Showing posts with label Madhya Pradesh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Madhya Pradesh. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

MP Diaries - Chausath Yogini temple - Bhedaghat, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

While we were enjoying the sunset behind the Marble Rocks of Bhedaghat, we realized that we were running out of time to visit the Chausath Yogini temple here. We rushed back to our car and headed towards this temple. Having visited a few Yogini temples such as that at Hirapur (Orissa), Mitawali and Khajuraho, we were excepting this to be along similar lines. The Yogini temples generally are dedicated to the  64 Yoginis, housing 64 small shrines enclosing a Yogini each and thus the name 'Chausath Yogini'. However, this temple houses 81 small shrines along its periphery unlike the 64 celled temples. The word 'Chausath' means 64 in the language of Hindi and 'Yogini' means the power of realization and the names given to the demoness/ sorceress/ woman possessing magical powers.  Goddess Durga created these Yoginis to attend her and Lord Shiva. Also sometimes, goddess Durga is also referred to as a Yogini. While one school of thought says that all the 81 murtis here are Yoginis, the other assumes they are the 64 Yoginis with associated Devi's, including the Saptamatrikas. Originally being eight Yoginis, with other associations they number as many as 64. They are said to have attained the form of grama-devatas or are minor manifestations of goddess Durga.
Chausath Yogini Temple, Jabalpur
Gauri Shankar Temple Inside Chausath Yogini Temple

Atop a hillock situated close by the Marble Rocks is the 'Chausath Yogini temple', built in the 10th century AD by the Kalachuri king Yuvarajadeva I. The temple is a circular structure with no roof. There are 81 cells/shrines at the periphery, out of which 64 are dedicated to the 64 Yoginis and the rest to other deities including the saptamatrikas. The murtis in most of the cells are either partially or completely damaged, with some being defaced. A board displaying the names of each is present below the murti, making the identification process a bit easier. At the middle of this enclosure is the 'Gauri-Shankar temple' dedicated to Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Parvati. The garbagriha houses an idol of the couple deity riding on Nandi, the bull mount of Lord Shiva.
Sarvvatomukhi Yogini Durga
Sri Sarvvatomukhi
Sri Vibhatsa Chausath Yogini
Sri Vibhatsa
Sri Erudi (Horse Faced Yogini)
Sri Erudi (Horse Faced)
How to Reach Bhedaghat: Travel along Jabalpur - Bhopal highway and turn left towards Bhedaghat. Drive along to reach the waterfalls and temple, if driving from Jabalpur. It is situated at about 25 km from Jabalpur.
Entry Fee: Entry is free to the temple.
Accommodation: Though we did not stay here,  there are quite a  a few options available for accommodation here. Hotel Marble Rocks maintained by the MPTDC on the banks of the river Narmada, one of the is best available here.
Where to eat: There are many eat-outs, including a few road-side eateries.

Related Posts:
1. Mitawali Chausath Yogini temple
2. Temples of Orchha  
3. Bateshwar Group of Temples 
5. MP Diaries 

