With Love From Mandu


Guest Blog

Mandu Tourist places

By Anusuya


Naam gum jaayega
Chehra yeh badal jaayega
Meri Awaaz hi pehchan Hai
Gar yaad rahe

I often wonder when Gulzar Saab, India's most respected poet and writer had penned these lines for his 1977 movie, Kinara, did he know that his words would get etched in history.

This inimitable song, beautifully composed by RD Burman and rendered soulfully by the eternal voices of Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupinder Singh - unfolds itself to a place which is yet unknown, MANDU. 
It is a rare experience to see how a composition has immortalised itself with the Legendary Love of Sultan Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati which is centuries old. 

MANDU has not forgotten them. 

Every blade of grass, every still rock, every moss pathway here hums the romance of these royal lovers, so powerful, yet mysterious.

My quest to explore the glory of MANDU got me back a second time.

The hill fort of MANDU is perched along the Vindhyan ranges at an altitude of 2000 feet. 
As we drive towards MANDU which is about 100 kms from Indore* airport (*City in the State of Madhya Pradesh), fragrance of the wet blanket over the hilly range welcomes us.

This bounty of lush green cover, brooks, ponds and lakes, naturally styled every monsoon, is the reason why MANDU was earlier named SHADIABAD, the City of Joy by the Sultans of Malwa.

The fortified city of MANDU was India's Largest Fort in the 8th Century and is today the 3rd Largest Fort in India. 
The 45 km parapet of walls that encircle MANDU is adorned with 12 Darwazas (Gateways), palaces, temples, tombs and mosques. 
With an area spreading around 75 sq km, MANDU's architecture and splendour leaves you spellbound.


MANDU's unparalleled mystic views coupled with the misty weather, especially during rains promise some breathtaking evenings.

Experience one such evening at HINDOLA MAHAL while watching the exquisite LIGHT and SOUND SHOW, where just being in the midst of the Royal palaces at dusk is simply magical.

Sanjay Sharma at Light and Sound Show

This spectacular show was launched in February, 2019 and Sanjay Sharma has been the operator of this show every evening.
We see tourists gathering towards the seating area in big groups and jostling for front row seats to get a good view. 
Sanjay ji ensures that all guests are seated comfortably, as the evening had an unexpected large turnout.
In a calm and confident voice, he tells us, "Every tourist here must watch this show to understand the rich heritage of MANDU. The narration is simple and the illustrations very colourful. It is a visual treat."

The 25 minute show takes you back many centuries and depicts how this land has attracted many dynasties, rulers and invaders and visitors throughout its history - Mauryas to Guptas, Satavanas and Chalukyas, Khiljis and Sultans, Mughals and Marathas, French and the British.


In the middle of 6th century, a legendary tale has a mention of Mandana, a goldsmith who discovered the Paras stone (magic touch stone that turns iron into Gold by touch). 
Mandana handed over the magic stone to the reigning King, Anand Deo Rajput who used all the gold made from Paras stone for the welfare of people and built the first palace in MANDU over a span of 12 years.

It is believed that Mandapa Durg, the name of this hill fort was given in the middle of 6th century and over the next few centuries, it was called - MANDAV.
Even today, MANDU is popularly referred by locals as MANDAV.

There are remnants of Jain temples in MANDU believed to have been built in 555 AD by Jain merchant, Chandra Simha and MANDU, then, was one of the holiest places for Jain pilgrims. 

Till the 8th Century, there were rulers from Gurjara Pratihara dynasty, followed by the brave Kshatriya Parmara rulers.
Towards the end of 10th Century, MANDU was the fort capital of the Parmara rulers under Raja Munj and Raja Bhoj.
It is believed that the fortifications were further strengthened at this time since there were standing threats of invasions.

Post 1305, with the invasion of Alauddin Khilji, the Hindu kingdom was under attack and MANDU was made part of the Delhi Sultanate.

In 1401, Subhedar Dilawar Khan of Malwa declared MANDU independent and became the First Sultan of MANDU gaining complete authority of the province.
After the death of Sultan in 1405, his son, Hoshang Shah ascended the throne and declared MANDU as the capital of Malwa.

