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Madhya Pradesh - Mandu - The Fort City
The largest fort city of the world, Mandu, located at an altitude of 634 meters, is well guarded by a huge 45 km long fortification. The city is spread across rambling 23 square km of Malwa plateau. The deep and slender ravine is acting as a barrier between Malwa plateau and the adjoining hill.
According to Jahangir, once the city was popularly known as Shadiabad or city of joy. The charm and mysticism of the entire city, delimited by the soaring mountains, fascinates the hordes of tourists even today. The hilly feral River is an additional enticement. The façade of the surrounding nature changes altogether in rainy seasons. Watching the clouds sitting on an astonishing gorge of Mandu is a heavenly experience. All the scattered water bodies in and around the city are flooded due to the excessive amount of rainfalls recorded in the rainy seasons. The romantic natural environment of Mandu looks mesmerizing as the entire city is wrapped with lush green trees. It truly offers a pleasing sight to the swarms of nature lovers. Aquatic animals start their quest for their mates on the banks of the stunning Lake. Tourists, however, won’t be able to catch a glimpse of the tigers but it’s possible to hear the roars of tigers. The cultures and tradition of yester years are noticeable as well. The wonderful natural setting along with the eventful historical days pulls huge crowds.
The city of Mandu, built by the emperor Bhoj in 10th century, houses a very old Durga temple, built way back in 590 by Anand Deo Rajput. The city is adorned with forts and homes. Noticeable Afghan architectural splendor is notable and praiseworthy.
The chief doorway of the fort is known as Delhi Darwaja. Jami mosque and mausoleum are drawing attention as well. The renowned monuments of Mandu showcase the immoral creations of the great emperor Hosang.
Later on, Mahmud became the ruler of Mandu and he was the owner of the land for 33 years. But, these long 33 years were not very pleasant for him. However, the excellent Jain, Hindu and Muslim cultures were revitalized during his tenure. The traces and memories of the primeval glory days are still shimmering on the significant monuments and in the minds of city dwellers.
Village Group (Central): 3 neighboring doors would be there on your way if you access the visitors friendly Village Group riding on a bus. Get down from the bus at Ashrafi Mahal, built my Mahmud. The palace is marvelously decorated with beautiful marbles. 152 feet tall 7 storied wining commemorative, constructed by Mahmud, is now in ruins. 6 among the 7 stories are almost demolished where as only one of the stories is still recalling the olden days. The entire Ashrafi Mahal had been given altogether a different shape in 1469. A gigantic dome had been constructed to revamp it as a shrine of the emperor Mahmud Shah. The monument, however, had been destroyed later on when the emperor Akbar was the owner of the throne. The meaning of Ashrafi is gold coin. To recall the Nurjahan’s visit of Mandu, the ruler Jahangir had named the intriguing palace as Ashrafi Mahal.
Spiritual crowds can enthrall themselves visiting Rammandir, located adjacent to the Bus Stand of Mandu. The ancient form of the temple was destructed previously but it was reconstructed in 1823. Ram, Lakshman and Sita are the deities, residing on the holy throne of the newly constructed temple.
The Jami mosque, made up of sandstones, was established on a base, spread across 4.6 meters and was an astonishing replica of the captivating Omayyed Mosque, built by Damascus. The pink color of the square shaped mosque looks marvelous. The construction of the mosque had been started during the period of the king Hosang Shah and was ended in 1453 during the period of the emperor Mahmud Shah 1st. The entrance of mosque is decorated with a riveting dome which displays a blending of Hindu, Buddha and Jain architectures. The white marbles had been placed creatively at both the sides of the doorway. The depicted fine arts are fascinating. 17 adjoining bays, made up of black stones, in the prayer hall, portray Hindu Mangalica symbols. The verses of the Arabian Koran make the central bay of the palace really very special. The excellent architectures on the walls of this historical edifice, star shaped blue tiles and Jali architectures would force every holiday maker to appreciate the talents of the ancient architects. 58 small and 3 big domes at the top of the palace are standing tall on the countless pillars.
