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Things To Do In Mandu
Mandu in MP is a city of palaces and forts. There are stone walls around the city and gateways as well. Mandu is also a place of architecture biased towards Afghanistan, Moghul and India, and it is this fact that lends an amazing air to the city. The architectural buildings are so numerous that these have been segregated into diverse groups such as Central, Sagar Talao and the Royal Group among others. But, that is not all. There are more architectural sites scattered in Mandu over and above those mentioned. There is therefore a lot of things to do in Mandu and we shall see some of them now.
Champa Bowli and Hamam
The Champa Baoli was constructed during the times of the Moghuls. Its idea has basically taken off from that of a Turkish Bath and this has resulted in a step well which has been constructed with great amount of care. The name Champa has come from the flower Champa because it seems that the water of the well smelt of the flower. The architecture in those days was so well thought out that it was possible for people to rest in the Taikhanas or the vaulted rooms that were well connected with the baoli. This way they remained cool even when temperatures outside were blazing hot. Visitors must try to visit the baoli which is a true marvel because of its architecture.
Ashrafi Mahal was built by Hoshang Shah for use as an Islamic College or madrasa around the year 1415. The construction of the madrasa was in the shape of a quadrangle that had arcaded corridors and rows of cells on the outside while there were four towers in the corner. In the subsequent years Mahmud Khilji from the subsequent dynasty converted the tower in the northeast into a victory tower that was seven storeys tall. He also built a roof on the courtyard to be used as a platform to serve as his own tomb made of marble. The tower as well as the tomb has disappeared and now all you can do is climb up a staircase and take a walk on the roof.
Kakra Khoh Waterfall
The city of Mandu is situated at a height of about 633.7 m above mean sea level. There is a deep gorge known as Kakra Khoh that separates Mandu from the Malwa plateau. There is a beautiful waterfall known as Kakra Khoh where one could stop for 20-30 min on the way to Indore or Dhar. Of course the view is stunning during season but it is advised that the elders and those with joint pains stay away from this little walk as you have to climb quite a few stairs to reach the viewing point.
Lohani Caves & Temple
Lohani Caves, dated around the 11th/12th century, near Mandu, are caves cut out of rocks. There are temples too that have been excavated. The statues found indicate those of Hindu origin such as of Shiva and Parvati besides Vishnu and Laxmi. This suggests that the area was, in all likelihood, a Shaivite Monasteries. These as well as some Islamic monuments that were built in the 13th century have been declared as UNESCO world heritage sites. Some of the contents of historic relevance have been shifted to various museums by the Archaeological Department for the purpose of preservation and safety.
Sat Kothari Caves
The Sat Kothari caves, of about seven ancient caves, are just outside the Mandu Fort, on the slopes. These caves have a large sized lingam and yoni inside. The caves do not have any other carvings or sculptures besides these. Unfortunately there are not many statues or inscriptions that were found here but it is obvious that these caves are among the rarest and oldest to be found in India. The surroundings of the caves are very pleasing and they consist of streams and lush greenery all around. It is surmised that the caves were used as posts for the military and subsequently as chambers that were used by ascetics for meditation.
Sagar Talao, located to the south of Mandu is the largest lake in the area. There are several monuments along the east bank of the lake and these are known as the Sagar Talao Group among a total of five groups of monuments in Mandu. For visitors, lakes such as Sagar Talao and Suraj Talao serve as excellent attractions for spending some quality time. It is possible that while constructing monuments, these have been built next to water bodies to add to the beauty of the constructed monuments. There is adequate tree cover for visitors to take rest and recover before setting off to the next destination.
Jogi Bhadak Waterfall
Jogi Bhadak Waterfall is one of the gems of Mandu and one among the favourite places to head for to either have a picnic or a day out. Though the waterfall is not perennial and comes alive only when it pours, the spot remains beautiful right through the year. The one-hour trek to the waterfall makes it worth the while since the route you follow will take you through a dense jungle before you arrive at your destination. Before you reach the destination you will be forewarned by the roar of the waterfall that precedes.