Showing posts with label Pratihara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pratihara. Show all posts

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.


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

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MP Diaries: Bateshwar Temples, A Legacy of ASI Chief KK Muhammad

Bateshwar, a small uninhabited village about 2 km from Padhavali is home to 300+ temples in a complex spread across 20 acres. This place reminded us much of Aihole, another beautiful place where temples outnumber the houses in the village. The group of temples at Bateshwar were built between 6th - 12th century AD by Pratiharas and Kacchapaghatas kings. The temples here were restored due the efforts of  the ASI chief Mr. KK Muhammad during his service, who took a lot of pain in getting this place back to its shape. While the majority of temples here are dedicated to Lord Shiva, a  few  are dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
Bateshwar Group of Temples
Bateshwar Temple Complex
Bateshwar Group of Temples
 
Tandeshwara on the Vestibule 
A Complete Temple Here
Forest, Hill and Temples 
The many temples here showcase various stages of temple construction from an early stage characterized by  flat roofs to temples with curvilinear shikaras. The largest temple here, known as Bhutesvara temple is a perfect example of Pratihara architecture. There are a few temples also dedicated to Lords Surya, Ganesha and Anjaneya. While most of the temples here are simple and plain in outlook without much carvings or decorations on its outer walls, a few portray exquisite carvings on them. The architecture here resembles that of the later Gupta architecture, which was further improvised.
An Interesting Carving of Lord Ganesha 
Sundaris and Lord Surya 
Lord Anjaneya 
 Most of the temples here have only garbhagrihas with shikaras, housing a Shiva Linga or an idol of Lord Vishnu, while a few remained empty. This complex was ruined and in a damaged state when a team of ASI archaeologists lead by Mr. KK Muhammad reached out to rescue the complex. This site had remained inaccessible due to dacoits who had made this place their hideout. Few rounds of negotiations between Mr. KK Muhammad and the leader of the dacoits finally paved way to the development of this site. The care taker here takes pride in sharing the stories of Mr. KK Muhammad and also shows us the photos of before and after of this place. Mr. KK Muhammad retired few years ago, which consequently led to a slow down in the progress of the restoration work here.
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How to reach Bateshwar: Reach Nurabad which is located on the Gwalior-Agra Highway, take right turn towards Padhavali, about 2 km from here is Bateshwar. It is about 32 km from Gwalior.
Entry Fee: Entry is free
Accommodation: There are as such no accommodation options here, though one can stay at Morena or Gwalior where options are plenty and make a day trip to this place. 
Where to eat: There are a few road-side eateries in Padhavali that make tasty chats, especially Aloo Tikki. 
References:
1. Madhya Pradesh - Unknown Attractions Around Known Destinations
2. RBS Visitors Guide India - Madhya Pradesh
3. Ghumakkar
                             

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

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