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Jahaz Mahal, Mandu Overview

The splendid architecture of Jahaz Mahal occupies an expense in the Mandu region of Madhya Pradesh. It was built during the reign of Mandu Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji, who is believed to have as many as 15,000 women as his consorts. To accommodate the women belonging to the royal consortium, Jahaz Mahal was built in second half of the 15th century. Jahaz Mahal best captures the medieval history of Mundu. Here '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 architecture and structure of Jahaaz Mahal are both awe-inspiring and marvellous in terms of its engineering. Emulating the appearance of a mighty ship, the palace is an amalgam of Afghan, Mughal, Hindu and Mesopotamian architecture styles. It was built with a meticulous precision that followed acoustic water supply patterns, subtly reflecting the pond that lies overlooking the palace. The balconies are constructed in a way that amplifies sound such that reverberates through the entire body of Jahaz Mahal. The intricate carvings, precise engineering design and pristine beauty along with its close proximity to other tourist attractions such as Roopmati's Pavilion, Baz Bahadur's Palace, Hindola Mahal, Jain Temple, and Jami Masjid make it one of the most important tourist spots in the city.

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History of Jahaz Mahal

The history of Jahaz Mahal is closely related to the rich history of Mandu itself. The main purpose behind building this imposing building was to comfortably accommodate all of the 15,000 women of Sultan Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji's royal women.The harem was constructed in such a manner that it shielded the women from the eyes of the common man, but at the same time gave them full autonomy over their freedom. Here, the Sultan's consorts enjoyed a life of luxuries and pleasures. However, Jahaz Mahal lost its original splendour after Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji's death. The last royal visit to the palace was paid by Mughal emperor Jahangir and his favourite wife Nur Jahan in 1617, who described the experience as " a wonderful assembly". 

Architecture of Jahaz Mahal

The magnificent structure of Jahaz Mahal is spread over a narrow strip of land in between Munj Talao and Kapur Talao. It stands at a massive height of 110 meters and is 15 meters in width. Jahaz Mahal has an entrance from the east where the main entrance has a recessed arch and is flanked on each side by 6 arched openings protected by a continuous overhanging cornice having the support of stone brackets. These arched opening is further secluded by Chajja (awnings) and stands on stone brackets. Surrounded by pond water, it gives an impression of a floating structure on water due to which it has been named Jahaz Mahal.

Jahaz Mahal is a rectangular structure, three feet tall with two floors and thick walls. The ground floor in Jahaz Mahal has 3 large halls. All these halls are connected by corridors which have rooms at either end and have attached pavilions at the rear, overlooking Munj Talao. These were used for accommodation and diversion of the women of the royal harem, such that they were hidden from public view by the curtains on arched openings. The halls are separated by corridors and have small rooms in the end. The northern end of the terrace leads to a bath with broad steps leading into it. The palace looks even prettier with its fountains and cascades.

How To Reach Jahaz Mahal

 Important cities around Mandu monuments are Dhar (40kms) in the north, Indore city (95kms) in north-east and Maheshwar (65kms) tourist destination in the south. Direct buses are available from Indore to Mandu from where you can navigate the place on foot. 

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