Monday, September 25, 2017

MP Diaries: The Smoky Dhuandhar Waterfalls and Magical Marble Rocks, Bhedaghat

Smoky Dhuandhar Waterfalls
Smoky Dhuandhar Waterfalls
After witnessing a few of the earliest temples of Madhya Pradesh at Nachna and Tigawa, we headed towards Bhedaghat to visit the smoky Dhuandhar waterfalls. We stopped by a roadside dhaba just before Jabalpur and had a hearty meal. We then drove towards Bhedaghat which is about 25 km from Jabalpur and reached there just at the right time before sunset. Walking swiftly towards the waterfall, we immediately hopped into the cable car for a sky ride across this beautiful water cascade which was an out of the world experience. Bhedaghat is the confluence of the rivers Narmada and Banganga. An aerial view of this magnificent waterfall simply gave us an idea of how powerful it is, true to its name 'Dhuandhar' or the 'smoky cascade'. The Smoky Dhuandhar Falls in the upstream of Bhedaghat is quite a spectacle to witness! Plunging from a height of about 30 feet, this voluminous waterfall with its powerful plunge creates vapors that resemble smoke. One can hear the loud roar of this waterfall from quite some distance (do check out the video below in this post).
Dhuandhar Waterfalls, Bhedaghat
Waterfalls near Jabalpur
Bhedaghat is also much famed for the 'Marble Rocks' where the river meanders into a narrow stream, creating a beautiful gorge with soft marble rocks rising high on either sides. This place is calm and serene and one can simply sit by the rocks to enjoy its tranquility. The locally available rocks are used for carving sculptures and other artifacts. It serves as a livelihood to the locals, which is quite evident from the numerous stalls lined up on either sides of the pathway selling articles made of these rocks.
The Cable Car
Smoky Dhuandhar Waterfalls
Smoky Dhuandhar Waterfalls in Monochrome
Marble Rocks, Bhedaghat
Marble Rocks, Bhedaghat

The cable car ride facility is available at a cost of Rs.85/- per person. There is also a boat ride facility, which is supposed to be an unforgettable experience especially during moonlit nights.

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4. Madhya Pradesh - the heart of Incredible India                                                                                                              

Friday, September 15, 2017

MP Diaries - Lord Vishnu and Kankali Devi Temples, Tigawa

After spending a good amount of time at Nachna, admiring our ancestral architectural skills. Thereon we drove to our next destination Tigawa which was the most memorable of all drives. The drive was mostly through village roads that were least populated and spotless! The best stretch though was through the forest of Muhandra  and we thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. We covered about 140 km within 2 hours time and reached the temple complex of Tigawa which is home to two small and beautiful ancient temples, the Kankali Devi Temple and Devi/Lord Vishnu Temple.
Kankali Devi Temple, Tigawa
Kankali Devi Temple, Tigawa

The Kankali Devi Temple can be easily classified among the earliest temples of India, built by the Gupta dynasty. This temple complex probably housed many other temples, which is quite evident from the vast ruins spread across the complex of which only 2 survive today. This  temple dates to 5th century AD and was originally dedicated to Kankali Devi. The sanctum now houses a murti of Lord Ugranarasimha. The sanctum entrance is flanked by images of Goddesses Ganga and Yamuna and. The inner wall of the porch bears beautiful carvings of Lord Vishnu reclining on Shesha and Goddess Chamundi which are marvelous specimens of Gupta sculptural art. The roof of the shrine is flat without any shikara but has a front porch (ardhamandapa) supported on columns bearing  patterns of foliage, miniature kudu arches framing small human/animal faces and lions sculpted at its top.
Tigawa Temple
Kankali Temple Doorway
Heavy and Beautiful Pillars
Probably Jain Tirthankara Parshvanatha (??)
Goddess Chamundi and Lord Vishnu
Tigowa Temple
Kudu Arches
River Goddess Ganga, Gupta dynasty
River Goddess Ganga
River Goddess Yamuna on door frame
River Goddess Yamuna
Lord Ugranarasimha
The Devi/Lord Vishnu Temple has a torana (arched portal) at the temple entrance built during the Gupta period datable to 5-6th century AD.. The remaining portions of the temple seems to have been constructed at a later period. The sanctum houses a murti of Goddess Durga and the outer wall in the front has carvings Lord Vishnu with all his incarnations depicted around the main image apart from Lord Surya, Goddess Chamundi and Ganesha. This temple has a front porch resting on four pillars.
Durga Devi Temple/ Vishnu Temple Tigawa
Durga Devi Temple
The Torana
Goddess Durga Devi
Lord Vishnu with His Ten Incarnations
Lord Vishnu with His Ten Incarnations
How to reach Tigawa: Tigawa is located about 65 km from Jabalpur, close to Bahoriband. We reached this place via Pawai - Muhandra - Raipura - Tigawa - Temple complex is located just off the main road while at the entrance of the village.

