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Tourist Places To Visit In Mandu
Mandu, located in Madhya Pradesh is known as an ancient city of forts and palaces. The city is surrounded by walls of stones and dotted with gateways. It is also known for its Afghanistan-based heritage in architecture. Mandu’s architectural heritage is so huge its sites need to be classified in 5 broad groups. Some of these groups include the Central Group and the Royal Group besides the Sagar Talao Group. Besides these important groups there are many other architectural sites that are scattered all over Mandu. There are therefore a large number of tourist places to visit in Mandu. Let us see some of the more important sites.
Jahaz Mahal was built during the second half of 15th century by Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji apparently to accommodate his 15,000 consorts. The name Jahaz Mahal is apt especially when you see how the edifice is surrounded by the water of a pond. It almost seems as if the palace is floating on the water. The architecture is absolutely remarkable and a combination of the best from the architectural styles of Mughal, Afghan, Mesopotamian and Hindu worlds. Its balconies are constructed such that it amplifies the sound so that it vibrates throughout the palace. The carvings in the palace are intricate, the engineering design precise and the beauty pristine. This is surely among the best tourist spots in Mandu.
Rani Roopmati Pavilion
The story of Mandu is the tragic story of the love between Rani Roopmati, a great singer and her Prince Baz Bahadur, the Sultan of Malwa, who also loved music. This story has been immortalised in the Rani Roopmati Pavilion and Rani Roopmati Palace as well as the Baz Bahadur Palace. The Rani Roopmati Pavilion is a major attraction in Mandu. It sits on top of a hillock close to the Baz Bahadur Palace. It is said that the queen used to see the palace of her beloved from her pavilion. The love affair ended tragically when Adham Khan, who was one of the generals of Akbar, was also attracted to Roopmati’s beauty. The queen however poisoned herself rather than submit to Adham’s entreaties. The view of the Narmada flowing 300 m below the pavilion is an amazing one.
Hoshang Shah’s Tomb
There is a fair amount of Afghan architecture in Mandu as is evident in Hoshang Shah’s tomb which shows how closely Afghan culture was interwoven with the sculpture and art of ancient India. This tomb is considered to be India’s first marble tomb. Hoshang Shah held an important position in India’s history. The tomb was constructed in 15th century and its beauty so impressed the Emperor Shah Jehan that he had sent his architects to see the tomb before starting the construction of Taj Mahal. It is true that the tomb is very beautiful.
Chhappan Mahal Museum
Chhappan Mahal Museum showcases the tribal arts, crafts as well as ancient artefacts of the region. The museum has audio-visual aids that are added to the exhibits as a part of technological advancements along with improved lighting. Since each of the exhibits is properly referenced and catalogued, it makes the visit more interesting and worth the while.
Hindola Mahal or the Swing Palace
The Hindola Mahal or the Swing Palace had once served as the Durbar Hall or the Royal Court. Today the Hindola Mahal is an impressive piece of Malwa-Sultanate architecture but there is nothing inside for display. There is a vast hall which is in the shape of a T. The arches that one sees inside are indeed very attractive. These arches are unique to Hindola Mahal while the T shape of the Mahal indicates that a large number of people were needed to be seated probably for either court sessions or for cultural programmes.
Baz Bahadur’s Palace
Baz Bahadur Khan was the last king of Malwa. He reigned between 1555 and 1562. His romantic liaison with Roopmati is the stuff of legends. He was devoted to firstly the arts and then to his paramour. He had no interest in either his kingdom or his army. It was because of this reason that the mughals defeated him quite easily and his wife, Roopmati, when captured, committed suicide. However, later Baz Bahadur did manage to regain his kingdom for a short period but was ultimately defeated by Akbar’s army in 1562 when he died. The palace is a strange mix of Mughal and Rajasthani styles and it was built between 1508 and 1509.
Jama Masjid or Jami Masjid is a mosque of historic relevance located in Mandu. It was built in a typical Moghul style of architecture during the reign of Hoshang Shah. It was completed in 1454 in the reign of Mahmud Khilji. One can enter the mosque through its main entrance that is there in the east. The mosque is spread over 88 sq m and it was built on 4.6 m of elevated platform. The doorway has an inscription written on it which indicates that the mosque was modelled on the mosque of Damascus.
The Nilkanth Mahal is a temple for worshipping Lord Shiva. It is understood that both the temple and the palace were built by Emperor Akbar for his Hindu wife. Actually the structure does not resemble a temple. However, a lingam of Shiva is established in the main room. The arch has Arabic inscription. The surroundings are attractive and green. The temple is 3 km from the Mandu bus stand.