The majestic shrine of Hosang Shah, located adjacent to the Jami mosque, depicts the wonderful Pathan architectures. The shrines of the wife, two sons, daughter and son-in-law of the emperor Hosang Shah are scattered around the shrine of Hosang Shah. The shrine of Hosang Shah was the first shrine of India and is depicting a commingling of Hindu- Muslim Afghan fine arts. The base of the shrine is square shaped. Later on, the octagonal shaped shrine was changed to the hexagonal one. Four domes, however, are delimiting the central dome, atop the shrine. The Jali architectures on the stones of the shrine are praiseworthy. The emperor, Shahjahan, was moved watching the splendid structure of the shrine and had sent hamid and three other architects before constructing the Taj Mahal to Mandu. A group of historians opine that it was probably a holy Shiva temple, built by the ruler Bhoj. Half bloomed lotus and the garland of Rudraksh are still treats to the eyes. Music lovers would enjoy the melodious tune of topa music which comes out of the three Topas, placed in the vicinity.
Royal Group: Lohani caves of the Royal Enclave group can be accessed crossing the Hati pole (Elephant stable). A vertical stair step is carved out of the hard stones of the hill. Tourists can walk through the staircase even after crossing the Lohani cave but not many audacious people take the trouble to take a walk through this stair step after crossing the cave.
The two storied Ship House, spread across 120 * 15 meters, is situated in between Manju and Kapur Lakes. The plans were artistically executed while building the Ship Palace. It is visible on the structure, made up of stones. If you visit the place when the entire land is bathed in the moon light then the palace would offer you an enchanting sight. The reflection of the palace on the surface of the adjoining Lake would show you an image of a ship. The spectacular sight can be best viewed from the Tabeli Mahal. The Tabeli Mahal was built by Giyasuddin as Harem Mahal and was an ancient epitome of the praiseworthy Persian architectures. Another batch of people believes that it was a summer resort of the Malwa emperor Manjudev. The turtle-shaped and lotus-shaped swimming pools are there on the ground and first floors respectively. The structure of the bathroom, at the northern side of the palace, looks amazing. It seems that 15000 seductress models are still waiting for their companions. The archeological department had constructed a museum in the 2 storied Tabeli Mahal in the palace. Two wells namely Ujala and Andheri on the premise of the Tabeli Mahal were there previously. Nurjahan said to have killed four tigers here as well.
The magnificence of the Meeting hall or Hindola Mahal, built in 1425 with sandstones, could be enjoyed both by the emperors and general public when they used to meet here. Built by Giyasuddin, the hall is popularly known as cradle mahal as well. The Jafri architectures on the walls of the hall look astounding. A number of Hindu mythological deities are also innovatively engraved on the astonishing walls of the meeting hall. The idol of the deity, Vishnu, is embossed in an upside down shape. The ‘T’ shaped hall has 2.7 meters thick walls around. The walls of the hall have been built diagonally in 77 degrees angel. It’s a hanging hall- this is the first impression that every tourist gets when he/she enters into the palace. This kind of shape was given probably to climb up the 1st floor riding on an elephant from the elephant pole. Many believe that Nurjahan used to enjoy the fabulous swing riding on the cradle here.
Plenty of ruins of the various palaces are dotted in and around as well. Mahal of Rupmati or 6.5 meters deep Champa Bawari are the renowned ones. Royal family members used to enjoy the sweet aroma of the Champak flowers in the water of the Champa Bawari. Another group opines that the name of the palace was derived from the shape of the flowers. The name of the palace could also have come from the name of the queen. Family members of the primeval dynasty used to go to the safe place through a hidden road from the Champak Bawari. Both hot and cold water were supplied to the nearby Hammam using Siphon method. The Hamman of Rupmati was impressive for its magical architectures. The very old Dilwara Khan mosque or Maqbara was built way back in 1405 and depicts the architectural excellence of Indo- Islamic styles. Plenty of necessary items were brought all the way from the Hindu temples here for the purpose of building the mosque. The neighboring Jal Mahal, constructed by the emperor Jahangir, is in ruins but the commingling of Mughal and Roman architectures are still visible on the walls of the Jal Mahal.
The Nahar Jharokha or the Tiger Balcony, located at the eastern side of the mosque, is also in ruins. The emperor used to come and show his face to the public standing on this balcony.
