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Teli ka Mandir, Gwalior

When was the last time you drove for 6-7 hours since early morning, just to visit that splendid spot? 

When you are in the country known India, there are many such spots which are destinations in themselves. Even a whole day travel is worth to just spend 30-40 minutes at the spot. Ancient Teli-Ka Mandir in Gwalior is one such spot. Colossal size, splendid architecture, intricate carvings of Gods and Goddesses and image of Garuda, vehicle of Lord Vishnu make this temple a complete destination.

More than 100 ft. in height, the temple is a unique blend of different Indian architectural styles. It is the tallest structure in the Gwalior Fort. Check out the different styles of lower half and the upper dome.

Upper dome looks like Nagara style architecture like temples in Almora. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and image of 'Garuda', vehicle of Lord Vishnu can be seen just above the main doorway of the temple. Temple is majestic from the front, the edges deserve a standing ovation for the craftsmanship. Check out the front right edge -  

Teli-ka-Mandir in English transforms to Oilman’s temple. Built in around middle of 8th century, it is the oldest surviving monument in Gwalior. As the name suggests the temple was constructed from the funds provided by Oil traders during the regime of King Mihirbhoj.

It was evening and the whispering cool breeze had doubled the charm of this temple. Temple is equally expressive from all the sides. Check this left-hand side of the temple -

Close-up of the top- 

A Dravidian or South Indian architecture looks like a rare specimen in Central India. It is believed that the Oil Traders who funded this temple, probably had connection with South India or represented South Indian Oil Merchants’ association or it could be due to fact that a princess from South India, probably Telangana played a part in construction of this temple. However, there is no concrete evidence to support the 2nd theory.

It is also said that Telang brahmins used to manage the temple after Gwalior Fort came under Rashtrakutas for a brief period in 8th Century, Telang gave way to the name Teli. 

But irrespective of the origins the temple, the sculptures like those of Khajuraho temples and fusion with Nagara style and Dravidian architecture point out towards the rich diverse heritage of India.

This is the back side of the temple, which for a moment resembled like Petra caves of Jordan.

If you try to go into the details and see the carvings on temple walls from close, you will see the signs of extensive damage to the temple. The beautiful temple was badly damaged by Qutb-ud-din Aibak and Iltutmish in 1232 AD along with other temples in the fort and Jauhar by Queen and other womenfolk followed in Gwalior Fort. Check the bottom figures in the pictures, almost all of the faces are damaged. 

The temple was later restored by rulers of Gwalior. Peaks of Glory and the sufferings, this temple has seen all in its existence since centuries. Was unable to go inside the temple due heavy odor from bats infestation and got worsened by ongoing rains. I did try my best by mouth filling by outside fresh air and stopping the breathing, but the odor was severely congesting and I had to give up. Check our bats on the roof, clearly visible from the entrance.

And finally, the remarkable entrance gate of this temple premises. Spellbound by the height of the temple and eager to capture the temple frames, I had simply missed out this masterpiece.


PS – Single entry ticket is required to enjoy all the spots in the Gwalior Fort. Either you buy the ticket physically from the Mansingh Gate of the Gwalior Fort or can book online via https://asi.payumoney.com/quick/gwf

Keep exploring Folks.

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