Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Jahaz Mahal

There is THE Jahaz Mahal in Mandu, in the State of Madhya Pradesh, a place I have never been able to visit yet. That one is famous as the setting where the famous love affair of Baz Bahadur and Rani Rupmati was played out, and it is said that the best time to visit Mandu is during the rains but that's another story. 
There is another Jahaz Mahal in Delhi, in Mehrauli village behind the Qutb Minar, and as its name suggests, it was meant to be seen like a ship on water, being a palace surrounded by a lake.

The structure is now, right in the middle of human habitat. The outlying buildings have all but vanished. Major portions of the lake which was called Hauz i Shamsi or the Shamsi Talao, have been reclaimed ..
The U courtyard, originally rectangular

 Notice the variations in the pavilions on top. Built before the Mughals, the pavilions were lined with blue tiles. The building was definitely some kind of a resort or resting place for the later Mughals and could have been a Serai or inn for Central Asian visitors before that, in the 15th century

Jahaz Mahal
Boys playing cricket in the grounds that were definitely part of the Shamsi Talao, and the ruins of outlying buildings. The annual fair, Phool walon ki Sair is held in these grounds in the month of October every year when a procession offers flowers at the Yogmaya temple and then presents chaddar at the dargah of the saint Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki. The festival also hosts cultural programmes so the efforts in conservation could perhaps, have been on a much higher scale

The water level really seemed down at the pavilion on the other side of  the  Shamsi Talao. These three gentlemen actually pleaded with me for something to be done about the general state of affairs, for the Jahaz Mahal has weathered the elements for seven centuries, they said ..

I was anxious to visit the dargah for light was fading fast, and it was already half past four when we came upon the Jahaz Mahal on foot, and invitations for tea and pakora had to be politely declined. When we found the dargah, it was quite dark but it was interesting to see another building, Zafar Mahal alongside, stated to have been the residence of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last of the Mughals. Another time then, another day!


  1. Oh such a wonderful jaunt. I share the elders' concern about the lowered water level. Wonderful photos, as always! So much history, you are privileged to wander through.

  2. I dont know why, its always the old buildings and ruins which attract me rather than spanking new pieces of steel and glass. Thank you for visiting and leaving your comments, Sherry

  3. I agree with Sherry—so much architectural history, compared with here in the US!
    The old buildings are full of character; it a shame to let them fall into disrepair.
    Your photo of the three elders sitting on the wall is extraordinary! I share their concern...

  4. Thank you Rita, it was the gentleman with the blue pullover who offered me tea, and in the corner of the photo you can see two ladies preparing for some rituals with lighted lamps on the steps of the pond

  5. I love exploring forts, temples and ruins. Therefore, I'm lucky to be living in India.

    Mandu has definitely been n my go-to list for a while now. Your photos and fluid writing peek my interest in the ruins!

    1. Thank you Preeti. Should hope you have had your camera repaired for your next outing!