Mandu (City of Joy) is a small city 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 capital of a Muslim state in the north of India. The capital was abandoned more than 400 years ago, and it's now a small 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.
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
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 (08:00) and second from Sarawate Bus Stand (14:00). 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.
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.
Apart from a few isolated ruins the runs of Mandu are clustered around a small area.
Most of the sites of Mandu can be covered by foot.
Can be hired to visit even the scattered sites of Mandu.
Can be hired, and are is easiest and quickest way to visit the ruins of Mandu
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.
The archaeological sites of Mandu can be classified in five broad groups:
- Central Group
- Royal Group
- Rewa Kund Group
- Darya Khan's Tomb Group
- 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.
- 1 Asharfi Mahal. A structural complex of many buildings built over a long period of time. Area extended to encompass Mohammed Shah’s tomb.
- 2 Jami Masjid. A large mosque.
- 3 Tomb of Hoshang Shah. Shah Jahan's architect supposedly went to Mandu to study the tomb's architecture before building the Taj Mahal.
- 4 Tomb Dargah Sharif Shaikh Abdullha Shattari.
- 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 accomodated 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 1405 built Dilwara Khan's Mosque is the oldest Islamic structure of Mandu. It is located on the northern end of the Royal enclave and is the only religious structure in the Royal enclave.
- 9 Jal Mahal (Water Palace).
- 10 Munj Talao (A large lake on the western side of Jahaz Mahal).
- 11 Kapoor Talao (A lake on the eastern side of Jahaz Mahal).
- 12 Gada Shah's Shop.
- 13 Adheri Bawdi (Dark Step Well).
- 14 Ujawala Bawdi (Illuminated Step Well).
Rewa Kund Group
- 15 Baz Bahadur's Palace. A palace with large courtyards surrounded by large halls and high terraces.
- 16 Rani Roopmati Pavilion. A sandstone structure built as an army observation post.
Darya Khan's Tomb Group
Sagar Talao Group
- 20 Dai ka Mahal.
- 21 Dai ki Chhoti Bahin ka Mahal.
- 22 Malik Mughith's Mosque.
- 23 Caravan Sarai.
- 24 Unknown Tomb.
- 25 Jali Mahal (North of Sagar Talao, on top of a small mound).
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
- 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 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. Rs 10.
- 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.
- Jhira Bagh Palace. Thirty kilometers from Mandu is a town called Dhar, where there is an old palace, Jhira Bagh Palace. It has been restored and converted into a hotel. This is a very good place to stay and the food is simply outstanding.
- The Rest House. Similar rooms.
For hotels, MP Tourism offers excellent options (booking available online). Mandu also has a number of good private hotels:
- 1 Malwa Resort. 20 cottages - 10 AC and 10 non AC
- 2 Malwa Retreat. 8 rooms - 2 AC and 6 non AC
- 3 Hotel Roopmati.
- Hotel Royal Palace (Near Jami Masjid), ☎ .
- Jahaz Mahal Hotel, Dhar Road, Mandu, Dist. Dhar Madhya Pradesh (India)- 454010, ☎ (07292)-263272.
- 4 ASI Guest House, Taveli Mahal, Royal Enclave, ☎ (0755) 2558250.