Rupmati Mahel at Mandu
Photographer: Deen Dayal, Lala (1844-1905)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Rupmati Mahal at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, taken by Lala Deen Dayal in 1882. The Rupmati Mahal is a ruined palace at the extreme southern edge of the hill fort of Mandu. This is a view from below of the outer walls, crowned with
domed pavilions at the corners. Rupmati was the beloved mistress of Sultan Baz Bahadur, who ruled Mandu after the fall of the Malwa Sultanate from 1555 until 1566, when he was deposed by the Mughal Emperor Akbar. The Rupmati Mahal is said to have been Rupmati's residence, and is close to Baz Bahadur’s royal enclosure containing his palace. It probably dates from the early 15th century with later extensions and has breathtaking views of the Narmada valley below. Mandu first came to prominence under the Paramara dynasty at the end of the 10th century, and remained under Hindu rule until the early 14th century when it was conquered by the Sultans of Delhi. 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. They consitute 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. The photograph is from an album containing architectural and landscape studies of various sites in Central India. The majority of the photographs were taken by Deen Dayal on tour with Sir Lepel Griffin (1838-1908), who served as Resident at Indore and Agent to the Governor-General of Central India between 1881 and 1888. Many are reproduced in autotype in his ‘Famous Monuments of
Central India’ (London, 1886). The album was formerly in the collection of Sir William Lee-Warner (1846-1912), who served in the Indian Civil Service and was a Member of the Council of India between 1902 and 1912.