Morena Magic – The Temples of Bateshwar, Padawali and Mitawali

During winter months Morena provides you with a sweet and crunchy association – the box of gajjak you bought here in Delhi has Morena manufacturing markings. Otherwise the mention of Morena brings up images of baghis or outlaws patrolling the badlands of Chambal ravines. During train travels you turn apprehensive as the train crosses Dholpur and the mud ravines make their appearance. You can almost see the dust cloud rise and hear the thump of hoofs as the turbaned dacoits firing in the air run next to your train. That was just Hindi cinema embellishment – the baghis never rode horses in Chambal ravines; and which was realistically portrayed in the film ‘Paan Singh Tomar’ where the titular hero belonged to the neighbouring Chambal district of Bhind. But then walking dacoits just do not generate enough terror on the big screen.

And then Morena springs the third association – unknown and full of surprises. A friend has just stumbled upon the most incredible circuit of obscure temples, 25 km deep inside Morena; of course by walking in the glorious tradition of baghis of yore. The opportunity to see the temples soon presents itself and you grab it; of course a city slicker like you will need a four wheel ride.

Noorabad - Medieval Bridge over Sankh River in Morena

Noorabad – Medieval Bridge over Sankh River in Morena


With Gwalior as your base, you start north on NH3 towards Morena. About 25 kms ahead turn right at Noorabad. Noorabad was a small medieval outpost that grew prosperous during the times of Jahangir and is probably named after his wife Noorjehan. The village boasts of a pretty bridge over the Sankh River decorated with octagonal chattris and minarets, just metres away from the national highway. This was the medieval highway that took the armies from Delhi and Agra to Gwalior, Chanderi, Burhanpur and beyond to Deccan. It is amazing that the road has maintained the same alignment all these centuries.

Ganna Begum Tomb at Nurabad

Ganna Begum Tomb at Nurabad

In Noorabad drive around the fort like walls of a palace or a sarai. The sarai was possibly built by a general of Aurangzeb. Only the walls seem to have survived. Inside there is a thriving compound. You doubt the inhabitants are descendents of Jahangir. Just outside the village is the Tomb of Ganna Begum built in 1775. The begum was the wife of Wazir of Noorabad. The Mughal Emperor Muhammad Shah Rangila fell for her beauty. From Noorabad drive east for 15 kms on a fairly good road to reach the first Morena marvel of Bateshwar Group of Temples.

Bateshwar Temples are a group of about 200 temples spread over twenty five acres and built across sloping hills near the village of Padavali. The temples dedicated to Shiv and Vishnu were built in 8th to 10th century AD possibly during the dynasty of Kannauj based Gurjar-Pratihars (6th to 11th century AD). The Pratihars considered themselves Suryavanshis who were descendents of Lakshman.

Batesar Temples - Gopur Dwar Pillars

Batesar Temples – Gopur Dwar Pillars

At the gate a paved trail takes you to the complex. As you walk up the trail to the ruined Gopur Dwar you see the swarm of gleaming temples looking ethereal in the morning sun. Though you have seen the photos but the physical sight leaves you pleasantly surprised and buoyant.

Bateshwar - Looking at the Temple Group

Bateshwar – Looking at the Temple Group

The temples spread out from the western hill slope on the left to the right. You have not seen so many temples packed together. Aihole in Karnataka has about 125 temples but they are spread out geographically in groups. Here it is a veritable bumper to bumper traffic jam of temples. It is as if on-the spot temple making contest was conducted over a weekend and every artisan worth his chisel participated. Just like at Aihole there are the earlier period temples with flat roofs while the later temples have curvilinear shikhars. Most of the temples have sanctum sanctorums with shivlings. Outside walls have some relief.

Bateshwar - Lord Hanuman Presiding over the Temples

Bateshwar – Lord Hanuman Presiding over the Temples

Batesara Temples - Relief Work on Walls
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Batesara Temples – Relief Work on Walls

Closer look reveal that the temples carvings have little defacement or disfigurement. It is a wonder how they remained unscathed when they lay almost bang in the middle of way taken by marching armies for centuries. It is possible that owing to the hill and the vegetation the temples just disappeared from common sight during the medieval period. Also, the temples are built in a seemingly bowl shaped valley surrounded by hills. Early photos do show trees emerging through the structures. And then an earthquake might have brought the whole complex down. So you see lot of breakage but largely no intentional vandalism or plunder which you have seen at other places.

