Mandsaur or Mandsour is a city in the Malwa region and district of Madhya Pradesh state of central India. It is the administrative headquarters of Mandsaur District. Mandsaur is rich in archaeological and historical heritage But what makes it famous is the temple of Lord Pashupatinath located on the bank of Shivna river. Its idol has parallel only in Nepal. The most common language is Malvi (Rajasthani and Hindi Mixed).It is also famous for large production of Opium around the world. The slate pencil industry is the main industry of the district.
The name Mandsaur evolved from Marhsaur, which originated from Marh and Saur (or Dasaur), two of the villages which merged in the town.The town was known as Dashapura in ancient times. The city consists of ten 'puras', which gave it the name Dashpura (ten puras).
It is also believed that this place was once the maternal residence of Mandodari, the wife of Ravana. In old city areas, people worship the idol of Ravana and avoid participating in the 'Ravana Dahan' (burning the idol of Ravana as a symbol of victory of good over evil )ritual on Vijayadashami(Dashahara) as they regard Ravana their son-in-law. A 35-feet ten headed sitting idol of Ravana can be seen in the Khanpura area of the city.
Epigraphical discoveries have brought to light two ancient royal houses, who call themselves as Aulikaras and ruled from Dashapura (present-day Mandsaur). The first dynasty, who ruled from Dashapura from the beginning comprised the following kings in the order of succession: Jayavarma, Simhavarma, Naravarma, Vishvavarma and Bandhuvarma. Bandhuvarma was contemporary of Kumaragupta I. There is an inscription about Bandhuvarma at Mandsaur. The silk workers had constructed a Sun temple here which was repaired by Bandhuvarma in Samvat 493 (436 CE). This indicates that he was present there till 436 CE. The Risthal stone slab inscription discovered in 1983 has brought to light another Aulikara dynasty, which comprised the following kings in the order of succession: Drumavardhana, Jayavardhana Ajitavardhana, Vibhishanavardhana, Rajyavardhana and Prakashadharma. After Parakshadharma, the ruler of Mandsaur was Yashodharma, who is identified with Vishnuvardhana, who erected a pillar of victory at Bayana due to which Bayana’s name became Vijaygarh. In all probabilities, he was the son and immediate successor of Prakashadharma. Yashodharma Vishnuvardhana assumed the title of Samrat after he occupied the territories of Bandhuvarma. It is also mentioned that Yashodharma Vishnuvardhana had assumed the title of ‘Maharajadhiraja’ or Emperor.
Sondani (सोंधनी) is a small village at a distance of about 4 km from Mandsaur situated on Mahu-Nimach Highway towards Mahu. Two monolith pillars were erected here by King Yasodharman in 528 AD with inscription which describe his exploits including victory over Hunas (Alchon Huns). In a part of the inscription Yasodharman praises himself for having defeated king Mihirakula:
"He (Yasodharman) to whose two feet respect was paid, with complimentary presents of the flowers from the lock of hair on the top of (his) head, by even that (famous) king Mihirakula, whose forehead was pained through being bent low down by the strength of (his) arm in (the act of compelling) obeisance"— Sondani pillar inscription
Excavations by the Indian Archaeology Department show that these pillars are lying at their original site. Nearby was discovered a double head of stone with two faces of lions looking in opposite directions. It was probably the crowning piece of one of the pillars. Each pillar is of height 40 feet, girth 3.5 feet and weighs 200 ton., The inscription bears verses composed by the poet Vasula, the son of Kakka. This eulogy has been engraved by Govinda. The composition is in Sanskrit language and script is north Indian brahmi., Nagappa and Dasappa were two south Indian artisans who gave shape to these pillars. These pillars were discovered by British officer Sulvin in 1875. John F. Fleet discovered their other pieces. In 1921 Shri V.S. Garde, Director Archaeology Gwalior state, made a terrace and put these pillars over it.
The Mandsaur city is situated on the border of Malwa and Mewar and as such is strategically very important. After the attack of Timur, the Delhi Sultanate became weak. Dilawar Khan Ghauri was governor of the Malwa province of central India during the decline of the Delhi Sultanate. Dilawar Khan declared himself Sultan of Malwa in 1401, and passed the kingdom to his son Hoshang Shah upon his death. Thus he had practically come to Mandu in 1401 as the first sultan of Malwa. Dilawar had also shifted the capital from Dhar to Mandu, renaming it Shadiabad, the city of joy. The successor of Dilawar Khan Gauri was Hushang Shah Gori (1405–1435), who constructed fort at strategically important Mandsaur city to strengthen his north-west boundary. In 1519 Rana Sanga occupied the fort and appointed Ashokmal Rajput as its Kiledar. In 1535 Humayun also stayed here for few months during his Malwa expedition. During Sher Shah period Sadar Khan was appointed its Kiledar. During the reign of Akbar Mandsaur got the status of sarkar. In 1733 the Malwa subedar of Mughals Sawai Jaisingh attacked the fort but was defeated by Marathas and the fort went to Marathas. The historically most important event in the fort was the treaty of 1818 between Tantiya Jog senapati of Malhar Rao Holkar II and Sir John Malcum under which Malwa came in occupation of British rule. There are two gardens in which there is a pillar of torandwar. It is believed to be pillar of Surya Mandir of the inscription of Bandhu Varma. There is a Shiva statue also in the garden.
