uninhabited ancient city in the present-day Mandav area of the Dhar district, Madhya Pradesh, India

Mandu or Mandav literally meaning the City of Joy is a small town in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India, now best known for a fort built by Baaz Bahadur in the memory of his queen Rani Roopmati. Between 1401 and 1561 it was the an important citadel of a Muslim rulers of central and north India. The citadel was abandoned more than 400 years ago, and it's now a town city but also home to a large ruins site more than 10 km long and 15 km wide. The temple dedicated to Shiva also attracts many pilgrims.

UnderstandEdit

 
Jahaz Mahal
 
Roopmati Pavilion
 
Jami Masjid

The citadel of Mandu or Mandav is perched on upon a rocky outspur of the Vindhya Range, at an altitude of 634 m. On the southern side it drops sharply for 305 m and merges with the Nimar plain, which is fed by the mighty Narmada River. The eastern, southern and northern side of the Mandu plateau is separated from the main Malawa Plateau by a deep ravine named Kakra Khoh. With a natural fortification, coupled with an amazing undulating landscape have made Mandu a favorite citadel for many a ruler, spanning over a period of thousand year. Located almost at the centre of India, Mandu has played a leading role in shaping the history of the country. For centuries it has served as a frontier outpost for the north Indian rulers for their invasion into the Deccan or to ward of invasion from the south. Over the centuries the kings of Malwa region of central India, along with the Delhi Sultans and the Great Mughal Emperors have made Mandu their abode. They have constructed Mosques, pleasure palaces, hunting lodges, pavilions, tombs, gateways, inns and shops, all within the natural and man-made fortifications of Mandu. No wonder the Muslim rulers call Mandu Shadiabad, meaning the City of Joy. Today the ruined citadel of Mandu along with its rugged but stunning landscape have transformed into a leading tourist spot and attracts tourist from far and wide. Mandu is also the only place in India where the baobab tree (a native of Africa) can be found in abundance. Monsoon is the best time to visit Mandu as the lakes and the ponds will be full of water and the dark clouds creates an romantic atmosphere amidst the rugged hilly landscape.

Get inEdit

Indore (95 km) has the nearest airport and railhead. Ratlam (124 km) located on the Delhi - Mumbai rail route is another option of getting into Mandu

By planeEdit

Ahilyabai Holkar Airport in Indore is the nearest airport. There are regular flights from Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Raipur and Kolkata

By trainEdit

Indore, 95 km away, is the nearest rail head. Indore is well connected with the rest of the country by train.

By busEdit

Mandu is well connected from Indore (95 km) and Dhar (35 km). From Indore there are two direct bus to Mandu, the first from Gangwal Bus Stand (8AM) and second from Sarawate Bus Stand (2PM). The journey takes 3 hours. Alternatively one can make a break journey at Dhar. There are regular bus service from Indore to Dhar and from Dhar to Mandu.

By carEdit

You can rent a car in Indore. The best route from Indore is as follows: Indore - Pithampur - Ghatabillod - Labour - Dhar - Mandu. The distance is approximately 95 km and the roads are in good condition.

Get aroundEdit

Apart from a few isolated ruins the runs of Mandu are clustered around a small area.

On footEdit

The sites of Mandu can be scattered in different groups. Each of the groups can be covered on foot. But covering the entire area on foot is not possible.

By bicycleEdit

Bicycles can be hired to visit even the scattered sites of Mandu. Hotels can arrange for bicycles. It is an easy and environmental way to explore the sites. At least two whole days are needed to cover the major sites on a bicycle.

By carEdit

Cars can be hired, and are the easiest and quickest way to visit the ruins of Mandu. Hotels can arrange for cars. A whole day is enough to cover all the major sites in Mandu in a day.

GuidesEdit

Guides are available for whole sightseeing tours but most of these guides operate on a fixed circuit. Most of the major locations have guides at the spot.

