Into the unexplored past: Mandu

Into the unexplored past: Mandu

Travel tales

Having been bestowed upon with the responsibility to decide the destination of our next family vacation, I sat down with the map of India and crossed out states we’ve already been to.  After an introspective discussion, we finally decided on Madhya Pradesh, ‘the heart of India’.

After much thinking, we planned a weeklong trip during the end of December to three cities in the northern part of the state — Mandu, Maheshwar and Ujjain.

It was love-at-first-sight for me with Mandu, the ruined fortified city in central India.
With our suitcases and bags packed, we boarded the Intercity Express from Hazrat Nizamuddin to Indore Junction; all set for the overnight journey of 14 hours. After a brief halt in Indore, we took off for 95 km drive to Mandu. The drive revealed the simplicity and rusticity of the place which instantly attracted me to it.

After a long drive on the highway, a right turn transported us to the magical land. The high point of the road trip is passing through the majestic darwazas.

There are 12 gateways surrounding the city and most of them stand on the present road in use.

Happily away from the hustle-bustle of city life stands the historic land, which is painted with colours of love, friendship, war, jealously, and longing. Being an important geopolitical location, every ruler dreamt of capturing this prized possession. Be it the historic Rajputs, Khiljis, Ghuris, Mughals, each dynasty wanted the grandiose.

Reaching late afternoon, we decided to relax for the evening at The Malwa Resort by Madhya Pradesh Tourism which turned out to be one of the best destination. . The comfortable and spacious Swiss tents with a lake view were the icing on the cake.

Sitting beside a beautiful lake, we loved singing songs and playing antakshari while sipping tea and stuffing steamy hot pakoras.

Being historically rich, there were innumerable monuments to be explored; each having its own story and significance. We first headed upward to the Rani Roopmati’s pavilion; a spot from where the rani gazed at her lover, Baz Bahadur’s Palace on the left and the River Narmada on the right, which she revered the most. Earlier an army observation post, it remains remembered as an epitome of the queen’s love and devotion.

I spotted the Rewa Kund from a distance. The view of people utilising the facility for their daily chores mesmerised me with the importance of such a locale. Baz Bahadur’s Palace was the next stop. As historical places make a great picturesque backdrop, my brother and I roamed with our cameras to flood social media and flaunt our adventures.

After a quick lunch at one of the restaurants, we headed to the magnificent Jahaz Mahal; situated between two artificial lakes, when it gives the impression of a floating ship in water. Situated in the same complex, is the swing shaped palace called Hindola Mahal.
I personally loved its architectural concept.

After stocking up some snacks, we headed toward Jami Masjid. The architecture of the mosque enchanted me, no wonder it has been inspired from the great mosque of Damascus. The tomb of the first Islamic ruler of Mandu, Hoshang Shah lingered behind in the same complex. It was surprising that it was the first marble monument of the country and served as a template for the Taj Mahal, yet unknown to almost all.

The day, immersed into the past, ended with a spectacular view of the raw Vindhya ranges from the compulsory sunset point of the hill station. We enjoyed the night at the resort. The next morning, after a lip smacking chai-poha breakfast from a nearby
dhaba, we decamped for our next destination. But a part of my soul was left behind purposely; I knew I had to come back again. Ameen!

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