Mandu Fort in India.
A little about Mandu City Fort in Madhya Pradesh, India and how to get there for some sightseeing.
The ruins that comprise the fortified City of Mandu (once known as Mandavgarh) are located some 630 metres high up on a rocky outcrop called the Vindhya Range in the western side of Madhya Pradesh State in India. The fortified city stretches across the Vindhya's for some 13 kilometres where it overlooks the River Narmadato
to the south (the Narmada river is one of five holy rivers for Hindus) and the Malwa Plateau to the north. There were probably fortified elements at Mandu from as early as the 6th Century BC however the city grew during in the 10th century under Raja Bhoj and then during the 11th century when it was the fort capital of the Rajput Parmara rulers of Malwa. However most of the beautiful buildings, temples,
mosques and palaces were created under the Islamic ruler Hoshang Shah Gori who made Mandu his capital city and renamed it Shadiabad (the City of Joy).
The city covers 23 square kilometres and comprises of palaces, mosques, onion-domed mausoleums, large lakes, tanks and pavilions. Many of the buildings are quite magnificent and have intricate water system which was used for both bathing
and for garden decoration - also the palaces had a central heating system.
Travelling to Mandu Fort and about touring round the ruins.
Apart from actually staying at Mandu Village itself - which has very limited accommodation available, perhaps the best place to stay if touring in India and wanting to visit Mandu is at Indore because that city has excellent connections by rail, road and air with other important "tourist" places. Indore is around 100kms from Mandu but this is easily possible on a car and driver day trip and not too expensive. The road up to Mandu is interesting in itself -
going through lovely countryside and with the road passing between quite a few defensive gates on the way. All around the area there are signs of the fortifications including quite a few watchtowers often somewhat buried in shrubbery and foliage - the fort city's elongated defensive walls and battlements extend for around 25 miles.
One way of looking at all the buildings and so on
at Mandu is to hire a bicycle and cycle round them -
in reality seeing it all by walking is not really possible in one day not only because of the sheer size of the area but also due to the probable hot weather. Therefore the alternative is to be taken round by car and this will depend on your deal with your driver so you should say the price includes being driven round as well when you agree the price.
Entry to the city is at Delhi Gate where a car-parking fee is payable and here there are "guides" who will try and get you to hire them - asking silly money for this upwards of 750 rupees. At Mandu village itself there are taxi drivers who will offer to drive you about the ruins and act as guides but they do want in excess of 850 rupees for this and since you have your original car already then this seems a waste of money. However having a local guide is a good idea
and at Mandu village square there are locals who will spend the day with you telling your driver where to go to show you the sites - and maybe only want 250 or so rupees to do it.
There are several places around the site where snacks and drinks can be purchased.
The monuments are divided into three sections - these are The Royal Enclave (possibly closed on Fridays), The Village Group (i.e. the Jami Masjid Mosque) and the Rewa Kund Group with each area having a 100 rupee entry fee (for non-Indians) Each camera is 25rs - and children up to 15 get in free, amazingly even children who are not Indian.
There is much more about touring in India via our India Travel and Touring Guide Home Page.
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