Nagaur Fort – The Fort of the Hooded Cobra

Nagaur Fort, locally known as Ahhichatragarh (fort of the hooded cobra) is one of the finest examples of Rajput-Mughal architecture. It was one of the first Muslim strongholds in northern India. The fort was originally constructed by Nagavanshis in 2nd century and later renovated by Mohammed Bahlim, a governor of the Ghaznivids. The fort was rebuilt in the early 12th century and altered repeatedly over the centuries. It witnessed many battles. The fort underwent major renovations in 2007. The fort was shortlisted in the contender list for the “Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2013”. This award is bestowed in credit of architectural superiority in the area of historic safeguarding, reprocess, area maintenance and landscape design and enhancement of the surroundings.

The Nagaur fort has three entrance doors. First one was “Sireh Pole”, made of iron and wood spikes to guard against elephant charges and enemy attacks. The second gate is called “Beech ka Pole” and the last one is “Kacheri Pol”. The fort contains many palaces like Deepak Mahal, Hadi Rani Mahal, Akbari Mahal, Bakht Singh Palace, Rani Mahal and Amar Sing Mahal. The fort also contains many fountains, temples, reservoirs, open terraces and beautiful gardens that dates back to the ancient Mughal era. Several delicate portraits embellish numerous ceilings and walls of the places.

Hadi Rani Mahal is the most marvellously adorned palaces of the fort. It has brilliantly engraved designs throughout its ceilings and walls. The legendary character Hadi Rani was the the daughter of Hada Rajput Chundawat Chieftain of Salumbar Mewar who sacrificed herself to motivate her husband to go to the war. When Maharana Raj Singh I (1653-1680) of Mewar called his son to join the battle against Aurangzeb, the Sardar having married only a few days earlier hesitated about going into battle. He asked his wife Hadi Rani for some memento to take with him to the battlefield.

Thinking that she was an obstacle to his doing his duty for Mewar, she cut off her head and put it on a plate in her dying moments. A servant covered it with a cloth and presented it to her husband. The Sardar, devastated but nevertheless proud, tied the memento around his neck by its hair. He fought bravely, making the Aurangzeb forces flee, and after his victory, he got to his knees and cut his neck, having lost the desire to live.

Nagaur lies between Bikaner and Jodhpur. Jodhpur to Nagaur is 140 km and Bikaner to Nagaur is 114 km.

Nagaur Fort – first entrance
Nagaur Fort – Interior
Nagaur For
Nagaur Fort
Nagaur Fort – Door
Nagaur Fort – Interior
Nagaur Fort – Interior
Nagaur Fort – Interior
Nagaur Fort – Interior
Hadi Rani Mahal – Frescos
Hadi Rani Mahal – Frescos
Hadi Rani Mahal – Frescos
Hadi Rani Mahal – Frescos
Hadi Rani Mahal – Frescos
Hadi Rani Mahal – Frescos
Hadi Rani Mahal – Frescos
Nagaur Fort – Interior
Nagaur Fort – Interior
Nagaur Fort – Interior
Nagaur Fort – One of the tanks
Nagaur Fort – Interior
Nagaur Fort – Frescos
Nagaur Fort – Frescos
Nagaur Fort – Frescos
Nagaur Fort – Frescos
Nagaur Fort – Frescos
Nagaur Fort
Nagaur Fort
Nagaur Fort
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Dahi Handi Celebrations 2017

Dahi Handi is a famous sportive event organized in many places of Maharashtra on the next day of Janmashtami. Janmashtami, is an annual festival that celebrates the birth of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu. It is observed according to Hindu calendar, on the eighth day of the dark fortnight in the month of Shraavana, which corresponds to August and September months of the Gregorian calendar.

Dahi Handi celebration commemorates the way of living of Lord Krishna. Dahi translates to curd and Handi translates to earthen pot used to process and keep the milk products. In his childhood, young Krishna was very fond of curd and butter. While growing up he became notorious for stealing it. The female folks in the neighborhood became cautious and started hanging the milk products from the ceiling to keep them out of reach of Krishna and his friends. To defeat this idea Krishna devised the idea of forming human pyramids, by which they could reach the Handi.

Every year during Janmashtami this event from the life of Krishna is played by youngsters. In Mumbai and suburbs it has become a competitive sport, with participation of many teams. In the recent years, female teams have also started to participate in the event. These sporting events, often carries prize money with the support of local political parties and leaders. These team’s youth called ‘Govindas’ climb one over another and form a human pyramid and then break the Handi.

Dahi Handi hanging from the top
The team is getting ready
Formation of the pyramid
Formation of the pyramid
Formation of the pyramid
Formation of the pyramid
Formation of the pyramid
Formation of the pyramid
Formation of the pyramid
The breaking of the Handi
The breaking of the Handi

The winning team collects the trophy and the prize money

The drummers celebrating
The drummers celebrating

The unfinished Bhojeshwar Temple of Bhojpur

This temple is located in the Bhojpur village in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. The temple construction was started in the 11th century, during the reign of Paramara king Bhoja. The construction was abandoned for unknown reasons, with the architectural plans engraved on the surrounding rocks.

