Chanderi – Beyond Beautiful Saris – Turning the pages of History - 1

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Chanderi at Night
Night view of Chanderi from our Hotel

Chanderi – Beyond Beautiful Saris – Turning the pages of History - 1

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Chanderi is a labyrinth of streets and you cannot pass a street without encountering a heritage building. A small dusty town now, Chanderi once boasted to be having 1.25 Lakh Houses, 1200 Bawdis or stepwells, 61 Palaces, but all this was lost due to anarchy and mismanagement by later Bundela rulers. Out of the so many buildings, a lot of have been last and exist only in some references.  The most imposing building and visible from every corner of Chanderi is Kirti Durg. 

Kirti Durg
Kirti Durg



Kirti Durg


This fort is built on a small hillock about 200 meters high and its construction is attributed to King Kirtipal of Gurjar Pratihar Dynasty. This fort is 5 kilometres long and 1 kilometre wide. Not much of this fort is left now. On one side is the Khilji mosque. The left wall is beautifully carved with lotus flowers, latticework and also has inscriptions of verses from Holy Quran. The only other structures left are a small structure called Naukhanda Palace. This is a two-story structure with a huge courtyard. The courtyard has one stepwell and there are some room like structures on the sides. The Fort offers splendid views of the city and the scenery around. The sunset view from the fort is such that it will linger in your memory for long.

Khilji Mosque - Kirti Durg -  Chanderi
Khilji Mosque - Kirti Durg -  Chanderi

Courtyard of Naukhanda Palace - Kirti Durg - Chanderi
Courtyard of Naukhanda Palace - Kirti Durg - Chanderi



Sunset from Kirti Durg
Sunset from Kirti Durg


Beautiful Lattice work at Naukhanda Palace
Beautiful Lattice work at Naukhanda Palace
Rooms inside Naukhanda Palace
Rooms inside Naukhanda Palace

view of Chanderi from Fort
view of Chanderi from Fort

                    Above is the view of surroundings fron Kirti Durg. Almost in the middle of the picture if we enlarge it, we can see a hole in the mountain. That is Kati Ghati. We will talk about it later in the post.



Samadhi of Baiju Bawra


Another Structure of great importance, but lesser known and almost forgotten by people is the Samadhi of Baiju Bawra. Baijnath Mishra, commonly known as Baiju Bawra was born at Champaner – Gujrat. After his father's death, Baiju and his mother moved to Vrindavan. Here Swami Haridas took him as his disciple and trained him in music. He did not marry, but adopted an orphan named Gopal and started training him in music. As Baiju's fame spread, The king of Chanderi invited him to his court. In Chanderi, Gopal also became famous, was married to Prabha, and they had a daughter - Meera. Raja Man Singh of Gwalior invited Baiju to his court, where he reached the peak of his fame. When he returned to Chanderi, he found his son and family gone, who had been lured by Kashmiri merchants to serve their king. With his family gone, Baiju became mendicant and wandered around in search of his family. People thought he was insane and Bawra was attached to his name.

Tansen another disciple of Swami Haridas asked his Patron The King of Baghela to organise a contest hoping that Baiju will come in the contest. Baiju went there and performed extraordinarily. He hypnotized deer with Raag Mrignayani and melted stone slabs with Raag Maalkouns. Taansen recognised him and embraced him. Another legend says that he defeated Taansen. The legend says that he could light lamps by singing Raag Deepak or could make it rain by singing Raag Megh Malhaar or make flowers bloom by singing Raag Bahar.  - Source: Wikipedia

It was saddening to see that a singer of such a stature having such a small samadhi and nobody knows about it also.
Samadhi of Baiju Bawra
Samadhi of Baiju Bawra



Johar Smarak

Another monument on the fort grounds is Johar Smarak. Babur attacked Chanderi, during the reign of Raja Medini Rai. When the defeat was imminent, Jauhar was performed. This is when Womenfolk jump into the fire and The men wear a kesaria Safa and attack the enemy to fight the last battle of their life. The memorial stone shows three scenes, ladies worshipping Shivling, Men fighting in a battle and third shows women performing Johar.


Johar Smarak
Johar Smarak


Plaque at Johar Smarak
Plaque at Johar Smarak depicting Shiv pooja, battle and Johar



As some distance from these two monuments is an entrance gate to the fort called Khooni Darwaza. There are two legends how it was named Khooni Darwaza. One says that It saw so much of bloodshed between the two forces in the battle that it was so named. Another says that the corpses of the subjects to whom capital punishment was awarded were hung here, so the name.


Khooni Darwaza
Khooni Darwaza


Khooni Darwaza
Khooni Darwaza anoher view



Scindias of Gwalior got one hunting lodge built on fort grounds, which now has been converted into an MPTDC hotel Kila Kothi. It is this hotel, where we were hosted. The hotel has just 04 suites and offers a splendid experience and great views.


