Thursday 7 February 2013

The temple that inspired the design of Parliament building in Delhi

This is the temple that inspired the British architects to construct the Parliament building in New Delhi.
While Delhi is easily accessible and the impressive Parliament building one of the most photographed monuments in India, the original circular structure has long been forgotten and it is consigned to pages of history.
Though the circular temple is a part of the tourist map, very few venture to see it, partly of its inaccessible location and partly because of  its setting in the dreaded Chambal Valley, the once infamous home of  dacoits.
The temple is just 40 kilometres away from Gwalior, one of the major cities of Madhya Pradesh. Gwalior is very well-connected by rail, road and rail networks.
This is the temple of Chausath Yogini in Garhi Mitawali. This is a temple of Shiva. It is situates atop a 100 feet hillock amid the Chambal Valley.
The Shiva temple is attached to a circular verandah which has 64 different rooms leading to a vast courtyard. When you first see the temple, you think it is a miniature Parliament. The architecture of both the Parliament building this Shiva temple resembles each other very closely.
While British architects-Edward Lutyens and Herbert Baker- designed the Parliament building, this temple was designed by the Nag rulers of the area.
The Shiva temple inside the circular structure is also circular in shape. The temple is 170 feet tall. According to an inscription found here, the temple was constructed by Maharaja Deva Pala.It is also known as Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple.
Locals will tell you that Garhi Mitawali is part of the famous Golden Triangle of Chambal Valley which ahs more than 60 important archaeological ruins. Many of the temples are in varying stages of ruins. They belong to the Nag and Gupta rulers.  
The Golden Triangle, in ancient ages, housed a university which taught the tenets of Hinduism. A small town, Bateshwar, was the center of  university education. The students were housed in 100 different temples.
The circular temple of Mitawali  was believed to be the place where astrology and mathematics were taught. This was easy as the rays and shades of the Sun fell n the temple in distinct designs and patterns. By the way, there is a temple dedicated to the Sun god at Ainti village which is three kilometers from Mitawali. The students were housed at the temples of  Padavali and Kakanmath too.
Locals swear that the architecture of the Sun Temple at Padavali is much superior to that of the Sun temple at Khajurao. The only difference, they say, is that this village is much more inaccessible and unknown.
In this temple, the statues are housed outside the Sun shrine. This is also called Garhi or fortress. There are scores of carvings related to Rama, Krishna. Dashavatars of Hari, Shiva in dancing form or Nataraja and Mahabharata. They were built by the Guptas.
The beauty of these carvings is that they look like they have been executed a few years ago only and not centuries earlier. There are a few erotic images too.
Fifteen kilometers from Mitawali is Kutwar or Kuntidar, the native of Kunti-the mother of Pandavas. There are no sings of the ancient ruins here except a well which is believed to be more than 3,000 years old.  There is also a dam built by the Scindias who ruled the area with Gwalior as their capital.
Twenty kilometers from Kutwar is the village of Sehonia where houses the magnificent Kakanmath temple.
The temple is pyramidical in style and construction and the stones are kept in such a way that they form a pyramid. No cement or any their bonding materials has been used and this is a wonder in architecture.
The temple is believed to be more than one thousand years old. There are idols and statues of several Hindu God and Goddesses around the structure which rises majestically to a height of one hundred feet.
Sehonia is also a centre of Jain pilgrimage. You can visit all these places in the Chambal by basing yourself at Gwalior. All these places come under Morena district. There are more than 100 temples in the valley. Eminent historian and archaeologist Alexander Cunningham visited many of these temples and old cities and stayed in Gwalior for five years.   
Want to know more about the legendary dacoits such as Paan Singh Tomar and the beautiful temples. Take a private taxi and go around the Chambal and enjoy its natural beauty. They are a visual treat.

No comments:

Post a Comment