During the 15th century Mandu was the capital of the Northern Indian Malwa Sultanate. The city’s royal enclave was abandoned four centuries ago, but the dozens of palaces, temples, and forts that litter the plateau remain as a testament to the might and affluent tastes of the short-lived Muslim kingdom.
Many of Mandu’s structures are Indian versions of Afghan architecture, and the sultans that ruled here went to great lengths to tame the landscape with baobab trees imported from Africa. Rupmati’s Pavilion offers splendid views, particularly at sunset, of the plains spreading below the cliff the structure is perched on. A tragic Malwa love story centers on the pavilion being built by Sultan Baz Bahadur to lure a beautiful singer from her home on the plains to be his lover. The story goes that the Mughal Emperor Akbar was drawn to the area by tales of the woman’s beauty, and after he defeated her lover the singer poisoned herself in despair. Baz Bahadur’s Palace is a curious mix of Rajasthani and Mughal styles with arched doorways and minaret-like domes. The central feature of the palace is a pump fed reflecting pool at the heart of the structure.
The ship-like Jahaz Mahal, situated between two manmade lakes, is the royal enclave’s centerpiece palace featuring domed lookout points, scalloped arches, and open rooms. The pleasure seeking Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din is believed to have built the palace to house his harem, which reportedly numbered in the thousands.
Just south of the palace Hoshang’s Tomb is thought to be India’s oldest marble structure, and the dome capped building was created to house the remains of the Malwa Kingdom’s first sultan. Shah Jahan sent his architects to visit the tomb in 1659, and it is thought their visit influenced the construction of the stunning tomb they built for Shah Jahan’s wife, The Taj Mahal in Agra.
Mandu’s single Jain temple lies just outside of the royal enclave, and the bright colors of the shrine’s murals depicting bears, crocodiles, and demons torturing and devouring sinners are a heady contrast to the often stark architecture left by the Muslim Sultans that ruled here.
Mandu’s sprawling complex of ancient structures is best visited during the temperate months running from October to March. From April to June the temperatures steadily rise until the rains that start in July and run into September cool the region and revive the countryside to verdant green.
Mandu is located in Madhya Pradesh in central India. The town is best reached by private vehicle departing from Indore, which can easily be reached by flight from either Delhi or Mumbai.
The distinctly Muslim architecture found in Mandu is a must-see for guests on our India tours.
Appropriate Attire :
Dress for warm weather, and bring along a good pair of walking shoes as both the royal enclave and the surrounding structures sprawl across many miles.
Guest Reviews :
||ALICIA REYES - QUESADA
It was a dream come true! I really enjoyed the tour, the people I met, the incredible things I saw and the wonderful well mannered and caring people from India. I have traveled extensively, I consider myself a real gobble trotter, I have participated in a lot of tour company groups but nothing like Easy Tours of India!
I arrived sick, really sick, the medications I brought with me didn't work, I called two doctors at two different hotels, they sure made the difference! They changed my antibiotics, gave me 5 more medications including an anti-allergic one and made me feel better enough, that with some effort on my part, I was able to enjoy and finish the tour.
Ali our guide was sure a gentleman... WOW! he has so much patience he could be a teacher! the gentleman driver was so pleasant and caring, especially when he noticed I was feeling so bad.
I am already planning to go back to visit South India and this time I do not plan to be sick at all.
I love India!
Specially the hotel in MUMBAI, they were the best, they took care of me really well, gave me an upgrade of a beautiful room, let me check out at 8pm and gave me free internet access. They were so and so sweet caring and nice I felt my heart broken when I said goodbye...
Chandni always called concerned about my health, thanks CHANDNI!
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