SeeEdit

The archaeological sites of Mandu can be classified in five broad groups:

  1. Central Group
  2. Royal Group
  3. Rewa Kund Group
  4. Darya Khan's Tomb Group
  5. Sagar Talao Group

Apart from these major groups there are several scattered archaeological sites all over Mandu. There are also several gateways leading to the fortified medieval settlement of Mandu.

Central groupEdit

 
Inside Jami Masjid
 
Hoshang Shah's Tomb
 
Ashrafi Mahal

As the name suggests, the Central Group is located at the very centre of the fortified citadel of Mandu. Today it serves as the main centre of Mandu town and houses its main bus stop. It is also refereed to as the Village Group. It has four archaeological sites, Ashrafi Mahal (along with the tomb of Mahmud Khilji), Jami Masjid and Hoshang Shah's Tomb. There are also two new temples. One of them is a Jain Temple, while the other is a Ram Temple.

  • 1 Jami Masjid (Opposite Ashrafi Mahal). A largest and the chief mosque of Mandu. The construction of the mosque began during the reign of Hoshang Shah and was completed by Mahmud Khalji. The Jami Masjid in Mandu was modeled after the Mosque of Damascus. It is approached through a huge domed gateway on the east. The door has marble jams and lintel, which probably are reminiscent of Hindu architecture. A passageway through the gate leads to a open courtyard with flanked on three side (except west) by pillared halls, most of which have long collapsed. Straight ahead on the western side is a main prayer hall crowned with three gigantic domes, along with 58 small domes. The paryer hall consisting of an amazing amalgamation of pillars and arches have 17 curved niches on the western wall. The elaborately decorated central marble niche serves as the main mihrab of the mosque. Just next to the main mihrab is a domed pulpit, approached by a flight of stairs. The imam lead the prayers from this pulpit.    
  • 2 Tomb of Hoshang Shah (Behind or west of Jami Masjid). Completed in 1440 the Hoshang Shah's tomb is the first marble structure of India. The tomb is housed in a walled complex with entrance on the northern side. On the eastern side of the complex is a pillared hall. The Tomb of Hoshang Shah is located at the center of the complex and stands on a square raised platform. Above the roof is a slightly raised platform with battlement styled edges. It is slightly smaller than the roof and houses the massive marble dome in the centre. At the four corners of the platform are four smaller domes. The entrance to the tomb is through a arched gateway on the north. The gate way is flanked by two smaller arches with decorative marble screen. The southern wall also has similar archways but all of them have decorative marble screens. At the centre of the hall stands the cenotaph of Hoshang Shah (the original grave is located below, within the platform). It is a marble structure and is built is step pyramid style. It is flanked on both side by few more cenotaphs, one the western side there is one while on the eastern side there are two. It is said that Hoshang Shah Tomb inspired the Taj Mahal in Agra. Shah Jahan's architect supposedly went to Mandu to study the tomb's architecture before building the Taj Mahal. Chief architect Hamid left an inscription on the left hand side of the arched entrance, mentioning about their visit, which can still be seen.
  • 3 Ashrafi Mahal and Mahmud Khalji's Tomb, Opposite Jami Masjid. Located opposite the Jami Masjid. The Ashrafi Mahal, probably served as a madrasa (Islamic school), adjacent to the Mosque, during the reign of Mahmud Khilji (1436 - 69). With the passage of time the Ashrafi Mahal has been reconstructed and extended several times and also have been used for several other purposes. Even the central open courtyard of the madrasa was later used for the construction of the massive tomb of Mahmud Khalji. The tomb has long collapsed. Today the Ashrafi Mahal is approached through a long flight of stairs and through a marble pavilion. The dome that crowned the pavilion has long collapsed. A passageway from the pavilion leads to a open courtyard, which once housed the tomb of Mahmud Khalji. The courtyard is lined with small cells on all four sides. The cells probably served as living quarters of students. On the four corners were minarets and during the reign of Mahmud Khalji, the minarets at the north west corner was converted into victory tower, to celebrate his victory over the Rana of Chittoor. The tower also has long collapsed and its foundation is all that remains. Incidentally the Rana of Chitoor also built a victory tower, which stands to this day.

