Bundelkhand Circuit : Lalitpur

Bundelkhand Circuit : Lalitpur

It is situated 93 km south of Jhansi, on the rail and road route towards Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. It used to be a part of the greater Jhansi district till March 1974, when it was given the status of a separate district with three tehsils lalitpur, Mahrauni and Tal Behat. Legend has it that the place got its name after Queen Lalita of the Malwa king Sumer Singh. The river Betwa flows on its west, separating it from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.
The entire district is rich with archaeological findings dating back to prehistoric times. These include workshops for making Stone Age tools.

What to see

Matatila dam, Tal Behat, Chandpur, Mansarover Lake, Pali Neelkanteshwar Temple, Narsingh rock cut sculpture and The shrine of Baba Sadanshah.

Matatila Dam

It is located about 36 km on the road to Jhansi. The picturesque dam is built on the Betwa river and is a popular excursion and picnic spot. It has facilities for water sports and has a beautiful garden.

Tal Behat

Situated 31 km to the south on the Jhansi-Sagar highway, it derived its name from Tal (lake) and Behat (village) in the language of the Gonds. There is a fine fort built in 1618 by Bharat Shah, the Chanderi king.

Chandpur

This village about 10 km from Deogarh is famous for its archaeological finds of Chandel and Jain origin. There is an ancient temple that now lies in ruins.

Chandpur village in Lalitpur tehsil is known for extensive archaeological remains, scattered especially in the east and north west parts. It is situated midway between Dudhai and Devgarh, and the Jhansi-Mumbai railway track is located on the west of this village.

This place is very rich in Chandel and Jain period archaeological remains. These include five groups temple ruins and several pieces of statues, all examples of unique artwork. The presence of pieces and ruins of nude statues indicate them to be of Jain origin. A little away is the second group of Hindu temples, which includes mainly Vishnu temples. Another group of Hindu temple ruins includes the Sahastralag temple built in 1882. Atop the entrance gate of the temple is a statue of six-armed Lord Shiva in the famed Tandav nrittya pose. On the right and left, respectively, are statues of Vishnu and Brahma. After entering the temple is a Nandi statue with a roof overhead. the statue is 1.5 metres long, 0.6 meteres wide and 1.10 metres high. On its boundary wall are engraved countless figurines of exquisite artwork, including a dancing statue. Some frames are made in the human and animal form. Another group of temples is in almost complete ruins, known as Varaah temple. On a high platform near the railway line there is another group of ruins of Lord Vishnu temples. A short distance away is the temple of Jhajhar dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The ceiling of the entry gate is decorated with statues. According to legend, the footsteps of king Jhajhar Dev, a king of central India, can be seen at a place near the Jhajhar well.

Madanpur

Madanpur in Mahrauni tehsil is 75 km from the district headquarters of Lalitpur and 171 km south of Jhansi. On the northeast it is connected by road to Madavara,and on north-west, it is connected by Jhansi-Lalitpur-Sagar National highway at Narhat village. The legend is that Madanpur is named after its founder Chandela ruler, Madan Verma. It used to be a prosperous village in those times.

Ruins of Vishnu, Shiva and Jain temples in addition to several Chandela period structures are found here. There is exquisite painting on the ceiling of the sanctum sanctorum of a Jain temple. In a Jain temple a stone inscription mentions the year Samvat 1206 and also the name of the village. Two small stone inscriptions are seen in a Baradari with small columns. In one of them the description of the conquest of king Prithviraj Chauhan over king Parmardi (Parmal) of Jejakbhukti in Samvat 1239 is inscribed. In front of these ruins there is a huge lake, banked by red stones, believed to be made in the Chandel period. In front of the lake, there is a 12-feet high platform, on which the seat and court of the mighty warrior heros of the 12th century Aalha and Udal, are located.

Madanpur is situated in the most narrow stretch of the Vindhya mountain range. During the 1857-58 War of Independence this pass was in the control of the king of Shahgarh. The king had fiercely opposed the forward advance of the British officer Hughrose who was marching towards attacking the Jhansi Fort.

A little away from this village is Patan village, which is older.

Some old Jain temples are situated here. The ruins of an old structure and a gate are believed to be the archaeological remains of the palace of king Mangal Singh of Patan.

Pandav Forest

The noted Jain site Pava is located about 50 km from Lalitpur in Lalitpur tehsil, and 46 km from Jhansi. Pava is a big village, situated at the south bank of Belna, and a road from here meets the Jhansi-Sagar national highway near Karelara. About 100 years ago this place was known as an important centre of Jain pilgrimage. There is a hill near this village, which is known as the Hill of the Siddhas. According to an ancient Jain tradition, four Jain saints, including Swarnbhadra, had received Nirvana in Pawagiri.

Another hill close by is known as the Pava hill. There are two other temples connected with Jain saints. From one point near these temples visitors can have a panaoramic view of the area and Matatila dam. Below the hill, there is Lala Hardaul ka Chabutara, a platform named after the famed and popular Bundela warrior. There are also remains of a large Jain temple known as Naik Gadi. It is said that this was built by two Jain traders named Devpat and Siyopat. Among the ruins is is a wall, a gate and a baoli (deep well.)

Chandan Van Var Block (Bar)

Bar, which is a large village and the capital of the development block of the same name, is located at 24° northwest of Mahrauni. Its distance from Mahrauni is 40 km. It is connected with Bansi by road. There is a railway line from Bar to Lalitpur. The nearest railway station is Jakhaura. There is an emergency Airport in Lalitpur. Earlier it was a town but in 1608 when Jahangir gave this estate to Ramshah, this became the headquarters of the estate. In 1616 Ramshah’s son Bharat Shah won Chanderi which he made his state headquarters.

