Taking off from where I left off in the previous post, the next place that we visited was the Rani Rupmati Pavilion (RRP). This place has the most famous story of Mandu, the story of Baaz Bahadur and Rupmati. As regards the legend, I’ll probably post it in a separate post as the story is long drawn and quite romantic. Suffice to say that this story is pretty much the best known story about Mandu.
The RRP was basically a stable where the cavalry of Mandu was located. Additionally, the balcony has an awesome view of the entire plateau, it being the highest point on the Malwa plateau. On a clear day, one is supposed to be able to see the Narmada in the distance, however, we weren’t so lucky with a small fog clouding our view of the distance.
Then we moved on to the palace of Baaz Bahadur. Here we were exposed to an awesome system of aqueducts, through which water was transported from the Rewa Kund, a mini-lake to an awesome looking swimming pool. What amazed us was the fact that the pool itself was around 10 feet higher than the lake and the fact that engineering-wise the entire system of how the water was transported was truly amazing. To imagine such a complicated irrigation system back in those days when no computers and jazzy machines existed is truly wonderful. Hats off to those engineers and architects.
Moving on, we stopped at the Echo Point also known as ‘Dai Maa ka ghar’ in local parlance, which translates into the ‘House of the midwife’. Now, this was a true acoustic marvel. This spot truly exemplifies all that I’ve always held in fascination about the few Indian forts that I’ve visited. One just looks at a wall which is around 125 yds in front of him and screams out anything, and that will echo around 4-5 times with the absolute same clarity with which it was screamed out. Apparently, this was the system which was used to communicate from Mandu, the military capital on the hill to Dhar, the administrative capital below the hill, a good 35-40 kms away. Well, words just can’t describe how amazed we all were at this.
By this time, we were all famished and had quite a sumptuous meal at the MPTDC guest house on the hill. Lunch took particularly long considering that we probably were the only customers at that restaurant for that day. In any case, we were too hungry to notice the delay in serving.
Post-lunch we visited the Royal Complex. This housed the Jahaz Mahal (the ship palace), Hamam (the royal bath), the Diwan-e-khaas (the court of the cabinet ministers), the Queens’ bath, a theater, the basement residences of the royalty, and various other hotch-potch buildings the names of which I don’t remember.
The first thing that struck me about this particular complex was the sheer magnitude and the size of the entire place. We further discovered that underneath us was a labyrinth of rooms, etc, which we couldn’t experience due to the fact that the whole place was infested with bats. I am saving the juicy details of this place just to retain the interest of prospective visitors to Mandu.
This marked the last milestone in our awesome journey to Mandu. Suffice to say that for someone who loves forts, Mandu was an once-in-a-lifetime experience. Plus the fact that I didn’t expect too much from Mandu when I started off from the campus added to the entire day’s events.
Shall post some interesting and funny pix from the trip soon.