Royal groupEdit

 
Taveli Mahal
 
Jahaz Mahal
 
Hindola Mahal
 
Jal Mahal from Jahaz Mahal
 
Gada Shah's House

The Royal Group is the largest and the most scattered of all the group of monuments in Mandu. It contains some of the most visited structures of Mandu like the Jahaz Mahal, Hindol Mahal and the Royal Palace. The complex is scattered and best visited by a combination of car rides and short walks.

  • 4 Taveli Mahal. The three storied structure of Taveli Mahal stands at the right of entrance to the Royal Complex. The ground floor probably served as a stable and the upper two floors were residence of cavalrymen and horse caretakers.The building is south of Kapoor Talao and south - east of Jahaz Mahal. The first floor houses a Archeological Survey of India (ASI) Museum. The top floor and the terrace are not accessible to tourist. However on request the security guard does allow tourist to the terrace which provides great view of the Kapoor Talao and Jahaz Mahal.
  • 5 Jahaj Mahal (Ship Palace) (Sandwiched between Manju and kapoor Talao). Sunrise - sunset. The 110-m-long and 15-m-broad double-storeyed building is located on a narrow strip of land between the Munj Talao and Kapur Talao, giving the appearance of a ship in water. probably built by Sultan Ghiyathuddin Khalji in the later part of the 15th century. It served as a large harem for the sultan and accommodated a staggering 15,000 women. Later it also served as the residence of Noor Jahan, the favourite queen of Mughal Emperor Jahangir. The southern end of the double - storied building has a stairs leading directly to the terrace. The northern end of the terrace contains a swimming pool of floral design there is a similar pool just below it on the first floor. The terrace has two domed pavilion on the southern and northern end of the long Jahaz Mahal. The northern pavilion is not at the very end of the terrace but just south of the swimming pool. The pavilions still contain blue and yellow tiles.
  • 6 Hindola Mahal (Swinging Palace) (North of Jahaz Mahal). The T - shaped building with sloping buttressed walls probably served as an audience hall. It was built during the reign of Sultan Ghiyathuddin Khalji in the later part of 15th century.    
  • 7 Royal Palace and Champa Bawdi. West of the Hindola and north of Munj Talao is the royal palace. It is in ruins. At the entrance of the royal palace is the Champa Bawdi (Bawdi means step well), it is relatively in good condition. The railing around the Champa Bawdi is a recent addition by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Subterranean passage connects the base of the well to a series of vaulted rooms, thus keeping them cool during the scorching summer. North of the Champa Bawdi is the hammam (cold and hot water bath) complex, star and crescent shaped holes in the domed roof allow natural light to filter inside the dark interiors of the hammam.
  • 8 Dilwara Khan's Mosque. The Dilwara Khan's Mosque, built in 1405, is the oldest Islamic structure of Mandu. It is at the northern end of the Royal enclave and is the only religious structure in the Royal enclave.
  • 9 Nahar Jharokha Palace ((Tiger Window)). Nahar Jharokha, literally meaning tiger window, is a palace that is north of Hindol Mahal. The palace is in total ruins and the roof has long collapsed. Although in ruins several windows of the palace have survived but the tiger head window, after which the palace is named, can no longer be traced.
  • 10 Jal Mahal (Water Palace). Jal Mahal, or water palace, is one of the most enchanting structures of the, City of Joy, Mandu. It is located on the north west corner of the Manju Talao and the furthest structure in the Royal Complex. Due to its remote locations it is often skipped by tourist but sadly they miss out on an interesting site of Mandu. A narrow passage connects the remaining portion of the Royal Complex to the Jal Mahal. The passage passes over the water of Manju Talao and there are three pairs of narrow flight of stairs leading down to the water on both sides. Once the favourite of Mughal Emperor Jahangir, the palace is complete with fountains, swimming pools, water passages and arched gateways,
  • 11 Munj Talao (A large lake on the western side of Jahaz Mahal). Manju Talao is a large lake in the Royal Group, On its east stands the towering Jahaz Mahal and on the north is the Royal Palace. The north eastern corner of the lake is occupied by the Jal Mahal. The Jahaz Mahal (literally meaning the ship palace) stands in between the manju Taalo and Kapoor Talao, giving it a ship like appearance. Acoording to historians the lake probably existed before the Islamic occupation of Mandu.
  • 12 Kapoor Talao (A lake on the eastern side of Jahaz Mahal). Much smaller than the Manju Talao, this rectangular pond is paved with stones on all sides. Kapoor Talao along with Manju Talao gives Jahaz Mahal (Ship Palace) a ship like appearance. The Taveli Mahal lies on the southern side of the Kapoor Talao. The western side of the pond houses a octagonal pavilion and there are a few ruined projected structures on the northern edge also. There is also a remains of a platform like structure within the Kapoor Talao.
  • 13 Gada Shah's Shop. Gada Shah's Shop is a massive two-storey structure. Sadly nothing is known about Gada Khan. Also nothing is also known about the purpose of the massive building. There are even doubts whether it is a shop or something else. There are remains of octagonal structure behind the Gada Shah's Shop and the front part has two step wells.
  • 14 Adheri Bawdi (Dark Step Well). This is the first of the step wells in Gada Shah,s Shop complex. The large circular well lies inside a rectangular walled walled structure making the interiors dark, hence the name Adhheri Bawdi (Dark Stepwell). Spiral steps along the inner wall of the well leads to the water.
  • 15 Ujawala Bawdi (Illuminated Step Well). This is the second stepwell of the Gada Shah's Shop complex. It is an open well and the interiors are lit up by sunlight giving the name Ujawala Bawadi (Illuminated Stepwell). Two flight of zigzag stairs lead to the water of the rectangular well.

