Showing posts with label Paramara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paramara. Show all posts

MP Diaries: Kakanmath Temple Sihoniya, Chambal Ki Rani

Kakanmath Temple, Sihoniya
Kakanmath Temple, Sihoniya
After a wonderful river safari at Chambal Sanctuary and an exciting visit to the Eco-park at Deori, Kakanmath temple of Sihoniya was the next destination on our list to visit in Chambal region. After having some food on the way, we reached Sihoniya and drove towards Kakanmath temple which is located about 1 km outside village limits amidst the fields. Huge skeletal remains of a magnificent Shiva temple are seen, giving us a glimpse of what had stood once here. The temple complex consists of a main temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Linga surrounded by 4 small temples which are now in complete ruins.
Pillars  Remains of a Mantapa 
This temple complex is believed to have been built in 10th century by King Kirttiraja of Kachchapaghata dynasty, as per the inscription found at the SaasBahu temple in Gwalior.  The temple here stands on a lofty ornate pitha/platform similar to other temples in Madhya Pradesh built around this time such as the VijayaMandir, Vidisha.  The temple comprises of a sanctum and mukhamandapa which can be approached from the east by stairs. The Ashtadikpalas are carved in the eight directions of the sanctum, which are surviving even today. Carvings of various gods adorn the temple wall of this temple.
Lord Ganesha (He looks smart and slim) 
Lord Trivikram  (Lord Vishnu's Avatar) 
Indira on Airavata (The Guardian of East)
Indira on Airavata (The Guardian of East) 
Yama on Mahisha  (The Guardian of South)
Yama on Mahisha  (The Guardian of South)
Lord Brahma (The Creator)
Lord Brahma (The Creator) 
Agni on Mesha (The Guardian of South East)
Agni on Mesha (The Guardian of South East)
Kubera (the guardian of North)
Lord Vishnu on Garuda 
Various Apsaras Adorning the Wall of the Main Temple
The shikara of this temple is around 30 meter in height, of which only the inner part crowned by a bell member has survived. The remains of balconies can be seen even today with pillars carved to perfection. There are also remains of a small mandapa in front of the main temple with only 2 of its pillars surviving. The ASI and MP tourism have done a wonderful job in restoring this temple which probably was damaged during an earthquake. The excavation work is still underway and in the coming days, we can hope to see much of this temple getting back its original shape. The sculptures found here are preserved in the Gwalior ASI museum.
Lord Shiva Linga 
Pillars of Mukhamandapa 
How to Reach Sihoniya: Reach Morena which is located on the Gwalior-Agra Highway, take a right towards Ambah and travel for about 16 km. Then take a right turn and travel for about 12 km to reach Sihoniya.
Entry Fee: Entry is free. 
Accommodation: There are as such no accommodation options here, but one can stay at Morena or Gwalior where various options are plenty and make a day trip to this place. 
Where to eat: There are a few road-side eateries that make tasty chats, especially Aloo Tikki. 

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

MP Diaries - Udayesvara temple, Udaipur, Nectar in Stone

It was a race against time to reach Udaipur before sunset. Driving through the narrow lanes of Badoh, we reached the village road that connects to Udaipur which was about 12 km from here. We reached the temple of Udayesvara  just as the sun went down and the care of the taker of the temple closed the gates. Hurriedly, I dropped my wife at the gate and went in search of a parking place. While she requested them to open the temple gate, the care taker advised her to stay outside the temple till I arrived for safety purposes. He informed us that we had reached late and it was time to close the temple as it had started to get dark. However, he agreed to give us about five minutes to see the temple as we had come from so far. Without wasting any time, we had a glance at the temple and clicked a few photographs, though there was not enough lighting. The Udayesvara temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Madhya Pradesh and a true representation of the Paramara architecture. The sculptural splendour of Udayesvara temple is comparable with that of Khajuraho temples. This temple was built in 1080 AD by king Udaydita of the Paramara dynasty. There is a small Nandi mantapa in front the main temple. The ASI has maintained this temple quite well. Given a chance, we would surely love to revisit Udaipur just to the enjoy the sheer grandeur of this temple.
Silhouette of Udayesvara Temple, Udaipur 
Udayesvara Temple Complex
Entrance fee: Entry is free.
Distance from nearby major town: 70 km from Vidisha via Ganj Basoda. 
Accommodation: There are no lodges in Udaipur, however, the closest and a better choice would be Gateway Retreat at Sanchi maintained by MPSTDC. There are a few small lodges in Ganj Basoda.
Where to eat: There are a few small roadside eateries here.  
1. Architecture of the Indian Sub-continent by Takeo Kamiya 

