Mandu – a Love at First Sight
It was almost midnight when we reached Mandu on one of those Navarathri nights. From far Falguni Pathak was singing and dandya raas dance tents were seen on both sides of road, while our bus entered the village, it felt like a magical night under the moonlight, with garba and the golden halo of a remote village. Mandu seemed a haunted lonesome sleepy hamlet with a deep gorge separating it with Bindhya Mountains.
Unfolding history, for10th century King Bhuj, Mandu was his summer retreat. Mandabgarh, later slowly shortened to Mandu went through the hands of many a mighties, such as Parmars, Ghori and Khilji, and Hosang Shah and their sons, where Mandu gained the glory and splendour with beautiful architecture. Later it came under Bahadur Shah of Gujarat before Mughals started eying on Mandu. It was said that Akbar had to destroy few parts of Mandu to turn down unwanted attraction towards that hamlet. It has a hazy history with hell lot of bloodshed and conquerors, but an everlasting love at first sight story.
In 1554, Malik Bayajid, became the king of Mandu and named himself as Baj Bahadur. More of a musician than a good administrator he fell in deep love with a beautiful maestro Rupmati ”Lady of Lotus’.
Baz Bahadur met his lady love while out on a hunting expedition. One day when he was out for hunting, a piece of music piercing the line of shrubs and trees reached his ears. The Sultan moved along the tune only to encounter a beautiful shepherdess singing along with her group of friends. She was Roopmati, a woman with rare charm, mesmerized by her beauty and captivating voice Baz Bahadur fell instantly in love with her. Sultan asked her hand in marriage and requested Roopmati to accompany him to his capital.
Love bloomed between the duo while Roopmati turned out to be a great poetess, faultless composer, reciter and singer, Baz Bahadur a talented musician and lyricist, they immersed in each other. Alas! Baz Bahadur had to pay in heavy for his sloppy administration
That fatal day, a Friday, the twelfth day of Rajab in1561 the Mughal troops led by Adham Khan attacked Malwa. Baz Bahadur could give very little resistance with a small army to challenge the huge mighty Mughals. Sensing defeat he fled from Mandu leaving his harem, province and most prominently his love, Roopmati all alone. Realizing Adham Khan will capture her, alike sudden and sensational end of Cleopatra, Roopmathi too took her life
Appreciating her fidelity for her husband, Roopmati was buried with respect by Adham Khan. Baz Bahadur stands out as a coward and pathetic character in that great love and betrayal tale.
Now Mandu lies dilapidated with 1000 years shrouded history in architecture.
But whoever visit Mandu, it will be a love at first sight, early mornings and late nights in Mandu take you to a bygone era.
Call for Mandu is strong with it’s elusive whiff of romance…..