duration of the trip.

Day 1: All the places in Mandu can be covered in a day if stayed in Mandu. One can also take two days for leisurely trips through all the sights that are located within a radius of few kilometre.

Hotels: Online booking is always preferable for discounts in tariff. Hotels in Mandu are Hotel Roopmati, Hotel Fun n Food, Hotel Jahaj Mahal, Hotel Maharaja and more.

Read my experience in Mandu.

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