Kila Kothi
Kila Kothi an MPTDC Hotel, which was built as a hunting lodge by Scindias



Sri Jageshwari Devi Mandir


Close to The Fort and on one of the ways leading to the town is the temple of Sri Jageshwari Devi, the most revered Goddess of Chanderi. As per the legend, Pratihar King Kirtipal was suffering from leprosy which was not getting cured after so many years. He was very fond of hunting. Once during a hunt, he got separated from his entourage and reached a small pond ( said to be present-day Parmeshwar Tal). When he washed himself with that water and his leprosy got cured miraculously. He started thanking loudly for this miracle. The goddess appeared in front of him as a little girl and told him to build the temple where King Shishupal had performed Yagna. After completion of the temple and its cleansing, the Goddess told him that she will incarnate herself in the form of an idol in sanctum sanctorum, but also laid a condition that nobody will open the door of the sanctum sanctorum for nine days. However, King out of curiosity, opened the door the third day, before nine days and till then only the head of the goddess had emerged from the ground.


Sri Jageshwari Devi Mandir

Sri Jageshwari Devi Mandir - Figures carved on the rocks are said to be natural



Shivling with 1100 Shivlings carved on it
Shivling with 1100 Shivlings carved on it

Jageshwari Devi
Jageshwari Devi only the face could be formedbefore the king opened the temple door



Hanuman ji at Jageshwari Devi Mandir
Hanuman ji at Jageshwari Devi Mandir. This idol as per priest has been fomed on its own




There are a few other some figures on the rock walls. As per the priest of the temple, they have not been carved and have emerged out of nowhere. There are three interesting Shivlings in the temple premises. Two of them have 1100 shivlings carved on them and one has 04 faces carved on them.

Kati Ghati


Another interesting place in Chanderi is Kati Ghati. It is a gateway created by cutting aRock. The gate is 80feet high and 39 feet wide. The inscription on it stated that this gate was built by Jiman Khan, the governer of Chanderi to welcome Giyassudin Khilji. The chief mason, who cut this gate committed suicide after completing the gate as he had forgotten to create hinges for the door, which were absolutely necessary for security reason. Another legend says that it was created by Babur by firing his canon on the hillock as he wanted to create a passage for his canons which could not cross the hill. However, this story does not correspond with the year, when Babur used Canons and the year it was created as per inscriptions.


Kati Ghati Gateway
Kati Ghati Gateway


attendance at Kati Ghati
Attendance at Kati Ghati
                 If you see the chisel marks used for cutting the rock are slanting, however, there are some vertical lines also, these are the attandance records of the workers.


Sunset near Kati Ghati
Sunset near Kati Ghati

Chatris 

A small dirt on the right side of the main road takes you to a quiet area, which as twenty-five monuments of historical importance. The first one is a small memorial for 02 horses, which were gifted to Bundela Raja by Mughal emperor of Delhi. However, some link it with Shahzadi ka Rauza also and say that at this place Sahzadi and herl lover breathed their last.

 A little ahead are the Chattris of Devi Singh Bundela and Bharat Shah Bundela. The Chatri of Maharaha Bharat Shah is Octagonal in shape. It appears to be a three-storied building from outside, however, is a single building inside. The Chatri of Maharaja Devi Singh is also similar to that of Maharaja Bharat Shah, but smaller in size. These Chatris though of Rajput Bndela kings, have clearly been impacted by the Mughal architecture. The domes and the arches are of Mughal style. On some sides of the Chatris, verses from Holy Koran are inscribed.

Chatris
Chatri of Bharat Singh Bundela

Chatris
Chatri of Devi Singh Bundela



A little ahead of these Chatris are Shahzadi ka Rauza and sati memorials. There are a lot of sati memorials which are dedicated to the Satis.

Shahzadi Ka Rauza



Shazadi Ka Rauza is a testimony of eternal love. An unknown princess was in love with the commander in his father's army. The King was not happy with this relationship. When the commander went on a campaign, the king connived with a few soldiers and ordered them that the commander should not return alive. The commander won the battle and when he was returning, his own soldiers, who were instructed by the king attacked him. He fought valiantly and reached up to the place in wounded condition and died. The princess also embraced death at the same place. King was moved by the deaths and built the mausoleum at the same place and buried them side by side He also built a moat around it. This structure as other chatris looks three storied from outside but is a single structure. The dome of the structure has now fallen.

Shahzadi Ka Rauza

Shahzadi Ka Rauza


Shahzadi Ka Rauza

Shahzadi Ka Rauza



Shahzadi Ka Rauza

Shahzadi Ka Rauza

                     We will continue exploring the monuments of Chanderi in our next post.


contd...........


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Chanderi - Beyond Beautiful Saris - The History

Chanderi - Beyond Beautiful Saris - Turning the pages of History - 2
Chanderi - Beyond Beautiful Saris - Turning the pages of History - 3

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