Ashrafi Mahal - History, Timings & Entry Fee


Photo Credit: Flickr

Distance (From Mandu Bus Stand): 0.5 Kms

Trip Duration (Including Travel): 15 Mins or Less

Place Location: Opposite Jama Masjid

Transportation Options: Walk/Trek

Travel Tips: Entry fee includes entry to Jama Masjid, Hoshang Shah's Tomb & Ashrafi Mahal.

At a distance of 500 m from Mandu Bus Stand, Ashrafi Mahal is an ancient structure located in the center of Mandu, Madhya Pradesh. Situated opposite Jama Masjid, it is one of the wonderful heritage places to visit as part of Mandu sightseeing packages.

Known as the 'Palace of Gold Coins,' Ashrafi Mahal is a part of the Village Group or the Central Group of Monuments in Mandu. Initially, it was constructed as a Madrasa, an Islamic School of learning, by Mahmud Khilji, the successor of Hoshang Shah. As you wander in the ruined compound, you will see rows of cells and long corridors, cornered with four tall towers which make the mahal entirely look like a school building.

The madrassa courtyard was subsequently filled in to create a terrace 27' high on which the royal mausoleum of Mahmud Khilji could be built. The terrace was approached by a grand flight of steps projecting from the front on top of which a pillared portico was placed with loggias on both sides. Only a few portions of the mausoleum itself remain, though it can be ascertained that it was a square hall of 65' side covered by an immense dome. The doorways and windows were decorated with carvings. In certain places, patterns in choice stones were inlaid with friezes of blue and yellow glaze.

The last structure comprising the Ashrafi Mahal was a Tower of Victory raised by Mahmud Khilji in 1443 to commemorate his victory over the Rana Khumba of Mewar. It replaced the turret on the northeast corner of the original madrassa building. The tower was in red sandstone, rising through 7 stages, of which only one storey has survived. There was a spiral stairway of 198 steps in this victory pillar.

The place however got its name Ashrafi (gold coin) Mahal (palace) because of Ghiyas-ud-din Khilji, who had 15000 queens. When the weight of some of Khilji's queens started increasing, he thought of encouraging the queens to reduce their weight by asking them to climb the staircase of the victory pillar up and down regularly. In return, he also decided to give them an Ashrafi (gold coins) to the queens. The number of Ashrafi was based on the number of steps climbed by each queen every day.

Timings: 8 AM - 6 PM

Entry: Rs. 25 for Indians & Rs. 300 for Foreigners