Lal Bangla, [Mandu]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Lal Bangla at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, taken by an unknown photographer in c.1902. The Lal Bangla or Bungalow is possibly the Lal Mahal (Ruby Palace), which lies in eastern Mandu and is thought to have been used by the Sultans of Mandu as a summer retreat. Mandu is a historic ruined citadel in central India and stands in a spectacular naturally-defended position on a plateau of the Vindhya hills, surrounded by a ravine. Part of the ancient province of Malwa, it first came to prominence under the Paramara dynasty at the end of the 10th century, and remained under Hindu rule until 1305 when Malwa was conquered by the Sultans of Delhi. When Malwa later broke away from Delhi and became an independent sultanate, the Sultans of Malwa transferred the capital from Dhar to Mandu in 1405, and it remained their seat until falling to the Gujarat Sultanate in 1531. They renamed the fort ‘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.