1. Puratattava 
2. Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent - Takeo Kamiya

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

MP Diaries - Chaumukhanath and Parvati Temples of Nachna

For the last day of our exciting road trip in Madhya Pradesh, we had in our itinerary three places to visit namely Nachna, Tigawa and Bhedaghat. We started from Khajuraho early in the morning so we could cover all the three within our time limit. We reached Nachna which is home to two beautiful temples built between 5-7th century, our first destination for the day. Though reaching Nachna was not at all difficult, there was something special about this place probably owing to its remoteness. After a final enquiry at the village of Nachna, we were directed to this temple complex.
Nachne/ Nachna
Chaumukhanath Temple, Nachna

The Chaumukhanath Temple is an old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and built during the reign of the Prathihara dynasty. It is  datable to the post Gupta period around 7th century AD and is regarded as one of the earliest temples built by the Prathiharas. The sanctum houses a very beautiful four faced Shiva linga (chaumukha). The four manifestations of Lord Shiva depicted on the four directions are as follows: facing east is Tatpurusha (three eyed and represents the air element); facing north is Vamadeva (expresses feminine qualities and represents the water element); facing south is Aghora (expresses wrath with bulging eyes, raised nostrils and a widely opened mouth and represents the fire element); and facing west is Sadyojata (expresses calm and serene qualities and represents the earth element). The shrine is square in plan with a porch in the front and has a covered ambulatory path pierced by perforated windows (Jali). The porch in its front seems to be a later addition. The Jali windows are exquisitely carved with depictions of musicians and dancers, and river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna on either sides. The shikara is plain and simple with an amalaka and kalasha at its top.
Entrance to Chaumukhanath Temple, Nachna
Chaumukhanath Shiva Linga
Future Care Taker of This Temple
Tatpurusha Form of Lord Shiva
Aghora Form of Lord Shiva
Sadyojata Form Of Lord Shiva
Vamadeva Form of Lord Shiva
Unique Depiction of Kurumavatar and Vamanavatar of Lord Vishnu
Mithunas and Vidhyadharas
Carving of Animals on Porch Window

The Parvati Temple is datable to the late Gupta period around 5th century AD. The temple has a square grabhagriha and probably housed a small square chamber above it. The sanctum is  devoid of any idol. The entrance of the sanctum carries ornate floral designs and is flanked by river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna at its lower portion. The inner band of the doorway shows carvings of tendrils emerging from the navel of dwarfs on either sides and the outer band carries images of mithunas (amorous couples). The lintel bears the carving of Vinadhara Shiva in the center with Parvati along with various attendants and vidhyadharas (semi-gods) on their either sides.The outer walls of the temple have perforated Jalis with the depiction of Lord Ganesha, musicians and dancers.
Parvati Temple, Nachna
Parvati Temple, Nachna
Door Frame of Parvati Temple
River Goddess Ganga on her Vahana
River Goddess Ganga on her Vahana Along With Shaiva Dwarapalaka
River Goddess Yamuna on her Vahana
River Goddess Yamuna on her Vahana Along With Shaiva Dwarapalaka
Beautiful and Small Craving of Lord Ganesha on the Window Jali

Vinadhari Shiva With Parvati on the Lintel
There are many ruins of pillars and other portions of the temple lying besides the temple in the open. On one such pillar are seen images of  Lord Varaha, Lord Narasimha,  Lord Trivikrama and a defaced image probably of Lord Parashurama. Also seen around  is an old shivalinga placed now under the shade of a tree and a widow panel.
A Part of Dashavatara Pillar

How to reach Nachna: From Khajuraho - Panna - Devendra Nagar take right towards Saleha - Take Right turn here and a Left turn to reach Nachna, about 100 Km from Khajuraho.

1. Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent -  By Takeo Kamiya
2. Hindu Deities - By Margaret Stutley
3. Wikipedia

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

MP Diaries - Temples of Khajuraho, Love Personified

We planned to halt at Khajuraho for that night after completing Orchha and started late evening. The drive was very difficult and tricky due to poor visibility, owing to the fog accumulation.  We had to cross a small area of Uttar-Pradesh where the highway police were in full action, stopping by vehicles for checking and inquiry. We were allowed to pass by them. After driving carefully for more than half the distance towards Khajuraho, we suddenly realized that my ID was not returned by the lodge staff at Orchha!! Thoroughly disappointed with our negligence, we were contemplating whether or not to drive back to Orchha for the ID, as we had already traveled more than a 100 km. While I insisted it would not be feasible to do the same keeping in mind the bad foggy night drive and distance, my wife insisted that we drive back and get the ID as it was an important document and the lodge staff were rude and not trustworthy. Somehow she convinced me and taking a U-turn, we drove towards Orchha keeping our cool. We informed the lodge staff to keep the ID ready and that we were heading back to bring it. We had to pass by the police check again and this time, we were stopped by them and inquired as to why we had been traveling to and fro in such a short interval! We had our vehicle checked and after a thorough explanation of our story and showing them our ID’s, we were sent. This was the only encounter with Police during our entire MP trip. We reached Orchha and collected the ID and headed to Khajuraho without wasting any much time. This entire process added only additional stress and strain, but also was quite exciting! We reached Khajuraho around 1:00 am only to find that the roads were deserted and most of the lodges either were not responding or closed. After knocking on many lodges and and not getting any response, we stopped by Hotel Zostel and found an accommodation for the night.
Khajuraho Monuments, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its exquisite carvings of erotic sculptures that adorn its temple walls. This region was known as Jejakbhukti in medieval times and holds a significant role in Indian history. The remarkable temples at Khajuraho were built between 950 and 1050 AD by the Chandelas. Originally, there were around 85 temples, out of which now only around 22 survive. Most of the temples are built of sandstone except the Chausath Yogini, Brahma and Lalguan Mahadeva which are constructed partly of granite. The temples belong to Shaiva, Vaishnava and Jaina sects. The temples at Khajuraho are built in Nagara style of architecture and mark the culmination of Indian architecture design. The sculptures found on the exterior and interior of the temples at Khajuraho portray images of gods, goddesses and other divine figures, apsaras and sura-sundaris (celestial nymphs and beauties), amorous couples (mithuna), mythical creatures and animals, musicians and dancers, war and hunting scenes, and scenes from daily life. The temples are divided into western, eastern and southern groups. 
Reaching New  Heights - Khajuraho
The Western Group
Lakshmi Temple: This small temple is dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, consort of Lord Vishnu and is plain, and simple in its structure and style.
Lakshmi Temple, Khajuraho
Lakshmi Temple, Khajuraho
Varaha Temple: This sandstone temple is built on a high platform and is simple in style. It enshrines a massive murti of Varaha (the boar incarnation of Lord Vishnu) which carries impressive miniature carvings of Hindu deities, close to 675 in number all over its body. At the base of the Varaha murti is seen a serpent and remains of a damaged sculpture, probably one of Goddess Bhudevi (earth goddess). This temple is datable to 900-925 AD.
Varaha Temple, Khajuraho
Varaha Temple, Khajuraho
Grand Lord Varaha, Khajuraho
Grand Lord Varaha
