Mandu or Mandavgarh is a ruined small town in Central India which was an important political and cultural centre several centuries ago. Located at an elevated height of 600 metres Mandu has a pleasant climate all year though monsoon is special when rains, cool breeze and the light wind make it a heavenly destination.
A brief lesson on history will make your trip to Mandu complete enabling you to relate to everything you see
- Pre 13th Century– There are mentions of Mandu as Mandapa Durga in some texts
- 13th Century – Occupied by the Rajput Paramaras who were glorified by Raja Bhoj
- 14th Century – Delhi Sultanate – Allauddin Khilji
- 15th Century– Ruled by Ghuri Dynasty (Dilawar Khan and Hoshang Shah) when Mandu much of Mandu that we see today was constructed
- 16th Century– Khilji Dynasty (Mahmud, Ghiyasudding, Naseeruddin) and then taken over by Sher Shah Suri from Delhi and ruled by Shujaat Khan and his son Baz Bahadur
- 17th Century– Mughal Sultanate (Akbar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan)
Most of what is seen in present day Mandu is dated to 15th and 16th century and its fortunes slowly declined from 17th century during the times of Mughal Sultanate. The sites depict symbols and sculptures of Hinduism appearing on the Muslim monuments which makes me doubtful whether the Hindu structures were indeed desecrated during the 14th century after the first muslim invasion and converted or extended as muslim monuments.
Plan a trip for about 2 days if you would like to make the most of Mandu. Actually, the key to enjoying any ruined monument is to allow imagination to run wild and weave history
The Royal Enclave in Mandu consists of Jahaz Mahal, Hindola Mahal, Taveli Mahal, Jal Mahal, Dilawar Khan Mosque, Royal Palace, Champa Baodi, Gada Shah Palace, Munj Talao, Kapur Talao and Hammam. You can spend 2 -3 hours here.
The Village Group in Mandu comprises 3 monuments (Jama Masjid, Ashrafi Mahal and Hoshang Shah Tomb) located in the middle of Mandu. Hoshang Shah Tomb inspired the making of the Taj Mahal. 45 mins to an hour.
An amazing temple located in the outskirts of Mandu. This temple stands out as the abode of Shiva with Islamic inscriptions – It is on the way from Maheshwar to Mandu. It will take about an hour to visit this temple
This is the place in Mandu where you can feel the eternal romance. You can hear the music in the air, in the stone and love ballads of the poet prince for his beloved Roopmati. On a monsoon day, soak up the romance in this ruined palace.
Roopmati Pavilion is the face of Mandu and a beautiful place where the queen gazed at the Narmada and cooled her heart. The story of her eternal love for Baz Bahadur and their musical soirees are meant to be the most romantic ever.
The shop makes you wonder whether modern day malls are a re-invented concept. The multi levers, the expanse, the gardens around gives an idea of the scale of the life and times in Mandu in the 15-16th century.
Sagar Talao Group
The Sagar Talao Group includes Dai Ka Mahal, Dai ki Choti Behen ka Mahal, Malik Mughti Mosque, Echo Point – 30-45 mins
The once fortified Mandu city has 12 gateways or Darwazas which are now in ruins except for a few -like Alamgir Darwaza, Delhi Darwaza etc.
Taste Baobab –
Baobab is the famous tamarind of Mandu, a little tangy, a little peppy and a tad bit sweet
Walk Around or Cycle Around –
The best way to explore Mandu is to walk around or cycle around. There are ruins in every nook and corner and romance in the air in a different sort of way. The green lawns and the gentle breeze
Mandu is about 80 kms from Indore and 40 kms from Maheshwar. The closest airport is in Indore. It is best experienced in Monsoon months though the weather is pleasant and charming through July to March. Plan to include Mandu if you are visiting Ujjain and Maheshwar. You can cycle around Mandu for sightseeing or hire a car for the day @ Rs 500-600.
Place to Stay:
In Mandu, the MPTDC run Malwa Retreat and Hotel Rupmati are located next to each other on the road to Indore and pretty close to most of the sites. Both the hotels overlook a valley. A first floor room in Malwa Retreat will ensure a view of Jahaz Mahal. MPTDC run Malwa Resort is 3 kms away overlooking the Sagar Lake.
- Mandu Monsoon Romance – Baz Bahadur Palace
- Mandu Monsoon Romance – Roopmati Pavilion
- Nilkanth Temple
- Hindola Mahal
- Village Group- Jami Masjid-Hoshang Shah-Ashrafi Mahal
- Ruins of Mandu