Bateshwar Temple - Fine Work by ASI

Bateshwar Temple – Fine Work by ASI

Some temples look pristine while others lie in ruins. It is only when you detect numbers written on different architectural members of the temples that you realise they have been restored. The tell-tale signs are all around – thousands of temple stone members strewn around. There are pillars, friezes and amalakas, all awaiting their turn to transform back into temples.

Batesar - Rebirth in Progress

Batesar – Rebirth in Progress

Batesar Temples - Now & Then

Batesar Temples – Now & Then

Bateshwar’s rebirth is the story of labour of love of K. K Muhammad. He was the ASI man, then serving as Superintending Archaeologist, ASI Delhi Circle, who took Obama around Humayun Tomb in November 2010. Muhammad, a Keralite and an expert of Upanishads, first saw the site when he was posted in the Bhopal circle. The place was just a huge mound of stone. Starting in 2005, ASI started putting the jigsaw pieces together and the site started taking shape. But there was a minor problem, yes you guessed right, of dacoits. The site was used by the dacoits as a hideout and once Muhammad had a run-in with Nirbhay Singh Gurjar, the dreaded dacoit. After several rounds of negotiation, the dacoit whose ancestors built the temples was convinced of Muhammad’s intentions that the temples needed to be restored and shown to the world. He finally acquiesced and allowed ASI to carry on the restoration and in fact provided protection to the workers.

Bateshwar - Temple Vista

Bateshwar – Temple Vista

About 100 temples have been restored so far. Work continues on some bigger temples. Tip toeing around the ruins gives a fair idea of what has been achieved and the degree of difficulty encountered. You do feel proud of ASI. It is us people who are greater enemies of our heritage – whether it is the casual tourists littering and defacing walls or the mafia here bent on obliterating the hills.

Yes it is not the end of story – first it was time and elements, now it is the human greed that is threatening the temples. On the way you see tractor trolleys loaded with probably illegally mined stones from the surrounding hills. Hills shake and reverberate with the sounds of explosives. The new danger is the mining that is going around relentlessly. It is the same place where an IPS officer was run over and the collector shot at. According to Muhammad, several reminders to MP Chief Minister elicited no response forcing him, a government officer, to write to RSS Chief Sudershan. It was then that the government woke up and created a buffer zone of 750 metres around the site instead of the usual 200 metres. Of course we would never know if other obscure temple sites have already been wiped out before the government gets wise.

Batesara - Vishnu Temple with Amazing Friezes

Batesara – Vishnu Temple with Amazing Friezes

On your way out, visit the solitary Vishnu Temple on a hillock. There is no shikhar but the outer walls of sanctum sanctorum have amazing friezes.

Muhammad who retired as ASI Director North, considers Bateshwar as his pilgrimage that he undertakes every three months. Only time will tell whether the 1300 year old temple pilgrimage site in Chambal ravines will suffer another bout of devastation and need another reincarnation.

Bateshwar Temples - View from Vishnu Temple

Bateshwar Temples – View from Vishnu Temple

After looking at the temple complex from the hill one last time you leave for the next Morena marvel.

Garhi Padhavali Guarded by Two Lions

Garhi Padhavali Guarded by Two Lions

Padawali - Fortress Courtyard with Temple Mandap

Padawali – Fortress Courtyard with Temple Mandap

Few kilometres ahead, you see the outlines of towering bastions of a fortress. This is Garhi Padawali. The entrance is guarded by a pair of lion and lioness. On both sides bastions rise to intimidate you. A steep flight of steps take you to the entrance of a temple. You only see the mukhamandap but fail to see the mandap or the sanctum sanctorum. In their place you see broken stone members spread in the courtyard. Walls rise all around the temple. The temple probably dedicated to Lord Shiv is believed to be built during 8th to 10th century. During this time the nearby area was populated and came to be known as Padawali or ‘surrounded by hills’.

