Thursday, January 10, 2008

Men can do cooking too, peacefully!

Women Cooking on the Roadside

Vegetable Vendor

A vendor selling fresh locally grown vegetables under the Banyan Tree on the Main Square in front of Jami Masjid, Mandu.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Love Affair

This parrot couple perched high on the stone wall of the Jahaz Mahal at Mandu reminds me of the eternal love story of Roopmati and Baz Bahadur. I was nothing less than awe struck to see the two birds as I could imagine they were the souls of the two still alive somewhere within Mandu and their love story has not ended even after 500 years .

Rani Roopmati Pavillion

Rani Roopmati's Pavallion was built as an army observation post. It served a more romantic purpose as Roopmati's retreat. This pavillion is situated on a hilltop from where the queen could gaze at her paramour Baz Bahadur's palace, and also at the Narmada flowing by, below.She would not break her fast each day till she worshipped the river Narmada, such was her faith in the holy river that she was abandoned by her husband Raja Maan, who could not fulfil her wish of bringing Narmada river to his palace.The Rani used to cover a long distance daily to this Pavillion to be able to see Narmada and begin her daily chores.

A Diiferent Side of the Jami Masjid

The Swimming Pool within Jahaz Mahal

The Lotus shaped pool partially visible in this picture on the top right corner was the swimming pool on the first floor and an exact replica of it lies beneath on the ground level of the Jahaz Mahal. The Spiral structure which is the focus of this picture, shows the water purifying system of the period. Water coming from Kapur Lake through pipes used to gush into these spirals and due to the circular motion, used to slow down leaving behind the impurities and letting only the clearer water flow into the pool.This spiral system has a form composed by two integrated snakes.Now isn't this an architectural marvel of the period?

The Jami Masjid

Visit The Great Courtyard, marked by the rows of pillars and small domes on three sides. This building is made entirely with pink sandstone and the construction commenced during the reign of Hoshang Shah and took three generations to complete. It is said to be inspired by the Great Mosque at Damascus. The front most area shown in this picture is the Qibla or the Prayer Area which is surmounted by the 3 larger domes.Inside this lie treasures of mixed architecture, for an example, I would quote a lotus(holy flower of the hindus) with a Crescent Moon(Symbol of Islam).This is just one of the small features of a mixed and converted architecture here telling the short stories of conquerors and the lost battles.

The Hindola Mahal

Do you notice the angle that this building makes with the ground. It isnt that usual 90 degrees. This is why it is called the Hindola Mahal(hindola in gujarati means a "jhoola" or a "swing") which is why this palace is also referred to as the Swinging Palace. It was the deewane-aam of the Raja who along with his subordinates used to enjoy events here. But unlike other palaces, where the women were never allowed to view the shows uncovered, this palace was planned in a way, such that the Raja faces the Rani, and the subordinates face the Raja, so that they cannot see the Rani at all.

The Magic of Mandu

A view of the Jahaz Mahal (Ship Palace) which is called so because of its structure which resembles a ship since it is flanked by water bodies on three sides and when you're on the upper level, it seems like you are floating amidst the sea.This palace was built by Ghiyas-ud-din, son of Mohammed Shah, for his harem. According to the legends, this harem was home to 16,000 maidens which he used to seize during battles.