MANDU – JAHAZ MAHAL
Mandu which is originally known as Mandavgad is located in the Mandav area of Dhar district which comes under Madhya Pradesh.
Jahaz Mahal as the name suggests looks like a ship and was built in the second half of the 15th century, specifically around 1436-1439 during the reign of Mandu Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji, solemnly for the women of the Palace. It seems to be floating above the surface of the water and is beautifully surrounded by pond water.
In the 10th century, Mandu was founded as a fortress retreat by Raja Bhoj. It was conquered by the Muslim rulers of Delhi in 1304. Then it was ruled by the Ghuri dynasty for just a year as he was poisoned by his militaristic Mohammed Khilji, who established the Khilji dynasty and ruled successfully for the next 33 years. He passed on this heritage to his son Ghiyas-ud-din. The sole purpose of the Jahaz Mahal was to accommodate all of the 15,000 women of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji’s royal women. The architecture was so beautiful in that era as it justifies the aim of shielding the women from the eyes of a common man at the same time giving them full autonomy over their freedom. There were all sorts of entertainment present, ranging from luxurious arrangements for the Sultan’s consorts to the dances and music festivals. The king even built a separate bungalow for his main financier close to the Mahal. However, Jahaz Mahal lost its original essence and pride after Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji’s death.
There are many ways to reach this destination, Dhar being the closest district (40 km) in the North, Indore city (95 km) in the North-east and Maheshwar (65 km) which is also a tourist destination in the South.
By Roadways: There are plenty of direct buses available from Indore to Mandu and Mandu is close to Agra-Mumbai highway as well.
By Airways: The nearest airport to be found is Indore’s Devi Ahilya Bai Airport and is approximately 100 kms away.
By Railways: The nearest Railway Station is Indore junction, about 95 kms from Mandu.
ARCHITECTURAL STYLE AND FACTS
- Jahaz Mahal is said to be situated in the Royal Enclave, which is located in the northern part of the Citadel of Mandu.
- Jahaz Mahal initially was built in the form of double storeys, mounting to a height of about 9.7 meters with Kapur Talao on the east and Munj Talao on the west.
- The interiors of Jahaz Mahal are captured beautifully and carved magnificently with a recessed arched marble gateway at the middle of the eastern wall.
- The main gate can be observed being topped by a pavilion which is supported and craved with some decorative stone brackets..
- The southern end of Jahaz Mahal still depicts the existence of a large well around. A Persian wheel is present there which in those medieval days would have been used to lift water from the well to the upper corners of Jahaz Mahal.
- There is a large pavilion present which bows down to the huge open terrace of the Mahal. This pavilion is placed adjacent to the upper swimming pool.
- The two pavilions present at the northern and southern end of Jahaz Mahal are pretty huge in size and are divided into three compartments. The central compartment being crowned with a massive dome while the other two compartments having structured pyramidal roofs..
Taveli Mahal: The name Taveli was derived from “Tavela” which apparently means “Stable”. As of now, the building is seen to be partly used as a Departmental Rest House. The ground floor hosts a museum as well. The building used to be called a “stable block” or mansion, as its ground floor was used for the stable and the apartments present in the two upper storeys served purpose of accommodation of guards.
Champa Baodi: It is located in the north-west of Jahaz Mahal. The name was kept champa, as it was said that water stored in the large well used to have water smelling like champak flower. The baodi is constructed in a way that it seems to be octagon in shape while circular at the top and contains underground rooms primarily known as “Tehkhana” to provide a cool retreat in summers which basically served the Queens. There were plenty of arrangements of cold water and hot water, which in that era was a substitute of today’s world ‘A.C’, now which makes us admire and wonder about the brilliance in architecture.
Andheri Baodi: It is also known as dark well, which is inside the palace and was particularly used to cool down the water. In today’s date, almost 1500 people of Mandu use water from this Baodi.