Rewa Kund groupEdit

 
Roopmati's Pavilion

This area at the southern edge of Mandu is famous for the eternal love story of Baz Bahadur and Roopmoti. Baz Bahadur was an independent sultan of Mandu who ruled between 1554 – 1561. Baz Bahadur fell in love with shepherd girl by the name of Roopmati. In 1561 the mighty Mughal army attacked Baz Bahadur's kingdom and Baz Bahadur was no match for the mighty Mughal army. Baz Bahadur fled and Roopmati committed suicide by consuming poison.Numerous ballads and legends were spun and weaved glorifying their eternal love affair. Even today the balladeers of Malwa still sing of the immortal romance of Baz Bahadur and Roopmati.

  • 16 Rewa Kund. The lake of Rewa Kund is situated at the southern end of the Mandu Plateau, the Narmada River flows far below in the Nimar planes at a distance of about 50 km but according to legend the lake is connected to the river. Although not on the river bank Rewa Kund is part of the Narmada Parikrama pilgrimage and pilgrims have to make a detour to the lake to complete the parikrama. The lake measuring 230 feet in north - south direction and 170 feet in east - west direction. A series of steps passing through multiple arches leads down to the water at the north east corner of the lake. The lake predates Baz Bahadur and Roopmati and probably even the Sultanate period of Mandu.
  • 17 Baz Bahadur's Palace. On the eastern side of the Rewa Kund stands the Palace of Baz Bahadur. Baz Bahadur’s Palace was originally built by Sultan Nasiruddin Shah in 1509 and subsequently enlarged by Baz Bahadur (1554 – 61). It contains some amazing acoustics and sound made in one part of the palace can be heard at the other end. The place is approached with a long flight of shallow stairs. On the left of the stairs is an arched colonnade. It serves as an aqueduct for bringing water from the Rewa Kund to Baz Bahadur’s Palace. Entry of the palace is through a zigzag path through a huge archway. The path leads to a large courtyard on the northern side of the palace. The courtyard is centred round a swimming pool. The southern side of the palace also host a similar courtyard, much smaller in size and minus the swimming pool. The terrace contains two domed pavilions. Each of the pavilions stand on twelve pillars and each side have equal triple arches. The terrace provides great views including that of Roopmati Pavilion, located atop a nearby hill.
  • 18 Rani Roopmati Pavilion. Like the Baz Bahadur Palace the Roopmati Pavilion also predates Baz Bahadur. Going by its strategic location on a hill top at the very southern end of the plateau, it is quiet likely it served as a solider outpost keeping eye on invading armies. It was later converted into a pleasure house by Baz Bahadur for his favourite lover Roopmati, who is to graze at the Narmada from the pavilion. The pavilion consists of two structure built at different level. The base of the upper structure coincides with the top of the lower structure and thus providing a double storied appearance. The overall structure is U - shaped with a with a neatly maintained garden in the middle. The Roppmati’s Pavilion contains massive arched passages complete with water channels to keep the palace cool from the scorching heat of Mandu. The terrace provides great views of the Nimar plains stretching all the way to the Narmada River. Like the Baz Bahadur's Palace the terrace contains two domed pavilions. It was probably from here Roopmati watched the Narmada flow and refused to eat, when the river was not visible.

