Rani Roopmati’s and Baz Bahadur’s tale of love, war and betrayal

Mandu, the fortress city has it all- folklores of love and war, some of it based on historical fact.

Rani Roopmati has been described as a beautiful and intelligent poetess and singer. Baz Bahadur was the ruler of Malwa, with Mandu as his capital. Roopmati and Baz Bahadur were great singers and fell in love with each other after he chanced upon her singing while herding her sheep. He asked for her hand in marriage and she became his queen. She had one condition; that he would make sure she could gaze on the River Narmada everyday, as she could not eat without doing so. He constructed a palace for her which looked out at the river basin, at the highest part of Mandu, which also had an army observation post. Apparently, Roopmati’s singing had the power to make the heavens rain, while Baz Bahadur’s songs could light lamps. They were invaded by Akbar’s armies led by Adam Khan. While Baz Bahadur abandoned her and fled to get support, Adam Khan saw Roopmati and was so mesmerised by her beauty that he wanted to possess her. She committed suicide to guard her honour, thus giving that unique twist that ensures their story is immortal, even though they themselves were not.

This is Baz Bahadur’s palace, built around a central courtyard.




There was a central tank filled with water for bathing.


Across from this was the Rewa Kund, which carried water from the Narmada river to the palace.


It had a garden around it.


Uphill from Baz Bahadur’s palace is Rani Roopmati’s palace, from where she could gaze on to Baz Bahadur’s palace and Narmada river, one on each side of her palace.


There is a large reservoir of water in this palace.


There were open stables for horses, who were well trained to respond only to the whistle of the soldiers, and kept without being tied up.

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There are two pavilions on the top, on each side, which served as observation posts as well.


The view from both sides is amazing. The first picture below shows Baz Bahadur’s palace,while the second shows the Narmada River in the distant region.

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A visit to these monuments lends credence to the love saga between these two people, though he lived on long after she killed herself to maintain her loyalty to him.


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Gold and silver—Ganga begins here

The union of the Alaknanda and Bhagirthi rivers in the Himalayas is the origin of the Ganga River or Ganges….a lifeline to millions, a source of strength and reverence for many, a river that flows for thousands of kilometers …..at night, it has an extra special aura…………still waters run colorful and mystical…..

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Life–a 104 year old lady teaches us

She walks in the room, she can take care of herself is what her great-grandson says, after you gape when you are told that she is 104 years old. She does not have diabetes or hypertension or any other disease of the ‘new world’. 

I had to ask, what are the important things in life ? I figured I’d rather ask her than a guru who lived in the lap of luxury , dependent on other people’s money. This is what she said:

  • keep your soul happy with whatever you have
  • eat what you can… Anything is fine , as long as it’s not packaged and readymade
  • take life as it comes ( she has had several children , her husband passed away long ago)
  • do not envy others , live your own life
  • be kind
  • enjoy your life.
  • Do the best you can
    • try to be independent image

She is a satisfied , happy, down to earth , independent , kind lady who stays positive … She eats what is cooked at home and is clinically disease free!! It doesn’t take perfect looks or a luxurious lifestyle to be satiated , it takes a great spirit .







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Dar-al-Hajar, Rock House of Imam, Yemen

On a huge boulder, sits a home, five stories high !!! Surely an architectural masterpiece. It has been turned into a museum after the assassination of the  Imam, who had built it in the 1930s. He was Yahya Muhammad Hamiddin (1869-1948) , who became Imam of the Zaydis (an Islamic sect)  in 1904, then Imam of Yemen in 1918 until his assassination in 1948. The palace was built  as his summer residence. It has an ideal location, as it overlooks a Wadi or green valley of sorts. The ventilation is superb, each room has windows or vents for the breeze to flow through, The thick stone walls protect it from the heat.  It has the typical captivating Yemeni architecture of pressed red earth lined with white gypsum. There are storage areas, sitting rooms for guests, bedrooms, kitchens, and a special room in which the Imam would stay with the wife selected for that day.DSC_0325

The car park at the base of the palace :


Beautiful flowers greet you before you enter…..

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The climb to the stairs which lead to the Palace : scenic….


Yes….the ultimate treasure…a source of water :





Beneath the rock..one can not see the top of the palace from here…a strategic advantage


Getting in….