Padawali Temple - Hiding its Treasure of Sculpture

Padawali Temple – Hiding its Treasure of Sculpture

Padawali - The Treaure House Revealed

Padawali – The Treaure House Revealed

Now you focus all your attention on the mukhamandap. Apparently, this small structure built on a high platform is an extensive profusion of carvings. If Qutb Complex’s Iltutmish Tomb walls are covered in the Nashqi & Kufic carvings and motifs, and the Nizamuddin Family tombs in Chanderi have the most exquisite lattice work; the mandap here probably is the most ornate structure you have ever seen in a Hindu temple. Every inch of stone is densely carved in eye popping 3D detail.

Padhawali - Every Lintel overflowing with Carvings

Padhawali – Every Lintel overflowing with Carvings

Padawali - Brahm Vishnu Shiv

Padawali – Brahm Vishnu Shiv

Above the pillars, on the lintels and beams are carved scenes from Ramayan, Mahabharat and Purans. The trinity of Brahm, Vishnu and Shiv are depicted during their childhood, youth and old days. Even more carvings depict Krishna Leela, Samudra Manthan, wedding of Ganesh, Shiv dancing in Pret form, incarnations of Lord Vishnu and innumerable gods and goddesses. To top it all there are erotic images a-la Khajuraho.

Padhavali Temple - Riot of Sculpture

Padhavali Temple – Riot of Sculpture

Padavali - Astonishing Work of Art

Padavali – Astonishing Work of Art

Standing and looking up at the carvings will make your jaws drop. The best way to admire this wonder is to lie down on your back and just feast your eyes on one of the most astounding sculptures in India.

Again the structure does not look vandalized so it is possible that the same earthquake that demolished the Bateshwar Temples, brought down this temple also. The eastern wall of the courtyard has two storied modern cells that have been screened off which house cannon balls and other possible military paraphernalia. On the southern corner there is deep well like baoli.

Column from Qutb Complex with Kirtimukh

Column from Qutb Complex with Kirtimukh

Padhawali - Temple Pillar used as an Arch Supporting Member in the Fortress

Padhawali – Temple Pillar used as an Arch Supporting Member in the Fortress

Padawali - Temple Members - Some Broken Some Embedded in Walls

Padawali – Temple Members – Some Broken Some Embedded in Walls

You can only imagine what the temple would have looked like if the remaining structures had survived. The irony is that most of the structural members are still present in the same premises. The hitch is that the Jat Ranas rulers of Gohad in 19th century had the superlative idea of building the fortress around the temple. And they used the pieces of the fallen temple in raising the walls. You can still see the sculptured members in the walls. So what Qutb-ud-din did to the temples by building the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque in the Qutb Complex in Delhi, the Gohad rulers did the same here. The same motifs as seen in Qutb Complex pillars are seen here. It is probably because all these temples were built in the same timeline and therefore share the designs. So even if someone like KK Muhammad wanted to restore the temple there is just no way.

Mitawali - Approach Road from Padhawali

Mitawali – Approach Road from Padhawali

With ‘what could have been’ on your mind, albeit briefly, you set out for the third marvel. Few kilometres away you see a solitary hill rise in the distance with a discernible stone structure on top.

Mitawali - Two Temples on Top of Hill

Mitawali – Two Temples on Top of Hill

Skirting the village of Mitaoli you stop at a parking lot about halfway to the top. A paved path and a few steps take you to the top of the hundred feet high hill with the temple. The top of the hill is flat with an additional small temple in a corner and a circular shaped temple on the edge of the hill. You have never seen a circular temple before. There are no familiar architectural elements like mandap, mukhya mandap or shikhar. The outer walls have regular reliefs of carvings.

