By Sanjeev Nayyar | 2018

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1. Mandu is at a height of 2,000 feet. In July 2018 we drove in from Dhar (38 kms). In the monsoons area was lush green. We crossed 4 gates enroute. Saw fort walls too. A hill-fort under the name Mandapa-Durga existed in the middle of the 6th century. From this came name ‘Mandava’ corrupted to Mandu. U see the iconic JAHAZ MAHAL. On left is Jal Mahal.

2. The elongated Jahaz Mahal is 360 feet in length and 50 feet in breadth. It stands on a narrow stretch of land between the 2 water bodies of Munj and Kapur Talao. The palace towers are between these 2 water bodies. In monsoons water reaches up to the edge of the monument giving it a ship like appearance hence the name Jahaz Mahal.

3. You see Kapur Talao from Jahaz Mahal. Very foggy with not so heavy rain on day I visited. Felt as if was in a hill station. Loved every minute of it. This album focuses on scenic Mandu in the rains. A detailed album on Mandu will be presented separately. Mandu is 97 kms from Indore.

4. Front view of Jahaz Mahal with Kapur Talao in front. Got this pic on day 2. It was foggy and raining till suddenly the sky cleared up. This mahal was made by Ghiyathud-Din (1469-1500) for his large harem.

5. As I said earlier it has water bodies on both sides. U saw Kapur Talao earlier. Now you see Munj Talo. It is named after a Paramaras Rajput king by the name Munja. Kind Bhoja II faced Sultan Jalalud-Din Khilji in 1293 who devastated the countryside. Alaud-Din Khilji ensure that Mandu & Hindu kingdom of Malwa became part of Delhi Sultanate.

6. This is probably the best pic I got in two visits. Left is Munj Talao and Jal Mahal. Gardens beautifully maintained, has toilets too. At bottom of steps and just behind people is another water body that you shall see in next pic.

7. U see water body that I referred to in earlier pic. Centre of pic is entrance. Right of pic 2 storey structure is Taveli Mahal. It once served a royal stable. The ground floor has a must see museum. The first floor is a VIP guest house.

8. Top of Jahaz Mahal. Mandu is separated from the main Malwa plateau by a deep ravine Kakra Khoh, which runs on the eastern, northern, southern sides of Mandu hill. The southern slope of Mandu hill has a 305 metres decline (see pic 9) and merges into the Nimar plain, which is fed by the mighty Narmada River.

9. Jal Mahal in center of pic. Right of pic is another water body. Bottom of pic is a swimming pool using contemporary word. Locals said the entire area fills with water when it rains well. Loved to see all lush green.

10. Main Dome Jahaz Mahal. What you cannot see on left is Munj Talao. Loved this so much. Wish they had a chai (tea) and bhajiya stall only during the monsoons.

11. At one end of Jahaz Mahal is this swimming pool to use a contemporary word. Took a top down view.

12. Within same complex is Hindola Mahal or the swing palace. The T-shaped building with its sloping buttressed wall was constructed during the latter part of the reign of G Khilji (1469-1500). The roof of this palace collapsed long ago exposing the pointed arches to the sky. You can see that pic in Mandu album.

13. In the Mandu Palace saw fountains, swimming pools (like this one) and baoris (step-wells).

14. Slightly ahead of Hindola Mahal are 2 step wells called Ujala Baodi and Andheri Baodi. This is Ujala Baodi because it opens to the sky. Water collection and conservation was an important part of life then.

15. Stayed at Madhya Pradesh Tourism ka Malwa Resort. On a clear day looks this. It overlooks a huge water body that you see. Only if local government desilted it and made boating facilities would make Mandu even more attractive for tourists.

16. Same pic taken about 7.30 pm. When I saw it on camera first wondered how it was so blue. Ditto when I clicked from my cell phone.

17. A five odd minute drive from Hoshang Shah’s tomb is Chappan Mahal. It has numerous sculptures found in and around Mandu. Loved this particularly – sleeping Vishnu. For a good guide call Rajesh Patel 91 97541 72279.

18. Jahaz Mahal is at one end of Mandu. At another end is Roopmati’s Pavilion. It has 2 chatris. From hill you get a grand view of the Nimar plains. Around 1554 Malik Bayazaid became ruler with title of Baz Bahadur. After disgraceful defeat by Rani Durgawati he almost forswore fighting. He gave himself to music in which the beautiful Rupamati proved to be his favourite consort.

19. We took this pic from the Nimar plains. Earlier pic you saw view from other side of the hill. Depth below is 365.8 metres. In 1561 Baz B lost to Akbar’s general. Rupamati fell into the hands of invaders. She poisoned herself with powdered diamonds instead of falling victim to general Adham Khan.

20. Front view of Roopmati’s Pavilion. Here too extensive facility of water storage. View from here is spectacular. On a clear day one can see the river Narmada from here. Mughal rulers visited but were not very interested in Mandu. In 1732 Malhar Rao Holkar defeated Divya Bahadur, the Mughal Governor. Since then fort under Maratha rulers of Dhar.

21. View of chatri from one corner. First went about 3ish – it was raining so could not click. About 5.30 ish the sky cleared up so took a chance and went again.

22. A view of the Nimar plains through the chatri. It was lush green below. Drive from Mandu to Maheshwar was super - lush green all through the way downhill and thru Nimar plains.

23. Malwa Resort of MP Tourism. Very nice cottages. Loved it. Food is decent. They have a Bar for those who enjoy their drink. Given the weather enjoyed tomato soup.

24.This is REWA KUND. On the banks of the palace of Baz Bahadur and slightly before Roopmati’s Pavillion is this kund.

25. View of Baz Bahadur palace taken from Roopmati’s Pavilion.

26. Inside Baz Bahadur palace – view of the chatris with a floral shaped fountain in the centre. It was built by Sultan Nasiruddin Shah in 1509 and subsequently enlarged by Baz Bahadur. The manner in which water was pumped up into the fountain was amazing.

27. View from the opposite side. Everyone enjoyed getting wet in the rain. If it was not for the camera would have jumped in myself. Caption details taken from Rangan Datta blog and book published by Archaeological Survey of India written by D R Patil.

28. Next to Darya Khan’s tomb and a mosque is Somvati Kund that you see. Design is just like any other kund. All over Mandu found so many kund’s and water bodies yet locals spoke of a water shortage. If only we revived what our ancestors made the shortage could be addressed.

29. On way back from Jahaz Mahal are Lohani Caves. View from there – awesome. Right of pic – someone seems to have opened a guest house there. Caves believed to be excavated in 11th century. These caves are situated amidst ruins of temples, mostly Saiva, but were presumably destroyed & their materials used in later Muslim buildings.

30. Minutes away from Lohani Caves is a monolithic pillar about 5 metres high that probably adorned the front of a temple. Far end of pic seems to be the ruins of a watchtower. .

31. Whilst driving downhill from Mandu to Maheshwar, and only a few kms away from Mandu, is Nilkanth Palace. It was originally a Shiv Mandir, converted into a palace by Akbar, an active temple today. Loved the feeling. Here too is a kund i.e. top of pic.

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