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

MP Diaries: Chanderi Ashoknagar, A backpacker's Paradise

The last day of 2016 was quite eventful, long and hectic. A few places we visited around Bhopal and Vidisha were that of Sanchi, Udayagiri, Gyaraspur, Badoh - Pathari and Udaipur. Hereon, our next destination was Chanderi and as we were done for that day, we had to drive to Chanderi and halt for the night. Chanderi will always remain close to our hearts for various reasons which will become evident as the story progresses. After a light evening snack at Ganj Basoda, we were on our way to Chanderi which was about 130 km from here. Our quiet and uneventful ride was interrupted by a fox crossing the road! What a sight it was! Sadly, it didn't stay long and gave us no chance of capturing it on camera. We continued with our journey hoping to sight more wild life and lo! we spotted a Jackal couple enjoying their private moments on the road only to be disturbed by us. We stopped our vehicle in an effort to let them be and tried not to disturb them. This great moment lasted for a few minutes with the jackals vanishing into thick woods.  We reached Chanderi and found a room to settle down for that night. However, we had to drive ahead to Hotel Tana Bana maintained by MPSTDC for dinner. The hotel was booked priorly and decked up for the new year celebrations. We had our buffet dinner which was a part of the new year feast and rested for the night.
Chanderi Town
Our next morning began with a hunt for a place to have break fast and as we finalised on one, we had to reverse our vehicle to stop by that place. While doing so, a biker collided with our vehicle's rear end. Though not much damage occurred, the biker began to exaggerate the situation. Luckily, since it was not our mistake, many locals gathered around and began to assess the situation. They told the biker to check for any physical injuries or damage to the two wheeler and when they realised it was nothing major, they adviced us to leave the place immediately. The biker had no choice but to leave silently. We proceeded further in search of another place for break fast and thought that we were lucky to have overcome this situation rather easily as such instances are known to be an easy mode of exhorting money, with the victims falling prey to it.
Chanderi is a small town located in Ashoknagar district of Madhya Pradesh and famous for its sarees. The Chanderi saree also finds its mention in the great epic of Mahabharata, thus proving its antiqueness. There are many weaving centers across Chanderi today producing these sarees. The Bundela Rajputs built the existing Chanderi city in 11th century AD. There are various temples, Jain temples, Baolis and other structures here. Later in 13th century AD, the Malwa Sultans captured Chanderi from the Rajputs and refined and rebuilt the city, its forts and palaces. It changed hands many times between the Mughals, the Rajputs and the Marathas before finally falling into the hands of the British after which  the  Sindhias ruled till Indian Independence.
Bird's Eye View of Chanderi Town
Badal Mahal Darwaza: This beautiful gateway to the hill fort was built in 1460 by the Sultans of Malwa as a memorial to commemorate their victory over the Bundela Rajputs. The gateway consists of an arched entrance above which is another arch comprising of intricately carved Jali of geometrical designs and two gradually tapering circular towers. This place is very serene, thanks to the well maintained gardens surrounding it.
Badal Mahal Darwaza, Chanderi
Badal Mahal Darwaza 
Jama Masjid: This huge Friday mosque built around 15th Century has a spacious open court with a sanctuary in its west and arched cloisters in the north and south, with the eastern portion being damaged. The mosque is not associated with any minarets, making the structute quite unique. The entrance to the mosque has a few delicate carvings.
Jama Masjid, Chanderi
Jama Masjid 
ASI Museum: The museum is a big and modern building, housing various collections found during excavations in and around Chanderi. Photography is prohibited inside the Museum.
Chanderi Museum 
Koshak Mahal: This beautiful monument was built during the 15th century AD by the Sultans of Malwa. Only 3 storeys of this palace survive today,  which originally was a 7 storey palace. Built in Afghani style in the shape of the Greek Plus, it has four symmetrical divisions. The grandness of this place is limited to our imagination. The balconies in all directions adds to its grandeur.
Koshak Mahal, Chanderi
Koshak Mahal 
Jain Temple, Khandaragiri: This place has a beautiful 45 feet tall rock cut murti of the first Jain Tirthankara Rishabhnath, popularly known as Adinath. There are many cave temples in the surroundings.
Rock Cut Murti of Jain Tirthankara Rishabhnath
Kati Gati: This is the southern gateway to the city of Chanderi built by cutting solid rock, thus the name Kati Gati. There are a few inscriptions here that tell us about the construction of this gateway by the order of Jiman Khan in 1490 AD.
Kati Gati 
Chakla Baoli: It is believed that around 1200 stepped wells were built in Chanderi by the Chandela Rajputs and the Sultans of Malwa. Chakla Baoli is one such, built during 15th century by the Sultans and later additions to these were the two Chhatris built  by the Rajputs in end of 17th century.
Chakla Baoli, Chanderi
Chakla Baoli 
Purani Adalat (Old court): The Haveli of Bundela kings built in 17th century was later converted into a temple of justice, which was under use till independence.
Purani Adalat 
Madrasa (School): An old Madrasa here was built during 15th century by the Sultans to impart Islamic education to children.
Madrasa 
Chanderi Fort: The major tourist attraction here is the Chanderi fort built by Kirttipala, a Pratihara king in 11th century, due to which this place gets the name Kirttidurga. There are two tombs here, one dedicated to the renowned musician Baiju Bhawara who probably was the only singer to defeat Tansen, one of the greatest musicians in Akbar's court and the second is the Johar tomb dedicated to all the Rajput ladies who scarified their lives rather than being captured by Babur's Army.
Khooni Darwaza
Chanderi Fort
Chanderi Fort 
Other places of Interest: Jageshwari Temple, Parameshwar Lake, Shahzadi Ka Rauza, Shahi Madrasa, Singhpur Palace, Battisi Baoli, and many more.
Entrance fee: Entry is free
Distance from nearby town: 36 km from Lalitpur, 60 km from Ashoknagar.
Accommodation: We stayed at Hotel Shri Kunj which was quite a decent place for stay having various option for all types of travelers. This apart, there is a Hotel Tana Bana maintained by MPSTDC which  is also an equally good option and a PWD rest house.
Where to eat: Hotel Tana Bana is the only decent option along with various other road side eateries.
References:
1. The Guide to the Architecture of the Indian subcontinent by Takeo Kamiya.
2. RBS Visitors Guide India - Madhya Pradesh.
3. Chanderi.org

