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The group of monuments of Mandu are situated about 42 km south-east of Dhar, 112 km south-west of Indore and 300 km south-west of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh. There are 61 monuments including fort wall protected and declared as monuments of national importance. The most significant ones are described below-
l) Caves and Temples:
The rock-cut caves known as Lohani caves were probably excavated in or about the eleventh century A.D. The area around them yielded 80 sculptures. Some Saiva temples appear to have existed near the caves which were destroyed for use in the Muslim buildings. To the south of the cave stands a monolithic pillar about 5 meters high probably attached to a temple originally.
2) Dilawar Khan's Mosque:
The earliest Indo-Islamic building at Mandu is Dilawar Khan's mosque. It consists of a central courtyard, enclosed by colonnade all around and mehrab on the west. The prayer hall has ceiling in Hindu style and its architecture is considerably influenced by Hindu workmanship.
3) Hindola Mahal:
This building is "T" - shaped in plan, with a main hall and a transverse projection. On both sides of the hall are six arched openings. This hall originally had a massive vaulted roof. The side walls are strengthened with massive sloping buttresses which have given the name "swinging" (Hindola) palace to the building. Architecturally, the palace is assigned to the end of the fifteenth century A.D.
4) Jahaz Mahal:
It is known as "Ship Palace" as it is on the narrow strip of land between the waters of the Munj and Kapur tanks. The ground floor of the building consists of three large halls, with corridors in betwen the narrow rooms at the extreme ends. Its spacious terrace, approached by a lengthy flight of steps is adorned with domed pavilions.
5) Tomb of Hoshang Shah:
The tomb is square in plan, with well-proportioned and artistic arched openings on three sides supporting the marble dome above. The mausoleum stands on a square marble platform. The walls are 9.6 m high from the plattorm. The interior of the tomb is 14.9 sq. m. Externally, the dome is flat and heavy, adorned with small domed turrets at the four corners. The finial of the dome is crowned with a crescent, a feature which seems to have been imported to Mandu. The tomb is influenced by Hindu style of architecture.
6) Jami Masjid:
This majestic building was started by Hoshang Shah and completed by Mahmud Khalji in A.D.1454.
On plan it is 97.4 sq.m with a huge dome on the porch and approached by a flight of thirty steps.
The facade of the plinth has been arranged into a verandah, 1.8m deep, with arched openings. The interior of the mosque consists of a spacious hall about 13.7 sq.m with jali screens on the sides.
7) Madrasa or Ashrafi Mahal:
The bnildings here belong to two different stages of construction. The earlier representing a college or Madrasa, attached to the Jami Masjid, is a great quadrangle enclosed on all sides by a number of small cells for students. At the four corners of the quadrangle were round towers, three of which are still extant. Amongst these the north-eastern tower was later raised seven storeys high by Mahmud Khalji to commemorate his victory over the Rana of Mewar in Rajasthan. The basement of this tower is 9.8 m high. Here the tomb of Mahmud Khalji was erectod on the western projection of the quadrangle. The interior of this tomb is 19.9 sq.m. It was repaired during the time of the Mughal emperor Akbar.
8) Malik Mughith's Mosque:
Malik Mughith, the father of Mahmud Khalji, built the mosque in A.D.1432. The plan of this building consists of a central court and other usual parts.
9) Dai-Ki-Chhoti Bahen-Ka-Mahal:
It is a tomb octagonal in plan with arched openings on four sides
10) Baz-Bahadurts Palace:
The palace is approached by broad steps with landings at intervals. The passage through the gateway is covered with rooms for the guards on both sides and with a vaulted ceiling. The passage further leads to the outer court of the palace with its main doorway in front.
The main portion of the palace consists of a spacious open courtyard with halls and rooms on all the four sides and a cistern in its centre.
11) Rupmati's Pavilion
The building has undergone two or three stages of construction in different periods. On the terrace of the original portion there are pavilions, square in plan at the base and crowned with hemispherical domes, fluted both outside and inside. It is said that Rupmati came here daily from the palace nearby to have a view of river Narmada, which is seen from here on a clear sunny day. The style of the arches and pillars show that the pavilions were probably built a century earlier than Rupmati's time.
12) Darya Khan's Tomb:
The most interesting feature of this building are the small domes at the four corners surrounding the main dome in the centre. The interior is a square with arches built across the corners to support the dome above. The tomb was built for Darya Khan in A.D.1510-26