Madhya Pradesh Trip- 8: Mandu and Maheshwar

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Overview: Mandu, or Mandav as it is locally called, is located around 100kms from Indore, and we can reach here by crossing the fort gates and winding roads. There are several places to explore in the histroric town of Mandu.

Jahaz Mahal

We first explore the most popular monument of Mandu, which is the Jahaz Mahal. This is an ASI protected monument and the entrance ticket costs Rs 25 per person. There are guides available outside the monument to explain more about the place, and they charge around Rs 300-400 for a group.

The Jahaz Mahal was built during the mid 15th century by the Khiljis. The Jahaz Mahal is built between Kapoor Talab and Munja Lake, and it appears as if a ship is sailing in waters when viewed from the top, hence the name Jahaz Mahal. Its located in a picturesque location so this place was chosen by the Khilji kings for their pleasure. There is a palace called Hindola Mahal inside the premises. The palace looks interesting with the walls tilted inwards, and this was used as an audience hall. 

This palace was earlier used by the Parmaras and later expanded and used by the Mughals. There is a 3 storeyed stepwell called Champa Baodi near the Hindola Mahal. There is a huge open area called the Baradari which was used as audience hall. Being surrounded by water bodies, the rooms inside the fort are always cool from inside. 

Rani Roopmati pavilion

Rani Roopmati was Baaz Bahadur's lover the latter was the general in Akbar's army. Rani Roopmati was said to never consume anything without praying Narmada Mata from this pavillion. This was also used as an observation point by the army. One can get a bird's eye view of the Mandu town from here. There are view points and a view specifically to view Baaz Bahadur's palace from here, but many spots are blocked for tourists now. 

Baaz Bahadur Palace

This is a pleasing palace with a pond in the interior of the palace. He was interested in music so this palace was used for hosting musical concerts. It was because of music that resulted in the bonding between Baaz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati. Rani Roopmati was also liked by Aadham Khan and for this reason he attacked Mandu, after which Rani Roopmati poisoned herself to death and Baaz Bahadur fled this place. 

Rewa Kund

The waters at the Rewa Kund or Pond is located in the heart of the town and it never dries even during summer.

Jami Masjid

This is an ASI protected monument and costs around Rs25 to enter. The domes of Jami Masjid ar very high, and date back to the 16th century. Just behind this mosque is the Hoshang Shah's tomb, which can be reached by climbing down a narrow passage of stairs. This tomb is made out of Marble and is locally referred to as the Taj Mahal of Mandu. 

Ashrafi Mahal is situated just opposite to the Jami Masjid and is also called Tower of Victory.

Nilkantha Palace

This is named after Shiva temple which existed here since ancient times. The Shiva Linga still exists now, but the outer structure is built in Islamic style by a governor of Mughal emperor Akbar. One can also see a majestic view of the hills overlooking this temple. 


Around 40km east of Mandu is the historic fort of Maheshwar, the ancient kingdom of Kartivirya Arjun or Sahastrarjuna who once kept Ravana in captivity. Maheshwar is also the place of Ahilyabai Holkar, credited of renovating several temples in India, including the Kashi Vishwanatha temple in Varanasi. The Fort area has one Ahilya Shiva temple, Chatri and Narmada Ghat. This is one of the best preserved medieval forts in India and comes under ASI protection now. 

The Ahilyeshwar Mahadev temple is in the middle of the fort and several pilgrims come from far to have a glimpse of the Shivalinga here. It is said that Ahilyabai Holkar used to come here daily and worship the Shivalinga. 

There is one Tukoji ki Chatri inside the Fort built in the memory of Tukojirao Holkar. Just outside the walls of the Chatri opens up to the beautiful Narmada Ghat. Boating is also conducted on the banks of Narmada and a ticket costs around Rs 100 per person. On the upper part of the fort is the Rajwada, or a Palace where Ahilyabai's memories are well preserved. There is a temple inside the Palace where Ahilyabai used it for prayers. On the way down from the Palace to the Ghats is a saree weaving unit, where the handlooms are called Maheshwari Handloom sarees. The unit inside the fort is operated by the royal family. 

The back side of the fort has a temple dedicated to Rajarajeshwar Sahasrarjuna and also one Shiva temple. The temple complex is big but was closed when I went there. 

How to reach:

Best way to explore in less time is to hire a taxi from Indore to reach Mandu and Maheshwar. One reliable taxi service provider is listed as follows:

Mahesh Ji - 9300645555

Day trip can also be done from Omkareshwar to Maheshwar and Mandu.


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