Darya Khan's Tomb groupEdit

 
Darya Khan Tomb Complex
 
Darya Khan Tomb

This is the smallest of the Mandu groups. The Darya Khan Tomb Complex is located on the eastern side of the main street of Mandu. The Hathi Paga Palace is located behind the Darya Khan Tomb Complex ans is approached by a dirt trail just south of Darya Khan Complex. The Roja ki Makbar is located on the western side of the main road. It is not on the main road and a winding dirt road leads to the Makbar.

  • 19 Darya Khan's Tomb Complex. Darya Khan was a minister in the court of Mahmud Khalji II. The walled tomb complex is centred round the tomb of Darya Khan, with its massive tomb. The complex also houses another tomb, Darya Khan’s Mosque, Lal Sarai (Sarai means inn) and Somvati Kund (Kund means pond). The entry to the complex is through the west. Straight ahead is the Somvati Kund and beyond that is the Tomb of Darya Khan, which is also enclosed by a high wall. On the right is the Lal Sarai and on the left is the mosque. The other tomb lies on the north east of the mosque.
    • 20 Darya Khan's Tomb. The massive dome of Darya Khan's Tomb towering above a series of trees, still dominates the Mandu sky line. The tomb is enclosed by a high wall, so is the entire complex. The entrance of the tomb compound is through the north west corner. The inner side of the boundary wall contains arched passageways and the corners are crowned with domes, of which the south - east has collapsed. The massive sand stone tomb stands on a high plinth at the very centre of the tomb complex. At the center is the massive dome and the four corners also houses smaller domes. The entry inside the tomb is through eastern and southern side. In the other two side the entrance is blocked with decorative sandstone lattice work.
    • 21 Darya Khan's Mosque. The small mosque has a central dome. The northern and southern sides have three small domes each. The corners are marked with small turrets.The entrance on the east is flanked with 9 arches, The central arches is flanked on either side by smaller arches.
    • 22 Unknown Tomb. This unknown tomb lies a couple of yards north - east of the mosque. A small tomb with a unknown occupant. The entrance is on the south through a triple arched entrance. The flat roof contains a large dome the corners are flanked with smaller domes. The central dome is plane while the corner ribbed and are garlic shaped.
    • 23 Lal Sarai (Red Inn). Lal Sari, literally meaning the Red Inn, was a guest house for travellers who visited Mandu. It lies on the right side of the entrance and on the south - west corner of Dary Khan's Tomb.The structure consists of a series on rooms arranged in a rectangle, surrounding a large open courtyard.
    • 24 Somvati Kund. This small pond lies east of Darya Khan's Tomb. The pond known as Somvati Kund is stone lined on all sides. As of 2020, it is fenced off to prevent accident.
  • 25 Hathi Paga Palace (Elephant Foot Palace). Hathi Paga Mahal, literally meaning Elephant Leg Palace, (also referred as Hati Mahal). is a domed structure located on the south - eastern side of the Darya Khan Tomb Complex. The four massive pillars supporting the structure represents the elephant's leg and hence the name. It is crowned with a massive dome. It was probably built as a pleasure resort but later converted into a tomb. It contains the mortal remains of a unknown person and he is buried below the tomb. A flight of stairs leads to the underground crypt, but sadly the passageway have been blocked off. On the western side of the tomb is a small mosque crowned with three domes. A stairways leads to the mosque terrace offering great views of the surrounding, including the Darya Khan Tomb Complex.
  • 26 Roja ki Makbar. This is located on the opposite side of the Dary Khan’s Tomb Complex and is approached by a dirt road. Roja or Khadija Bibi, was a women sufi saint, probably the one of its kind in the whole of Mandu. She was cremated inside the tomb. The black stoned built domed structure has a arched entrance on the western side and there are several other graves inside the tomb.

