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Mandu

Situated in the laps of Vindhya mountain range, Mandu is known for its historical monuments and the legendary romance of Baz Bahadur and his wife Rani Roopmati. The beauty of Mandu is best experienced during monsoon season; it first became popular in the Mughal era as a monsoon retreat - Emperor Jahangir especially was captivated by the beauty of Mandu in the rainy season. The group of monuments here has been nominated as tentative UNESCO world heritage site.

Mandu or Mandhavgarh is an enormous fort situated at a height of 660m in the Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh, on the south-western edge of the Malwa plateau overlooking the Narmada valley. The fort wall stretches nearly 45km; it has 12 gates and encloses a number of palaces, mosques and other buildings. Mandu is one of the most fascinating forts in India in a breathtaking setting. There is a great view of the Narmada valley below from the fort.
At the onset of monsoon, Mandu magically transforms itself - the bleakness of the dry harsh months of the central Indian summer gives way to the soothing green shades on the hills around it. The ruins of the fort and palaces contrast beautifully against the green hills.
The Jama Masjid is one of the oldest mosque in Mandu and a fine example of Pashtun architecture. Several water bodies including lakes, baolis and small rivulets enhance the beauty of the place and add special charm during the monsoons. It is believed that Mandu was the erstwhile monsoon retreat of the Mughal rulers.
Some of the important places to see at Mandu include the Jahaz Mahal, Taveli Mahal, Hindola Mahal, Champa Baoli, Jami Masjid, Ashrafi Mahal, Jain Temple, Baz Bahadur's Palace and Rani Roopmati’s pavilion.

Mandu monuments are part of a list of tentative sites for recognition as world heritage which has been submitted to UNESCO Committee for evaluation and acceptance. This procedure of prelisting is a prerequisite for the nominations for the World Heritage list to be accepted.
Baaz Bahadur and Rupmati:
Mandu is also famous for the tragic love story of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur the last independent ruler of Mandu and his beautiful wife Rani Roopmati. The romance of this Muslim prince and Hindu shepherdess was doomed. Their tale of love finds its mention till date in the songs of local folk singers and dancers. The elegance and beauty of Baz Bahadur's Palace and Rani Rupmati's Pavilion at Mandu in a way confirms the tale and transports you to the historical times.
Rani Roopmati was a major reason for which Akbar’s army chief Adham Khan attacked Mandu in 1561. He defeated Baz Bahadur who fled to Kandesh. When Rani Roopmati saw Akbar’s forces entering the fort, she consumed poison and died.
History:
Mandu was initially the fort capital of the Parmar rulers of Malwa, but by the end of the 13th Century it witnessed the empowerment of Muslim rulers. In 1401 when Delhi came under the rule of Mughals, Afghan Dilawar Khan, governor of Malwa, set up his kingdom headquarters in Mandu and laid the foundation of the Ghuri dynasty.
This was the golden period of Mandu when Dilawar Khan’s son Hoshang Shah, shifted the capital from Dhar to Mandu. Hoshang’s son Mohammed was the last ruler of the Ghuri dynasty and was killed by Mohammed Khalji, who established the Khalji dynasty and ruled for the next 33 years. He was succeeded by his son Ghiyas-ud-din in 1469 who was a lavish, pleasure seeker and an extravagant ruler. He named Mandu as Shadiabad meaning the city of joy. Ghiyas-ud-din had a large harem and built the famous Jahaz Mahal and Hindola Mahal for housing the women of his harem.
In 1534 Mandu came under the rule of Humayun, but he soon lost the town to Mallu Khan, who was an officer of the Khalji dynasty. Many more invasions and battles were fought over Mandu which witnessed the rise of Baz Bahadur.

Jahaz Mahal
This two storied palace is nearly 120m long and is constructed between two artificial lakes - the Munj Talao and Kapur Talao. Known to be built by pleasure seeking ruler Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din-Khilji, this palace served as a large harem to house nearly 15,000 maidens bonded to him. As the name suggests it gives the illusion of a pleasure craft built out of stone. The building represents an architectural marvel and is extremely appealing with its open pavilions, balconies overlooking the water bodies and large terraces.
Hindola Mahal and Champa Baoli
This palace has a huge hall probably used for evening gatherings of Mughal rulers during the monsoon season. The palace is also known as the ‘Swinging Palace’ due to its unique construction. The sloping side walls of the Hindola Mahal provide an appearance of a swing. Outstanding and innovative artistry is also displayed on the exterior of the palace in form of ornamental facades, sandstone trellis-work and wonderfully molded columns. The other interesting feature of this palace is the presence of an elaborate well popularly known as the Champa Baoli. The Hindola Mahal encloses a few other important buildings like Dilawar Khan's Mosque, Taveli Mahal, Nahar Jharokha popularly known as the tiger balcony and two large wells known as the Ujali Baoli and the Andheri Baoli.
Hoshang Shah's Tomb
This structure is believed to be the inspiration for the construction of the Taj Mahal. This tomb is known to be the first marble structure of its kind in India and displays a fine example of Afghan architecture. The unique characteristics of this structure are nearly perfectly proportioned with domes, delicate, remarkable marble patterns, courts with porticos and huge towers in each the four corners of the rectangular building. The Mughal ruler Shah Jahan sent four of his architects to understand and study the design and architecture of the tomb; later one of them, Ustad Hamid, was associated with the construction of Taj Mahal.
Jami Masjid
This mosque, built in 1454, is considered as one of the great structures erected during the rule of the Ghauri dynasty. The red sandstone structure is architecturally similar to the famous Umayyed Mosque in Damascus, Syria. This huge building is defined by a high plinth and a vast domed porch in the centre. The porch enclosing the mosque is dominated by an interesting and intricate placement of arches, pillars, bays, and rows of domes.
Baz Bahadur's Palace
This palace is situated near the Rewa Kund and was constructed by Baz Bahadur in 1509. It is an architectural blend of Mughal and Rajasthani styles characterized by the presence of beautifully decorated halls, high terraces and spacious porticos.
Roopmati's Pavilion
This pavilion was originally built to serve as an army observation post located on a hill top. It later became the retreat of Rani Roopmati. The tales state that from here the queen could see the king’s palace and river Narmada flowing through the valley.
Bagh Caves
Belonging to the 5th Century, these caves are nearly 50km from Mandu. The Bagh Caves are a cluster of five rock cut caves on the banks of river Baghini and house some excellent sculptures of Buddha. The paintings at Bagh Caves are very similar to the paintings found in the Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra. A painting of the Bodhisattva Padmapani here resembles the Padmapani figure found in Ajanta.
The Mandu festival is organised by the state government during the months of September and October; it displays art and culture of the area.
Nearby places Train stations Airports
BHOPAL 278 Km 05H 46m
INDORE 90 Km 01H 41m
Indore Junction Bg 97 Km 01H 47m
Ratlam Junction 130 Km 02H 11m
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Weather
Season Min. Temp. Max. Temp.
Summer 20 °C 35 °C
Winter 22 °C 8 °C
Mandu experiences a tropical condition all through the year. Summers (March to June) in Mandu are hot, but pleasant with temperature ranging between 35°C to 20°C. Winters (October to February) are cool and pleasant with temperatures between is 22°C and a minimum of 7°C during nights.
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