Mandu, Legends of Love in the City of Joy
We tried to get there twice. First day our taxi driver understood that we want to go to Mandir (which is 'a temple' in Hindi) and took us to one of the temples outside Indore... He stopped saying that we arrived...We just looked at each other and asked him to take us back to the hotel...the day has gone.
Next day we tried again - this time with a travel agency hoping they will know the difference. They knew but the driver didn't know the way... So instead of 2 hours it took us almost 4 on the road that look like straight after the war. O well, by accident (is there anything like an accident? specially in India?) we saw an amazing and enchanting live in many villages.
We arrived in Mandu and we were taken by the beauty of this forgotten place. Once full of life, joy, music, dance and love, today visited by few tourists and lovers of pretty amazing architecture during the Islamic Period.
on the way to Mandu
Mandu is a celebration in stone of life and joy, of the love of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur for his beautiful consort, Rani Roopmati.BB, Muslim prince, felt in love with the Hindu dancer and singer Roopmati and took her as his wife (I think she was the 8th one but the most loved one...according to the story)... I think even Shakespeare's 'Romeo & Juliet' doesn't have such power of love we see in Mandu. BB built for his lover an amazing palaces, Pavilion, somehow brought water to his buildings of love which were on the hill, so his loved one could swim there... Love can move the mountains...
Each of Mandu's structures is an architectural gem: some are outstanding like the massive Jami Masjid and Hoshang Shah's Tomb, which provided inspiration for the masterbuiders of the Taj Mahal centuries later. Mahals, Masjid, Tombs, Pavilion, Palaces...they feel a bit dead now but if you take the time to imagine them during the period when life was inside them, you might get a different story. They feel alive again...full of dancers, singers, festivities. Simply wonderful!
I would highly recommend to take a guide, even a local guide, who can tell the story and take you to the places which you might miss otherwise.
Enjoyed the beautiful ruins...so alive!
The Royal Palace with Hindola Mahal, Jahaz Mahal, Gada Shah's Hours and Shop takes couple of hours to visit. Baz Bahadur's Palace and Roopmati's Pavilion are on the other end of the village. You can not beat the view from those places! The whole place is unforgettable!
The journey to and from Mandu is a whole story on its own. Navigating crowded roads, our diver was dodging cars, cows, dogs, camels and elephants and of course millions of people. The sound of the car horn was beeping continuously as dust and dirt from this desert country enters our open windows. We pray to get to the hotel alive. Upon completing the journey, Allan comments that he feels like he has eaten the ‘whole of India’. Exhausted but happy to be alive we end the day celebrating with pizza at Pizza Hut! Human beings, thank you for places like that - nice, clean, with AC and good food!