Showing posts with label Chhatris. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chhatris. Show all posts

MP Diaries : Orchha Chhatris, Grander than the Grandest

Chhatris of Orchha
Chhatris of Orchha
After witnessing the beautiful paintings of the Lakshmi Mandir, we moved on to the Chhatris (Cenotaphs) complex on the Kanchan Ghat bank of river Betwa. This complex is home to 14 Chhatris built in memory of the Royal family members of the Bundela dynasty - Maharaja Sujan Singh, Jaswant Singh, Maharaja Indiramani, King Sawant Singh, Madhukar Shah, and Vir Singh Deo to name a few. These were built between the 17th and 18th centuries, representing the Bundela style of Architecture. 
Cenotaph of Orchha
Chhatris of Orchha
The Betwa River, Orchha
Sunset of Orchha
The Best Way to End The Day
How to reach Orchha: Orchha is about 16 km from Jhansi
Entry Fee: Rs.15/- per head for Indian Citizens and Rs.200/- per head for foreigners. There is only one ticket counter in Orchha outside the palace complex. Tickets are compulsory before entering the Chhatris complex. 
Accommodation: We stayed in Hotel Aditya and unfortunately, this was the worst experience we have had in Madhya Pradesh because of the bad hospitality and rude staff. Better options would be to find accommodation at Sheesh Mahal or Betwa resort, both maintained by the MPSTDC. 
Where to eat: There are plenty of options with a wide range and matching everyone's budget.                                                  

MP Diaries: Gwalior, The crown of Madhya Pradesh

A chilly Gwalior welcomed us after a hectic drive from Shivpuri. The temperature here was below 10 degree centigrade, typical of the Northern Indian climate in January. We checked into Hotel Ambassador and decided to rest for the day due to the weather and the temperature only kept going down, creating uneasiness to our little one. As he started to catch cold, he became more uncomfortable and woke up from his sleep crying loud. We tried to comfort him and gave him the required medicines. As the hotels there did not have a heater installed in rooms, we had no other choice but to request for a separate heater and only wished their response was positive. Fortunately, he obliged to the request and did the needful, which helped us much that night. Our little one felt much better after getting the room heater and slept peacefully for rest of the night. We woke up late the next morning only to realize it was totally foggy outside and decided to stay indoors until the situation improved. We stepped out at around 10.30 am to check out the town of Gwalior, though it remained foggy with a slight drizzle too.
Gwalior Fort
This is How Gwalior Fort Looked at Noon 
Gwalior always has been in our list of places to visit for various reasons, right from its role in India's first war of Independence to the Nanda dynasty rule of Pataliputra during early 6th century BC. The state of Gwalior rose to prominence with Chieftain Suraj Sen. He met saint Gwalipa who lived on the hilltop where the fort now stands and was cured of his disease by the saint. In return, Suraj Sen founded the city and named it after the saint. Thus Gwalior was founded. Man Singh Tomar, the great ruler of Tomar dynasty improved the fort here and built the most famous palace of Gwalior, the Man Mandir Palace. Later this fort was captured by the Mughals and remained under them for a long period, after which in 1810, it came under the control of the Scindia dynasty and finally the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, led by Tantya Tope and  strongly supported by Rani Lakshmi Bai. Both the brave warriors gave up their lives during the struggle for independence of this great country.
The Scindia Chhatris: The lesser known Chhatri complex of Scindia rulers stands mute in the busy lanes of Gwalior. This was the first place we visited in Gwalior and reaching this place was easy. We were greeted by two huge and magnificent cenotaphs. The larger Chhatri was built in 1817 to commemorate Maharaja Jiyaji Rao Scindia and the smaller Chhatri was built in 1843 in memory of Maharaja Janakaji Scindia.
Scindia Chhatris of Gwalior
Maharaja Jiyaji Rao Scindia Chhatri 
Gwalior Fort: This most impressive structure of Madhya Pradesh is built on a small hillock. Other monuments inside the fort are the Man Mandir Palace, Hathi Pol, Karn Mahal, Vikram Mahal, Gujari Mahal, Shah Jahan Mahal, Jahangeer Mahal and many such.
Gwalior Gate
Qila Gate/ Gwalior Gate 
Blue Tiled Walls of Gwalior Fort 
Man Mandir Mahal
Inside Man Mandir Palace 
Saas-Bahu Temple (Mother-in-law Daughter-in-law Temple): Built in the 11-12th century by Mahipala Kachhwaha, this temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Saas - Bahu Temple Complex, Gwalior
Saas - Bahu Temple Complex 
Chaturbhuj Temple: Here is the world's first written zero found! The inscribed slab is believed to be of a much earlier period than the temple which was built by Pratiharas in 9th century.
Chaturbhuj Temple 
World's First Written Zero
World's First Written Zero 
 Teli Ka Mandir: This 9th century temple built by Pratiharas is the tallest temple, with its unusual shikhara.
Teli Ka Mandir, Gwalior
Teli Ka Mandir 
Jain Rock Cut Temples:  These were built over 800 years, from the 7th century and are dedicated to various Jain Tirthankaras. The tallest murti (idol) here is that of the first Jain Tirthankara, Adinath.
Lord Adinath
Moti Mahal: This 19th century palace built by the Scindia kings was the Secretariat of Madhya Bharat government back then. There is a beautiful garden with a neatly done network of fountains in front of this palace.
Moti Mahal, Gwalior
Moti Mahal 
Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus: This huge building crowned with a large dome is dedicated to the 16th century Muslim saint Mohammad Ghaus.
Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus
 Tomb of Tansen: It is a small tomb dedicated to the greatest classical singer Tansen, who was the leading singer in Akbar’s court. He was also one among the navaratnas (nine gems). The tomb is in the same complex as that of the Tomb of Mohammad Ghaus and is much smaller in size. The tomb is located besides a tamarind tree, whose leaves were chewed by Miyan Tansen for a sweet voice.
Tomb of Tansen and Famed Tamarind Tree 
Light and Sound Show:  Every evening the MPSTDC runs an hour’s light and sound show at the Man Mandir Palace inside the fort in the two languages of Hindi and English.
Lit Gwalior Fort during Light and Sound Show
Lit Gwalior Fort 
Others Places to Visit: Jai Vilas Palace Museum, Nag Dev Mandir, various parks, and many more.
Entry Fee: The Entry fee collected for various sites are as below,
A. Man Mandir Palace - Rs 15/- for Indians and Rs 200/- for Foreigners
B. Royal enclosure - Rs 15/- for Indians and Rs 200/- for Foreigners
C. Gujari Mahal/ ASI Museum - Rs 5/- for all, Monday Holiday
D. Light and Sound Show - Rs 100/- for all
E. Jai Vilas Palace Museum - Rs 60/- for Indians and Rs 350/- for Foreigners
Accommodation:- We stayed for a day at Hotel Ambassador which offered very basic amenities and held a decent and friendly staff, though not very clean. Our second day accommodation was at Hotel Shelter, a bit upscale hotel with nice ambiance, centrally located, mid-range and friendly staff. Being a popular tourist destination, there are many options tailored to meet the varying budgets. Hotel Tansen Residency is another good one being maintained by MPSTDC.
Where to eat: Options are many. There should be no difficulty in finding a suitable place for meals.
 References:
1. RBS visitors Guide India Madhya Pradesh
2. DK Eyewitness Travel India