Chausath Yogini Temple at Mitawali

Chausath Yogini Temple at Mitawali

Mitawali Temple - A Panoramic View of the Concentric Construction

Mitawali Temple – A Panoramic View of the Concentric Construction

You have read that the inspiration for Parliament House in Delhi might have come from this temple. It is when you step inside that you realise that it could be true. Unlike the Parliament House that has pillars on the outer verandah, the Mitaoli Temple has pillars around the outer circumambulatory path that opens into the central courtyard. There are sixty four mini temples or niches each housing a shivling. The central courtyard is ringed with the main shrine again circular in shape and housing a large shivling.

Mitaoli Temple - Parliament House Blueprint Maybe

Mitaoli Temple – Parliament House Blueprint Maybe

Later looking at google images of the Parliament House with its open inner central courtyard and domed structure in the centre, you can’t help but wonder if Herbert Baker did get some inspiration trawling Indian heritage sites before designing New Delhi with Lutyens. But then again – is it one-off design or is it the standard design of Tantric or Yogini Temples. In that case the sixty four niches would have originally housed statues of Yoginis. That is why the temple is also called Chaunsath Yogini Temple. Such Yogini temples can be seen in Ranipur Jharial & Hirapur in Orissa, Jabalpur and Khajuraho.

Mitaoli - The Inner Shrine

Mitaoli – The Inner Shrine

Neighbourhood kids have dropped in. The silence in the temple is broken by their running around. Since the temple walls and pillars are relatively unadorned, the kids provide perfect backdrop to this appreciably well-maintained supposedly 10th century temple.

Morena - Heritage Rich MP

Morena – Heritage Rich MP

Some additional research has revealed that these three temples were part of an extensive temple building exercise during the rule of Kachchhapaghatas. Kachchhapaghatas who ruled from Gwalior rose to prominence in central India during the last decade of tenth century and were believed to be vassals of Gurjar-Pratihars and later Chandellas. Along with these temples, they built temples at Kadwaha, Surawaya, Mahua, Terahi (all in Shivpuri district of MP). The pretty Saas-Bahu temple at Gwalior Fort is attributed to them too.

Back home, as you munch on a gajjak on a freezing evening, you discover more ancient temple ruins on the net. Morena and the Chambal ravines are calling you for another magical trip.

Getting There: The temples are a comfortable distance north east of Gwalior and all three temples can be covered in half a day. Other ancient temple sites in Morena are Kutwar – Mahabharat’s Kunti village and Sihonia village with Kakanmath Temple.

  • Interesting…very interesting & seamless tale…as crunchy & crispy as gajjak. You have beautifully contained the essence of these three marvels in just a single post which is commendable in itself…this is amazing to learn complex like Batesar which surprises you with so many wonderfully restored temples neatly preserved…& on the other side just a single mandap at Padhawali which blows your mind away with its numerous intricately carved tales from past…& then of course, Mitawali (just sad to see the yoginis missing ever if they existed here)…all three total gems!

    I guess for Muhammad saab, it was easier to fight with baghis than with land mafia…here is an interesting video for fellow ghumakkars… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3hT6PeUUVM

    Loved the panoramic shot of Mitawali….how do you take that, teach me next time? All in all a 100/100 post, thanks for working on this & spreading word about these wonders, Nirdesh bhai…next to Shivpuri now?

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Friend, thanks for discovering these gems!

      Yes, sites like these need to be visited and promoted to increase the visibility. Also they are a testament to some good work that some individuals and ASI are doing. Each temple site is a treasure and hopefully they stay like this and get better.

      The Chausanth Yogini Temple in Jabalpur does have Yoginis according to the Eicher Goodearth book I got hold of at MP Tourism Office in Bhopal yesterday.

      A word for MP Tourism they are doing wonderful work in MP apart from the award winning ads on TV. But then there is so much in MP that they are unable to promote sites like these or the Satdhara stups on the TV or newspaper spots.

      Next on target are the Kakanmath and a group of Temples in Naresar probably in Sagar. Shivpuri has tonnes of temple and so does Ashapuri near Bhojpur in Raisen district. So yes, the next post should be on Shivpuri the temples at Kadwaha, Mahua and Terahi again need to be written about.

      Thanks for including KK Muhammads videolink on Bateshwars rebirth.

      Dont act fresh with me you very well know how to take panoramic photos!

