Floating over it’s own reflection, the Jahaz Mahal in Mandu looks like a ship that’s about to sail. However, for centuries this ship made of stone and mortar never did. Instead, it stood floating over the twin lakes, bearing a silent witness to Mandu’s long, rich and varied history.
The city of Mandu is adorned with spell-binding Afghan architecture surrounded by baobab trees, native to Africa. The grand palaces are still alive with royal romance while the gateways (darwazas) speak of a history of imperial conquests. A walk through Mandu will leave you awe-struck, the way you used to be listening to stories from grandparents.
Where it is located….
Situated on the banks of river Narmada, Maheshwar appeals to both, the pilgrim as well as the tourist in you. The town possesses a treasure trove of beautiful temples that calm the soul, alongside man-made creations that please the eyes.
A centre of handloom weaving since the 5th century, Maheshwar has been producing the exquisite Maheshwari saris and fabric. The town also holds the distinction of being the capital of Rajmata Ahilya Devi Holkar’s empire during the 18th century.
This historic town weaves spirituality and folklore with the beauty of nature and Maheshwari saris, bringing alive child-like awe in you.
Mandu, due to its strategic position and natural defences, was an important place with a rich and varied history. It was an important military outpost and its military past can be gauged by the circuit of the battlemented wall, which is nearly 37 km (23 mi) and is punctuated by 12 gateways. The wall encloses a large number of palaces, mosques, Jain temples of 14th century and other buildings. The oldest mosque dates from 1405; the finest is the Jama Masjid or great mosque, a notable example of Pashtun architecture. The marble-domed tomb of this ruler is also magnificent
Places to visit
A large sandstone structure originally built as an army observation post it is known today as Roopmati’s Pavilion. Rani Roopmati – the love interest of Baaz Bahadur lived here and is said to have gazed at the Baz Bahadur’s Palace – situated below and also at Narmada river, flowing through the Nimar plains far below, a river which the queen revered.
Baz Bahadur’s Palace
Main court of Baz Bahadur’s Palace.
Built by Baz Bahadur, this 16th-century structure is famous for its large courtyards encompassed by large halls and high terraces. It is situated below Roopmati’s Pavilion and can be seen from the pavilion.
Rewa Kund – a reservoir that supplies water to Roopmati’s Pavilion.
A reservoir constructed by Baz Bahadur for the purpose of supplying water to Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion. The reservoir is situated below the pavilion and hence is considered an architectural marvel.
Darya Khan’s Tomb complex
Darya Khan was a minister in the court of Mahmud Khalji II, and his tomb lies in a walled complex along with another tomb, a mosque, a pond, and an inn. At the centre of the complex is the massive sandstone tomb of Darya Khan. Hathi Paga Mahal or Elephant Leg Palace is located on the south-eastern side of the Darya Khan Complex, and is crowned with a massive dome.
Shri Mandavagadh Teerth
Shri Mandavagadh Teerth is dedicated to Lord Suparshvanatha. It belongs to Shwetambar sect of Jainism. The temple has been attractively constructed and looks exquisite. It underwent expansion in 14th century. The idol of Lord Suparshvanath is believed to be much older. The idol is white in complexion and is 91.54 cm (3 feet) in height. It is seated in a padmansana posture. Apart from this in this same fort there is a fine temple of smaller size of Lord Shantinath. Ruins of many temples and idols can be seen here. As per a reference once there were almost 700 Jain temples here.
The courtyard of the Jami Masjid.
Inspired by the great mosque of Damascus, this enormous structure is striking in both its simplicity and architectural style-with large courtyards and grand entrances. At the front of Jaami Mosque, there are ruins of Asharfi Palace. There is a seven-story winning memorial at the north-east of the palace, and also a fascinating Ram Temple nearby, which was built by Maharani Sakarwar Bai Pawar in 1769 CE.
Hoshang Shah’s Tomb
Mausoleum of Hoshang Shah
India’s first marble structure, it is one of the most refined examples of Afghan architecture. Its unique features include the beautifully proportioned dome, intricate marble lattice work and porticoed courts and towers. It served as a template for the construction of Taj Mahal.
Jahaz Mahal/Ship Palace
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The Water Palace, Mandoo (L. E. L.)
Situated between two artificial lakes, this two-storied architectural marvel is so named as it appears as a ship floating in water. Built by Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din-Khalji, it served as a harem for the sultan. This is The Water Palace shown in Fisher’s Drawing Room Scrap Book, 1832 together with a poetical illustration by Letitia Elizabeth Landon.
The arches of Hindola Mahal.
Hindola Mahal – meaning Swing palace is so named due to its sloping side walls. The Hindola Mahal might have been constructed during the reign of Hushang Shah about 1425 C.E. but may date to the end of the 15th century during the reign of Ghiyas al-Din. It is one of a set buildings making up the royal palace complex at Mandu, which consists of the Jahaz Mahal, the Hindola Mahal, the Taveli Mahal, and the Nahar Jharokha. The Hindola Mahal may have been used as an audience chamber.
The Darwazas (Gates)
The wall encompassing Mandu has 12 major darwazas or gates. The present road, through which Mandu is reached passes through many of these. Also encountered are smaller gateways built to provide protection to the above-mentioned 12 gates.
This a lovely gorge on the way to the fort from Dhar. In monsoon, one can see a lovely waterfalls cascading from the rocks.
Sagar Talab is a beautiful man made lake inside the fort.