Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Orchha, Madhya Pradesh

Orchha (or Urchha) is a town in Tikamgarh district of Madhya Pradesh state, India. The town was the seat of an eponymous former princely state of central India, in the Bundelkhand region. Orchha lies on the Betwa River ,80 km from Tikamgarh & 15 km from Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.

Orchha was founded in the 1501 AD, by the Bundela chief, Rudra Pratap Singh, who became the first King of Orchha, (r. 1501-1531) and also built the Fort of Orchha. He died in an attempt to save a cow from a lion. The Chaturbhuj Temple was built, during the time of Akbar, by the Queen of Orchha, while Raj Mandir was built by 'Madhukar Shah' during his reign, 1554 to 1591.

Jehangir palace

On a seasonal island on the bank of the Betwa River, which has been surrounded by a battlement wall, stands a huge palace-fort. The fort consists of several connected buildings erected at different times, the most noteworthy of which are the Ram Raja Temple and the Jahangir Mahal.

Ram Raja

The Ram Raja Temple is built on a square base and has an almost entirely plain exterior, relieved by projecting windows and a line of delicate domes along the summit. The Jahangir Mahal is built on a rectangular base and is relieved by a circular tower at each corner surmounted by a dome, while two lines of graceful balconies supported on brackets mark the central storeys. The roof is crowned by eight large fluted domes, with smaller domes between them, connected by an ornamental balustrade. The Jahangir Mahal is considered to be a singularly beautiful specimen of domestic Hindu architecture.


Numerous chhatris dot the vicinity of the fort and the Betwa river. Elsewhere about the town there is an unusual variety of temples and tombs, including the Chaturbhuj temple, which is built on a vast platform of stone. The more unguarded and neglected of these buildings are popular hangouts for tropical bees, wasps, and other such excitable stingy creatures............

Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh

Jabalpur is a city located in the Mahakaushal region in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. It is the largest urban agglomeration in the state of Madhya Pradesh and the15th largest urban agglomeration in India as per the 2011 census statistics. The area of Jabalpur City is huge and it is the largest in the state of Madhya Pradesh but is divided between different census towns and municipalities and is therefore considered to be the third largest city area wise in the state of Madhya Pradesh.

The city of Jabalpur was first chosen to become the capital of newly formed Madhya Pradesh but later the decision was changed and Bhopal was chosen the capital of the state because of the defence settlements within the city of Jabalpur.

Places to See:

Madan Mahal Fort

Built by the Gond ruler, Raja Madan Shah, in 1116 atop a rocky hill, the fort dominates the skyline and provides a panoramic view of the town and the country-side around it.

Sangram Sagar Bajnamath

These medieval constructions were built by the famous Gond king, sangram Shah, between 1480-1540.

Rani Durgavati Memorial and Museum

Dedicated to the memory of the great Queen Durgavati is her memorial and a museum which houses a fine collection of sculptures, inscriptions and prehistoric relics.

Tilwara Ghat

Tilwara Ghat, from where Mahatma Gandhi's ashes were immersed in the Narmada, and venue of the open session of the Tripuri Congress in 1939.

Kanha and Bandhavgarh

Kanha National Park

Jabalpur is the most convenient base for visits to the famous Kanha (165 km) and Bandhavgarh (164 km) National Parks.


The 12th century Mala Devi Mandir, Pisan Hari Jain Temple, and Roopnath are some of the other places in the around Jabalpur.

Mala Devi Temple

Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh

Amarkantak is a pilgrim town Anuppur in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India. Also called "Teerthraj" (the king of pilgrimages), Amarkantak region is a unique natural heritage area and is the meeting point of the Vindhyas and the Satpuras, with the Maikal Hills being the fulcrum. This is where the Narmada River, the Sone River and Johila River emerge.

Amarkantak situated on the western edge of ancient Kingdom of Kalinga is a place of worship for all the three worlds. Gods and Gandharvas (Celestial beings), Asuras (demons), Saints and Sages have all achieved great spiritual powers here. It is believed that who ever dies at Amarkantak is assured of a place in heaven. Also if a lady makes offerings of fruits and flowers will gain the respect of her husband, and no doubt she will also achieve a place in heaven.

When Lord Shiva destroyed Tripura (The three cities) by fire, the ashes of one fell upon mount Kailash, the ashes of another fell upon Amarkantak, and the ashes of the third were saved by Lord Shiva and kept in heaven. The ashes that fell upon Amarkantak turned into crores of Shivalingas. Only one is visible at Jwaleshwar in Amarkantak.

