Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Dai-Ka-Mahal at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, taken by an unknown photographer in c.1902. The Dai-Ka-Mahal is a tomb on the east bank of the Sagar Talao lake. It stands on a plinth with arched openings, a domed roof and traces of pavilion-topped towers at the corners. Along the western edge of the tomb are the remains of a mosque. Like other Islamic tombs at Mandu, it features Hindu decoration in the form of brackets and projecting windows. Situated on the spur of a plateau amidst the Vindhya range of central India, the fortified mediaeval citadel of Mandu in central India overlooked the Narmada valley. It was first part of the kingdom of the powerful Hindu Paramaras, supporters of culture and literature with their capital at Dhar. It was conquered by the Delhi Sultanate in 1305, and in 1401 became part of the province of the independent Sultans of Malwa. They transferred the capital from Dhar to Mandu, and made Mandu a great centre of the arts, architecture and learning, adorning it with many fine monuments. The Sultanate of Malwa collapsed in 1531, falling first to the Gujarat Sultanate and later being annexed by the Mughals. Jahangir praised Mandu and its architecture in his memoirs and Shah Jahan was much influenced by it. He even restored some of the old palaces when he was governor in the region. Mandu has lain abandoned for 300 years and its ruins are now near a tiny village and an expanse of farmers' fields. Most of the remaining buildings were originally decorated with glazed tiles and inlaid coloured stone. They constitute an important provincial style of Islamic architecture characterised by an elegant and powerful simplicity which is believed to have influenced later Mughal architecture at Agra and Delhi.