      Thanks for writing in!

  • Avtar Singh

    Hi Nirdesh ji

    I will take this tale of yours as the extention of the post on Chanderi. And like that post too, this one too emerges like a gem.

    Very nice and detsiled account in a nice and crisp style is your USP, which makes you a nice story teller.
    Pics are awesome.

    Great to see the efforts done by Mr Mohammad. Deserves appreciation.

    By the way, did you find any difference in the taste of gazak which we find with the tag name of Morena?…. lol

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Avtarji,

      Thanks for the appreciation!

      Gajjak is heavenly during the winters – whether it is from Morena or Meerut!

      Yes, KK Muhammad has done awesome work in his tenure that also includes Sanchi and Bhojpur.

      Thanks again!

  • MUNESH MISHRA

    ???? ?? ??????? ??????? ??????? ?? ?????? ?? ????? ??? ?????????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ??????? ?? ?? ???????????? ?? ??? ??? ??????? ?????? ?????????? ?? ?????? ?? ??? ?????? ?? ???????? ??? ????? ?? ??????? ?????? ???? ??.

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Munesh,

      Thanks for your beautiful words!

  • h.l. singh

    ….very interesting to read.

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi HL,

      Thanks for visiting the page and for writing in!

  • AUROJIT

    Hi Nirdesh,

    A captivating read. The pics are simply superb.

    Mr Muhammad’s link is pretty interesting. Does it mean that Bateshwar temples were not seen or heard before him/ASI came into picture? What an irony!

    Agree with you on MP tourism – by all accounts they seem to be doing a good job. I remember enquiring about campervans which they have been running ex-Bhopal for many years. The idea seemed fascinating and apparently a big hit there; though we never went for it because they were not providing the self-driven types :-(

    Thanks for the splendid post.

    Auro.

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Aurojit,

      Bateshwar temples would have been known in the ASI circles but it needed a push from a person like KK Muhammad to probably get funds and start the restoration. Also, he is an expert on temple architecture. Now we want someone like him to do a similar job in Ashapuri in Raisen district.

      Yes, MP Tourism is doing good work. Karnataka Tourism also is competitive with added attraction of beaches. Campers sound like a good idea probably what they call RVs in US.

      Thanks for reading and the appreciation!

  • injamaven

    fabulous posting! This is the kind of work I’ve been hoping for. Thank you so much!

  • injamaven

    more power to you, Nidesh — and kudos to K.K.Muhammad!

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Katherine,

      Nice to hear from you!

      Thanks – Your comments mean a lot!

      Yes, KK Muhammad is a rockstar.

      Do share your blog link here and let us know how the Gazetter progressing!

      Thanks again for reading!

      Nirdesh

  • Kiran

    Very nice and informative post of lesser known places with equally brilliant photos. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Kiran,

      Thanks for reading! And yes the lesser known places give more thrill and the fact that you have the entire place to yourself.

      Do visit if you get a chance.

  • A lesson in History and Architecture… wonderful pics and your inimitable writing style make your posts so exclusive!! One more place on my travel list…

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Kranti,

      Thanks for reading!

      Morena is not far from Bhopal and on the way you can see Vidisha, Sagar, Ashoknagar, Shivpuri all teeming with ancient temple ruins. And of course birds!

  • In 2008, while driving to Khajuraho from Delhi, I encountered Noorabad Bridge and it seemed very very fascinating. I did drive parallel to it a few more time in later years and would wait for it to appear. I have a photo of it as well, from the cabin, but once I looked at your photo, it suddenly looks few hundred years old. I could never imagine that such gems exist if one were to get off NH3 and head east.

    Great observation about the alignment of the bridge (or rather of the river).

    The temple stampede is a find. I also looked a bit of the video (Thank you Vipin) and it doesn’t seem true. How can in today’s times one can convert a massive rubble into its past glory, almost like the proverbial bit-by-bit. Salute to Muhammad Saheb. It also makes me remember a similar setup inside Kumbhalglarh fort (Close to Udaipur), where there are hundreds of temples. Your research has always been impressive and may be this is the first time you got so close to dacoits. I was almost waiting for your dialogue with them.

