Mitawali

The Ancient Temple which inspired the design of Indian Parliament House.

Varanasi

...is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.....By Mark Twain.

Dharamsala-Mcleodganj

This is a picturesque small village enroute to Mcleodganj. Isn't it a painting by GOD himself...!

Bhangarh

One of the most haunted place on the planet. Staying after sunset and going before sunrise is STRICTLY prohited by law.

Luxembourg

Enjoy boating in the green waters of Luxembourg and park your boats in the above parking bays.

Showing posts with label Gwalior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gwalior. Show all posts

July 21, 2013

Mitawali - Expedition to the Forgotten Gem

"India is an AMAZING Land" 

AROMAS of rich cultural heritage have blessed India with numerous places worth watching. Many of these are lying hidden in little-known towns and villages, which even the most acclaimed of the tourist circles, at times have no clue about. Whenever you come across such spots, you tend to realize that the current one is more beautiful than the previous one.

One of such hidden spots is “Mitawali” which is situated near to Gwalior; approx. 40-50 kms. when traveling from Agra via NH-3. As I was planning one more Road trip to Gwalior, so was looking for some on the way points worth seeing in order to make my drive more meaningful. While surfing the internet I got to know about this place with only mention of a structure like Indian Parliament house, however there was no indications of the way.

As I always say, Good travellers never plan in advance, so one fine day I decided to start my voyage for exploration of Mitawali. On National Highway 3; after reaching Dhaulpur, half-an-hour before Morena, which took some four hours from Noida, I started asking for directions to reach Mitawali. All I got was blank faces, as clueless as mine. Finally, someone in Morena gave a vague information about the place.The situation was not quite encouraging, yet I had no option but to test the the powers of trust which I kept in his directions, however to my good fortunes he was right.

It was around 90 kms. from Agra and 15 kms. from Morena on NH-3, I was supposed to take a left turn from Thekari. Keep a close check on the distance meter and ask locales and passerby for Thekari, if you miss the turn you will reach Gwalior or will journey into the ravines of Chambal Valley. 
Thekari: Take a left turn to Mitawali
With a mix of caution and thrill I took the left turn from Thekari (above location for reference), from here route is fairly simple; go straight for around 15 km. to finally see a direction signal to Mitawali. Though the road is narrow, but it is in fairly good condition, except for a few stretches which are being re-laid. Excitement of getting closer to Mitawali had ensured that the road condition was the last thing on my mind. There are no fuel stations after the left turn from Thekari, make sure your vehicle do not run out of fuel.




There is very less habitation on this way. Enthusiasm of exploring a new place was enough to keep me in good spirits. After driving for 5 hours, I finally reached “Mitawali” site and it was the time to climb 100 ft. upstairs to embrace the beautiful Shiva temple, situated at top of a hill.




Circular architecture of this temple is an absolute cynosure to the eyes. A circular central hall (Main temple) surrounded by small temples is a unique construction. At first glance it didn't look like a temple at all; it seemed like a university or an ancient seat of administration.
Mitawali temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and consists of 64 Yogini small temples surrounding the main Central temple of Lord Shiva

It was the time to thank the Gods for such a wonderful drive to Mitawali and also praying to God his for benevolence to continue my life like this. While I was thanking the GOD's, the perforated base of the central temple caught my attention. The caretaker told me that it was built as a passage for rainwater to go into a huge reservoir below. I tried locating it but failed. It must have been built with precision so as not to obstruct the beauty of the monument in any way and serve its purpose secretly. Even the pipe-like pieces on the roofs, constructed to drain the rainwater, made me hail the architectural prowess of those times. It was perhaps these smart engineering techniques, apart from the limited number of visitors, which has contributed in keeping the temple in a comparatively good state.




Environment inside the temple is utmost peaceful, walking around in the lonely corridors is a rare delicacy. Each small temple has an image of Lord Shiva, also known as "SHIVLING - शिवलिंग". Sit back and enjoy the silence.





Outer wall of the temple is decorated with numerous images of Hindu Gods and Goddesses.   



Apart from appreciating the temple, you can also have an astonishing pigeon eye view of the surrounding areas.

Vast tracts of land, scattered habitation, not so easy life in the villages will surely take you much closer to real India, very different from India existing in big cities.

As told by locales and caretaker this temple was built in around 9th century AD and used to be a seat of education of astrology and mathematics with the use of the rays and shades of the Sun. My first guess about this place was almost bang on target. Very recently a caretaker has been appointed by MP tourism department for this temple who is doing an excellent housekeeping of this temple premises. He is also maintaining a register and regularly taking feedback from occasional visitors on how to popularise this place.

You call it a sheer coincidence or strange coincidence that structure of Indian Parliament house (Sansad Bhawan) has a close resemblance with this temple. To be honest Indian parliament house looks like hugely inspired from the architecture of this temple.

