Until I reached Mandu I did not know who Hoshang Shah was. Travel does introduce us to, inter alia, interesting historical figures that we would not have otherwise bothered to find out about, isn’t it?
At the first glance of Hoshang Shah’s Mausoleum in Mandu, the initial thought that crops up is: C'est Magnifique (It's Magnificent).
I do not know much neither about his life and achievements, nor about the circumstances of his death but having read a bit about him, now I know Hoshang Shah is remembered as a warrior with a sympathetic heart and dearly loved by his subjects. It was he who made Mandu one of the most impregnable forts of India. He ruled Malwa for 27 years.
Looking at the gleaming Mausoleum sheathed entirely in white marble, I also think of the Taj Mahal. The work on the Mausoleum was begun by Hoshang Shah himself, who died in 1435, and the work was completed by Mahmoud Khilji in AD 1440. It is probably one of India’s earliest marble structure based on Afghan architecture.
I am not surprised at the claim that Shah Jahan was so impressed by the Mausoleum that he sent a team of his architects to Mandu to study its design before commencing construction of the Taj Mahal. Certainly some inspiration may have been drawn from this Mausoleum. To the uninitiated, the Taj Mahal was completed in and around AD 1648.
I notice the quadrangle on which the Mausoleum is built, and am particularly drawn to its large white dome with smaller cupolas at the corners. The entrance is through a porch.
As expected at Mausoleums, I take off my footwear and step in quietly. The light filtering through its delicately beautiful lattice work gives the place an exquisite effect. The atmosphere is amazingly serene.
Much later, once out, I choose a spot in the calm surroundings at one of the porches supported by decorative colonnades in the western part of the Mausoleum.
The neat garden has many flowering plants. Many jasmine shrubs are in full bloom spreading fragrance around the austere place.
Dark clouds begin to roll across the blue sky, its edges folded in silver.
As the rain is about to pour down, I prepare to leave the Hoshang Shah’s Mausoleum to explore another monument in the vicinity. Glancing back one last time, I think: Death not only ends life; to some, it also bestows upon it a beautiful completeness.
Mandu can be reached by road from Indore via Dhar, and the nearest airport is in Indore (100 kms). The nearest railheads are Indore and Ratlam (120 km).