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

MP Diaries - Badoh-Pathari, The Ruined Twin Towns

The care taker at Maladevi Temple, Gyaraspur informed us about the places of Badoh-Pathari and Udaypur which were located close by. Driving as per the given directions with a few additional inquiries here and there, we reached Pathari and were now in the central part of Madhya Pradesh. 'Pathari' is a true representation of rural Madhya Pradesh with lush greenery everywhere. 'Badoh' and 'Pathari' are two beautiful villages bifurcated by a lake and are rich in architectural heritage. The Guptas ruled here during the 6th century AD followed by the Pratiharas from 8th-10th century AD and then the Rashtrakutas. The presence of a fort built during the medieval period and a few small Cenotaphs belonging to the late 19th century suggests that this place was continuously occupied and played a prominent role in the history of central India.
Gadarmal Temple, Badoh - Pathari
Gadarmal Temple, Pathari
We stopped by a sign board put by Madhya Pradesh tourism, following which we were led to a cave temple dedicated to Saptamathrikas. This temple might have been destroyed with only the cave as remains. On the wall face of the cave is a beautiful carving of the seven mother goddesses, the Saptamathrikas along with Lord Veerabhadra. This is a 6th century structure associated with later Gupta period. The next place we visited here was a group of Jain temples located in the village of Badoh. Though at the first look we were quite happy to see that restoration work was in full swing, we were equally stunned at the same time due to the shoddy restoration work. The temple walls looked more like unsolved jigsaw puzzles. This group of temples were built between  9th-13th century AD and were hindu in origin, but later converted to Jain temples. There are many shrines inside the temple complex along with a ruined Baoli or stepped well. 
Saptamathrikas Cave Temple, Badoh Pathari
Saptamathrikas at the Cave Temple, Badoh
Cave Temple
Entrance to the Group of Jain Temples, Badoh
Jigsaw Puzzle
Baoli or Stepped Well
Jain temple Complex Badoh Pathari
Jain Temple Complex
Jain Tirthankaras
Elaborately Carved Door Jambs
Next on our list was Gadarmal Temple, the most beautiful temple around this town. We were mesmerized to see this grand structure coming out of nowhere. This temple has the unique distinction of being an eight shrined temple, wherein temples have been added to a panchayatana (five shrined) temple. The ruined Torana (gateway) in front of this temple originally would have been a very grand structure which is evident from its remains. There are 8 pillars in front of the temple entrance with elephant capitals. The door jambs are classical pieces of artwork and carved to perfection. The Shikara is grand with various carvings of apsaras and deities on it, though it seems to be a later addition to the temple. This temple was built in the 9th century and can be assigned to Pratihara kings. Hereon, we went in search of Bheemgaja, driving through the narrow lanes of Badoh village. We came across a beautiful lake on the other bank of which lay remains of a beautiful fort. We were running out of time and as the sun went down, we began contemplating about spending time near the fort as we also had another place to cover. We decided not to explore the fort environs and proceeded towards Bheemgaja. 'Bheemgaja' is a huge pillar with inscriptions erected by the minister of a Rashtrakuta king in the 9th century. There are two sati stones close by the pillar with Sanskrit inscriptions. The other places to visit around are the Varaha temple (houses a huge unfinished sculpture of Lord Varaha), Shiva temple, Koteshwar temple and Solah Khamba. We missed visiting these to due to paucity of time.
Remains of a Grand Torana
Pillared Porch 
Shikara of Gadarmal Temple 
Remains of a Small Temple 
Bheemgaja
Sati Stones with Inscriptions 
Fort Overlooking the Lake 
Sunset 
Entrance fee: Entry is free. 
Distance from  nearby major town: 75 km from Vidisha via Gyaraspur and about 30 km from Ganj Basoda.
Accommodation: There are no lodges in Badoh or Pathari, 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.  
References: 
1. Puratattva 
2. 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 - Maladevi Temple, Gyaraspur - Beauty Carved in Stone

