The remnants of the past in Mandu speaks volumes about the glorious era that it once witnessed. Today, it is a deserted town, but it was once home to the Mughals and you can see the gleam of Afghani architecture in the form of lavish palaces and beautiful lakes, mosques, tombs and gardens. Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Mandu is a fine example of the rich heritage of India.
Roopmati’s Pavilion is one of the best palaces to see in Mandu – it’s a tribute to the romantic history of Baz Bahadur and his beloved Roopmati. Overlooking Narmada river and Nimar plains the palace is built with arched structures and has undergone several construction phases during the entire Mughal reign.
Another attraction is the Jahaz Mahal – a rectangular edifice that stands between the lakes of Kapur and Munj. The palace gives an illusion of a ship, hence the name. The palace is a two-storied building that was made in such a manner that the west wind kept the palace cool even during summer months. The palace was built with colourful stones for enhancing the beauty of the structure.
Yet another palace is the Nilkanth Mahal that got its name from being in the vicinity of the Nilkanth Shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva. This palace was built by a Mughal governor during Akbar’s rule; especially constructed for his wife who was a Hindu. The main room of the palace is now a place of worship and houses images of Lord Shiva and a Trishul.
Bagh Caves have existed even since the late 5th-century, before anything else came into being in Mandu. These caves were initially a set of nine, out of which only five survive today. These caves show a heavy influence of Buddhist architecture; these were originally carved out of Vindhya Range. The fourth cave also called as the Rang Mahal or the Palace of Colours is the most important and beautiful one as it houses some beautiful murals and paintings that speak about the artistic glory of that era.
Hoshang Shah’s Tomb is another place you must not leave Mandu without seeing. It’s known to be India’s first marble structure – an artistic marvel of Afghan architecture. With beautiful marble lattice work, the rectangular towers and massive courts are an example of well-planned architecture. The dome of the tomb is perfectly defined and immediately captures the attention. This tomb was so impressive during its own time that it is said to have served as an inspiration for the majestic Taj Mahal. The sarcophagus of Hoshang Shah is the centre of attraction here though.