Mandu, nowadays a tiny town of 8000 and 50% literacy the end of the road, was the Raj and Afghani capital of a large part of northern India for a few hundred years. Like Orchha, it is in the middle of nowhere--at least this time for a good reason its 23 miles of walls and battlements sit on a mountain ridge that make the place both cooler, and pretty hard for mounted troops to assault. Also like Orchha, only the amazing palaces, mosques, caravansaries and graves are left...no sign that normal people lived here. I'd so love to start an archeological dig here.
The Afghani palaces are of unbelievable splendor surrounded by huge artificial lakes and water tanks--both because of the erratic supply and to make the 120F summer heat more bearable.
The Ship Palace, so called because it sits between a lake and a water talk like a huge ship was undergoing restorations...from the concrete mill below, the building methods haven't changed much since antiquity.The great audience hall, stripped of the carpets, gold and decorations...and still very impressive.