The Weekend Trip to Mandu & Maheshwar – M. P!

Sometimes I feel that the way you begin your year greatly influences the rest of the year! Jan 1 was a house party for which I made this yum dessert so I’m pretty sure that I am going to be entertaining quite a bit this year. Also the first weekend of Jan, the first true weekend of Jan, also happens to be my anniversary! [Can’t believe its been 6 year already!] To celebrate this special day, we took a weekend trip with the family! Since we’ve begun the year with a vacation / travel, I’m confident that 2017 will be full travel – be it work or leisure!

We travelled to the city of Mandu, in Madhya Pradesh.  Now, my husband has been talking about this place for quite a few years now because of some breathtaking architectural ruins and sites. And with every one in the family being in the field of architecture and design, it made sense to visit this place.

Around 350 kms from Nashik, Mandu is small hill station in the state of Madhya Pradesh and I am very happy to report that the tourism department of the state does a very good job with promoting the city and all that it has to offer. The monuments are free of all graffiti and impeccably maintained. There is greenery everywhere with regularly watered lawns, bushes and flowering trees. At one place I even saw a guy tackling the cobwebs! The Archaeological Survey of India has implemented a simple ticket system for a nominal cost which makes these monuments quite popular with all tourists. There are guides to hire and even a system for an audio guide service! This is the first time I am seeing this anywhere in India! Most of the large monuments also have dustbins throughout the campuses, clean restrooms and reliable drinking water.I also spotted a few shops selling mineral water, hot & cold beverages, snacks and souvenirs.

We stayed at the M.P.T.D.C resort and its the only decent place to stay, especially if you are travelling with your family. You can read my review of the resort here.

My personal favourite was the Rani Roopmati Mahal! The views from the top of the palace were unbeatable. The Jahaz Mahal, Hindola Mahal and other monuments are also very impressive. The story is that the King who built the Jahaz Mahal [I forget his name] had almost 1500-1600 wives! He built 6 floors into the ground with rooms for every queen and her attendants. There were bathing pools with filtration systems. There were bathing pools even on the first floor and the basements! There were courtyards with swings for entertainment and leisure, a theatre / auditorium like setting for music recitals and dance performances complete with stage areas, lighting systems made of stained glass and lamps, green rooms and large seating areas. There was also an enclosure where our guide informed us, was the steam bath / sauna room for the royals. Indeed were indeed provisions for water storage and heating at the entrance and in the main room, small holes that allowed the steam to enter. Considering that this was built centuries ago, even say 1500-1600 years ago, this can be called an engineering feat.

On our way back to Nashik, we stopped in another city called Maheshwar, which is famous for the Ahilya fort, the temples nearby and the famous ghats on the river Narmada. The temples are also an architectural masterpiece with the intricate carvings, the arches, the jharokhas, the figures all carved in stone. The city is also famous of the handloom industry and the Maheshwar Silk Sarees are quite popular.

The 3 day trip didn’t seem that hectic even though we did travel about 1000 kms in all 3 days. The highways are done very well and make for a smooth journey. The monuments did require a fair bit walking and climbing but with the right shoes and the right attitude, it doesn’t feel like a lot. I always feel that all of us travel to foreign lands and ooh and aah over their ruins and monuments and yet neglect and disregard the monuments that make up our National Heritage.

So I guess, I am sticking to my 2017 resolution to travel more. Have you read the rest of my resolutions? Read them right here!


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