PS: A new page has been added to our blog, which has a collection of our Vlogs. Click here to view.

MP DIaries: Chhatris of Shivpuri, A 20th century Wonder

Our next destination after Chanderi was Gwalior. As we had enough time, we wished to check out a few places on the way which included Datia and Shivpuri. We zeroed in on Shivpuri as we would also have a chance to visit the Madhav National Park on the way. The initial drive was on a single road until we reached Sirsod, wherefrom it was on the 4 laned NH 27.  We took a diversion following a sign board directing us towards Madhav National Park and drove for about 5 km only to realize that we were lost and had taken the wrong diversion. We returned to the highway and started driving towards Shivpuri and suddenly found another board (the right one this time) towards Madhav National Park! We inquired at the entrance of the national park only to realise that the safari and the entrance fee were insanely priced and decided to skip visiting the park. We drove ahead to check out the Royal Chhatris.
Chhatris of Shivpuri
Chhatri of Maharani Sakhya Rao Scindia 
Cenotaph of Shivpuri
 The Royal Chhatris complex has two beautiful and magnificent Marble Cenotaphs, one dedicated to the Scindia dynasty king Madho Rao Scindia and the other to his mother Maharani Sakhya Rao Scindia. We were in for a shock to see a horde of people there and realised most of them had come to celebrate the beginning of the New Year. We were in a dilemma to enter the complex premises owing to the huge gathering, but the Chhatris were so grand that we could not give it a miss. We entered the complex after paying nominal fee. The place is maintained by the local trust and seemed low on maintenance due to the crowd's littering.
Statue of Maharani Sakhya Rao Scindia 
Royal Seat 
Decked Up Entrance to Chhatri 
Chhatris of Shivpuri
Chhatri of King Madho Rao Scindia 
Door 
  The Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia Chhatri is was built between 1926 and 1932. This excellent white marble work with lot of floral design in Rajputana style. The architecture of both the Chhatris present here is a combination of Rajput and Islamic styles. The Jali work is quite intricate and exquisite. We sat on the beautiful seat laid in the garden and watched the sun go down. But the crowd was here deterrent and we decided to call it a day. Our drive to Gwalior on the highway was a nightmare due to the 4 lane work of the highway which was under progress.
Sunset in the Background of Chhatri of King Madho Rao Scindia 
Other Places of Interest: Madhav Vilas Palace, George's Castle, Bhadaiya Kund and so on.
Entrance Fee: Madhav National Park - Rs.100/- per head, Rs.1000/- per Vehicle for Safari (own vehicle to be used), Chhatris - Rs.10/-per head.
Distance from the nearby town: Shivpuri is a major town, about 110 km from Gwalior.
Accommodation: We didn't stay here, but there are many option best being MPSTDC tourist Village maintained by MP tourism.
Where to eat: Tourist village is the best option along with various other options.
References:
1. RBS Visitors guide India Madhya Pradesh

PS: A new page has been added to our blog, which has a collection of our Vlogs. Click here to view.