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

MP Diaries: Vidisha, A town lost in oblivion

After exploring the world heritage site of Sanchi followed by the caves of Udayagiri, our next destination was Vidisha, a town lost in oblivion.  As we were extremely hungry, we decided to break for a quick brunch on reaching the town of Vidisha. We zeroed in on a small eatery just at the entrance of the town and had a tummy full brunch of Poha with Kachori. Vidisha has its own place in the history of Central India right from the times of Samrat Ashoka, but sadly this place doesn't attract any tourists. We found out the way to 'Vijay Mandir', also popularly known as the 'Bijamandal' and reached there. The history of Vijay Mandir is rather unique and represents the historical affairs back then. The temple was initially built during 8th century AD and further improvised by the Paramara King Naravarman in 11th century AD.  Later, this temple underwent a series of destructive attacks between the 13th and 16th century AD finally falling into the hands of Aurangzeb, who brought down the temple until its platform and built a mosque during 1700 AD. The mosque was under worship till 1965, after which a ban was imposed on offering prayers here by the then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Dr Dwarka Prasad Mishra as the ASI declared Bijamandal as a protected monument. However, an alternate arrangement was made for construction of a separate Idgah nearby. This place was first reported by Sir Alexander Cunningham, the director of ASI in 1874 who acknowledges the presence of Vijay Mandir, and its demolition by Aurangzeb who converted the temple into Bijamandal.
ASI Information Board 
Pathway to Bijamandal 
Bija Mandal, Vidisha
 Remains of the Huge Platform of Vijay Mandir
Dancers carved on the Platform
 The ASI has done a fair job in maintaining all the idols/sculptures found during excavations in the temple complex. However, it seems that a lot more history is hidden and needs to be further explored as this place was closely associated with Samrat Ashoka, Gupta Kings and the Paramara dynasty. Samrat Ashoka was the governor of Vidisha during his father Bindusara's rule. His first wife Devi was the daughter of a rich merchant of Vidisha. This place also played a significant role during the reign of Gupta kings, though there are no architectural references to prove the same. The place then rose back to prominence under the Paramara kings in the 11th century  AD. This temple originally is believed to have been massive in size, comparable with Konark's Sun Temple in Orissa. The same was quite evident from the huge platform of this temple. We enjoyed exploring Bijamandal and only wondered how grand the original temple would have been. A small baoli (step-well) belonging to the 8th century AD is situated in the temple complex. There are two exquisitely carved pillars at the entrance of the Baoli. We also spent some time exploring the ruins, which are kept  in a systematic manner inside the complex.
Bijamandal Mosque 
Inside the Mosque
Pillar Capital 
Baoli (Step-Well )
Exquisitely Carved Pillar 
Entrance fee: Entry is free. 
Distance from the nearby major town: Vidisha is a district head-quarter and  is about 55 km from Bhopal.
Accommodation: There are some small lodges here, but better options would be Gateway Retreat at Sanchi maintained by MPSTDC. 
Where to eat: There are plenty of options to eat here. 
2. Vidisha Municipal Site 

