This year, we embarked on our first trip to the geographical heart of India, Madhya Pradesh (MP). Our itinerary featured three destinations in the Malwa region of MP: Mandu (Mandav), Indore, and Maheshwar.
Mandu (also known as Mandav or Mandavgad) is strategically located at a height of about 2000 feet in the Vindhya ranges. This formerly fortified town with its beautiful monuments transported us back in time. History comes alive at Mandu. From the panoramic vistas atop Roopmati Pavilion to the intricate waterways and reservoirs in the Royal Enclave complex, the imprints of splendor and history are etched everywhere! The landscape, dominated by numerous arches and domes, is dotted with several lakes and ponds.
Stroll around the town and discover its marvels. Concealed behind the trees, peering out from the overgrown grass, just behind the corner – is a hidden treasure.
The absence of crowds (at some locations, we were the only visitors! :)) made it a thoroughly enjoyable experience for us.
Roopmati Pavilion and Baz Bahadur’s Palace (Rewa Kund Group): A Legendary Love Story
We gazed at the spectacular views from the Roopmati Pavilion and imagined the queen looking out from this point, admiring the Nimar valley below and the River Narmada flowing through it. Baz Bahadur, the last Sultan of Malwa, was charmed by Roopmati’s beauty and melodious voice. He loved her dearly and brought her to Mandu. Unfortunately, their romantic tale was short-lived and ended in tragedy caused by the advance of the Mughal army.
Baz Bahadur’s Palace is adorned with beautiful arches and a lovely courtyard. From here, one can admire the surrounding countryside and catch a glimpse of the Roopmati Pavilion on the hilltop.
We also briefly halted at the Rewa Kund, a pond that was built as a reservoir for supplying water.
The Grandeur and Beauty of the Royal Enclave Group (Shahi Mahal Complex)
The Royal Enclave group is a visual treat. We headed to this complex late in the afternoon, and hoped to witness a pretty sunset.
The grand Jahaz Mahal (Ship Palace) was a fantastic place to begin our exploration. Situated on a narrow strip of land between two ponds (Munj Talao and Kapur Talao), this two-storeyed structure has a fascinating design. Junior, our ship commander, was at the helm, and he led the way. We truly enjoyed the ride :). This palace is believed to have been constructed by Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji for his harem.
The unique Hindola Mahal (Swinging Palace) is another beautiful edifice. We discussed the design of its sloping walls and marveled at the intricate and detailed work in stone.
Beyond the Hindola Mahal, numerous partially ruined buildings and structures dot the area. Among the architectural wonders here are the Champa Baoli (a big well), a Hamam, several fountains, and waterways. Come here to learn about a water supply and management system (with temperature control!) designed in the olden days.
At the end of the day, we spotted a seat near the Kapur Talao, facing the grand Jahaz Mahal. Comfortably seated on the bench, we watched the sun setting gradually. The varied hues in the sky provided a perfect backdrop to the visual splendor of the palace complex.
Continue reading our Mandu travelogue here: [Mandu, India] A Trip to Mandu: Where History Comes Alive – II