Bundelkhand Circuit : Mahoba
Also popularly known as The City of Lakes, it lies about 145 km east of
Jhansi. It is associated with the Chandela kings who ruled over Bundelkhand
between the 9th and the 12th century. At Mahoba, the impregnable hilltop fort
and the lakes they created are considered to be engineering feats. The wonderful
water management system of the Chandela period can still be seen here. Mahoba
was also a prominent cultural centre. Ballads praise its days of glory and
narrate the inspiring saga of Alha and Udal, the two legendary warrior brothers
who sacrificed their lives for the honour of their land. There are many places
of historical and archaeological interest, besides the numerous lakes that dot
the rocky islets. Among the many temples are some Jain shrines, built around the
12th century A.D.
What to see
Kirat Sagar and Rahila Lakes, Sun Temple, Maniya Dev Temple, Kakramath
Temple, Gorakhgiri and Best Research Centre.
Kirat Sagar, constructed by Kirtivarman between 1060 A.D. and 1100 A.D., has
fine embankments with granite steps. Madan Sagar, constructed by Madanvarman
between 1128 A.D. and 1165 A.D., is very picturesque. Other lakes include Kalyan
Sagar, Vijay Sagar and Rahila Sagar, built by the 5th century ruler Rahila.
Temples Sun Temple at Rahila
This 9th century granite temple lies to the west of Rahila Sagar, an
artificial lake credited to Chandela ruler Rahila, who ruled between 890 to 910
A.D. Though in a ruined state today, the temple is a fine example of early
Pratihara architecture in the area.
Maniya Dev Temple
This temple dedicated to the tutelary deity of the chandelas, stands on the
bank of Madan Sagar, near the fort. In front of it is a monolithic granite
pillar, 18 ft. high and 1.75 ft. wide at the base.
This granite temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva, is located at the Madan Sagar.
Its basic architectural plan is similar to the temples found at Khajuraho. The
Madan Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, stands nearby. The shrine of Pir Mubarak
Shah, a muslim sufi saint who came from Arabia in 1252 A.D., is nearby.
Betal Research Center
Situated on Chhatarpur Road, it is a branch of N.B.R.I., Lucknow. Here one
can see betel farming in its various stages.
Temples and other monuments
Near Madan Sagar is the famous granite Shiva temple known as Kakramath, built
in the Khajuraho style of temple architecture. The Madan Temple dedicated to
Vishnu also stands nearby. On an island in the lake stands Majhari, the ruins of
another Vishnu temple. Along the northern embankment is an old Chandela fort
known as Qila Mismar along with the ruins of ParmaI's Palace. The celebrated
Maniya Devi Temple, the massive stone pillar known as Deewat or Alha-ki-Gilli
and the Dargah of Pir Mubarak Shah the tomb of a Muslim saint from Arabia, who
settled in Mahoba in 1252 AD, also stand in the fort area.
A roofless, granite-pillared baradari, known as Alha's Baithak, stands on the
south-east end of the embankment. A tunnel nearby is said to lead to the fort by
the side of Madan Sagar. Near the southern end of Madan Sagar are located the
temple of Bari Chandrika Devi, the Shiva cave temple of Katheshwar and on the
adjoining hillock, 24 rock hewn images of Jain Tirthankaras.
A Sun Temple, among the rare few still to be found in northern India, is
located at Rahila Sagar. Though in a ruined state, it is still an excellent
example of Chandela architecture.
Besides the tanks, Mahoba has two famous Chandela period kunds (pools) lined
with granite slabs in a reverse pyramid shape. Ram Kund is located to the west
of Madan Sagar, while Suraj Kund is near Rahila Sagar. Both originally served as
ha van kunds (pits for sacrificial fires) for the great yajnas performed by the
mighty Chandela rulers.
The Gorakhgiri Hill
The hill where Guru Gorakhnath resided with his disciple Sidho Dipak Nath is
drama tic with massive granite rocks, perched atop one another in a wild and
striking manner. A huge, carved Gajantak Shiva figure in the foothills can also
be seen. The spot is ideal for picnics and climbing excursions.
20 km. from Mahoba on N.H. 86, Charkhari is noted for Mangal Garh Fort on the
Mulia Hills. Guman Bihari Temple, Govardhan Temple and lakes which form a unique
sceinc water body. The erstwhile Maharaj’s palace is a heritage home stay.
Contact: 05283-266138. Govardhan Mela, celebrated during the month of Kartik,
Oct./Nov. draws a large number of devotees from far and near.
How to get there
Air : Nearest airport is Gwalior - 235 km.
Rail : Mahoba is well connected on the Central Railway.
Road : It is linked with the cities of U.P. and M.P.