[Unidentified tomb at Mandu.]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of an unidentified tomb at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, taken by an unknown photographer in c.1902. The tomb in this view is a square mausoleum with arched entrances and a domed roof, and is an example of provincial Islamic architecture. It is possibly the Chhappan Mahal, the mausoleum of a nobleman which lies in east Mandu and dates from the early 16th century. It is one of a number of funerary monuments at Mandu, the most famous being the white marble tomb of Hoshang Shah Ghuri (ruled 1405 –1435), which is one of the earliest of its kind in India. Mandu is a historic hillfort, now a beautiful ruin, and stands in a spectacular naturally-defended site on an elevated plateau of the Vindhya hills, surrounded by a deep ravine. An ancient stronghold, it first came to prominence under the Paramara dynasty at the end of the 10th century. Its golden age came as the state capital of the Sultans of Malwa between 1401 and 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 which is believed to have influenced later Mughal architecture at Agra and Delhi.