Songarh Fort, [Mandu]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Sonegarh Fort at Mandu, Madhya Pradesh, taken by an unknown photographer in c.1902. The fort was once an impregnable citadel and part of the historic hillfort of Mandu, now in ruins, which stands in a spectacular, naturally-defended position on a plateau of the Vindhya hills surrounded by a ravine. The citadel is separated from the main hill by a narrow neck of land. This is a view of the citadel ramparts. An ancient stronghold, Mandu first came to prominence under the Hindu Paramara dynasty, powerful rulers of the region of Malwa in central India with their capital at Dhar, at the end of the 10th century. Their rule ended with the fall of Malwa to the Delhi Sultans in 1305. Mandu's golden age came as the capital of the Sultans of Malwa between 1405 and 1531. They transferred the capital from Dhar to Mandu, 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. The construction of the 59.5 km (37 miles) of ramparts surrounding the fort was begun by Dilawar Khan Ghuri (ruled 1401-5), the Afghan governor who broke away from the Delhi Sultanate to establish the independent Sultanate of Malwa, and completed by Mahmud Shah I Khalji (ruled 1436-69), an illustrious ruler from the Khalji dynasty of Malwa sultans. The Malwa Sultanate collapsed in 1531 and the province passed to the Gujarat Sultanate, then the Mughals by the 1560s and finally to the Marathas in the 1730s. Mandu lapsed into ruin when it was abandoned in favour of Dhar in the 18th century.