Sagar Talao groupEdit

 
Malik Mughith's Mosque
 
Dai ki Chotti Behen ka Mahal
 
Dai ka Mahal
 
Jali Mahal

The Sagar Talao is a large lake on the southern side of Mandu. The road on the eastern edge of the lake leads to the Royal Enclave on the north and on the south it leads to Rewa Kund Group. The historic structures of the Sagar Talao Group are located on the eastern side of the road. For tourist staying in the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Malawa Resort Sagar Talao Grouup can be best explored by an early morning walk,

  • 27 Malik Mughith's Mosque. A south ward walk along the main road of Mandu leads to Sagar Talao on the left. Just after reaching the lake a dirt road on the left (there is a signage) leads to the Sagar Talao group. The dirt road leads to the Malik Mughith's Mosque and Carava Sarai. The two structure face each other with Malik Mughith's Mosque on the east.The entrance of the mosque is through the center of the eastern side. On the either side of the entrance and along the plinth are 12 arches, six on each side. these lead to rooms. The rooms probably served as quarters for the mosque staff. A long flight of stairs leads to a domed entrance. Sadly the dome has long collapsed and have most of the pillars, which once held the dome. A Persian inscription at the mosque entrance mention that the mosque was constructed in 1432. The entrance leads to a open courtyard, with pillared passageways on all four sides. The centre of the western side is crowned with a dome. There are also domes on the south – western and north – western corners. The western end contains, three passage ways separated by beautifully decorated columns. Just south of the mosque is a ruined structure which probably served as the Imam's house.
  • 28 Caravan Sarai. Sari, literally meaning inn, is a guest house. As a citadel Mandu flourished as a flourishing trading centre attracting traders and travellers from far and wide. No wonder these men needed place to stay and eat, the saris or inns provided accommodations to the travellers visiting Mandu. Today the ruined citadel of Mandu contains several ruined sarais and the Carava Sarai of Sagar Talao is the largest of them. The entrance of the Caravan Sarai is through a massive arched gateway on the western side. The gate is high enough to allow camels and elephants to enter the inn. Built in 1437 it consists of a simple architecture with a large open courtyard along with rooms on all four sides.
  • 29 Dai ki Chhoti Bahin ka Mahal. On the south west corner of the Caravan Sarai is a domed structure known as the Dai ki Chhoti Behen ka Mahal. The structure consists of a domed mausoleum along with a mosque. Dai literally means mid - wife or nurse and choti bahin means younger sister hence the tomb belonged to a younger sister of a nurse. No wonder the nurse definitely had a high status, but sadly nothing is known about her. Just south of the Dai ki Chhoti Bahin ka Mahal is a remains of a Mughal styled char bagh garden known as Lal Bagh.
  • 30 Dai ka Mahal. Literally meaning the house of the mid wife or nurse this too like the Dai ki Chhoti Bahin ka Mahal is a grave combined with a mosque. Again nothing is known about the nurse and story of her magnificent mausoleum. The octagonal structure stands on a high plinth and is topped with a huge dome. The dome rests on an octagonal drum, with small cupolas at each corners. Strangely there are no graves inside. The mosque is on the western side and large portions of it has long collapsed and only traces of its walls on the northern and southern side remains along with two domes.
  • 31 Unknown Tomb (Adhar Dome). On the western side of the Dai ka Mahal lies a massive domed structure, which the Archaeological survey of India (ASI) describes as the Unknown Tomb. While some historians mention it as the Adhar Dome. Here also nothing is known about the occupant of the massive tomb. It is a two storied structure with a flight of stairs on the south side. The remaining three sides have seven arched entrance each. The stairs lead to the top of the first level which acts as a platform of the tomb, which is on the second level. The square tomb has arched entrance on all four side and is topped with a massive tomb. This is the largest and the most prominent structure of the Sagar Talao group.
  • 32 Jali Mahal (North of Sagar Talao, on top of a small mound). This small structure is located on top of a small mound south of the Sagar Talao. Jali refers to decorative lattice screen and mahal refers to palace or house. But the structure is a mausoleum decorated with lattice screen.