Lakshmana Temple: The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and was built by the Chandela ruler Yashovarman between 930 and 950 AD. The temple stands on a high platform and consists of an ardha-mandapa (entrance porch), mandapa, maha-mandapa, antarala (vestibule) and garbhagriha (sanctum) with an ambulatory pathway. The platform has friezes depicting war scenes involving soldiers, elephants, camels, horses and other processions. The entrance is decorated with a beautifully and elegantly carved makara torana (arched entrance flanked by crocodiles). The sanctum houses a damaged murti of Lord Vishnu depicted as Vaikuntha with 3 faces (human, lion, and boar) and 4 arms. The exteriors of the temple are decked with intricately carved balconies with balustrades. The outer walls of the temple have two bands of sculptures of various gods and goddesses, sura-sundaris captured in different moods, and amorous couples and erotic scenes.
Lakshmana Temple, Khajuraho
Lakshmana Temple, Khajuraho
Kandariya Mahadev Temple: This marvelously beautiful temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and was built between 1025 and 1050 AD. It consists of an entrance porch, mandapa, maha-mandapa, antarala and garbhagriha with a pradakshina patha (circumambulatory passage). The entrance has an intricately carved makara torana. Its sanctum houses a shivalinga. The temples symmetrical proportioning is perfectly executed and so are its design and sculptures that adorn the walls.  The temple stands on a high platform carved with ornamental mouldings, geometric patterns, and friezes of elephants, horses, musicians, dancers, hunters, warriors, and miscellaneous scenes. The central shikara along with the miniature shikaras is imposing and impressive. It is an outstanding monument of Khajuraho.
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Khajuraho
Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, Khajuraho
Jagadambi Temple: Originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu, this temple now houses a murti of goddess Parvati in the sanctum. The temple stands on a high platform and consists of a sanctum, vestibule, a maha-mandapa with lateral transept and an entrance porch. The lintel of the sanctum contains a carving of four armed image of Lord Vishnu. Its outer walls are decorated with carvings of celestial beauties and amorous couples. The temple is datable to 1000-1025 AD.
Jagadambi Temple, Khajuraho
Jagadambi Temple, Khajuraho
Chitragupta Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Surya, the sun god and stands on a high platform. It consists of a sanctum, vestibule, a maha-mandapa with lateral transept and an entrance porch. The sanctum houses an impressive murti of the sun god driven by 7 horses. The outer walls of the temple carry carvings of celestial beauties (sura-sundaris), amorous couples and deities, including a partially damaged image of eleven headed Vishnu in the central niche of the south facade.  The temple is datable to 1000-1025 AD.
Chitragupta Temple, Khajuraho
Chitragupta Temple, Khajuraho
Vishwanatha Temple: This temple was built by the Chandela king Dhanga in 1002 AD and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is among the finest monuments of Khajuraho, housing beautiful sculptures. Originally being a panchayatana shrine, now only 2 subsidiary shrines have survived. The temple consists of an entrance porch, mandapa, mahamandapa and garbhagriha enclosed by an ambulatory. The inscription on the mandapa also refers to dedications of 2 lingas, one made of emerald and the other of stone.  
Vishwanatha Temple, Khajuraho
Vishwanatha Temple, Khajuraho
Nandi Shrine:  Standing apart and facing the main deity Lord Shiva of Vishwanatha temple is a large murti of Nandi, the bull mount of Lord Shiva.  The Nandi is quite simple and plain in style and enclosed in a small shrine whose roof is supported by 12 plain pillars.  
Nandi Mantapa
Matangeshwara Temple: The temple is situated next to the Lakshmana temple and can be dated to 950-1002 AD. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of a linga and is the only temple where daily worship is still continued. The festival of Mahashivaratri is elaborately celebrated, with many pilgrims visiting this temple.
Matangeshwara Temple, Khajuraho
Matangeshwara Temple, Khajuraho
Lord Matangeshwara and The Priest
Chausath Yogini Temple: This granite temple is dedicated to the 64 yoginis and is now in a ruined state with only a few of the cells surviving. The temple is rectangular in plan with an open courtyard bordered by smaller cells housing yoginis. It is the earliest surviving temple dating to 900 AD. 
Chausath Yogini Temple, Khajuraho
Chausath Yogini Temple, Khajuraho

