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Fancy a visit to a place that is situated at the edge of a ravine, with ruined palaces, tombs and monuments for company? And what if I tell you, one such place does exist? If you’ve been to Indore or Dhar in Madhya Pradesh, chances are the name will come as no surprise to you.

Spread over a 20-square km area, Mandu is an enchanting place, littered with ruined palaces, tombs, monuments and mosques. Known as Mandavgarh during the earlier times, the ruined city sits majestically at the far end of the plateau, overlooking the vast plains below. Historically, Mandu had a crucial role to play as a one-time important military outpost, with 12 gateways to the city!

Today, one would find the wall encloses a large number of palaces, mosques, Jain temples of 14th century and other buildings. The finest mosque is the Jami Masjid, the huge 15th century mosque, which is a fine example of Pashtun architecture.

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Jami Masjid, Mandu (Source: Bernard Gagnon)

The marble domed tomb of this ruler is also magnificent. A major tourist attraction is the Jahaz Mahal, shaped in the form of a ship floating in water, that was once used as a harem for the Sultan.

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Jahaz Mahal

Another structure that attracts a lot of attention from the tourists is the Hindola Mahal, shaped like a swing, due to its’ sloping side walls.

Other tourist attractions include Champa Baoli – a well, the romantic Baz Bahadur’s Palace, Roopmati’s Pavilion and Hoshang Shah’s Tomb. They reveal some of the unique gems of architecture and must-see tourist spots of Mandu. But Mandu is most popular as a testament to the love and romance between Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati and their tragic tale still haunts the place, drawing in a large number of visitors every day.

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We visited Mandu in the monsoons, and I still have fond memories of our short 4-day trip to the ruins, which was supposedly the best season to do so. There couldn’t be a better time for the weather to be pleasant and the surroundings blooming.

If you’re planning a visit to Mandu, be prepared to be overpowered by the monumental ruins that create a mystical aura which comes alive amidst the sprawling emerald landscape and the reddish purple sky! And, there’s no better time than the monsoons to experience that!

 

 

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