Among the most impressive buildings in Mandu are the Royal Palace complex with its Jahaz Mahal and Hindola Mahal, plus all those water storage and filtration systems that Chetna described in an earlier post.
Jahaz Mahal is named such because it is an enormous structure set amid two lakes, and appears to float over the water, or must have, once upon a time. I don’t have any picture that represents it such. The architecture is stunning though, with its water channels, rooftop pools, and even a provision for fountains, all coming from rain water!
The other interesting building is the open-to-sky Hindola Mahal. Our guide told us tales about how the princesses would swing in their saawan ke jhule (during the monsoons) and the king would arrive on his elephant, be deposited on his royal seat at the upper level to admire the women. Creepy that sounds! I didn’t know whether to believe him, but it does make a good story! As it happened, he (the guide) walked off in a huff because we weren’t paying 100% attention as a group, and the kids were having fun, scampering around, catching frogs. Whatever!
More fun aspects of the royal palace were the “air-conditioned” underground levels (we couldn’t enter those), all water-cooled, and the hamam (baths) with their hot & cold water features. As well as the elegant corridors and channels that carried water everywhere.
Mid morning, at the peak of a hot day, with teeming crowds, probably wasn’t the best time to visit this place, and I do wish I’d been able to spend some more time exploring here!