Other monumentsEdit

 
Ek Khambha Mahal

Apart from the five major groups Mandu contains several other scattered monuments, which can not be classified under any group.

  • 33 Sarai. During its heydays Mandu was a flourishing trading center attracting travellers and traders from different parts of the world. No wonder Mandu had several inns (sarais) providing shelters to these travellers. Mandu still houses a series of sarais scattered all over the plateau. This small sarai lies on the western side of the north - south road of Mandu in between Darya Khan Group and the Royal Group. It is a small sarai with nine arched entrances.
  • 34 Lohani Caves. Lohani Caves are a set of ancient caves located on the western edge of Mandu. The caves predates the Sultanate period of Mandu. They are Hindu caves dedicated to Lord Shiva. The caves are free of any ornamentation or statues, although according to historical records several statues of Hindu gods and goddesses were found from the caves. Although not much of historical importance the Lohani Caves offer great views of sunset.
  • 35 Chhapan Mahal. Although referred to as a mahal or palace the structure is actually a mausoleum and like many other mausoleum of Mandu the occupant remains unknown. Chappan means fifty-six and according to legend in 1899 (the local calendar year was 1956) there was a famine in the area. The local king in order to provide work and pay the poor men of his kingdom took up the initiative of rearing the structure and hence the name Chappan Mahal. The square structure is topped with a huge dome. The tomb is located inside a wall complex. The complex also houses a small site museum. This is located exactly south of the central group.
  • 36 Ek-khamba Mahal. Located on the south west of Chappan Mahal this structure is slightly off the road and contains a single domed mausoleum. Again nothing is known about the occupant of the grave.
  • 37 Tomb and Mosque between Chorkot and Chhappan Mahal. This is south of Ek - khamba Mahal. The complex is on the main road and for persons travelling south it will be on his right side. The complex consists of a square tomb topped with a dome along with a three domed mosque in the back. Nothing is known about the occupant of the tomb.
  • 38 Chorkot Mosque. This small complex is south of the unknown tomb and mosque and lies on the same side of the road. Since it is located a bit far from the city the abandoned structure once served as a refuge of thieves and antisocial persons. Hence the name chorkot (chor means thief and kot means fort). The structure follows the standard format of other Mandu complex with a single domed tomb in the foreground along with a three domed structure in the background.
  • 39 Nil Kanth Palace. Nilkanth Palace or Mahal was once a temple dedicated to Lord Mahadeva. It was later converted into a pleasure palace by Akbar's general Budag Khan. This is located south of the Chorkot Mosque and lies on the same side of the road. A winding trail descends from the main road to the Nilkanth Palace. Apart from historical importance the place has immense natural beauty. The northern side offers great views of the undulating lush green landscape of Mandu. The U shaped palace is centered round a octagonal pond, with its south side open. A series of waterways and channels brought water to the pond. A Persian inscription on the walls of the palace narrates the story of the Mahal or Palace. Today the temples again functions as an active temple.