It appears that the construction work stopped abruptly due to unknown reasons. Historians speculate that the abandonment may have been triggered by a sudden natural disaster, lack of resources or a war. To the north and east of the temple, there are several quarry sites, where unfinished architectural fragments in various stages of carving were discovered.

The temple lies on a platform which is 35m long, 25m wide and 4m high. A huge limestone lingam is installed on the platform. The total height of the lingam, including the platform is over 12m. The doorway to the sanctum is 10m high. The wall at the entrance features sculptures of apsaras, ganas and other goddesses. The temple walls are made of large sandstone blocks, without windows. The northern, southern and eastern walls of the temple, features three balconies, purely for ornamental purpose. They cannot be approached from either inside or outside of the temple, because they are located high up on the walls, which provided a drainage outlet for the liquid used to bathe the lingam.

In the year 1951, the site was handed over to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for conservation. Under the supervision of ASI, the restoration of the damaged temple was taken place and the temple has been designated as a Monument of National Importance.

Bhojeshwar Temple
Bhojeshwar Temple
Bhojeshwar Temple – Sculptures on the wall
Bhojeshwar Temple – Sculptures on the wall
Bhojeshwar Temple – carved drainage outlet
Around the temple
The huge linga installed on the platform
The roof of the temple
More sculptures from the walls
More sculptures from the walls
More sculptures from the walls
One of the ornamental balconies of the temple

Vidisha – One of the oldest cities of the Indian subcontinent

Vidisha is located 10km northeast of Sanchi, between Betwa and Bes Rivers. It was one of the oldest cities in the Indian subcontinent and was a major commercial centre in the 5th and 6th centuries BC. Later it was known as Besnagar during the Buddhist emperor Ashoka’s reign and then passed through the hands of the Mughals and then to the Scindias. There are few important monuments located near this town.

Bijamandal
Bijamandal, which is popularly known as Vijayamandira is Temple built during the Paramara period in the eleventh century and is located at the eastern edge of the old town of Vidisha. The temple was destroyed in the year 1682. After its demolition, Aurangzeb, the Mughal emperor, constructed a mosque called Alamgiri Masjid, at the site. The materials of the destroyed temple, was used in the construction of this mosque.

Other materials are scattered all around the site. One of the pillars bears the inscription which suggests that the original temple was dedicated to Goddess Charchika. The same inscription also bears the name of King Naravarman and Goddess Vijaya, after whom the temple is believed to be named.

It appears that the original temple was of considerable dimension approachable by a high flight of steps on its three sides. Not far from the temple site one could see the ancient baoli (stepwell) with carved pillars belonging to the eight century.

The huge platform where the temple was once
Sculptures which are scattered around the area
Sculptures which are scattered around the area
Sculptures which are scattered around the area
Sculptures which are scattered around the area
Sculptures which are scattered around the area
Sculptures which are scattered around the area
Sculptures which are scattered around the area
Some of the pillars
Some of the pillars
Some of the pillars
More sculptures which are scattered around
More sculptures which are scattered around
More sculptures which are scattered around
More sculptures which are scattered around
More sculptures which are scattered around
The ancient stepwell near the temple

Udayagiri Caves
Udayagiri is about 4km from the town of Vidisha and about 13km from the Buddhist site of Sanchi. Cut into a sandstone hill, are some 20 Gupta cave shrines dating from the reign of Chandragupta II (382 – 401). Most are Hindu but two are Jain. Some of the caves are closed due to unsafe roofs. Cave no. 5 has an image of Vishnu in his boar incarnation. On the top of the hill are ruins of a 6th century Gupta temple dedicated to the sun god.

Udayagiri Caves – boar incarnation
Udayagiri Caves – boar incarnation
Udayagiri Caves
Udayagiri Caves
Udayagiri Caves – sculptures
Udayagiri Caves – sculptures
Udayagiri Caves
Udayagiri Caves – sculptures
Udayagiri Caves – Ananthasayana
Udayagiri Caves – Inscriptions
Udayagiri Caves
Udayagiri Caves
Udayagiri Caves

Heliodorus Pillar
Not far from the Bijamandal is the Heliodorus Pillar. The Heliodorus pillar is a stone column that was erected around 113 BC in Vidisha by Heliodorus, from Taxila. He was the Greek ambassador of the Indo-Greek King Antialcidas. The pillar was surmounted by a sculpture of Garuda and was apparently dedicated by Heliodorus to the god Vasudeva.

The pillar is worshipped by local fishermen. On full moon nights one is chained to the pillar, he becomes possessed and is able to drive evil spirits from other locals. When someone has been exorcised, they drive a nail into the tamarind tree nearby, fixing to it a lime, a piece of coconut, a red threat and supposedly the spirit. The large tree is bristling with old nails.

Heliodorus Pillar
Inscriptions on the pillar
Heliodorus Pillar – details
The tamarind tree near by
Here you can see the lime nailed to the tree