Home > Indore getaway, Travel > Mandu – the mood of the monsoons

Mandu – the mood of the monsoons

The plain Dewas trip left us a little disappointed to be frank. But as compensation we had the pulsating Arg match that extended late in the night which ended with Arg as the winners. It had rained heavily in the evening and in the night, never mind that it had been raining the previous day as well. I managed to get up by 8am. A peek outside revealed the moody day it had turned to be. Clouds covered the sky and the cool breeze was so typical of the place, called Shab-e-Malwa. (Side mention: This excellent article (no contribution from us) in wikipedia about Malwa has some pictures taken by my friends on our trips.) It was perfect weather for a ride and I woke a guy up at 9am. Thus started our waking up spree and by 10.30am, 6 of us were ready and eager to go.

Mandu is called the City of Joy and we will see the reasons shortly. You can find excellent descriptions of Mandu here on MP Tourism and here on Outlook Traveller (Thank you Google). It is a 100km away from our rooms. We had aloo parathas packed from our mess and were on our ways. The sun at times peeked out of its honeymoon with the clouds, that too for very short times. The rainy season is definitely the best time to be in Indore. All the seasonal streams and waterfalls come alive filled with water. The plateau is bedecked with green sensations and provides a rich feast for the eyes. The monsoons have only started and I am so happy at the change in weather and the so many trips that seem promising to us this term.

We drove nonstop past Indore’s SEZ, Pithampur and reach NH59, the Indore-Ahmedabad highway. I always feel the highways here need big improvement and a stretch near Ghatabillod was pathetic. We cross the infamous Chambal river, which is very much seasonal and has no water. We stopped 60km away at Dhar for our teabreak. We took a shortcut at the outskirts of Dhar to reach the Mandu road. This road has lots of bumps in one particular stretch of 10k. It has been a year since I last came on this road and this stretch has not changed an inch. We had been riding at an average of 60kmph and sped past the Y junction (about 21km from Dhar), leading to Mandu or NH3. The road beyond this junction is very good and Mandu is about 15km away from that point.

Our first halt in Mandu was at the place I call valley-viewpoint1.jpgValley ViewPoint. My helmet holder broke at this point, having served me faithfully for a little over 3 years. An old local fed us info about the tales of the area. We took our first snaps of Mandu. I had been here a year back, before we willingly lost our way in the depths of the valley, never getting a chance to see Mandu properly. I have uploaded some of our snaps here. We spent a little over 15 minutes. There is a Fossil Museum just next to this point, which is almost always empty. I have never found a reason for that. One thing I could observe was that there was absolutely no vendors this year and the crowd was a little less. We had come right at the start of the tourist season (Jul – Sep 1st week) which is synchronous with the monsoons and so we would enjoy our trip more.

Our next halt is a small artifice called Jali Mahal. Here we take our staircase photos jali-mahal-22.jpgand also try our monkey tricks 4-monkeys-hanging-onto-life-and-the-branches1.jpg. This picture does not fully capture the dangerous nature of our climbing. More pictures at this Mahal here. We then proceeded to Saat Kothadi, a small diversion from the main road. A temple inside a small cave is located here and a mini cascade flows here when the rains are IN. We did not have the patience to walk down the cave. In any case, the aunty who gave us all this info also told us that nothing was good that time. This was close to the point where I had got lost the previous year. This time, we went past the Darwazas of the Mandu fort.

We went to a ruined Chishti Khan Palace, jumping past the closed gates (pics here). The view was great and the breeze just excellent. Here is a classic lover-perfect pose the-lovers-view1.jpg. By this time, we had exhausted our lone water bottle and we were hungry and thirsty. We halted at the Relax Hotel near Jami Masjid. We opened our food packets and finished the Aloo Parathas. Having satisfied our mouths, we enquired with the owner about the places to see in Mandu. We had not done our research and left our travel to the will of the hour. The friendly owner elaborated on the 3 groups of monuments in Mandu as described in the MP Tourism place. The Jahaz (ship) Mahal group (external pics here) was the pick of the lot according to him.

But we were closer to the Central group, consisting of the Madrassa, Jami Masjid jami-masjid1-from-asharfi-mahal-madrasa.jpgand the tomb of Hoshang Shah hoshang-shahs-tomb-white-marble-delight1.jpg(inspiration for the Taj?). More pictures of all these places here, here and here. We had a good look at the bat-infected tomb. It seemed eerily similar to the Taj and more like a mini-version. The story goes that Shah Jahan sent his architects to be inspired by this tomb. We were a little sad that we could not go to any of the top floors. The tomb charges an entrance fee of Rs.5 for Indians and 2$ for foreigners. But it is majestic. It is under renovation and definitely deserves better for its impressive looks. Our next step was the Asharfi Mahal, where we relaxed a little. It had got hotter after lunch and we were sweating. The change in weather prompted gentle teasing from my friends.

We decided to see the Echo Point and the Rewa Kund group before we would wind up with the most famous Jahaz Mahal. One local helped us with the echoes at the obscure Echo Point and forced two of us to part with some cash. We reached the Rewa Kund, which too charges an entrance fee. We parked just before the Roopmati Pavilion, having chosen to ignore the Baz Bahadur palace near the entrance. We were not very inclined to climb the pavilionrupmati-pavilion-rewa-kund1.jpg which boasted of superior views of the whole valley. Finally we did and were glad to get some scenic delights (snaps here). Here is the best of our ones there heads-up1.jpg. This time we had some lime water. The sun really saved its best for the afternoon, we felt.

It was 4pm. We had another break at the Relax Point. Though I insisted that we should see the Jahaz Mahal, the majority opine the other way and we started our return journey. It was certainly one of our memorable trips. We rode leisurely on our way back. We were all tired and could feel the bad stretches more obviously. This time, we came through the main roads of Dhar, covering a few extra km. One of our pillion riders got stuck by a stone and his eye went red just before a tollgate. We were close to our campus by then and did not stop further. We reached our parking lot by 7pm before enjoying our daily quota of football. I resolve to see it once again when it is in its full splendour. There are so many things I have not seen in this rightly named City of Joy.

Mandu is a romantic retreat, the tale of a Hindu(Roopmati)-Muslim(Baz Bahadur) love. Jahangir loved this so much that he even composed a poem on this.
“What words of mine can describe the beauty of the grass and the wildflowers? They clothe each hill and dale, each slope and plain. I know of no place so pleasant in climate and so pretty in scenery as Mandu in the rainy season… What I have noticed is but a small part of the many beauties of Mandu.”

Categories: Indore getaway, Travel
  1. sk
    30 June 2006 at 9:46 am

    Hey Sparkie
    Awesome picture post! Enjoyed reading this. And is this the reason for the prev post being dull?

  2. 2 July 2006 at 11:52 am

    ooru suthikita irupa pola iruku

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