His contribution to the beautification of MANDU is significant.
Besides strengthening the walls of the fort, he constructed Jami Masjid, lakes and gardens, palatial buildings inside the royal complex and a beautiful marble tomb for himself, Hoshang Shah's Tomb, which became the inspiration for the world's most famous mausoleum, Taj Mahal.

Sultan Dilawar Khan and his son, Hoshang Shah are known as the Builders of MANDU for they led the construction of some of the finest Darwazas (Gateways), mosques and monuments in MANDU.

Hoshang Shah died in 1435 and MANDU's throne was ascended by his son, Mahmud Shah Khilji and he started expanding the boundaries of his Sultanate. Magnificent monuments like Ashrafi Mahal, Tower of Victory and his own tomb were built during his reign.
During this period, art and literature of MANDU blossomed. 
Ambassadors of major countries were now being sent to MANDU which included emissaries of Egypt who brought with them many variety of muslin, Arabic horses, exotic birds, dancers and performers. 

In 1469, Sultan Ghiyasuddin succeeded his father Mahmud Shah and ruled MANDU for 31 years. 
The architectural marvel, Jahaz Mahal is attributed to him.

In the middle of 16th Century, there were many wars and rivalries.
In 1534, Humayun conquered the fort, however as soon as Humayun left Malwa, Mallu Khan, from the Khilji dynasty crowned himself at MANDU in 1536.

In 1542, Sher Shah Suri invaded and conquered Malwa. After assuming throne of the Sultanate, Sher Shah Suri had sent Shuja Khan as Subhedar to MANDU.
After the death of Shuja Khan in 1554, his son, Malik Bayazid, declared himself as an independent ruler of MANDU.  
As a warrior, he swooped down on his enemies like a Falcon, and people named him, Sultan BAZ Bahadur.
In 1561, Akbar ordered his general, Adham Khan to invade MANDU. Baz Bahadur's troops were defeated and he escaped from the battlefield. 

Under the Mughals, MANDU lost its former glory.
Akbar had halted at the fort during his military missions. Thereafter, his successor, Jahangir spent several months here in admiration of the place and held state functions.
After Jahangir, there was no interest shown by the subsequent Mughal rulers and MANDU remained deserted.

In 1732, the Marathas, under Malhar Rao Holkar defeated Diya Bahadur, the Mughal Governor of Malwa.
Thereafter, MANDU continued to be under the Maratha rulers of Dhar, the successors of Parmara rulers.

With centuries gone by, MANDU's history had witnessed a full circle, where it had begun.



(Tamarind)is a fruit found in Africa, Kenya, Madagascar, Iran and MANDU.
The name Khorasani is derived from the Khorasan Province in Iran.
It is believed that Sultans who ruled MANDU hailed from Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan and had brought this fruit to MANDU.

There are over 200 such trees in MANDU which are over 500 years old and the broadest tree has a trunk diameter of 10 metres.
In Africa, these trees are more than 5,000 years old with 25-30 metres in trunk diameter.



Rulers of MANDU believed in simplicity with minimal ornamentation in their monuments and massiveness of construction.

In addition to the 12 Darwazas (Gateways to the fortress city), the monuments are spread in three distinct clusters :
-  The Royal Complex which is a huge enclave of palatial structures
- Rewa Kund Group with Baz Bahadur Palace and Rani Roopmati Pavilion
- MANDU Village which has magnificent monuments like the Jami Masjid, Tomb of Hoshang Shah and Ashrafi Mahal.

All of these well preserved monuments with an array of miniature domes, turrets, arches, pavilions, reservoirs set against a backdrop of rain bound grey sky teeming with the riotous display of green cover is nothing less than an exhilarating experience.

All of these well preserved monuments with an array of miniature domes, turrets, arches, pavilions, reservoirs set against a backdrop of rain bound grey sky teeming with the riotous display of green cover is nothing less than an exhilarating experience.