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

MP Diaries: Udayagiri caves Vidisha, The Valley of Gods

Our next destination for the day was Udaygiri/Udayagiri caves located near the city of Vidisha. A fifteen minute drive from Sanchi brought us to the caves of Udaygiri, one of the earliest Hindu cave temples in India, which are the finest example of Gupta art. Udaygiri caves were created between 4th and 5th Centuries AD by Chandragupta Vikramaditya after defeating the Shaks. This cave temple complex consists of twenty caves, of which two are dedicated to Jainism and the others to Hinduism. The proximity of the two sites of Sanchi and Udaygiri is proof to the peaceful coexistence of the three religions; Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism,  similar to other sites such as Ellora and Badami. There are many inscriptions found here that date from 401 AD to 1034 AD in various languages.
Udaygiri Caves
Udaygiri Caves 
We missed visiting Cave No.1 as it was located far away from the cluster of other caves.
Cave No.2 - This cave was empty.
Lord Ganesha
Cave No.3 - This cave is also known as Kumara Cave which consists of a  beautiful image of Lord Kartikeyan, the god of war.
Kumara Caves, Udaygiri Caves
Lord Kartikeyan
Cave No.4 - This cave is also known as Veena Cave, named so due to the presence of  a carving depicting two seated Veena players on its lintel. This cave also houses a very beautiful and rare idol of Ekamukhalinga (linga with one face) of  Lord Shiva.
Ekmukhalinga, Udaygiri Caves
 Ekamukhalinga form of Lord Shiva 
Cave No.5 - This cave is also known as Varaha Cave and contains one of the important sculptures of Udaygiri. A huge carving of Varaha (third incarnation of Lord Vishnu) is seen here, depicting the story of rescue of earth from the demon Hiranyaksha. The images of the three river goddesses of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswathi are also carved here which is widely accepted to be one of the earliest depictions of them.
Lord Varaha , Udaygiri Caves
Lord Varaha
Udaygiri Caves Vidisha
Cave No.5 
Cave No.6 - This cave is also known as Sanakanika Cave. Carvings of Lord Ganesha is seen on the left panel along with the dwarapala. On the right panel of the cave are seen sculptures of Lord Narasimha and Goddess Mahishasura Mardhini along with the Saptamathrikas. The two dwarapalas are also beautifully depicted .
Mahishasura mardhini
Cave No.6
Cave No.7 - This cave is also know as Tawa Cave due to the flattened shape of its roof. The cave is devoid of any images except for a few inscriptions belonging to the Chandragupta era.
Tawa Cave 
Cave Nos.8 and 9 are empty.
Cave No.10 - This cave contains a damaged  idol resembling some form of Vishnu.
Cave No.11 - This cave is also known as Vamana Cave and contains carvings representing the story of Vishnu's fifth incarnation of Vamana.
Vamana, Udaygiri Caves
Vamana Avatar
Cave No.12 - This cave is also known as Narasimha Cave and houses a carving of the Lord Narasimha with two dwarapalas on its rock face.
Lord Narasimha 
Cave No.13 - This cave is also known as Sheshashayi cave as it  houses a long and beautiful carving depicting Sheshashayi, one of the forms of Lord Vishnu, where he is seen reclining on the serpent with a lotus emerging from his navel and Lord Brahma seated on the lotus. An image probably of Chandragupta II, showing his devotion to Lord Vishnu is also carved.
Lord Sheshashayi
Cave Nos.14,15,16 and 17 are mostly empty with only a few inscriptions.
Cave No.18 - The walls of this cave contain carvings of images of Lord Ganesha on the left panel and Mahishasura Mardini (slaying of the buffalo demon Mahishasura by Goddess Durga) on the right panel. Cave Nos.2 to 18 are situated  in a cluster.
Cave No. 18
Cave No. 19 - This cave  is also known as Amrita Cave owing to the depiction of Samudra Manthana, the great event of churning of the ocean of milk to obtain the nectar of immortality, on the lintel of its entrance. This cave is very big and spacious, with many inscriptions and is situated about 500 m from the cave cluster. It also had a mukhamantapa with four pillars which  sadly lies in ruins today.
Samudra Manthana on the Lintel of Cave No. 19
Sanskrit Inscriptions
Cave No. 20 - This cave is also known as the Jain Cave and supposedly houses a beautiful idol of Jaina along with other carvings. The entrance to this cave remained closed due to some interior structural damage. One must climb a steep flight of steps in order  to reach this cave. 
River Halali Viewed From Cave No. 20
Entrance fee: Entry is free.
Distance from nearby major town: 57 km from Bhopal and 5 km from Vidisha.
Accommodation: The only option  here for accommodation is the Jungle resort maintained by MPSTDC, though one can stay overnight at Bhopal and reach Udaygiri the next morning. 
Where to eat: Stop by at the Jungle resort for food, alternatively one can travel to Vidisha for better options. 
1. Information boards put up by Madhya Pradesh Tourism.