The historical centre of India, Madhya Pradesh, is home to a wealth of archaeology and architecture. However, much of the state’s tourism potential is still unrealized and unexplored. Mandu, which is located 100 kilometers west of Indore, is one such example.

Mandav, Mandavgad, or simply Mandu, at present a city of ruins, – is a small town in the modern-day Dhar district. Mandu had a long and interesting history because of its strategic location and built-in defenses. With a circumference of 37 kilometers and 12 entrances to the fortress, Mandu has served as a military outpost. Inside the fortress were numerous palaces, mosques, Jain temples from the 14th century, and other structures.

History of Mandu

The Paramaras ruled over this fort town in the Malwa region as far back as the eleventh century. According to historians, King Jayavarman or his forerunner Jaitugi may have relocated the capital from Dhar to Mandu because the topography offered a natural barrier against invading forces. It was 13 km long and 2,079 feet above sea level on the Vindhya Mountain range, with views of the Malwa plateau to the north and the Narmada River valley to the south. Three gates are still standing despite the fort’s crumbling walls. In 1305, Alauddin Khalji, the Sultan of Delhi, established control over the area. Timur conquered Delhi in 1401, and Dilawar Khan, the Malwa governor, founded the Ghuri dynasty there. His son Hoshang Shah made Mandu a thriving city.

Under Hoshang Shah (reigned 1405–1434), the city was at its height; however, with the arrival of the Mughals, it began to decline. Humayun (1534), Sher Shah (1542), Akbar (1561), and other rulers conquered and annexed Mandu during this time. Under the Mughals, who turned it into a retreat location, it also served as the district’s administrative center (sarkar). Mandu was part of the Pawars of Dhar’s domain until the Marathas took control of it in 1732.

An architectural review of location: Mandu, MP - Sheet1
Palace at Mandu_©Dusanesurbhi

Clusters of Mandu

The major monuments of the city are grouped into three broad groups. The Royal Enclave is home to several palaces, Mandu’s first mosque, as well as lakes, hammams (Turkish baths), baolis (step wells), and other bodies of water. The Munj Talao and Kapur Tao artificial lakes are separated by the two-story Jahaz Mahal, also known as the “ship palace.” It has an open terrace, balconies that look out over the lakes, and open pavilions.

The magnificent Jami Masjid, built in the 15th century and modeled after the magnificent mosque in Damascus, is another historical site Hoshang Shah’s tomb, which is close to the mosque, is regarded as India’s first marble structure and predates the magnificent Mughal marble structures in Agra.

Finally, the  Rewa Kund for a little local romance. In the monument complex, there is evidence of the romance between Maharaja Baz Bahadur and Hindu singer Rupmati. The Rewa Kund reservoir, which Bahadur constructed to supply water to Roopmati’s palace, gave this area its name. Her quarters, dubbed Roopmati’s Pavillion, have views of Bahadur’s palace and the Narmada valley.

Jahaz Mahal / Ship Palace

It is a two-story architectural wonder that is situated between two man-made lakes. The mahal’s name refers to the way it appears to be sailing through the water. Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din-Khiljito constructed the Jahaz Mahal to serve as his harem. This palace, which dates back to the 15th century, serves as a rare example of fine Afghan architecture throughout the entire nation.  It displays the best fusion of Afghan, Mughal, Hindu, and Egyptian architecture, standing tall in the form of a ship. It wouldn’t be incorrect to say that this location embodies the heart of the former city of Mandu.

An architectural review of location: Mandu, MP - Sheet2
Jahaz mahal, Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India_©Aamin

Jami Masjid

This enormous building, which was modeled after the great mosque in Damascus and features spacious courtyards and opulent entrances, is striking in both its simplicity and architectural style. Ashrafi Palace is in ruins in front of Jaami Mosque. North-east of the palace, there is a seven-story victory memorial. Also nearby, there is an intriguing Ram Temple that was constructed in 1769 CE by Maharani Sakarwar Bai Pawar. 

An architectural review of location: Mandu, MP - Sheet3
The courtyard of the Jami Masjid_©Pavel Suprun (Superka)

Rani Roopmati Pavilion

The Narmada River can be seen beautifully from this location. The history of the medieval romance between King Baz Bahadur and Rani Roopmati is told in this pavilion. Initially, a hilltop building in front of the pavilion was guarded by trained army personnel. The Pavilion is home to two watchtowers. A courtyard is also present inside the pavilion in addition to this. Roopmati was praised and regarded as a superb classical singer by many. It is one of Mandu’s most noteworthy destinations. The pavilion was primarily built to improve Rani Roopmati’s singing.

An architectural review of location: Mandu, MP - Sheet4
Roopmati’s Pavilion_©Theaaminkhan

Rewa Kund

A reservoir was built by Baz Bahadur to supply water to Rani Roopmati’s Pavilion. Given that the reservoir is located below the pavilion, it is regarded as an architectural wonder.

An architectural review of location: Mandu, MP - Sheet5
Rewa Kund_©Bernard Gagnon

Baz Bahadur’s Palace

This palace, which was built in the years 1508 and 1509, is the best location to view the exquisite architecture. Nasir-ud-din, the Khilji Sultan, built this palace. This palace exhibits an extremely uncommon fusion of Afghan and Rajasthani architectural styles. Because of his enduring love and attachment to Rani Roopmati, the king had a special affection for this palace. She used to frequently go to the Rewa Kund. There are 40 wide steps to climb to reach this palace.

An architectural review of location: Mandu, MP - Sheet6
Main court of Baz Bahadur’s Palace_©Bernard Gagnon

Dilawar Khan’s Mosque

Dilawar Khan’s Mosque, a magnificent building with Islamic and Hindu influences, was constructed in 1405. In 1405, Dilawar Khan ruled Mandu, and it was during his rule that this mosque was constructed.

An architectural review of location: Mandu, MP - Sheet7
Dilawar Khan’s Mosque Front entry_©Intekhab0731

Hoshang Shah’s Tomb

History buffs should visit Hoshang Shah’s Tomb in Mandu, which was built in the 15th century. The tomb, the country’s first marble tomb, played a significant role in Indian history. It is renowned for its exquisite Afghan art style as well as the amazing and one-of-a-kind decoration of the southern doorway.

An architectural review of location: Mandu, MP - Sheet8
Mausoleum of Hoshang Shah_©Bernard Gagnon
The arches of Hindola Mahal_©Bernard Gagnon

Anyway, This medieval hill fort is at its most picturesque during the monsoon and offers many other significant structures as stated above. In conclusion, it may not be surplus saying that Mandu is a fantastic location to view the palaces, tombs, and architectural structures. It is the only location in Madhya Pradesh where a variety of historic structures can be found. The most significant feature of this location is the exquisite fusion of Afghan and Indian architectural styles used in its construction.


1.QUEEN OF TREASURES. (2022). Mandu: Symbol of Love. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Oct. 2022].

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  2. (n.d.). Mandu, an ancient city – My India. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Oct. 2022].
  3. Gurnani, S. (2021). 20 Places To Visit In Mandu For A Revival Of History In 2022. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Oct. 2022].
  4. Chandorkar, A. (n.d.). Mandu – The Forgotten Architectural Marvel Of Madhya Pradesh. Swarajyamag. [online] Available at: [Accessed 25 Oct. 2022].
  5. Wikipedia. (2021). Mandu. [online] Available at:

Toukir is an undergraduate student of architecture at Khulna University, Bangladesh. He is fascinated to explore the relationship of human psychology and build environment in this age. He dreams to be impactful to the people, to the planet with sensible and responsible architectural practice.