The mosque of Malik Mughith, Dai- Ka- Mahal or shrine and the residence (Bipani) of Gada Shah (cabinet member of the king Sultan Muhammad 2nd) are the other sought after destinations of Mandu. The access to the palaces of the Royal Group is restricted to the visitors who purchase tickets spending 5 rupees. The Royal Group is open during 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rewa Kund Group: Rupmati Pavilion or the amusement palace, built by Baz Bahadur (the last Sultan of Malwa dynasty), located at a distance of 5 km towards the southern side of the Mandu bus stand, was dedicated to his lover Roopmati. The significant Afghan architectures are prominently displayed on the walls of the riveting palace. 2 Chabutaras in the pavilion have a shape of domes. It was constructed long back in 15th century according to the historians. It was said that the palace was built to observe the movement of the enemies. Located in the middle of the amazing natural locale, the palace, gives the hordes of holiday makers a different pleasure when they watch the wonderful sunset from the palace. The palace looks mesmerizing when it enjoys a bath in the moon light.
The Rewa Kund (well), built by Parmaraa dynasty, located on the slope of the adjoining hill, was reconstructed and revamped by Baz Bahadur for Rupmati.
The palace or fort of Nasiruddin Shah, built long back in 1508, adjacent to the well, still helps the city dwellers to remember the excellent Rajasthani and Mughal architectures on the same edifice. Later on, the emperor Baz Bahadur became the proud owner of this particular palace. The Sangeet Mahal in the palace is impressive. The singing performances of Rupmati and Baz Bahadur used to fill the air around during that period. The love story of Rupmati and Baz Bahadur are still very popular in the proximity.
Beautiful queen Rupmati has also attracted the emperor Akbar later on. The minister of Akbar called Adam Khan was sent for a combat against the ruler Bajz Bahadur who had eloped from his own territory. In the fight to safeguard her dignity and honor Rupmati had decided to commit suicide.
The charming palace of Rewa Kund group can also be accessed purchasing a ticket spending 10 rupees.
Other monuments: Neelkanth Palace, built during 16th century with red stones, atop an uneven hill, situated at the western side of Mandu, is a special enticement.
Climb up to the water palace in the close proximity of the Shiva temple, on the vertical slope of the hill, built by Mughal Governor Shah Badshah Khan. The beguiling palace was dedicated to the Hindu lover of the ruler Akbar. The brave king Akbar had won the entire Southern India. These winning stories were artistically portrayed on the walls of the water palace. The wonderful surrounds of the palace had also attracted the king Akbar. The emperor Jahangir also used to like the palace which was surrounded by the water of the Sagar Talao. Every tourist and nature lover should watch the splendor of the sunrise from the top most accessible position of the palace. The deity, Shiva, is residing on the holy throne of the palace since 1732. It was the times when the ruler Baji Rao 1st had restructured the palace. The Shiva temple was constructed in the shade of the African Baobab tree.
Animated monkeys enjoy the nature around. If you catch a glimpse of a snake, then it is not at all a surprising incident here. A water stream is coming down on the head of the Shiva idol in the temple. As the color of the throat of the deity is blue, the name of the idol was also given as Neelkanth.
The stream of an uncultivated River is coming down in the hinterland. Take a walk for some more time to watch the pleasure pavilion, the elephant stable, located at the eastern side of the road. A dome which has a shape of the legs of an elephant had been constructed on the pillars. The shrine of Darya Khan still has the grandeur to pull Muslim crowds.
Nahar (Tiger) Jharokha was a place where tiger hunters used to assemble at for hunting. The Eco Point is there in the vicinity of the Sagar Talao. Shout loudly standing here to listen to the sound reflection of the last word of your uttered sentence.
Enjoy the nature to its fullest while watching the riveting sunset from the Sunset Point situated near the Royal Enclave, amidst the quiet and serene atmosphere.
EkKhambha and Chorkot Jain temples enthrall Jain pilgrims.
The chief attraction of Mandu is the Mandu festival, celebrated at the end of the winter season.
How to reach: Mandu is well connected to Indore, Ujjain and Maheshwar by bus. A place, located at a distance of 35 km away from Mandu, is accessible both from Ahmadabad and Vadodara by bus as well. The nearest railway station is Mou, about 66 km from Mandu. Indore is the nearest airport.
Where to stay: Hotel Rupmati, Malwa Retreat, Malwa Resort, Tourist Rest House, Tourist Rest House, Hotel Maharaja, SADA Guest House, PWD Rest House, FRH, Hotel Nandavan and Jain Dharamsala. Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.