Amarkantak is a Sanskrit word the literal meaning of which is immortal (amar) obstruction (kantak). The place was abode of Gods but was disturbed by the hindrances of Rudraganas and hence called Amarkantak. The poet Kalidas has mentioned it as Amrakoot. Myth is that the dense forests of this region were full of mango (amra) trees. So Kalidas named it as Amrakoot, which later became Amarkantak.

Amarkantak being a unique natural heritage is very rich in biodiversity. It has got a number of places of scenic beauty. Apart from this it is source of origin of three important rivers. It is a great pilgrim center for Hindus. It is thus a great-unexplored tourism destination.

Narmadakund and temples

At the place of origin of Narmada River there is an open pool known as Narmadakund. Around this kund there are number of temples such as Narmada and Shiva temple, Kartikey temple, Shri Ram Janki temple, Annapurna temple, Guru Gorakhnath temple, Sri Shuryanarayan temple, Vangeshwar Mahadev temple, Durga temple, Shiv Pariwar, Siddheswar Mahadev temple, Sri Radha Krishna temple, Eleven Rudra temple etc.

Ancient temples of Kalachuri period

The ancient temples of Kalachuri period are situated in the south of Narmadakund just behind it. These were built by Kalachuri Maharaja Karnadeva (1042-1072 AD). The Machhendranath and Pataleshwar temples are excellent examples of architecture. There is also Keshav Narayan temple built by the Bhonsle ruler of Nagpur in the 18th century.


Sonemuda is the place of origin of Sone River. It is situated at a distance of 1.5 km from Narmadakund at the very edge of Maikal Mountain. The Sone River cascades from the mountain in a waterfall hundreds of feet long. From the viewing platform facing east, there is a panorama of forested hills and valleys. According to Megasthanes and other Aryan writers the river Sone gets its name from gold as gold dust is found in the water of Sone.

Mai ki Bagiya (Goddess garden)

A grove of trees in dense forests situated at a distance of one km from Narmadakund is named “Mai ki Bagiya” in honour of the goddess Narmada. In this natural garden there are Mango, Banana and other fruit trees along with Gulbakavli, roses and other flower plants.

Kapildhara (Kapil waterfall)

Six km northwest of Narmadakund is the Kapildhara waterfall with a fall of about hundred feet. According to scriptures, Kapil Muni lived here. There is a scene of natural beauty with mountains and dense forest down hills. According to ‘Vindhya Vaibhav’ Kapil Muni performed severe austerities here and received divine light. He also wrote ‘sankhya philosophy’ (an advanced treatise on mathematics) at this place. The Kapileshwar temple is also situated nearby. The surrounding mountains are full of caves where saints have been performing their spiritual practices.

Kabir chabutra (the platform of saint Kabir)

It is an old belief that the great saint Kabir performed austerities here and achieved spiritual powers. It is therefore a holy place for the Kabir panth sect. The local people, the Panikas, consider Kabir Chabutara as one of the holiest places of the Kabirpanthis because Sant Kabir spent many years here in meditation.At this very place Kabir and Nanak met and discussed spiritual matters and introduced the way of better living for human being. It is also the meeting point of three districts, Anuppur and Dindori districts of Madhya Pradesh and Bilaspur district of Chhatisgarh. There is also a Kabir waterfall here.

Shri Jwaleshwar Mahadev (the temple of Shiva)

The Jwaleshwar temple and the source of origin of the third river Juhila River is situated at a distance of 8 km from Amarkantak on Shahdol road. According to ‘Vindhya Vaibhav’ Lord Shiva himself established a Shivling here and also scattered crores of other Shivlings over Maikal Mountain. According to puranic traditions a rectangular area containing crores of Shivlings is known as ‘Maha Rudra Meru’ and is the abode of lord Shiva himself. There are only two ‘Maha Rudra Meru’ places Varanasi and Amarkantak. Lord Shiva and Parvati live here because of this special spiritual quality.

Shri Sarvodaya Digamber Jain Temple

Shree Sarvoday Digamber Jain Mandir, Amarkantak is situated at a hill station of Madhya Pradesh from where the largest river of western india Narmada gets started. Param Pujya Aacharya Shree Vidyasagarji Maharajaji's one of the important "Atishay Kshetra" Temple is gating its shape at Amatkantak. a very huge temple of india designed by Shree C.B.Sompura is made with the use of 2,25,000 cubic feet of Bansipahadpur's pink sand stone............

