Mandu, often crowned the city of joy was fortified perched along the Vindhyan ranges. It is a romantic ghost city remarkably intact over an area of 12 square km. There is an abundance of mango, tamarind and banyan trees. The city is particularly beautiful immediately after the monsoons when you get to see several waterfalls and the rain turns the entire countryside into a verdant green.
Architecturally speaking, Mandu is a treasure presenting the best in provincial Islamic style. A large number of buildings are scattered in a fort surrounded by a 45 km long parapet wall. The buildings can be divided into four groups.
The first group known as Royal Enclave has two very interesting buildings among several others. Hindola Mahal or the Swing Palace has inward sloping walls to give it a swaying impression. The other one known as Jahaz Mahal or popularly known as the Ship Palace is a long narrow ship like structure that reflects in the lakes around it.
The second group has Hoshang Shah’s beautiful tomb as India’s first marble monument. The Sagar Talao Group also has several interesting monuments including the Hathi Mahal or elephant palace named so due to the stumpy pillars used to support the dome.
The most beautiful group is the Rewa Kund group. Mandu’s repute of a romantically inspired place is most pronounced here. Here, the famous Maheshawar Temple on the banks of river Narmada. Musician Prince Baz Bahadur got a beautiful lake and a palace built for his extremely beautiful mistress Roopmati just next to his own palace.
She was a shepherdess and agreed to come to Mandu only on condition that she should be able to view the sacred river Narmada. The Narmada is thus visible from the great height of Roopmati’s pavilion. The spectacular views of the countryside and valleys below from both the palaces especially during sunsets and sunrises are sure not to be missed!
Though Mandu literally means ‘the city of Joy’, it has had a chequered history. It had remained a prized possession of different rulers since 10th century AD. In our guided tour of Mandu you discover that apart from its great historical accounts there are several interesting tales and fables associated with it- some romantic and some tragic.
Perhaps Mandu is the only place that personifies with itself beauty, art, architecture, monsoons, moods, passions, romance and mystery; all in the same breath.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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