Pavilion of Rupmutte, [Mandu]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Rupmati Mahal at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, taken by an unknown photographer in c.1902. This is a view of a palace at the extreme southern edge of Mandu, a historic ruined city perched on a ridge of the Vindhyas. It was once the capital of the Sultans of Malwa, an ancient province of central India. Rupmati was the beloved Hindu mistress of Sultan Baz Bahadur, who took Mandu after the fall of the Malwa Sultanate and ruled from 1555 to 1566, when he was deposed by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The Rupmati Mahal is said to have been her pavilion, and is close to the royal enclosure of Baz Bahadur containing his palace. It probably dates from the early 15th century, with later extensions, and has breathtaking views of the Narmada valley below. It is one of several Islamic palaces at Mandu, which with nearby Dhar was the centre of an important provincial style of Islamic architecture. Characterised by an elegant and powerful simplicity, the style is believed to have influenced later Mughal architecture at Agra and Delhi. An ancient stronghold, Mandu first came to prominence under the Paramara dynasty at the end of the 10th century. Its golden age came as the 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.