Ajaigarh, Madhya Pradesh

AJAIGARH, or Adjygurh, a native state of India, in Bundelkhand, under the Central India agency. It has an area of 771 sq. m., and a population in 1901 of 78,236. The chief, who is a Bundela Rajput, bears the title of sawai maharaja. He has an estimated revenue of about £15,000, and pays a tribute of £460. He resides at the town of Naushahr, at the foot of the hill-fortress of Ajaigarh, from which the state takes its name.

This fort is situated on a very steep hill, more than 800 ft. above the town of the same name; and contains the ruins of temples adorned with elaborately carved sculptures. It was captured by the British in 1809. The town is subject to malaria. The state suffered severely from famine in 1868–1869, and again in 1896–1897. Ajaigarh was the capital of a princely state of the same name during the British Raj. Ajaigarh was founded in 1765 by Guman Singh, a Bundela Rajput who was the nephew of Raja Pahar Singh of Jaitpur. 
After Ajaigarh was captured by the British in 1809, it became a princely state in the Bundelkhand Agency of the Central India Agency.

It had an area of 771 mile², and a population of 78,236 in 1901. The rulers bore the title of sawai maharaja. He commanded an estimated annual revenue of about £15,000/-, and paid a tribute of £460/-. The chief resided at the town of Nowgong, at the foot of the hill-fortress of Ajaigarh, from which the state took its name. This fort, situated on a steep hill, towers more than 800 ft (244 m) above the eponymous township, and contains the ruins of several temples adorned with elaborately carved sculptures.

The state acceded to the Government of India on January 1, 1950; the ruling chief was granted a privy purse of Rs. 74,700/-, and the courtesy use of his styles and titles. All of these were revoked by the government of India in 1971, at the time when these privileges were revoked from all erstwhile princes.

The former princely state became part of the new Indian state of Vindhya Pradesh, and most of the territory of the former state, including the town of Ajaigarh, became part of Panna District, with a smaller portion going to Chhatarpur District. Vindhya Pradesh was merged into Madhya Pradesh on November 1, 1956.


Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh, often called the Heart of India, is a state in central India. Its capital is Bhopal. Indore is the largest city & largest urban agglomeration in the state while Gwalior is the fourth largest city and tourist capital of the state.

Madhya Pradesh is the 2nd largest state by area and 6th largest state by population. It borders the states Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Several cities in Madhya Pradesh are extraordinary for their architecture and or scenic beauty. Three sites in Madhya Pradesh have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO: the Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986) including Devi Jagadambi temple, Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989) and the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003). Other architecturally significant or scenic sites include Ajaigarh, Amarkantak, Asirgarh, Bandhavgarh, Bawangaja, Bhopal, Chanderi, Chitrakuta, Dhar, Gwalior, Indore, Burhanpur, Maheshwar, Mandleshwar, Mandu, Omkareshwar, Orchha, Pachmarhi, Shivpuri, Sonagiri, Mandla and Ujjain. MP being very large geographically, and the history being spread over several millennia, developing a comprehensive picture of heritage and architecture is a monumental task.

Places to See:








Pench National Park


Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

Ujjain (Ujjayini, Avanti, Avantikapuri), is an ancient city of Malwa region in central India, on the eastern bank of the Kshipra River, today part of Madhya PradeshIn ancient times the city was called Ujjayini. As mentioned in the Mahabharata epic, Ujjayini was the capital of the Avanti Kingdom, and has been the Prime Meridian for Hindu geographers since the 4th century BCE. Ujjain is one of the seven sacred cities (Sapta Puri) of the Hindus, and the Kumbh Mela religious festival is held there every 12 years. It is also home to Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the twelve Jyotirlinga shrines to the god Shiva and is also the place where Lord Krishna got education with Balarama and Sudama from Maharshi Sandipani.

Ujjain is a city having immense significance for ancient Indian astronomy and religion. It was considered the prime meridian of longitude by Indian astronomers, and has been the site of many observatories over the centuries. Ujjain also has the sacred temple of Mahakaleshwar, which enshrines one of the 12 holy jyotirlingas, and is the venue of the Kumbha Mela every twelve years held on the banks of the River Shipra.In ancient times the city was called Ujjaini, the capital of the kingdom of Avantika, and finds mention in the Mahabharata. It was also the capital of the great Mauryan king Vikramaditya, and later flourished under the Sungas and Satavahanas. It was a major astronomical and mathematical centre, and great minds who lived here were Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, and Bhaskaracharya. Its temples and monuments suffered widespread destruction in the hands of the Delhi Sultans, beginning its downslide. However, it rose to importance again under the rule of Akbar. In recent times, Ujjain came to be ruled by the Scindias, and was made part of Madhya Pradesh along with the Madhya Bharat region in 1956.

