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.

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There was a central tank filled with water for bathing.

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

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It had a garden around it.

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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.

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There is a large reservoir of water in this palace.

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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.

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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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