The Eastern Group
Brahma Temple: Though it is called as Brahma temple, its sanctum houses a Shivalinga and the lintel of its sanctum has a carving of Lord Vishnu. This temple is datable to 900 AD.
Brahma Temple, Khajuraho
Brahma Temple, Khajuraho
Vamana Temple: This temple is dedicated to Vamana, the dwarf incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It consists of a sanctum with seven projections in plan (saptaratha), vestibule, mandapa with lateral transepts and an entrance porch. The sanctum is devoid of any ambulatory path (nirandhara) and enshrines an image of 4 armed vamana flanked by chakrapurusha and shankapurusha on left and right. The shikara is simple and the outer walls are decorated with 2 bands of sculptures which include graceful figures of sura-sundaris. The temple can be dated to 1050-1075 AD.
Vamana Temple, Khajuraho
Vamana Temple, Khajuraho
Javari Temple: This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is datable to 1075-1100 AD. It has a garbhagriha, vestibule, mandapa and portico but without pradakshina patha. The makara torana is remarkable and so is its shikara. The outer walls are decorated with 3 bands of beautifully carved sculptures. 
Jevari Temple, Khajuraho
Jevari Temple, Khajuraho
Ghantai Temple: This Jain temple is now completely in ruins, with only a portion of its mahamandapa and pillars of the entrance porch surviving.  Its name is attributed to the presence of chain and bell motifs on its tall pillars.
Ghantai Temple, Khajuraho
Ghantai Temple, Khajuraho
Parshvanatha Temple: This is the largest and best preserved among the Jain temples of Khajuraho having individual features of plan and design. The temple was built in the middle of the 10th century and is partially made up by latticed windows and has a shrine attached to the rear of the sanctum. The three bands of sculptures on its outer walls feature graceful sura-sundaris, celestial beings, couples, Hindu gods and goddesses which are exquisitely finished. 
Parshvanatha Temple, Khajuraho
Parshvanatha Temple, Khajuraho
Adinatha Temple: This Jain temple is dedicated to Jina Adinatha and was built in the latter half of the 11th century. It now consists only of a sanctum without any ambulatory path and a vestibule. The exterior walls comprise of three bands of sculptures including graceful sura-sundaris.
Adinatha Temple, Khajuraho
Adinatha Temple, Khajuraho
The Southern Group
Dulhadeo Temple: The temple faces east and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It consists of a sanctum which houses a linga, vestibule, mahamandapa and an entrance porch. The main shikara is clustered round by 3 rows of miniature shikaras and looks plain. There are 3 bands of sculptures seen on the outer walls. The original temple is can be dated to the early 12th century AD and has undergone extensive repair and restoration at a later stage.
Dulhadeo Temple, Temple
Dulhadeo Temple, Temple
Chaturbhuj Temple: The temple stands on a high platform and is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It consists of a sanctum without an ambulatory, a vestibule, mandapa and an entrance porch. The sanctum houses a 9 feet tall murti of four armed Lord Vishnu. The lower part of the doorway of sanctum shows Ganga on the right and Yamuna on the left, standing in tribhanga flanked by door keepers. This temple is devoid of any erotic sculptures. There are three bands of sculptures around the outer walls. The temple is datable to 1100 AD.
Chaturbhuj Temple, Khajuraho
Beautiful Murti of Chaturbhuj Vishnu
Bijamandal: This group of mounds in the surrounding areas of Khajuraho is one of the 18 mounds unraveled during an intensive survey by the ASI in 1980. Excavations at the main mound of Bijamandal group in 1998-99 exposed remains of a big temple comparable in size with the Vishwanatha temple at Khajuraho and a huge Shivalinga, presence of other temples, sculptures and artifacts.  However, the site is yet to be fully excavated and completely explored.
Bijamandal, Khajuraho
Bijamandal, Khajuraho
How to reach Khajuraho: Khajuraho is well connected by air and also has a good bus network. However, the options of train travel directly to Khajuraho are limited, with one having to hire a cab to travel to Khajuraho from the nearest railway station. By road, we traveled on NH 39 from Orchha until a turn towards left directing towards Khajuraho.
Entry Fee: Entry is Rs.30/- for Indians and Rs.500/- for foreigners
Accommodation: There are many options for accommodation here. We stayed at Zostel which is one of the best budgeted options for bag packers and budget travelers.
Where to eat: There are many options including a few road-side eateries.

  1. ASI Information Boards
  2. Http://
  3. Madhya Pradesh – RBS Visitors Guide India
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