The Jahaz Mahal Ship Palace
This ancient architectural marvel was built by an anonymous but talented architect for the Sultan of Mandu Ghiyas-ud-din-khilji. According to historians and folklore, his harem of women was around 15,000 so he had this incredible palace created for them. Could you imagine having that many boyfriends or girlfriends!? Many of the marvels of Jahaz Mahal such as mentions of steam baths and hot pools, and even giant waterslides died long ago, but the water sourced here still supports 7,000 Mandu villagers.
Despite those ancient fancy waterworks no longer functioning, this place is absolutely breathtaking and stretches out much further than I expected.
Apparently, you’re supposed to come here during the monsoon season which is July to September, that way everything is all green and the estuaries are filled with water all around the palace. If you decided to come when it’ss super hot like I did for Holi Festival then plan on it being scorching hot.
When I mention Jahaz Mahal being super hot, it was more like 32 degrees Celcius or 90-degree Fahrenheit. This is a typical temperature for me after spending two years in Thailand, but it much more humid here. Then again, I was also told India will get up to 45 degrees or 115 Farenheit, no thanks!
Jahaz’ refers to a ship and ‘Mahal’ refers to a palace, which is a reflection of the edifice itself. Surrounded by pond water, it seems to be floating gently above the surface of the water.
The architectural aesthetics and attention to detail are abundant throughout the entire complex. The entire main structure was constructed was designed in conjunction with the elements of the earth, harnessing wind and rainwater into their designs to fill rooftop pools in medieval times is pretty impressive.
The passive solar architecture is how they also accomplished some of these medieval marvels such as heated pools and even allegedly had steam baths.
The Sultan’s 15,000 consorts enjoyed a life of luxuries and pleasures away from the eyes of the common man but still gave them full power over their freedom within the palace.
This area where the goats are grazing is actually the palace pond which is rather large but was completely dried up during the time I was visiting. This long narrow 120-meter building was oriented North-South to capture the wind and is a marvelous piece of Afghan engineering.
Hindola Mahal and its interior arches was another important building making up the royal complex in Mandu.
I took the bus from Indore and did a day trip deep into the hills of Mandu to see this remarkable structure. As I walked around examining things I imagined for a minute how cool it would be to see it in real life. Bustling with life as evidenced by it’s rich and glorious past.
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