Perched on the Vindhya Mountain Ranges, Mandu celebrates life and joy through stone.Baz Bahadur, the poet-prince, and his love for Rani Roopmati, his beautiful consort used to romance in this stunning place. Even today, the balladeers sing about the passionate and incredible love story. Once called Shadiabad – city of joy, Manu has not lost its cheerful spirit. Exquisite palaces and decorative canals line Mandu while graceful baths and pavilions dot the area. The architecture of Mandu is a gem with impressive structures cropping up seemingly from nowhere. If you have seen the amazingly beautiful Taj Mahal, you will not fail to be stunned by Mandu. After all, the architects of that fascinating structure drew their inspiration from the monuments at Mandu. In Mandu, you will find Afghan influences in architecture while African Baobab trees litter the area. It is difficult to be bored in Mandu. All of the breathtaking palaces, monuments, mosques and tombs are located within walking distance of each other.
How to Get There
By Air :
The nearest airport is at Indore at a distance of 100 km from Mandu. The airport at Indore is well connected to the major neighboring cities, like, Mumbai, Delhi, Gwalior and Bhopal.
By Rail :
The nearest railhead is Ratlam about 128 km from the city. Ratlam is a major station and nearly all trains stop at the station.
By Road :
Mandu is well connected with other cities by a good road network. Buses run at regular intervals between Mandu, Indore, Ratlam and Bhopal. Distance from places; Bhopal: 280 km, Indore: 88 km, Ujjain: 143 km
The Darwazas or the Gates
Mandu is surrounded by parapets that are nearly 45 km long. The incredible structure is broken up into various sections by 12 gateways or Darwazas. Each of these huge gateways invites you into the wonderful land of Mandu but all you can do is stop and gape at their sheer magnificence. The Delhi Darwaza is the most notable among all of these doors.
The incredible Jahaz Mahal is surrounded by two artificial lakes that make it look like a ship from a distance. As you come closer, that illusion is completely shattered but you are left with a magnificent piece of architecture nonetheless. In spite of the splendor of the palace, it was never meant to be lived in. Rather, it was imagined as a pleasure palace with stunning views. The spectacular pavilions standing gracefully on the terrace of the building are a delight to enjoy especially under moonlight.
The sloping walls may create the illusion that the palace is swinging which gave the palace its name, Hindola Mahal. The boldness of the design is striking. As you walk through the large hall once used for meetings, you will be surprised at the rather austere aesthetics of the hall. Its splendor has remained more or less intact even though the passage of years has not been very kind to the building.
Hoshang Shah’s Tomb
Considered to be the oldest tomb in India to be constructed from marble, the magnificent mausoleum is crowned with a spectacular crescent. The crescent was possibly imported from either Persia or Mesopotamia. The walls of the tomb are carved intricately with motifs of stars and lotuses. The structure may seem vaguely familiar to you. This is because the structure resembles the Taj Mahal. In fact, this was the mausoleum which inspired the architects of the Taj Mahal. There is an inscription here which states that the architects of the Taj Mahal, led by Ustad Hamid, came here under the orders of Emperor Shah Jahan to pay their respects to the builders of the Hoshang Shah’s Tomb.
The spectacular Rewa Kund was originally a reservoir built by Baz Bahadur. It was meant to supply enough water to Roopmati’s Pavillion. The spot has now spiritual connotations and is considered to be holy. The Rewa Kund is a fascinating mixture of different architectural styles as additional structures were built over the years.
Originally built as an observation post, Baz Bahadur converted it into a spacious courtyard for the enjoyment of his love, Rani Roopmati. The hilltop location of the pavilion provides it with a vista that stretches to the river Narmada that glitters in the distance. The subtle beauty of the place oozes from the mesmerizing domes and quiet terraces. If possible stay back and watch the sun go down in the evening. The sheer spectacle of the sight will be etched into your memory forever.
Baz Bahadur’s Palace
The curious architectural style of Baz Bahadur’s Palace is due to the blend of Rajasthani and Mughal architectural styles. The double stories of the palace allow you to command a great view of the surrounding areas. Although the palace is now devoid of royal luster, it still shines gracefully among the varied monuments of Mandu.