Here in the 9th century a pond was made by Bachraj which is known as Bachsagar. The nearby hills are covered with Bundela buildings and sandalwood trees. There is a pond of 52 hectare at the shores of which there is a precious garden of Kevada. All this makes this place extremely interesting and delightful. Currently Bar is also known as Chandan Nagar.

Vijaypur temple situated here is archaeologically important. Other scenic spots include the tomp of Raja Shah located on the pond, Samadhi of devotee Maharaj near the Bhole Baba temple, Copra Baba temple on the hill and fort built by Raja Mardan Singh on the hill

Mansarovar Lake

This vast lake is situated 50 km from Jhansi on the Jhansi-Lalitpur-Deogarh highway at Talbehat. This lake is ideal for water sports. On the bank of the lake are Fort of Mardan Singh, Hazaria Mahadev temple and many ghats. About 10 km away is the Matatila reservoir built on the Betwa river. The lake, temples and the reservoir are among favourite spots for tourists.

Pali Neelkanteshwar Temple

Neelkantheswar, is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said to be the oldest temple of Lord Shiva near in Pali area of Lalitpur district, about 25 km from Lalitpur. The idol of Lord Shiva in this temple is unique in that it has three heads, and it is considered to be one and only Avatar of Lord Shiva. Pali . This temple is situated amid dense forests on a hillock and this place is also famous for betel growing. The temple dates back to the Chandela period, and legend has it that the idol came out in its own from the mountain and the temple was built around it. A very huge fair (mela) is held here every year during the Maha Shivratri festival. A procession of devotees can be witnessed on this day.

Narsingh rock cut sculpture

A magnificent rock cut sculpture of Narsingh (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) can be seen at Dudhai in Lalitpur district, 100 km south of Jhansi on NH 26 from Lalitpur. One can reach this great spectacle by turning off the highway at Bagaria and drive about 28 km to Dudhai. Dated at 5th century, this sculpture at Dudhai is one of those ‘forgotten’ treasures of India. It is a significant site as it comprises a set of Hindu and Jain temples with awe inspiring iconographic detailing on each structure. An impressive ‘Varaha’ — the wild boar incarnation of Vishnu — stands in the middle of the site. The lines of rock have been drawn to a fine point and some articles of clothing and a necklace stand out. The ferocity of the Narasingh-avatar is typified by the teeth drawn back in a snarl. The statue, created out of the rock it stands in, has near perfect camouflage and is nearly invisible unless seen from a relatively close distance. The amazing sculpture is believed to belong to Gupta period.

The Shrine of Baba Sadanshah

The shrine (mazaar) of famous Sufi saint Sadanshah is situated in Lalitpur city. Baba Sadanshah was born in a family of butchers around the year 1600 AD. A mention of the Baba is made as 'Sadan Kasai' in the "Bhaktmal" composed by Nabhadas.

Legend has it that Sadanshah used to sell chopped meat. He used to weigh the meat with a sacred stone (batia) of Lord Shankar. This stone, it is said, used to change its own weight according to the weight of the meat -- whether a ser or a maund -- required by the customer. Once some saints passing that way saw this sacred stone being used by a butcher, and they stole it. But in the night the Lord appeared in the dream of these saints, and told them that "This butcher is my devotee, return him the stone." The saints did as they were told.

A big fair is held at the shrine of the Baba every year from March 31 to April 2, and people from all religions and faiths congregate here. This site is a symbol of religious harmony in the region.

The shrine of Baba Sadanshah is also known by its nine steps and 32 pillars. Residents of Lalitpur believe that it is because of the holy effect of the Baba that the region has never witnessed any Hindu-Muslim riot since the partition.The shrine of Baba Sadanshah is also known by its nine steps and 32 pillars. Residents of Lalitpur believe that it is because of the holy effect of the Baba that the region has never witnessed any Hindu-Muslim riot since the partition.

There is another legend associated with Baba Sadanshah. It is said that once the Baba was going on a pilgrimage to Jagannath Puri. Seeking shelter on the way he knocked at a door. There emerged a woman who did not appear to be normal by her behaviour. The Baba asked her about her husband, at which the woman went inside, beheaded her husband and brought his head to the Baba. He was taken aback and then the woman started shouting, maligning the Baba. Soon, angry villagers collected there and severed the hands of the Baba.

In Jagannath Puri, the temple priests had a dream in which the Lord said that "My devotee is coming to me. Bring him in a palanquin with song and dance."

The priests did as they were told. All those present in the temple were dancing and singing with cymbals in their hands. The Baba thought that he too would have played cymbals if he had his hands.

And his severed hands reappeared.
The Baba had a divine realization that "The woman was a cow in the previous birth, who was running away from the butcher, but you had stopped it and it was later killed by the butcher. The woman had taken revenge of the previous birth but your hands were given back to you because of your devotion." There is an old church in the vicinity.

In ward number 5, there is a building known as Bansa, under the control of the archaeology department. There is a temple of Lakshminarayan, believed to be from the Dwapar era.

In ward number 15, there is a Hanuman temple and a mosque, symbolizing Hindu-Muslim unity. In the same ward there is Sumera lake, built by the king of Vanpur, Sumer Singh. There is also a clock tower, built in the year 1952-53.

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Courtesy: bundelkhandcircuit.gov.in

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