The laid back town of Mandu in Madhya Pradesh is splashed with sprawling green hills, ruins of a past long gone by and serene lakes that will make you want to get lost in this dreamt town, Mandu is known for the annual festival take takes place at the heart of this hamlet. Filled with mystic, wonder, and music, this festival is quite a revelation.
A sleepy town of Mandu is one of the best places to head to if you are looking for some relaxing avenues and tranquil locales. An off the radar destination, Mandu is blessed with sweeping sceneries and pure unadulterated beauty that will make you come here again and again.
The Mandu Festival is one of the most energetic and entertaining festivals that you will visit in a long time. Nestled in the green valley, this festival is quite a sight to behold.
Here are some things you can do at this festival:
If you are visiting Mandu, especially during the festival, then you must set up a camp and let the blissful spirit of this town flow through you. The campsite is quite stunning, with trees adorned with idyllic dream catchers and threads that vibrantly shine through the green leaves.
At night, you will be mesmerized by the starlit sky that is away from the polluted smog of the city. Just light up a campfire and let the wonders of Mandu take you and your friends away to a distant and more tranquil place.
One of the most exciting and magnificent activities in Mandu is the raging Narmada Aarti. This spiritual affair takes place at the Reva Kund and is easily one of the most popular things to witness in Mandu.
The Aarti starts around 8 pm, as the sun sets disappear into the river, and the valley starts to get dark. Slowly the locals start to flood the banks, as the smoke from the incense sticks fills up the air. As more and more people reach the bank, and the air starts to smell of the aromatic incense sticks, you will start to feel the religious aura creep into you.
The priest arrives at the river and gradually starts the proceedings. While it is not as raging as the Ganga Aarti in Kashi, however, the silent prayers and the peaceful trance makes this Aarti unique in its way. The priest eventually floats in the river as he holds the holy lamp in these hands, along with a conch shell, coconut, and flowers. His legs are always folded in a yogic posture. It is quite a sight to marvel at.
Mandu is also known for its wonderful art and craftwork thanks to the many artists that show their work at the festival. There is a little serene corner dedicated to these artists in the festivals and you must make a stop there. The paintings and handicrafts are filled with engaging visual stories and anecdotes about the life of Gond Tribes.
You will also find rangolis adorning the floor, with geometric patterns made with such intricacies and skills. These paintings are also sold quite readily in the festival, which is quite good for the local artists.
The Mandu Festival is livened up with rocking music concerts and enchanting folk songs that will make your evenings more eventful and energetic. Popular music bands like the Indian Ocean is a regular at this festival, while people like Navraj Hans also make it a point to come and energize the entire crowd.
The concerts are goosebump-inducing, as the entire hamlet starts to sing and the air starts echoing with the music. It feels as if Mandu has come alive after a long slumber, and is all ready to party.
The festival also has fashion shows which feature not only locally weaved dresses but also models from Mandu itself.
To top off your Mandu festival experience, practice some soul searching through a healthy session of Yoga. Some lovely Yoga workshops are heavily attended by enthusiasts. Just lay down and flow the calming voice of the instructor as you stretch your body which touching your soul. The Yoga coupled with the gorgeous views of the clear blue sky will make your body and mind feel also relaxed and light.
The fascinating hot air balloon ride is a staple at the Mandu Festival. It commences early in the morning, just as the sun starts to break the dawn. This wonderful ride is not only enchanting to ride, but also looks quite stunning from the ground. Imagine five colourful hot air balloons rising in the sky.
As you ride the balloon, you will be privy to some captivating views of the entire town down below. From the ethereal water bodies to the rustic mountains- it is quite magical. Sail through the clouds, as you try and spot more monuments down below. Watch the green-carpeted valley located right below you, and get lost in the heavenly locales. This ride feels straight out of a fairytale with its charming views.
To finish off your trip, take a break from the festival and head off to the 64 Yogini Temple that is located here. Located in Jirapur Village, this shrine is situated by a gigantic lake, making it quite even more mystical and alluring.
As you entire, the temple you will find ancient ruins dismantled idols and little pieces of the ceiling and pillars that have chipped away for to time. The structure itself will tell you, that there used to be a colossal and regal temple here once, which has not stood the test of time. However, this temple is still functional and regular pujas still take place. The shrine is quite serene and walking through it feels like walking back in time, as you find more ruins and try to visualize the sight that once was.
The Mandu Festival also offers heritage walks, bus tours, and delicious local delicacies that will make you want to come back for more. However, even beyond this stunning festival, the town of Mandu is a wonder in itself. With a rich history and even richer views, Mandu is a town worth visiting.