Kalanjara – A Profile by: B.N. Roy
Kalanjara* – A Profile
Ex. Head, Deptt. Of History, Pt.J.N. College, Banda
ancient name occurring in the epigraphic records and some early texts, is “Kalanjara”.
The word has been interpreted to suggest an aspect of Lord Shiva,
who conquered Kala, the force of decay and destruction- "Kalam
Jayanti iti Kalanjarah". It may be noted that in the various aspects of
Shiva Mahadeva his attribute to destroy the evil and the unwholesome elements is
region of the Vindhyatavi where kalanjara is situated became famous as a
center of Shiva worship. The Agamic and Tantric
text, supported by the archeological evidence, attest to this. The source
material reveals that Saiva monastery was established in Kalanjara during
the early centuries of the Christian era .This is suggested by the clay
sealings and literary references. The representative Mahadeva of
Kalanjara was held in esteem not only in the Vindhya region but also
outside the Vindhya periphery. The deity of the Kalanjara area is
referred to in several records of the Gupta Age and of the early medieval
period. He was worshipped in several areas of the country as the supreme Lord.
the Post-Gupta to the late medieval period Kalanjara developed both as a
religious center and as a political center of strategic significance. During the
rule of the dynasties of the Gurjara-Pratiharas, the Kalachuries
and Chandellas, several rulers of these dynasties took pride in the
sanctity of their land. They contributed largely to the enrichment and
preservation of the religious centers and to the economic and cultural
development of their territories. The credit goes to them to the acharyas and to
the business communities for the advancement of the Vindhya area, of
which Kalanjara had become and important center during the post-Gupta period.
It may be pointed out here that, apart from the four Varnas residing in
the Vindya region, the area was largely inhabited by the aboriginal
people. They were the Pulindas, their Lord, Kalanjarapuravaradhisa.
The ruling kings honoured the faith of the tribals and caused to be
carved out in the hillock of Kalanjara colossal statues of Lord Mahadeva
and other deities associated with him. Some of the magnificent images of
the Siva, Durga, Ganpati and others are a pointer to this
The early medieval architectural and sculptural art at Kalanjara is imbued with
the idea of a harmonious fusion between ethics and aesthetics. The aspect of
Yogi in numerous images of Siva, Visnu and other deities at Kalanjara is
remarkable indeed. The Tantric impact is visible on the stone art of the
site. It can be seen in the grandiloquent forms and in the symbolic and
decorative aspects of images. The Saiva Acharyas, who were
responsible for the development of the center at Kalanjara left no stone
unturned in making it an attractive center for the people of faiths. The idea of
equality and goodwill among the followers of various faiths continued for
centuries at Kalanjara. The art remains and the epigraphical evidence confirm
The art of Kalanjara furnishes valuable material for the study of the
iconography of the Saiva pantheon, of the Panchdevas and also of
the Vyantara Devetas. Numerous figures of the Nagas, the Yaksas
and of the river goddesses have been discovered in and around Kalanjara. Several
of them bean interesting iconographic traits along with regional peculiarities
of environment and form.
The number and scope of the syncratic images in the area during the period of c.
900 A.D. is limited. But subsequently their number increases. There was a
distinct growth in the number of syncratic images in the period between c. 900
and 1300 A.D. This was largely due to factors of religious assimilation and
increase in Tantric beliefs.
The Chandellas have immortalized themselves by contributing to the
creation of temple architecture and sculpture of an abiding rhythm and beauty.
The efflorescence at Khajuraho. Mahoba and Ajaygarh were
the political centers of the Chandellas. Kalanjara was the religious seat
par excellence , where Saivism made a remarkable progress. The Saiva
philosophical doctrines made progress at Kalinjara, where the art
creations supplemented the spiritual spirit of this great religion.
Kalanjara, inspite of occasional raids and destruction, has preserved the
prestige heritage of Indian religious life and thought to this day. The
monuments at Kalanjara reminds us of the glorious times of Indian rulers, who
made an endeavour to uplift themselves and their people to the desired heights
of ethical conduct and aesthetic consciousness. Along with the religious aspect,
the art relics at Kalinjara throw interesting light on several secular facets of
Indian society during the early medieval times.
ancient works and inscriptions the site is mentioned as “Kalanjara”,
Kalanjara-adri, Kalanjarapura-vara etc.
A good number of records of historical and religious importance have been found
at Kalanjara. An inscription of the Gurjara-Pratihara ruler Mihirabhoja
(836-85 A.D.) is incised at the site with the royal titles of the ruler. The Barah
copper-plate inscription of this ruler makes a reference to the Kalanjara
madala (D.C. Circa Select Inscription, Vol. II, 1983, pp 233-34). The Khajuraho
stone inscription of Chandella Dhanga mentions that Dhanga
ruled over the territory bounded by Kalanjara, Vidisa on the Malava-nadi
(Betawa), the bank of Yamuna, the Chedi region and Gopagiri
(Gwalior). The inscription closes with the adoration to Vasudeva
(Krishna) and Savitri (Sungod). (Circa, Ibid. pp. 63-65). In the Garra
Copper-plate record (no1) of Chadella Trilokya-Varman of Sam. 1261 (1205
A.D.) the monarch in mentioned as Parama-maheshvara ( great devotee of
Shiva) and Kalanjara-adhipati (ruler of Kalanjara). ( Circa, Ibid,
3. On the account of its deep association with Lord Siva the fort and town of Kalanjara has been eulogized in the inscriptions of the regional dynasties and also of the other regions.
* Here Writer refers Kalinjar as Kalanjara
Courtesy:: KALANJARA- A Historical and Cultural Profile by: B. N. Roy
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