Mandu, or Mandavgarh, is a ruined city in the Dhar district in the Malwa region of western Madhya Pradesh state, central India. The distance between Dhar & Mandu is about 35 km. In the 11th century, Mandu was the sub division of the Tarangagadh or Taranga kingdom. This fortress town on a rocky outcrop about 100 km (60 miles) from Indore is celebrated for its fine architecture. Mandu celebrates in stone the life and love of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur for his consort, Rani Roopmati. The balladeers of Malwa still sing of the romance of these royal lovers. High on the crest of a hill, Rani Roopmati's pavilion gazes down at Baz Bahadur's palace, a magnificent expression of Afghan architecture.
Places of interest
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 miles) and is punctuated by 12 gateways. The wasll encloses a large number of palaces, mosques, Jain temples of 14th century and other buildings. The oldest mosque dates from 1405; the finest is the Jama Masjid or great mosque, a notable example of Pashtun architecture. The marble domed tomb of this ruler is also magnificent
Some of the notable places are
The Darwazas/Gates: The wall encompassing Mandu has 12 major gates or darwazas. 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.
Jahaz Mehal / Ship Palace: Situated between two artificial lakes, this two storied architectural marvel is so named as it appears as a ship floating in water. Built by Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din-Khilji, it served as a harem for the sultan. It is a major tourist attraction and presents many scenic views and photographic opportunities.
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.
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.
Jami Masjid Inspired by the great mosque of Damascus, this humongous structure is striking in both its simplicity and architectural style-with large courtyards and grand entrances.
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.
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. The Pavilion is a major tourist attraction and offers many scenic views.
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.