Saturday, March 18, 2017

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.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

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. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

MP Diaries - Heliodorus Pillar, Vidisha - The Khamba Baba

The ASI care taker at Vijay Mandir, Vidisha gave us directions to the 'Heliodorus Pillar'. This site was included in our list of places to visit around  Bhopal. A five minute drive from Vidisha brought us to the Heliodorus pillar. The Heliodorus pillar is locally known as the 'Khamba Baba' and was erected in 150 BC by Heliodorus, a Greek ambassador to the court of Bhagabhadra from Takshashila. This pillar bears two inscriptions in Brahmi and Prakrit scripts. One of the inscriptions here records that this pillar was setup as a 'Garuda pillar' in the  honor of Lord Vasudeva (Vishnu). Heliodorus embraced Hinduism as his way of life, after being impressed with Lord Vasudeva. He called himself as 'Bhagavata', meaning a  follower of the Vaishnava sect. It is quite interesting to note that this  is the first recorded instance of a westerner being converted to Hinduism. This pillar resembles the Ashoka pillar, though much smaller in size and is located very close to Sanchi, which again speaks volumes about the religious tolerance that prevailed back then. The ASI has built a compound in order to to protect this pillar and also has appointed a care taker for its maintenance.
Heliodorus Pillar Vidisha
Heliodorus Pillar
 
Brahmi inscriptions
Brahmi Inscriptions
Prakrit Inscriptions
Heliodorus Pillar Vidisha
Entrance fee: Entry is free. 
Distance from nearby major town: 2 km from Vidisha.
Accommodation: There are some small lodges in Vidisha, but a better choice would be Gateway Retreat at Sanchi maintained by MPSTDC. 
Where to eat: There are plenty of options to eat in Vidisha. 
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. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

MP Diaries - Vidisha, A Town Lost in Oblivion

After exploring the world heritage site of Sanchi followed by the caves of Udaygiri, 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 
Vijay Mandir 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
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. 
References: 

Share IT

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...