¤ A Perfect Honeymoon
Distance : 40km from Dhar;
98km from Indore
Population : 5,000
Altitude : 634m
¤ Full of Scenic Splendor
For all those who head straight for the hills for that elusive whiff
of romance, let me say that Mandu is the perfect honeymoon
destination. It is the city of love and delight; after all one of its
most famous legends is the love story of Baz Bahadur and Rani
The call of Mandu is strongest when the monsoon clouds shower it with
cooling water that turns it lush green. Situated on an outcrop of the
Vindhyas, the hillfort is separated from the surrounding plateau by a
deep ravine called Kakra Khoh, which encircles it on the east, west
and north. The ruins are spread over an area of 21sq km and are
surrounded by luxuriant undergrowth and crystal clear lakes and ponds.
Is it a wonder then that its Muslim rulers dubbed it Shadiabad or the
City of Joy?
¤ Great History
The crown of the hill was fortified as early as in the 6th century
BC, but Mandu gained eminence only near the end of the 10th century
when the Paramaras formed an independent kingdom based initially at
Ujjain and then at Dhar under Raja Bhoja and his successors. The
Muslim Khaljis of Delhi in 1304 and the Hindu kingdom of Malwa became
part of the Delhi Sultanate under Muslim governors.
However, the 1401 invasion of Delhi by the Mongols came as a blessing
and Malwa seized independence under its Afghan governor. Then began an
era of prosperity and fortune that lasted right through the Mughal
invasion until the Marathas captured Mandu in 1732.
Dilawar Khan, a true-blue Afghan opportunist, decided to rebel
against his overlords, the Khaljis of Delhi, when they were caught
napping by the Mongols.
He made Dhar his capital and it remained so until his death. His son
Hoshang Shah, the very same man who destroyed the dams at Bhojpur,
soon shifted base to Mandu. Peace, calm and steady expansion were the
hallmarks of Hoshang Shahs reign. Some excellent monuments were
erected from then on, among them the Jami Masjid, the Delhi Gate and
his own tomb.
The next king in line, Muhammad Shah, ruled for a year before being
poisoned by Mahmud Khan. Mahmud Khan I Khalji thus seized power and
founded a new dynasty. He was a brilliant soldier-sultan, under whom
Mandu gained both in territory and prestige.
He commissioned many beautiful buildings including his own tomb, the
madrassa (school of Islamic education), and a seven-storey Victory
Tower, of which only the base now remains.
Mahmud Khan was succeeded by his son Ghiyath-ud-Din in 1469 and
another period of peace and prosperity followed, only to be disrupted
when Ghiyath-ud-Dins son, Nasir-ud-Din, found the old man going
strong even at 80 and decided to speed up things a bit.
He poisoned his father and finally got to sit on the throne of Mandu.
But having done the wicked thing by his father, Nasir-ud-Din never
found joy or comfort. Eaten up by guilt and afraid of his own shadow
and of being alone, he maintained a harem of 15,000 women out of whom
a 1,000 were his personal guards.
Nasir-ud-Din had a troubled reign and is believed to have died of
guilt 10 years after usurping the throne.
His son who proved to be an ineffective and incompetent ruler
succeeded him. Easily swayed by advisers, the kingdom slipped out of
his hands when Bahadur Shah of Gujarat conquered Mandu in 1526. Later
in 1534, Humayun seized control.
But Mandu did enjoy a brief resurgence under the rule of Baz Bahadur
till 1561 when he fled from Akbars troops leaving Mandu at the
mercy of the great Mughal. The curtain comes down on the history of
Mandu at this point.