Hinglajgarh (हिंगलाजगढ़) or Hinglaj Fort is an ancient fort situated near village Navali in Bhanpura tehsil of Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh. Its coordinates are Latitude 25°30' N and Longitude 65°31' E. It is situated at a distance of 165 km from Mandsaur town and 26 km from Bhanpura town in Madhya Pradesh. This fort has been at its peak of grandeur during Parmara rule. There are many artistic sculptures of various periods in this fort. The Nandi and Uma-Maheshwar sculptures were sent from here to France and Washington for display in India festivals and left a mark at International levels. The Hinglajgarh had been centre of excellence in craftmanship of sculptures for about 800 years. The statues recovered from this fort are from Guptas period to Parmara period. The most ancient statues are from 4-5th century AD.
In 19th century before India's independence in 1947, Mandsaur was part of the princely state of Gwalior. It gave its name to the treaty with the Holkar Maharaja of Indore, who concluded the Third Anglo-Maratha War and the Pindari War in 1818. At the turn of the 20th century it was a centre of the Malwa opium trade.
Mandsaur District forms the northern projection of Madhya Pradesh from its western Division, i.e., Ujjain Commissioner's Division. It lies between the parallels of latitude 230 45' 50" North and 250 2' 55" North, and between the meridians of longitude 740 42' 30" East and 750 50' 20" East.
The District is an average size district of Madhya Pradesh. It extends for about 142 km. from north to south and 124 km. from east to west. The total area is 5521 km² with a population of 116483 in 2001.
As of 2001[update] India census, Mandsaur had a population of 116,483. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%. Mandsaur has an average literacy rate of 71%, higher than the national average of 59.5%: male literacy is 78%, and female literacy is 64%. In Mandsaur, 13% of the population is under 6 years of age.
The major trains passing from Mandsaur are:-
Mandsaur and its neighborhood are full of places of tourist interest. An inscription discovered near the town indicated the erection of a temple of the sun in 437, and at Sondani are two great monolith pillars recording a victory of Yasodharman, king of Malwa, in 528. The fort dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. Hindu and Jain remains are numerous, though the town is predominantly Muslim.
Mandsaur is also famous for Pashupatinath Temple, a Hindu temple situated on the banks of the Shivana river. Pashupatinath Temple is one of the prominent shrines in Mandsaur of Madhya Pradesh. Lord Shiva in the form of Lord Pashupatinath is the principal deity here. The highlight is a unique Shivling with eight faces of Lord Shiva. The shrine has four doors in four directions.
Shree Bahi Parshwanath Digambar Jain Atishay Kshetra is situated 12 km from Mandsaur. This place is constructed with the blessing and inspirations from Acharya Shree Kalyan Sagar Ji Maharaj, also known as "Namokar Mahamantra Sadhana Kendra, Vahi Parshavanatha Chaupati". Moolnayak of this temple is a 58 cm high, black-colored idol of Parshvanath in the Padmansana posture. Since this tirth is in Vahinagar, the idol is called Vahi Parshvanath.
A source of the utility water supply for the city pupils and also famous as a tourist attraction. This particular lake known as Teliya Talaab has developed into more of a family and friends gathering place with a park and a temple near by. Inhabitants including people of every caste and age often spend their time here in the evenings and or the holidays.
There is a beautiful 35 Years old church near BSNL Tower. It is a branch of CNI group of churches. In the premises of church there is a beautiful 150 years old British era cemetery near to church.
River Chambal in Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary The Gandhi Sagar Dam is the first of the four dams built on the Chambal river. It is located in the Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh. It is a 64 metre high masonry gravity dam, with a live storage capacity of 6,920 million cubic metres and a catchment area of 22,584 km2. The dam was completed in 1960. The hydro-power station comprises five generating units of 23 MW capacity each. The water released after power generation is used for power generation at Jawahar Sagar Dam and is used for irrigation through Kota Barrage.
Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary is wildlife sanctuary situated on the northern boundary of Mandsaur and Nimach districts in Madhya Pradesh, India. It is spread over an area of 368.62 km squire adjoining Rajasthan state in India. It was notified in 1974 and more area was added in 1983. The Chambal River passes through the sanctuary and divides into two parts. The western part is in Nimach district and eastern part is in Mandsaur district.
Mandsaur Fort, also known as Dashpur Fort, is situated in Mandsaur city in Mandsaur district in Madhya Pradesh state of India. The Mandsaur city is situated on the border of Malwa and Mewar and as such is strategically very important. After the attack of Timur, the Delhi Sultanate became weak. Dilawar Khan Ghauri was governor of the Malwa province of central India during the decline of the Delhi Sultanate. Dilawar Khan declared himself Sultan of Malwa in 1401, and passed the kingdom to his son Hoshang Shah upon his death. Thus he had practically come to Mandu in 1401 as the first King of Malwa. Dilawar had also shifted the capital from Dhar to Mandu, renaming it Shadiabad, the city of joy. The successor of Dilawar Khan Gauri was Hushang Shah Gori (1405–1435), who constructed fort at strategically important Mandsaur city to strengthen his north-west boundary. He is also remembered for his wonderful taste in architecture.
An old temple of Shree Khade Balaji (Hanuman ji). It is very old Hindu temple with interiors done with stones. A worth visit place. It is near to Gandhi Chauraha, in heart of Mandsaur. Every year during the Diwali season Balaji Yuva Group organize the Maha Aarati and Annkut Prasad @ Balaji ka Bada, Gandhi Chouraha.
A Temple with Glass interiors. Bandi Ji Ka Baag is a 120 Yrs old Jain temple with interiors done with Glass. A worth visit place. It is very near to Main Bus Stand. The temple currently has a "Maan Stambh", built when temple celebrated 100 years of establishment.