Mandu, ghost capital • Madhya Pradesh, India

Step into history and behold the wonders of Mandu! Discover the palaces and mosques of the ancient capital, the charm of the current village, and the mesmerizing sight of the only baobabs in the country. Immerse yourself in this captivating video journey of less than 42 minutes, accompanied by rich historical explanations. Explore the architectural marvels, soak in the cultural heritage, and be transported to a bygone era in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, India. Let the enchanting visuals and insightful narratives bring the past to life before your eyes. Don't miss this opportunity to witness the grandeur and uniqueness of Mandu. Prepare to be captivated by its splendor and transported to a world steeped in history. Embark on this virtual adventure and experience the captivating allure of Mandu like never before.

This film was made on the basis of photos and videos taken during the trip India - Kumbh Mela 2016 in Ujjain • Madhya Pradesh • Maharashtra • Goa (EN)

vimeo chapterA click on this icon above displays the list of chapters of this film about Madhya Pradesh • state of central India in India. A click on a dot goes directly to a chapter.

Reading the text below will help you better understand the historical context of the sites shown in this video.

01:04 • the current village

03:06 • the former capital

04:51 • Darya Khan's mosque

06:03 • Somvati Kund

06:42 • Baz-Mahal palace

07:57 • the Roopmati pavilion

09:38 • Jaz-Mahal ship palace

11:09 • Hindola Mahal

16:09 • Jami Mashid

16:51 • Mausoleum of Hashang Shah

20:09 • Delhi Darwaza

21:38 • the caravanserail

23:24 • the Jain temple

25:48 • Mandu, the current village


What strikes the visitor when arriving in Mandu, a small town located about a hundred kilometers from Indore in Madhya Pradesh in India, is first of all the presence of baobabs. The baobab is not native to India, their presence is intriguing.


If Mandu has nowadays become a big village or a small town with many abandoned monuments, this has not always been the case. Mandu is mentioned in inscriptions dating back to the 6th century, thus attesting that the city was already prosperous at that time.

But it was in the 10th and 11th centuries that the city really took off. The Paramaras dynasty made it its capital because of its strategic position on a height overlooking the entire Malwa plateau.

Times were troubled and neighborhood wars were rife at this time. The territory of Malwa was attacked by the Sultan of Delhi in the north and in the west by the rulers of Gujarat.

The Sultan of Delhi took the region of Malwa and ordered the assassination of King Mahalakadeva in 1305. The opposition between Delhi and the Malwa had taken on the characteristics of a religious war.

But Mandu would relive moments of glory after the conquest of Delhi in 1401 by Tamerlan (Timur), Mongol emperor. The governor of Malwa created his own kingdom and established the Ghuri dynasty. The governor's son, Hoshang Shah made Mandu his capital. The Hoshang Shah Mausoleum is one of Mandu's remarkable monuments.

The dynasties succeeded each other at the rate of internal conflicts. The Khalji took over from the Ghuri before giving way to the Mughals.

Mandu and the baobabs

It is probably from this time that the planting of the first baobabs of Mandu dates. Economic and friendly ties with the caliphs of Egypt were forged and gifts exchanged. Mandu offered talking parrots to the caliph, and the caliph sent baobab seeds in return. These are much more under the climate of Mandu and prospered. There are more than a hundred in and around Mandu.

But the incessant wars between the Mughals and their neighbors in Gujarat continued and Mandu was attacked by Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat, helped by the Portuguese. But the Mughal Emperor Humayun crushed this rebellion and massacred all the prisoners. Humayun lost the kingdom of Malwa to Mallu Khan and after ten years of quarrels and invasions, Baz Bahadur came to power. His palace can still be seen in Mandu.

History would repeat itself in the centuries that followed and relentless wars continued. Power wars with a focus on religion. Hindus against Muslims ...

The fall of Mandu dates back to the middle of the 18th century, when the city lost its status as capital to Dhar and the reestablishment of the Hindu regime.


Among the remains of this ancient capital, there are palaces, mosques and mausoleums.

Darya Khan Mosque

Darya Khan was a powerful minister at the court of Mahmud Khalji II. The Darya Khan Complee includes the Darya Khan Mausoleum, a mosque, a pond and an inn. The Elephant Leg Palace is located near this complex. This palace bears this name because of the voluminous pillars which resemble elephant legs.

the Baz Mahadur palace

The palace was built in the 16th century by Baz Mahadur, the king who imposed himself after a long period of unrest after the Mughal invasion.

the Roopmati pavilion

Roopmati was the woman Baz Mahadur was in love with. This building, which was originally a military observation post, was offered by the king to the chosen one of his heart.

Jami mashid

This great mosque was inspired by that of Damascus, with large courtyards and large entrances.

Hoshang Shah Mausoleum

This tomb is the first marble structure in India. This is one of the most refined tombs in Afghan architecture. This tomb served as a model for the builders of the Taj Mahal in Agra.

Jahaz Mahal

Jahaz Mahal, palace-boat, is located between two artificial lakes and looks like a boat floating on water, hence its name.

Hindola mahal

Probably built by Hoshang Shah around 1425. This palace is part of the Mandu royal palace complex. It was probably used as a courtroom.


The village

But there is more to Mandu than these magnificent palaces of the past which are now devoid of life. A walk in the village allows to make very beautiful encounters with the inhabitants. Whether they're catching land crabs, cooking a communal meal, or babysitting their cows or goats, the people of Mandu are extremely friendly. It is certain that they are not really used to seeing tourists, and that visitors from the end of the world who come to admire their ancient capital make them happy ...


about the place, Mandu:

While Mandu is currently a small village, this has not always been the case.

Prosperous from the 6th century the city became really important during the 10 and 11th centuries under the dynasty of Paramaras. It has been a leading trading city and military garrison.

Mandu is the only city in India to have a large number of baobabs (except for the Mumbai zoo ...). There are several hundred.

It is believed to be the result of trade relations with Egypt during the 14th century, when the Caliph of Egypt and the Sultans of Mandu exchanged gifts. Mandu had offered talking parrots and in exchange, Egypt offered baobab seeds.


Spoken comments in the film: 

Mândû is one of the only places in India where you can see baobabs. Baobab seeds were said to have been offered by the Caliphs of Egypt to the Sultans of Mândû during the 14th century in exchange for talking parrots.


Hati Mahal or Elephant Palace is an ancient palace which owes its name to the massive pillars supporting the dome.


The Hoshang Shah Mausoleum in Mandu is one of the monuments that inspired the builders of the Taj Mahal in Agra


What's the weather like in Mandu?


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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of indian traditional music in "Mandu, ghost capital • Madhya Pradesh, India", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.

Roopmati pavilion, Mandu, Madhya Pradesh • India
baobabs in the countryside, Mandu • India • Madhya Pradesh

baobabs in the countryside

one of the many monuments scattered around the site, Mandu • India • Madhya Pradesh

one of the many monuments scattered around the site

the mausoleum of Darya Khan, Mandu • India • Madhya Pradesh

the mausoleum of Darya Khan

the palace of Baz Bahadur, Mandu • India • Madhya Pradesh

the palace of Baz Bahadur

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