Guards were stationed here, as well as at the top of the palace…

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Stained glass windows….intricate carving…

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The terrace….


The sitting room..


The kitchen…

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Thick walls…


Within the rock…

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The stained glass windows filter the sun’s rays, making them magical and colourful. There is greenery at the base of the palace, and the earth is moist and fertile. There is the view of the Wadi from it, which adds to the majestic beauty of the palace. It is an out-of-the-world home, a sight which makes you gasp when you first lay eyes upon it. If you do get a chance to go there, you must grab the opportunity…..

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Valley of Flowers-Himalayas

A high altitude valley that is in the Himalayas, that you have to trek to get to, that has streams and clouds and has rare and beautiful flowers as far as the eye can see…..these are just some of the reasons to visit the Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand, India. A short helicopter ride takes you from Govindghat to Ghangaria. From here a 7 km trek over a rocky uphill path takes you to paradise. Is it worth it? Need you even ask?

The flowers do not know that they have to grow in the valley. For those not fit to trek, some of the amazing flora and fauna can be seen around the region. The sight of the mountains and the clouds and the fields of flowers of all colours, shapes and sizes indigenous to the area is what one needs to go to the valley for.  

The helicopter ride…


Leaving the village of Ghangaria behind…


The informative boards at the ticket counter..

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Flowers everywhere…

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There were 2 rickety bridges….fresh landslides have led to a slightly treacherous route

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Up a mountain, down again and up another mountain to reach 2000 feet than the place we started from.

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The  valley begins

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Feast your eyes….

DSCF6608 DSCF6609 DSCF6620 DSCF6628 DSCF6625The Himalayan Blue Poppy.

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The memories stay forever….the child flew his Phantom3 drone over it, so we have live footage too….


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Blooming Endangered Brahmkamal flower in the wild

Legend has it that anyone who sees the rare Brahmkamal flower blooming in the wild will have anything they desire!!! It was our privilege to be blessed with this sight. These flowers are alleged to have medicinal and magical properties, because of which they are endangered. Magical or not, this is a rare and mysterious flower, which grows only in the Himalayas in India, Tibet and China…in high altitude areas. No plants and flowers were harmed while we enjoyed the sight of these flowers…the opened flower has purple florets which has a heady odour…reported to be hallucinogenic!!! Village folk are afraid to go alone into remote, high altitude forests where these flowers bloom as ‘nymphs’ whisk them away !!! 

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An extraordinary lady in an ordinary world

There is a Mall at the Delhi-Gurgaon border in India called the Ambience Mall. I have visited it often in the past few years, and came away a few times thinking that I was a part-time ladies toilet-cleaner there !!! The washrooms are visited by the crowds and the seat generally left with a few drops of left-over micturition fluid ( ladies toilet)….the toilet rolls are depleted rapidly and replaced very slowly, so much so that I carry some in my handbag from home. The floor near the washbasins is sprayed with water…..I walk gingerly as I do not want my femur neck to be fractured. That was until today……a wonderful lady has kept the row of stalls on the ground floor clean and dry and wipes the seat and floor before any lady enters the toilet!!!! She manages the never-ending line of ladies entering and leaving and works tirelessly…..I went back in to thank her and tell her that she is extraordinary …that nobody has ever done what she is doing, with a smile on her face..that I was lucky to have met her. I asked her for a feedback form, she did not know that they existed!!! I asked her if I could click her picture and write about her….she agreed, and lowered her eyes, standing still, before she took off again to wipe the toilet seat before another lady went in…..I wish we could all appreciate her and clean up after ourselves… I always do that….. 


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Pied Kingfisher…..the diver

And then there were two….waiting patiently by the side of the road for me to try out the ‘other’ camera which has previously been used exclusively for family pictures and classified locations… away from social media. Since the birds and flowers beckon, we are using it for Mother Nature as well…And the birds never fail to put on an amazing display..this one was taken when this bird swooped down to the water surface to fish…


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Kingfisher : : Mind-Blue-ing

Ah, the blue that the powers-that-be use to colour the birds and flowers cannot be duplicated by our species!! Enjoy the brilliance of the flying Kingfisher and chase away the blues that haunt your soul…


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Moon today morning—22/8/16

This morning we saw the sun rise on our right, while the moon stayed behind on our left to say goodbye to the sun……are they star-crossed lovers, literally??


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