Places to See:


The Mahakal Temple, one of the twelve Jyotirlingas, is a famous and venerated Shiva temple. The Shivling in this temple is supposed to be the only Jyotirling which faces south and hence it is known as Dakshinmukhi or the south-facing ling. It is the most popular and important temple of Ujjain. Every year on Shivratri (claimed to be the wedding day of Lord Shiva), there is a huge crowd of devotees for darshan. The same kind of public crowd can be seen in the month of Savaan, Nagpanchami. On every Monday of "Savan", there is a huge procession for the Lord Shiva idol in the city attended by large numbers of devotees from across the India.
Mahakal derives its name from "kaal" meaning end of life - death; the word Mahakaal means Lord of Death.


Ujjain is considered to be the place of learning and knowledge since the Vedic period. A famous ashram, Sandeepani Ashram is located there and is said to be one where Lord Krishna and his bosom friend, Sudhama studied under the guidance of Sandeepani, the great sage. Ankapata, where Lord Krishna is said to have cleansed his tablet which he used for writing is located closeby. There is a stone on which Guru Sandipani is said to have inscribed the numbers from 1 to 100. This place is considered holy by its association with Lord Krishna and attracts people with its exciting folktales.

Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir 

Another significant place for learning Sanskrit and astrology is the Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir, located close to the Mahakaleshwar Temple's tank. It has a massive statue of Ganesh, the God with the elephant head. Hindus consider the elephant head having virtues of divinity and signifies foresight, wisdom and discretion. In the middle of the temple is an outstanding and unique five faced statue of deity Hanuman who symbolizes belief and devotion. The five faces symbolize strength, courage, righteousness, devotion, and loyalty.

Chaubis Khamba Temple 

The Chaubis Khamba Temple is an impressive architectural marvel of the 9th or 10th century and was considered to be majestic and royal entry point of Mahakala-Vana whose boundary wall now in ruins lies near the gate. At each side of the gate are the splendid graceful images of the goddesses with their names Mahalaya and Mahamaya inscribed on their footstools. The sight of this place is spectacular.

Gomti Kund 

Another place which abounds with legends and among the holiest places is the Gomti Kund, a steep water tank close to the Sandipani Ashram. It is said that Lord Krishna bade the holy rivers from all over the pilgrimage centers for his aged Guru to carry out his rituals easily. Till date, it remains a constant source of water supply to the Sandipani Ashram. The Puranas and Vedas have mentioned this ashram which has proven to be an important place since ancient times as excavations have found out painted artifacts to be more than 3000 years old. These articles resemble closely with those found at Kausambi, Hastinapura, Mathura and Indraprastha.

Gopal Temple 

Another holy place is the 19th century Gopal Temple devoted to Lord Krishna and a specimen of Maratha architecture. It was built by Bayajibai Shinde right in the middle of a huge market and the heart of Ujjain city, marking its strategic importance and popularity. It is made of marble with a spiral structure. The two feet high statue of the deity stands atop a marble altar with doors made of silver. The inner door is the one taken from the temple of by Somnath by Ghazni and restored by Maharaj Scindia.

Chintaman Ganesh Temple 

Another pious place is the marvelous 11th century stone temple, the Chintaman Ganesh Temple which is right in the center of the market. Its presiding deity is considered to be Swayamabhu (Lord Ganesh) and is flanked on both sides by his companions, Siddhi and Ridhhi. The white shrine has an assembly hall with exquisitely carved pillars made of stone which shows its age old sacredness. Hindus firstly worship Lord Ganesh considered the vanquisher of all obstacles. Devotees flock here to worship the deity, conventionally named Chintaharan Ganesh ("the redeemer from the worldly worries and anxieties")

Harsiddhi Temple 

Among the various Shaktipeeths of the Hindu mythology is the Harsiddhi Temple, considered the dwelling of the numerous Hindu Goddesses and houses their images too. Its highlights include the rock structure covered with vermilion and turmeric paste. Another highlight is the Sri Yantra (nine triangles) representing the nine different names of Goddess Durga. Among the famous images and idols known for their characteristic Maratha architecture style is the dark vermilion smeared image of Annapurna (Goddess of Nourishment) and the statue of Mahasaraswati (Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom). During the Navaratri festival, the temple glows with the simultaneous lighting of lamps numbering hundreds on the 15 feet tall lamp stand.

