Jahaj Mahal (Water Palace) from the West, [Mandu]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Jahaz Mahal at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, taken by an unknown photographer in c.1902. The Jahaz Mahal or Ship Palace is part of the Royal Enclave in northern Mandu and dates from the late 15th century. It is a long, narrow, two-storey arcaded edifice crowned with roof-top pavilions and kiosks and was conceived as a pleasure palace in a romantic setting between two artificial lakes, the Munj Talao and Kapur Sagar. It was so named because from a distance it resembled a ship between the two bodies of water. It housed the harem of GhiyaTh Shah, a Sultan of Malwa known for his sybaritic lifestyle, who ruled between 1469 and 1500. This is a view of the palace from the west, with an overgrown lake in the foreground. Mandu is a historic ruined citadel perched on a ridge of the Vindhyas. An ancient stronghold, it first came to prominence under the Rajput Paramara dynasty at the end of the 10th century. Its golden age came as the state capital of the Sultans of Malwa between 1405 and 1531. They renamed the city ‘Shadiabad’ (City of Joy) and built palaces, mosques and tombs amid the gardens, lakes and woodland within its walls. Most of the remaining buildings date from this period and 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 that is believed to have influenced later Mughal architecture at Agra and Delhi.