This place has been lying hidden/ forgotten since ages, so very less information is available about this place. No one can deny the fact that it must have been very majestic during its prime. Despite being situated in the vicinity of vibrant Chambal River, there is meagre inhabitation in this region. This is a significant departure from the Indian perspective; all the ancient monuments situated near to the rivers have ensured settlement of the civilizations and flourishing cities. All the ancient temples and monuments are testimony to this piece of evidence.
Looks like some vital facts are still lying buried deep inside the soil, waiting to come out with the passage of time.
To be frank my expectations from this place were not so high but the experience I got of this place was beyond expectations. Whether it was the road to Mitawali, contrasting village life, un-inhabited lands and above all the Temple on top of the hill – it was proud moment for cherishing the Grand Indian panorama. Also I was rejoicing at my decision to explore this place by driving. 
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As I prepared to return and was putting my shoes, I gave one last glance to this historical marvel and silently I wondered what had kept generations of Indians ignorant of this architectural gem.

So whenever you plan an excursion to Agra or a Get away to Gwalior, make sure you keep some time for a visit to  Mitawali...believe me you will come back with more than just memories. Keep travelling...

Please find this article published in national newspaper, The Pioneer:





November 2, 2011

Getaway to Gwalior

Everyone has his/ her ways to enjoy the gift called "LIFE". Some prefer hanging out with friends, some like discotheques and some prefer travelling to distinct locations to seek enjoyment. Apart from enjoyment, travelling is an ideal way to recharge your energy stocks.

I too fall in the latter category and I honestly believe that you need not going to Bahamas or Paris to seek rejuvenation: "just look around yourself, pack your bags and start". Here lies the advantage India. India is such a diverse country that if you try to explore, you can go to any city/ town or village I am sure you would not be disappointed. This I believed during my trip to Gwalior. 

This was my 2nd trip to Gwalior. First visit was too hectic and I got chances to click the pictures only during the drive. So this time I kept some time for exploration, as Gwalior has a rich heritage and legacy. This city has been a witness to numerous curves of the India history.

So guys fasten your seat belts and lets vroom...to an enriching journey to Gwalior. 

Since the petrol prices have gone skyrocketing, so I too opted for our National transporter. You guess it right ...Indian Railways. There are numerous trains at all times during the day and it takes only 5 hours to reach Gwalior from New Delhi. During the trip you can enjoy photography from the moving train.

Being the time of monsoons, this was the time to witness "Chambal Valley" in a new water soaked manifestation. Rains have changed the all round appearance of the Valley (chambal valley during winters). 


How beautiful was my valley, guys wait for a second, there was the river Chambal itself, with its all overwhelming beauty to leave you astonished.
Next day was fully reserved for the sight seeing in and around Gwalior. As I always say every trip is different, this time I got a Bike to move around the city.
The first spot in the line was the "Tighra Dam". Tighra Dam was constructed in year 1917 and is 23 kms away from the Gwalior City, in stone masonry in lime mortar.
The road is in good shape and there are some adjoining hills too. The surrounding hills and landscapes are pretty ordinary, however slowly drizzling rains had turned the ordinary drive into an extra ordinary. Try biking in the rains, it's amazing. 
While biking in the rains I have forgotten that I was not keeping well for sometime. Road to Tighra and the rains have fully rejuvenated me and all of a sudden I was not tired anymore.
It did not took us much time to reach the dam. Tighra dam is an artificial reservoir of water and it has been nicely developed as a picnic spot too. No surprises it is crowded at all the times. 

You can take a dip in the waters...
If you are a speed enthusiast, you have the option of driving around in a motorboat...

However if speed scares you, than roam around in a pedal boat:

The place is small, but it can drench you with oceanic feel. So guys no need to go to Indian Ocean or Bay of Bengal.
After relaxing for a couple of hours we again started for our next target, "Gwalior Fort"

                                                 Gwalior Fort                                                         

Built in 15th century AD the Gwalior Fort has been described as Pearl in the necklace of India Forts by various rulers and inavders too. Being one of the largest forts in India it has long been respected as the pride of the rich Indian heritage. Sheer size, colossal manifestaion and grand architecture of this fort will surely enhance the pride quotient for the glorious past of our country.



Apart from the visible sprawling structures, there are also 7 stories which are below the ground. These 7 stories palace which are under the ground are known as "Bhool Bhulaiya". All the walkways, stairs and rooms are alike. Treading alone and without a guide, you are definitely going to lose the way. Moreover there is no lighting inside, in order to preserve the original character of the fort. so follow the instructions. 


Once being a stunning display of craftsmanship and the grandeur of the Scindia Empire, now  the palace is totally helpless against these inhabiting "BATS". Rightly said - every BAT has its day - they are having a bull run by being the official residents of this grand palace. See closely, the roof is covered by the bats:




There is always an other side to the coin. Which was once the pride of this region, is now counting its last breaths and appears to be totally helpless and lonely in its fight for survival.

It hurts and pains at the same time. We are at fault for ignoring the masterpieces received from our ancestors.
Much is required from government and everyone else who is visiting this fort to keep it alive so that future generations don't miss out a handshake with our glorious past.

Being one of the older cities in India, Gwalior is surely a shopping delight too. Gwalior cuisine will surely delight you - don't forget to try Kachaudi (locally called as Bedain), Laddu, variety of snacks and Ghewar (घेवर) - all are finger licking yummy.

It was almost night till we enjoyed in the city. As usual, next day I returned back with bagful of sweets and lots of sweet memories...