    As we get out of temple and see the fort, it amazes us more. Between destroying the motif-laden-stone and using it elsewhere, I am fine with later. At least we get to see and admire it, even though it looks so much out of place on the walls.

    I never knew about the Mitawali or about its connection to Parliament House. The pics, esp the panoramic one, captures the age-old-quaintness so well that I was lost for a while. Thank you. Some of your posts and pics does work like a substance.

    Now to more mundane things.

    1. National Museum in Delhi used to offer a weekend course called ‘India Art and Culture’. About 15-18 odd lectures covering various styles of paintings, art, motif-friezes, history and what not. I did this in 1994 and now I feel that if you they do not have you as a student then they would keep wandering so please consider it, if it is still available. The bonus is that every time you see more of Museum. I still remember my long walks on Firozshah Road from Mandi House circle to Janpath, where National Museum is.

    2. I have left this link on the video page and I am hoping that Muhammad gets to read it and possibly comment.

    3. @ Auro, @ Nirdesh – So I was also very very keen on these camper-vans. So after a lot of polite persistence, I managed to impress upon the Bhopal Tourism guys (it was a Sunday and the camper-van-guys were off work and all that government-organisation-jazz) to have me a dekko and they obliged. It is a ‘Tempo Traveller’ where the driving cabin has been separated with a false wall so you are supposed to only be in the back of the vehicle. Once you have made up your mind, you can be in the back of the vehicle which boosts of a large TV, a decent seating (still no beds) and some teeny-weeny material comforts. Now you know why it never took-off. BTW, I have done my bit of research on RVs in India and I am up for more talk on this. Whenever.

    I did have a morsel of Gazzak today morning so I have earned the right to make such a long comment. Full disclosure as they say.

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Nandan,

      First we would need to make chemical analysis of the gajjak you had a morsel and such a long comment. Just to make sure it did not contain any performance (writing) enhancing banned substances.

      The bridge does look as if constructed yesterday. I think it has got to do with this particular yellow sandstone that seemingly does not age and rather starts gleaming with age.

      All three temples are a marvel. We need people like KK Muhammad who can create magic despite being part of system. It is a theory about Mitaolis resemblance to Parliament House. But then most Yogini temples are circular.

      I will try to find out if National Museum still runs that course. You seem to have done it all. My knowledge is just limited to what i manage to read during researching such posts.

      I was always fascinated with RVs. You see them a lot in US during summers when retirees mostly just take off with them cross country. Some of them are single unit while others are driven by trucks (pickups). While some have even boats running behind with a motorcycle hitched to one side of the RV. They are very American and convey free spirit and open roads.

      Thanks for writing and more power to gajjak!

  • AJAY SHARMA

    Hi! Nirdesh,
    Its ecstatic to read the log. So informative and as intricate as the intricasies on the sculpted rocks. Beautifully captured in frames and so well travelled. The video was seen earlier but this time it added essence when viewed again. A great write-up indeed, lured to visit the place. KK has earned enough fame amidst threats but his committments proved that work with passion & sincerity always prevail.

    Keep travelling
    Ajay

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Ajay,

      Yes, KK Muhammad’s efforts are laudable and make a great story.

      Do go visit.

      Thanks for reading!

  • What a wonderful post and excellent pictures !

    I have seen photos of Mitawali sometime back on Google earth community and was surprised to know about this unique architectural temple.

    All 3 places, Bateshwar, Padavali and Mitawali very well deserve this detailed splendid writeup. Thanks for sharing these gems.

    One question – inside the inner circle of Mitawali temple, is there one more circular structure of pillars or is it a square?

  • Nirdesh Singh

    H Manisha,

    Appreciation from a historian is always valued. Yes the temples are a marvel indeed.

    Last night I was at Vijay Chowk admiring the lit up Raisina Hill and Parliament House (an annual tradition) and again wondering if the blueprint came from Mitawali.

    Great observation – I shuffled through the photos and yes the innermost shrine housing a shivling is circular.

    Vipin – please confirm!

    Thanks again for reading!

