Mandu, A lyrical fortress (On the Trail of Western Madhya Pradesh - Day 2)

Read about Day 1 at Ujjain here.

Mandu, A lyrical fortress

Panoramic View of the Royal Enclave
Day 2:

Our Journey

We started at 5 in the morning from Ujjain towards our 135 km far, the fortified destination, Mandu. Beautiful weather and landscape. We had breakfast en-route at Gurukripa Restaurant.

Chasing dawn

Our driver cum guide started with stories about Mandu and its architecture as we started to near Mandu. 

The wall circumscribing Mandu has 12 great darwazas and road to Mandu passes through many of these doors viz. Alamgir Darwaza, Bhangi Darwaza etc. 

On one side of road was the great wall while on the other small huts, old ruins or the hotels. 

We came across many locals with the karwaan of their camels. Although we were in Madhya Pradesh but the attire of such locals was depicting the Rajasthani culture.
Local in Rajasthani attire
We reached Mandu around 9 am. 

On the way there is one Fossil park too with dinosaur statues in the park. We did not visit the place but can be visited when time ain't short.

It has some interesting stuff to showcase like 6.5 to 10 Crore years old dinosaur's fossils, 6.5 to 7 Crore years old trees which are now nothing more than rocks, 8 Crore years old fossils of sea creatures and 30 K to 100 K old tools of Neanderthals.

To See

There are three main groups of ruins in Mandu / Dhar are viz. the Royal Enclave, the Village Group and the Rewa Kund Group. Each has its own entrance fee of a nominal amount of Rs.5 for Indians and Rs.100 for foreigners. Its free for kids below 15 years of age. Videography and photography using stand will also cost you while still photography otherwise is free of cost. Other sites are free.

Me at entrance of the Royal Enclave

We visited mainly Jahaz Mahal (Ship Palace) which is the main attraction and the first while you enter the great gate of Royal Enclave. The Afghan architecture is mesmerizing. Jahaz Mahal is built like a ship 120 m in length by 15 m in width. On 1st floor you will see small domes and arched windows and behind mahal is a small talao surrounded by trees. 

My parents at the Royal Enclave, Jahaz Mahal in the background
Me with sis at Upper Terrace, Jahaz Mahal

Talao behind Jahaz Mahal
Then there is Taweli Mahal, Hindola Mahal and many other monuments facing the beautiful park and talao. The complex also houses Tourist Bungalow and a shop from where you can buy souvenirs, books etc. 

Me with Bro
Hindola Mahal
Me at Royal Enclave Ruins'
At Royal Enclave

We then headed towards the Village group and visited majestic Jami Masjid. It is said to be designed after the great mosque of Damascus. This complex is huge and we clicked a lot of pictures. Truly beautiful and grand place. I really loved it. 

Jami Masjid

Right in front of Jami Masjid is Ashrafi Mahal and on left Ram Mandir. Its peaceful inside Ram Mahal. There are many small shops selling souvenirs and fruits around the place.

Upstairs towards Ashrafi Mahal

Ram Mandir

After spending some time here we left for Roopmati Pavilion which comes under Rewa Kund Group Ruins. On the way towards left is Baz Bahadur's Palace who was the last independent ruler of Mandu.

Roopmati Pavilion
Roopmati Pavilion is on a hillock and a beautiful piece of architecture. Its an epitome of true beauty & love and has some really teeny steps you 'll ever climb, scary and challenging. 

Teeny Steps to the Pavilion
The love story behind its construction is part of folklore & its believed that the pavilion was constructed by Baz Bahadur for hindu singer Roopmati. 

Baz Bahadur Palace in the background on right
The terrace of this monument is very breezy and Roopmati could gaze at Baz Bahadur's palace & sacred river Narmada from here all day long. 

The construction of this place night be result of love but as per legend the ending was tragic. Lured by Roopmati's beauty, Akbar marched on the fort. Baz Bahadur fled but leaving Roopmati behind, who poisoned herself.

Nonetheless, this place is beyond gorgeous specially during sunrise and sunsets. The landscape is mesmerizing specially during rains or just after rains.

There are also mane small shops / hawkers selling lemon water, fruits, souvenirs and even local medicines like for reducing weight.

We did not stay here but after spending some time we left for Maheshwar at around 11:30 am, the same day. Read here about next leg of my journey here.

Best Time to Visit

Mandu is best visited during mild rains when its all green or from September to February.

To Stay

There is no budget hotel as I have heard. For more details on stay / accommodation you can click here.

A peep into Mandu's History

Mandu, believed to be built some time before AD 555 under the Sanskrit name Mandapa-Durga but later it was called Mandava as also mentioned in Persian histories which further corrupted and now is popularly known as Mandu (Mandavgad).

For the next 3 centuries Mandu's name got lost somewhere until reign of king Mahendrapala. It is stated that the then Prince Madhava was the great governor of Ujjain and his Commander-in-Chief Sri Sarman was carrying out the affairs of Mandu. It is believed that Mandu's fortification was strengthened during then for the threat of invasion from Deccan's powerful kings.

Over the centuries as history adds, many kings came and many outsiders tried invading this fortified fort. Mandu was conquered by the Muslim rulers of Delhi in 1304, but, when Mughals captured it in 1401, under Afghan Dilwar Khan who established his kingdom here, Mandu started to flourish. His son, Hoshang Shah later shifted the capital from Dhar to Mandu.

From 16th century till 17th many came and went until Akbar added Mandu to its own empire. In 1732, after Marathas attack, the capital was shifted back to Dhar and since than its been under the Maratha rulers of Dhar.

For more pictures from the fortress "Mandu", click here.

Have a Pleasant Stay at this city of mesmerizing forts!

Trail of Western Madhya Pradesh at a glance:
Day 1 Ujjain (an ancient Indian City) --> Day 2 Mandu (a lyrical fortress) --> Day 2 Maheshwar (a city of Ahilyabai) --> Day 2 Omkareshwar, a spiritual Island --> Day 3 Indore (city of Lord Indra - Indrapur)



  1. Nice post Stuti :)
    And dinosaurs? Dekhna padega ye to :D

    1. thank u.. do visit, i did not coz of less time. Same day we covered three cities viz. Mandu, Maheshwar & Omkareshwar and later reached indore late night for stay :D

  2. Hey Stuti.. nice post.. revisited the place through your blog.. amazig place Mandu is..

  3. Interesting stories behind the place...loved reading about it.

  4. So refreshing to see you travel with parents. I badly want to go to Mandu. The song Naam Gum Jayega was shot here. So much history in this place.

    1. I totally loved Mandu, we didn't stay here but if you want, it would be a great idea to spend a night in this historical paradise. Thank you :)

  5. Thank you for including one more destination in our travel list. This place looks like a perfect place for cultural trip.


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