GatesEdit

 
Delhi Gate
 
Alamgir Daewaza

The citadel of Mandu has several gateways. Some of these gates are mere arched gates while quite a few are elaborate archways complete with defensive mechanism. The defensive mechanism includes guard houses, battlements and even watch towers. Since Mandu has been largely dominated by the Delhi Sultanates and the Mughals so most of the gateways are on the northern approach to the citadel. The winding approach road to Mandu contains a series of five gates. There are a few smaller gates on the other approaches also.

  • 40 Delhi Gate. Delhi Gate is southern most of the northern gates of Mandu and is located just north of the Gada Shah's Shop. The massive gateway consisted of several archways combined with guard house and watch towers probably served as a royal entry gateway for the Delhi Sultans and the Mughals. The gateway was used by the royals by bypassing the Kamani and Gadi Darwaza. Still today a series of steps leads to the Delhi gate from the north side. Today the gateway is approached by a flight of stairs and although large portions of it have collapsed, it still has a commendable look.
  • 41 Gadi Darwaza. Gadi Darwaza is east of the Delhi Darwaza and is on the main road leading to Mandu from the north side. This massive arched gateway with guard houses is at the edge of a hair pin bend.
  • 42 Kamani Darwaza. This gate is north of Delhi Gate and is part of the series of gateways on the northern approach of Mandu. This was built as a triple arched gateway but one of the arches has collapsed.
  • 43 Bhangi Darwaza. Bhangi means sweeper and according to local legend a sweeper is a sign of good luck. According to legend a sweeper was killed and buried beneath the gateway. Another legends says sweepers were posted at the at the gateway to bring good luck to visitors of Mandu. Nothing much remains of the gateway. The top had already collapsed and small side portions are all that remains of the ancient gateway.
  • 44 Alamgir Darwaza. Alamgir Darwaza is the first of gateways to welcome visitors coming from the north. A massive arched gateway to welcome visitors to the citadel of Mandu.
  • 45 Sonegarh Darwaza. Sonegarh Daewaza is on the south west of Mandu citadel and is complete with a fort like structure. It is off the road it is approachable by a dirt road.

DoEdit

BuyEdit

EatEdit

 
The baobab fruit can be up to 25 centimetres (10 in) long and is used to make a drink

Restaurant for regular Indian fare at Malwa Resort - close to the Jami Masjid.

Traditional daal-baati may be savoured at the Jain Temple.

Try the local delicacies of Malwa region, daal-bafla and daal-paniya

  • Shivani Restaurant, Main Rd, +91 72922 63202. While the quality and hit-and-miss, it does serve dishes from the local region including Dal Bafla.

DrinkEdit

  • Baobab juice. The baobab tree, of African origin, grows in abundance in Mandu. Locally it is known as mandu ka imli. The flesh of the baobab fruit is dried and powdered. The powder is mixed in water with a dash of sugar to produce the juice. It's a sour drink and especially refreshing during summer. Rs 20.
  • Nimboo pani. Nimboo pani (Indian-style lemonade), which is very popular and easily available, is a refreshing, tasty drink found everywhere in Mandu. ₹10.

SleepEdit

  • Temple in front of Jami Masjid. The Temple in front of Jami Masjid provided a reasonable-priced stay as of Dec 2009 (₹250 at that time), good for night stay for those who don't want AC or a deluxe room.
  • The Rest House. Similar rooms.
  • 1 Malwa Resort. Run by MP Tourism. 20 cottages - 10 AC and 10 non AC
  • 2 Malwa Retreat. Run by MP Tourism. 8 rooms - 2 AC and 6 non AC
  • 3 Hotel Roopmati.
  • Hotel Royal Palace (Near Jami Masjid), +91 99 77 078671.
  • 4 Jahaz Mahal Hotel, Dhar Road, Mandu, Dist. Dhar Madhya Pradesh (India)- 454010, +91 7292 263272. A private hotel on the eastern banks of Sagar Talao
  • 5 ASI Guest House, Taveli Mahal, Royal Enclave, +91 755 2558250.

Go nextEdit

This city travel guide to Mandu is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.