    • Hi Nirdesh,

      I am not a ‘historian’, at maximum , I am a history enthusiast!

      Great post and thanks for sharing once again..

      -Manisha

  • muhammed k k

    Dear Nandan jha ji and Nirdesh Ji,
    The article on Bateshwar,Padavali and Mitavali is a very well researched piece.The deep insight that has gone in to the writing,the lucidity of the language and the telling photograph tempts me to inquire from you, weather you were Archaeologists in your earlier life?you have taken the reader for an enchanting tour of the area with the confidence of one who knew the nook and corner of the place.The references about Chausat Yogini temple of Orissa, Khajurao and Jabalpur gives the impression that you are looking at the historical landscape in its totality .Perhaps the Yog maya temple of Delhi near Qutb minar was a chausat yogini temple.I had the privilege to take up large scale conservation work at Khajurao, Mitavali and Jabalpur.Archaeologist k k muhammed

  • Nirdesh Singh

    Dear KK Muhammed Sir,

    It is an honour to hear from you. The rebirth of Bateshwar Group of Temples is a miracle and you deserve all the accolades that are coming your way. The work undertaken here is of monumental proportion and will be cited as one of the finest examples of ASI accomplishments.

    I am not an archaeologist and the closest I came to studying history was the interview at St. Stephens College in Delhi. The interviewer did not think it was a good idea for someone with a Science background to be studying history! But yes visiting tombs, forts and ancient ruins is therapeutic; and the feeling that I have walked the grounds sometime in the past.

    I have heard of the Yog Maya temple but missed seeing it during my several incursions into the Mehrauli Archaelogical Park and Village those trips were focussed on figuring out which is Khan Shahids tomb and who does the grave belong to in Balbans Tomb! I guess it will need another trip to Mehrauli.

    I am sure you would be writing a book of all your adventures. We will wait for your book that will take us on this incredible journey of your achievements.

    Your appreciation is greatly valued.

    Best Wishes,

    Nirdesh

  • Great and Best/I would like to visit.

  • Nirdesh Singh

    Hi Prof Mutha,

    Thank you for reading. Yes the temples are a must visit!

  • Hi Nirdesh,

    Thanks so much for your lucid style of writing and explaining historical things in such a simple manner without getting very technical for the lay reader and still managing to keep it interesting for the history enthusiasts.

    The ASI archaeologist Mr. K. K. Muhammed has done a fantastic and unbelievable job bringing to life something that has been lying in ruins for so long and even braved the dacoits to make our heritage come alive from the dead. I have seen his video describing the place and the restoration work he has done at Bateswar (a must see video to understand what it looked like before and what he has transformed it into).

    History was something I found very boring in school as I never liked to remember dates and the teachers never made it interesting to study but since a long time now I am interested a lot more in history, art, museums, architecture, archaeology, travel, photography and astronomy being some of my hobbies and interests. We are very lucky to have a Museum Society of Bombay and the Bombay Local History Society in Mumbai where I am a life member as they conduct a lot of activities to do with preserving and learning about our art and heritage structures. Coming from a scientific background with my HSC (Science) and a Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (Work with Air India Engineering Department), it seems a bit out of place but then that’s the way things are in India.

    Keep up the good work you are doing and we will keep coming back for more of your lovely blogs on historical places to see and visit in India!!!

    Cheers,
    Aadil.

  • Nirdesh Singh

    Hi Aadil,

    Thanks for taking time out to read the post and also for the effusive praise.

    We share the same background – I mean we both have no history background! It is just our love for history and monuments that take us to these treasure troves spread across India in almost every nook and corner. Here in Delhi we are a group of enthusiasts who go out around Delhi and outside Delhi at every half chance. These posts are just a reminder for me of the wonders and the history behind them.

    Yes Mr KK Muhammad is a wonderful personality and as i trip across the country, his list of conservations keep growing. Bhojpur Temple near Bhopal was also restored by him. Now he is retired and working with AKTC in Hyderabad restoring Qutb Shahi Tombs.

    Keep travelling and thanks once again for reading.

