Perched along the Vindhya ranges at an altitude of 2,000 feet, Mandu, with its natural defenses, was originally the fort capital of the Parmara rulers of Malwa. Towards the end of the 13th century, it came under the way of the Sultans of Malwa, the first of whom named it Shadiabad - 'city of joy'. And indeed the pervading spirit of Mandu was of gaiety; and its rulers built exquisite palaces like the Jahaz and Hindola Mahals, ornamental canals, baths and pavilions, as graceful and refined as those times of peace and plenty. Each of Mandu's structures is an architectural gem; some are outstanding like the massive Jama Masjid and Hoshang Shah's tomb, which provided inspiration to the master builders of the Taj Mahal centuries later. Mandu known as the city of joy is a hilltop fortress bearing a deserted look. The fabled city of Mandu is steeped in history. Built by the Parmara ruler Raja Bhoja, Mandu was once the capital of Malwa. Built in the 10th century a summer retreat and fortress Mandu exemplifies Afghan architecture in India. Later Mandu passed from the hands of Muslim rulers of Delhi to Afghan governors to Gujarat and was restored back to the Mughals. Under the rule of the Afghan ruler Mandu witnessed the greatest prosperity and flourish. He made Mandu an independent kingdom. His son Hoshang Shah made Mandu the capital of Malwa. Several temples, palaces and ghats built during this time were the finest examples of Afghan architecture. A tour to Mandu takes you around town drenched in history and romance.
Mandu is one of the ancient towns and is known as " the town on stone" . Mandu is located at a height of 2,000 ft and that creates a natural defense from any foreign attack. Mandu was under the rule of Parmara who were the rulers of Malwa. The spirit of Mandu remains in the palatial monuments that were built ages ago and still bears the bare stories of the past. Mandu is one of the important tourist destinations in Madhya Pradesh. This place acts as the hub of the rulers who used to rule the place and the ruins still speak about the glorious past. There are various places where you can find the history still utters her stories of glory and grandeur. The major attractions of Mandu have been classified under the Royal enclave (a group of temples), the Village Group (residential area) and Rewa Kund Group (site of legendary romance). The Baz Bahadur Palace, near the Rewa Kund is an enticing blend of Mughals and Rajasthani architecture. It was built in 1509, much before Baz Bahadur captured Mandu in 1554. Rani Roopmati pavilion was built on a higher platform by Baz Bahadur for his beloved Roopmati. The two structures bear testimony to their undying love.
Jama Masjid is a huge mosque modeled on the architecture of the great Omayyed Mosque in Damascus, Syria. It was built by Hoshang Shah in Afghani architectural style .Jama Masjid is located on the plateau of Mandu and holds a prosperous history of the place and of the Islam in the by gone days. The Masjid was built by the rulers of Ghauri dynasty. The intricate marble work and its huge size will definitely give you the scope to unveil the mysterious past.
The mosque remains quiet and tranquil as the mosque is not a historical monument only. The mosque was once a place for thousands of worshipers and now it’s nothing but buried history. The gigantic area depicts the capacity of accommodating an ample amount of worshipers. There are small chambers which were used for various reasons. The domes are the trademark of Afghani architecture. There are two main entrances that invites tourist to explore the wonderful creation which stands high in prestige and honor of Ghauri dynasty. Apart from that there is a grand reservoir named Rewa Kund; the tank is well known for its holiness and its piousness. You can also visit Dai Ka Mahal.
The Hoshang Tomb bears the architectural legacy of the Afghans. The marble carvings evoke distinct Hindu architectural influences. It is believed that Shah Jahan shaped his plan of the Taj Mahal on the detailed designs of this structure. Mandu is an important tourist destination as the place is ideal for the exploring history and the true culture of India. You can begin your search from here as the first tomb shows the involvement of Afghan culture in the art and sculpture of ancient India. Hoshang Shah's Tomb is regarded as India's first marble tomb.
Jahaz Mahal, built in the shape of a ship and bounded by lakes on the two sides, is one of the most famous buildings in Mandu. Constructed by Ghiyas-ud-din, it housed his retinue of mistresses. Its main attractions are pools, special cool rooms and arches.The monument with a wonderful architecture, the unique construction will give you the opportunity to experience the wonderful creation. The ship is two-storied and was constructed for the use of harem of Ghiyas-ud-din. He used to possess various beautiful women not only from different parts of the country but from other foreign lands too. The first storey was used to keep them or used as harem whereas the ground floor was the pavilion.
Jahaz Mahal in Mandu was built in 15th century when the place was under the rule of Ghiyas-ud-din. This structure is the monument which was built on the two lakes and the architecture is in the shape of a ship and that connects two lakes named Kapur Talao and Munj Talao.
Hindola Mahal in Mandu is an ancient construction which was built under the rule of Ghiyas-ud-din's reign. The place is ideal to spot the historic monuments with their wonderful sculpture. The monument is an audience hall and named as swinging palace. The unique innovative construction with the superb technique and sculpture invites thousands of tourists every year. The Hindola Mahal was built with sand stone with beautifully carved columns. To the western front of the Mahal there are few Mahal whose identities are not yet unveiled. Champa Baoli is a construction that stands in the midst of the Mahal depicting the past. There is a provision of hot and cold water that are also connected with the underground rooms.
The nearest airport at Indore connects Mandu to Mumbai, Delhi, Gwalior and Bhopal.
The nearest railway stations are at Ratlam and Indore.
Buses ply between Mandu, Indore, Dhar, Mhow, Ratlam, Ujjain and Bhopal.