A Guide To A Weekend In Mandu, Madhya Pradesh

Mandu, also known as Mandavgad, with its captivating history, awe-inspiring architecture, and panoramic vistas, is an ancient fortress town that offers a delightful journey into the past
Jama Masjid, Mandu
Jama Masjid, Mandu

Mandu boasts a rich history that dates back to the 6th century and reached its zenith during the reign of the Parmar dynasty in the 14th century, under the rule of Raja Bhoj. However, it was during the reign of the Sultanate of Malwa in the 15th and 16th centuries that Mandu witnessed its golden age. The city thrived as a cultural, architectural, and artistic hub, attracting poets, musicians, and intellectuals from far and wide.

What To See 

One of the highlights of Mandu is its exceptional architecture, which reflects the fusion of Hindu and Islamic styles. The city is dotted with palaces, mausoleums, mosques, and step-wells that showcase exquisite craftsmanship and intricate detailing. The grandest of them all is the Jahaz Mahal (Ship Palace), which appears to float on the waters of the surrounding lakes. With its elongated structure resembling a ship, it served as a harem for the sultans and offered a mesmerising sight.

Another architectural marvel is the Hindola Mahal (Swinging Palace), a unique structure with slanting walls that create an illusion of swaying. Its elegant arches and ornate designs evoke a sense of royalty. The Rani Roopmati Pavilion, perched on a hill overlooking the Narmada River, tells the tale of the love between Sultan Baz Bahadur and his beloved queen, Rani Roopmati. The palace offers breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding landscape.

For those interested in the city's water management systems, the intricate step-wells, such as the Hoshang Shah's Tomb and the Ujala Baoli, offer a glimpse into the engineering marvels of the past. The romantic allure of Mandu is further enhanced by the serene beauty of the Rewa Kund and the picturesque sunset views from the Nilkanth Palace.

What To Shop 

In Mandu, while the primary attractions lie in its historical and architectural wonders, there are limited options for shopping. One can explore the small market located near the Jahaz Mahal, which offers a range of handicrafts, including local textiles, handwoven fabrics, and traditional artefacts. It's a great place to pick up some souvenirs from your visit to Mandu. Moreover, Mandu is known for its skilled local artisans who specialise in crafting items like pottery, bamboo products, and tribal jewellery. Interacting with these artisans and purchasing their handmade creations can be a rewarding experience. 

What To Eat

Malwa cuisine is rich in flavours and textures if you are in Mandu, you have all the reasons to relish as much as possible. While most hotels and resorts in Mandu have in-house restaurants where you can try the cuisine's best delicacies, you can also head to the many local eateries for authentic taste. You can head to Restaurant Gurukripa on AB Road and Relax Point on Main Road for your fill of local delicacies like dal bafla, dal paniya, and malpua. 

Where To Stay

Accommodation options in Mandu range from budget to mid-range hotels and guesthouses. Some popular choices include MP Tourism Malwa Retreat, run by Madhya Pradesh Tourism. This retreat provides decent accommodation options with a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. It is situated near the Echo Point, offering a tranquil atmosphere. Other comfortable options would include staying at resorts or hotels in Indore and driving back from Mandu. 

Getting There

The nearest airport is at Indore, 99 km away, while the nearest railhead is at Ratlam, 124 km away. Aim to reach Indore early in the morning or the day before by either train or flight. The journey from Indore takes about 2 hours by road as there are no trains to Mandu.

Cover photo credit Shutterstock

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