Jantar Mantar 

Another place of astronomical importance and for star gazers is the Jantar Mantar (also called the Vedh Shala Observatory) established in the 17th century. Since, ancient times, Ujjain was the center of the studies and research of Hindu astrologers and astronomers and the observatory is evidence of the same. Jantar Mantar is derived from the words, Yantra and Mantra. It is located in the south eastern place of Ujjain and has four monuments. The first one, Samrata Yantra, 22 feet tall calculates the time. The second one, Nadi Walaya Yantra calculates the Equinoctial days. The third one, Dignasha Yantra calculates the positions of the planets and stars. The fourth and last one, Bhitti Yantra calculates the suns' declination and its distance from the zenith. It also has a telescope and a planetarium.

Nagarkot ki Rani Temple 

An archaeologically important and ancient temple situated in south-west of Ujjain on the marsh ramparts is the Nagarkot Ki Rani Temple ('queen of the city wall') and considered the protector of ancient Ujjain. It is associated with many has many popular folklores of Bharthihari and Vikramaditya and the traditions of Natha sect. Other highlights include a tank dating to the Paramar period and two temples on each side of Nagarkot temple. One of the temples is of the Gupta period and its main deity is Lord Karthikeya.

Patal Bhairavi Temple 

A famous temple dedicated to the Shakti (power) of the mother Goddess namely, Patal Bhairavi Temple has an interesting legend behind it. As per Hindu mythology, a cruel and selfish demon, Bhairav Nath chased a young lady named Vaishno Devi, the reincarnation of Mother Goddess. In order to flee, the Devi shot an arrow in the ground from where water rushed out and took shelter in a cave. However, Devi had to assume the form of Mahakali to kill Bhairav after he found her. Just before dying, Bhairav begged for pardon and was granted Moksha along with a boon wherein each one of the devotees after the darshan of the Mother Goddess at the Holy cave, have to visit the nearby temple of Bhairav Nath in order to fulfill their pilgrimage.

Peer Matsyendranath 

An exquisite and beautiful shrine revered by both Muslims and Hindus lies on the Shipra river banks, namely Pir Matsyendranath and is dedicated to the great sage, Matsyendra. In earlier times before Islamic rule, sages and saints were revered as they were said to have attained spiritual knowledge and awareness through strict atonement and penances. Matsyendra was one such sage and a Sivaiite (Lord Shiva devotee) of the Natha sect. The shrine is of 6th-7th century and is a simple one in terms of architecture with a white structure and a dome surrounded on all four sides by small minarets. Antiques were recovered in excavations. Its simplistic beauty and serene surroundings is appealing.

Ram Janardhan Mandir 

The marvelous and eye catching shrine, Ram Janardhan Mandir, built in the 17th century by Mirza Raja Jaisingh is a perfect example of the elegant and fabulous architectural structural style of the Maratha period. The imposing and classic Maratha paintings decorate the walls and many structures were later on added in the 18th century by the Maratha Kings. Many amazing, striking and excellent sculptures of 11th-12th century like those of the Brahma, Mashesa, Govardhandhari Krishna and Vishnu adorns these shrines and add to their charm and beauty.


Another holy place is the Siddhavat which lies on the river banks of the Shipra River. It is famous for its immortal tree, the Siddhavat Tree. It is sacred and is known by various names at different places such as Akashyavat (Gaya and Prayag), Vanshivat (Vrindavan) and the Panchavata (Nasik). Scores of devotees take a holy dip in the Shipra River at the bathing ghat situated there. Legend has it Goddess Parvati undertook her penance at this place which was formerly a place of prayers and worship of the Natha sect followers. Another legend is that the Mughals tried to prevent the Banyan tree from growing by cutting it off and covering the place with iron sheets. However, the tree cut through the sheets and continued growing.

Vikram Kirti Mandir 

An important cultural place, the Vikram Kirti Mandir was set up to commemorate the 2nd millennium of the Vikram period; with the purpose of keeping afresh the glorious memories of the Mauryan Age among the present and future generations. Its attractions include art gallery, archaeological museum, auditorium and the Scindia Oriental Research Institute. The Institute houses an amazing collection of 18, 000 priceless manuscripts on a variety of subjects like the illustrated Shrimad Bhagavata and also houses a library for referring to many important oriental publications. It also has a rare collection of Bark leaf and Palm leaf manuscripts, Rajput and Mughal paintings and a large collection of sculptures, inscriptions and coins............
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