Gyaraspur is a small village located about 35 km from Vidisha and surely was on our list of places to visit in Madhya Pradesh. It took us about 40 minutes to reach this place from Vidisha, all thanks to the sign boards put up by Madhya Pradesh tourism. We headed directly to the 'Maladevi temple' situated on the edge of a cliff. We were greeted by an Egyptian Vulture that lay perched on the finial (kalasha) of the temple, giving us umpteen opportunities to capture him on camera. A gradual descent by steps brought us to the temple. The nature of construction of this temple is hybrid, being partly carved out of rock and  partly structural. The temple is carved to perfection and the balconies seen on the sides of the mandapa are an interesting feature. The entry to the temple is restricted owing to safety concerns, though we could peep in to have a glimpse of the temple interiors. The temple by its outlook seems to be of  Vaishnava origin, but later converted to a Jain temple. There are a  few images of Jain tirthankaras kept inside the sanctum of the temple. This temple was built in the 10th century AD by Partihara kings. The only person we came across here was the temple care taker, who had maintained this place quite well. He was awestruck to know that we  had come from so far  to witness this beautiful place. He had a questionnaire session with us to which we answered patiently. He seemed happy at the end of our conversation and gave us more details with regards to places that are worth a visit around Gyaraspur.
Egyptian Vulture Perched on the Finial of the Temple
The Partly Ruined Shikara
Shikara Carved to Perfection
Heavily Carved Balconies
Dwarapalas
 Pillars of the Front Porch carrying motifs of Kalasha
Maladevi Temple Gyaraspur
Side View of the Beautiful Temple
Maladevi Temple - Beauty Carved in Stone
We thanked him and moved on to check out two other beautiful structures, the Hindola Torana and the Chaukhamba (four pillared hall) which are located about 1 km from the Maladevi temple. These places seem to be the remains of a large temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The 'Hindola Torana' or the 'Swinging Gateway' is an entrance gateway having two lofty pillars that support a double arched architrave. The pillars stand upright on a  pedestal with its bases housing carvings that depict the ten incarnations or avatars of Lord Vishnu, of which the form of Lord Rama seems to be damaged beyond recognition. The arched architrave has been intricately carved with very minute detailing. A little further lies the four pillared hall or the Chaukhamba which probably was a part of the main temple. As we reached the main road, we sighted a board directing towards 'Ath Khamba' (a structure with eight pillars) and decided to visit this place too. The structure was marvelous though in ruins, and originally may have been a big temple built in 9th century AD by the Chandela Prince Krishna as per the inscriptions found here. There is a beautiful Makara Torana with intricately carved pillars and door jambs. We missed visiting the Bajramatha temple and Dhaikinath Ki Stupa which are situated close by,  as we had no information about them.
Hindola Torana Gyaraspur
A View of the Hindola Torana and Chaukhamba
Hindola Torana
Chaukhamba
Varaha (3rd incarnation of Lord Vishnu) emerging from the Waters with the Earth (Bhudevi) on his Elbow.
Ath Khamba Gyaraspur
Ath Khamba
Intricately Carved Pillars of Ath Khamba
The Decorative Makara Torana
Entrance fee: Entry is free. 
Distance from  nearby major town: 35 km from Vidisha.
Accommodation: There are no lodges in Gyaraspur, however, the closest and a better choice would be Gateway Retreat at Sanchi maintained by MPSTDC. 
Where to eat: There are a few small roadside eateries here.  
References: 
1. RBS Visitors Guide India, Madhya Pradesh
2. 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.