Once college ends, life does catch up with all its nastiness for the medical students. Following my solo in Bhopal, I headed to Indore, another city in Madhya Pradesh, to meet my college friends. A year and lot of scruffiness later, I was glad they still are the same people I met in my fresher year.
Every city in India has a unique speciality. Indore is no different. This city is known for its food lovers. I don’t think I saw even one street corner which didn’t have a food joint; be it a restaurant or a simple street vendor. And the uniqueness about this city that caught the eye of the foodie inside me is that people do not discriminate between the five-star restaurant and the street vendors. If you are a foodie, do pay a visit to Sarafa, India’s first night street food and 56 shops or Chappan Dukaan. And make sure you wear your oldest elastic sweat pants. The food here is veg, excellent in taste and made in pure ghee. You will definitely lick your fingers and will cry in shame later seeing your weight.
I spent my first and last day in utter gluttony and gastronomical delight. But if I am visiting a new place, I make it imperative to visit the local sightings. Surprisingly, my lazy friends decided to accompany me in this venture. So 21st August, 8.30 AM we left the main city of Indore for this lesser known place called Mandu.
Mandu or Mandavgad as it was known, is a ruined city located at a distance of 95 Kim’s from Indore. For convenience, we decided to travel in comfort in a car.
Before I made plans for this city, all I learnt about the place was that this is a fortress town celebrated mainly for its fine architecture. A ruin city and fine architecture doesn’t exactly paint much of a pretty picture in mind. But I forgot that this trip of mine has been favoring the surprise element a lot. Geographically speaking, the town of Mandu is located at an elevation of 633 metres, perched on the Vindhya Range, overlooking the plateau of Malwa to the north and valley of Narmada Ruver to the south. The location not only favored the defense factor for the city, but also provides the visitors with a picturesque view.
On our way to Mandu, we came upon this beautiful waterfront view. I am trying to find the name out, but so far it hasn’t been a success.
If you follow the highway, the roads are pretty good. But as you take the twist and turns to reach Mandu, you will definitely start appreciating your teeth, your back and the top of your head with a whole new level of respect. Nope. I am not kiddig. The roads are indeed that bad.
Before the main city of Mandu starts, you will come across this place where you will hear gurgling sound and a hoard of crowd posing in front of cameras. Curiosity made the decision for us as well. This place is called as Kakra ko Mandu. I don’t know if there’s even a literal translation for this name.
Historically, Mandu gained prominence in 10th – 11th century under the Parmars, from whom the control was snatched by Khiljis in 1305. The military past of the city is reflected in the the wall that surrounds the city which has 12 majors gates or darwazas. Each named gateway feels like a prelude to the history lesson that is about to begin.
Destination 1: The Palace Complex
Under the protection of Archaeological Survey of India, this is a beautifully maintained architectural structures that still depicts the finesse of an era that we can only imagine now. The Place Complex comprises of the Taveli Mahal, Jal Mahal, Jahaaz Mahal and the Hindola Mahal.
I think this was my favorite part of the Palace Complex. And I was fortunate enough to get pictures to vouch for my words.
Entry fees: 5 rupees for Indian nationals; 100 rupees for foreigners
Opening Hours: 6 AM to 7 PM
Amount of time to spend: 1.5 hours
Destination 2: Jami Masjid
A simple structure, and yet beautifully constructed with its large courtyard and grand entrances, and inspired by the great mosque of Damascus.
Destination 3: The tomb of Hoshang Shah
Representing finest Afghan architectures, tomb of Hoshang Shah is the first marble structure of India. The beauty of the tomb impressed Shah Jahan so much that the construction of Taj Mahal is based on this very template.
Entry fees and the opening hour is the same for both destination 2 and 3, as it is for destination 1.
Destination 4: Ashrafi Mahal
It is located just opposite to the Jami Masjid. If you are expected something marvelous, there isn’t much. However you will get a fabulous view of the Jami Masjid from here.
Destination 5: Darya Khan’s Tomb and Hathi Mahal
Daryl Khan’s tomb is built in the honor of the ruler Darya Khan who ruled Mandu from 1510 AD to 1526 AD.
I skipped on the pictures of Hathi Mahal since I didn’t find it that impressive. But those who are more enthusiastic can pay a visit.
There is one monument in my photo album that I am not able to exactly categorize since I forgot to take a picture of the placard.
Destination 6: Rewa Kund, Roopmati’s pavilion and Baz Bahadur’s Palace
I would suggest you to keep these three towards the later half of afternoon. Not only it is located towards the other end of Mandu, but also visit during that time makes it pleasant and relaxing.
Finally on our journey back we stopped to pray at the Shivalinga located at Neel Kantha Palace.
I think the most memorable part of the return trip was how we got lost and got bumped around thanks to the “beautiful” Indian roads.
Destination 7: Lalbagh Palace
The city of Indore has equally beautiful monuments to admire. One of them is Lalbagh Palace. Unlike the name which suggests the color red, the monument is created purely of marble and represents the abode of Holkar family. Unfortunately photography is strictly prohibited inside the building. But the grandeur of each room is so gorgeous that I was simply stunned. And what a well maintained antiquities, all of which reminded me of my grand father’s British furniture. You will definitely not regret visiting this place.
Total expenditure – 850 (for the hotel) + 100 (for entry) + 500 (for food) = 1450
Tips – Carry plenty of water with you. The bottled water that you will find in Mandu is unfiltered river water. And you will need to be rehydrated with all the hot sun.
If you liked my trip as much as I did, hit like and keep an eye out for new travel stories. Until then…