India

Fortifications and Gates of Mandu City

2 years ago | Mini Agarwal
This post is part of a series called Mandu: The Land and its History
Dilli Darwaza also known as the arch of Delhi Gate. This arch is the primary entrance to Mandu in Madhya Pradesh, the momentous, derelict city
Dilli Darwaza also known as the arch of Delhi Gate. This arch is the primary entrance to Mandu in Madhya Pradesh, the momentous, derelict city © clicksabhi / Shutterstock

There are a total of twelve gateways in Mandu citadel. Visitors today enter the citadel through the main Delhi Darwaza since it sits at the end of the natural northern causeway meandering up the hill. But before reaching this entry gate, the visitor passes through a series of other fortified gateways.
This impressive gate consists of five crenellated arches beautifully decorated with inlay work of blue enamel in stark contrast with the dark red of the sandstone the gateway was constructed from. The unused and older Rampol Darwaza is nearby. The Seven Hundred Steps or Sat-sau Sidhi was constructed as protection against a natural narrow fissure in the hill. It can be found in the northeastern part of the fortification. Jahangir Gate lies east but is completely covered with vegetation, making it inaccessible.
Facing life’s brighter side of Mandu gates

Facing life’s brighter side © RealityImages / Shutterstock


Surprisingly the steep eastern incline could not prevent enemy incursions. Therefore a sturdy wall was needed as extra defense. A gate, Bhagwanpur, two miles down the valley allows entry through the wall. Another gateway further along this fortified wall, towards the southwest, is called the Tarapur Gate. It was named after Tarapur, a settlement down on the Nimar plain. Even the precipitous incline could not prevent Humayun, emperor of the Mughal, amongst others, to make surprise attacks. The inhabitants probably did not deem it necessary to defend this inaccessible area, which made matters easier for their enemies. Tarapur Gate has an inscription on its 2nd arched entrance which records its builder as Dilwar Khan, the Mandu Sultan’s first Islamic governor between 1406 and 1407.
Continuing north-west on the way to Songarh, a more recent arched gate can be seen. This gateway was rebuilt at the start of the 1800s by the Marathas. On the inner surface are plaster images of an elephant and a tiger. Folklore has it that a local chieftain lowered himself as well as his steed down the steep Songarh cliff when Humayun’s troops surrounded the citadel in 1534.
Dilli Darwaza also known as the arch of Delhi Gate. This arch is the primary entrance to Mandu in Madhya Pradesh, the momentous, derelict city

Dilli Darwaza is also known as the arch of Delhi Gate. This arch is the primary entrance to Mandu in Madhya Pradesh, the momentous, derelict city © clicksabhi / Shutterstock

 

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Mandu: The Land and its History
Mandu: The Land and its History