    • Hiu Nirdesh,
      That’s nice to know about Mr. K. K. Muhammad restoring the Qutb Shahi tombs. I guess such people never retire totally from their good work. I had been to Bhimbetka and other places near Bhopal like Sanchi, Vidisha, Heliodorus pillar, Udaigiri, etc. but missed out on Bhojpur somehow. Now that makes it one more reason to visit Bhopal as I have also to see the capital city which I could not due to shortage of time. Can I connect with you on facebook? Would be nice to receive updates about your trips and pictorial adventures into the historical places around India. Thanks once again for sharing your travels out here. Would be nice to meet up sometime when I visit Delhi or maybe I can show you around my city when you are in Mumbai!!!
      Cheers,
      Aadil.

  • KS

    Hi,

    These places look amazing and I want to go there with my wife in December. I plan to take a taxi from Gwalior, cover these places and reach the National Chambal Sanctuary by evening to stay at the Forest Rest House in Devri (close to Bateshwar). Is it possible? I’m also worried about safety, please advise.

    Regards,
    KS

  • Sanjeev Raman

    Dear Nirdeshji,

    I was planning to visit padawali and mitawali temples tomorrow, but my driver or my neighbours were not aware of it (I have seen the destination name in Gwalior on hoarding containing tourist destination). So I started to google on how to reach these destinations, then came across this wonderful article.

    Thanks to Muhammad sahab for his great works.

    I will give my feedback after visitng there.

  • BB Singh

    Oh, Great post. Going there tomorrow.

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  • Pushpinder Singh

    Great Place and a greater narration.
    Would like visit but have a querry is it safe to visit with family and kid?

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Pushpinder,

      Thanks for reading.

      All the three temples and Kakanmath make for a great excursion. I am pretty sure the area is safe. My friend who inspired me to go there, went walking! Just get back to the highway before the sun goes down.

  • Informative ! Is there any connection of Buddhism with those structures.

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Thanks Thero,

      I am not sure of the Buddhist connection with these temples. Though we see lots of Jain Buddhist Hindu Islamic interconnections as ‘older’ structures give rise to ‘newer’ structures.

      Do visit!

  • never knew that these wonders existed in MP. I must take this trip as early as possible.

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Harshad, there is a lot to see in MP.

      And the best thing about MP Tourism is that they have put signs everywhere. So if you are looking for one place, you will get to know of 5 more places.

      In Morena, do check out Kakanmath also. I havent seen it so far!

      Cheers

  • Nice Review…… and lovely clicks…..

    I pass Morena every year atleast twice while going to Gwalior, but yet have not visited these temples though read a lot. The restoration work done by KK Muhammed, who lead Archaeological team is also a story in itself. He had many meetings with Decoit Nirbhay singh Gujar, so support him in the cause. Nirbhay not only supported him but provided safety as well. He was later shot dead by Police.

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Sudhir,

      Yes Bateshwar is an incredible story. I was lucky to finally meet Mr Muhammad last month in Delhi. He is an incredibly humble person, especially when he has contributed so much to India’s heritage and its conservation.

      I do hope you would have visited the temples by now.

      Regards

  • Rajesh D.

    Dear Mr. Nirdesh Singh …. many thanks for writing a fabulous page on Morena ruins. I got to know about Bateswar, Padavali and Mitavali through a programme on EPIC channel called ‘Ekaant’ and since then I am craving to see this place as I am fond of architecture, ruins and forts. As I know that this place is pretty close to Gwalior, I wish to know if it is wise to hire a vehicle from Gwalior to Agra and visit Morena and surroundings on the way? Also, knowing the history of the place, how safe is it to travel with ladies?

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Rajesh,

      Thanks for the appreciation. Yes Epic and Ekaant are awesome channel and programs.

      I am late in replying. If you have still not visited then I recommend that you hire a vehicle since there is no public transport available in the interiors. Also please visit the Kakanmath temple too in the same circuit.

      Enjoy your travels!

      Cheers

  • vishwanath v irkal

    your explanation is helpful but from batesar to padwali – mitwali distance and mode of tranport was not given iam planning to visit on 2nd week of october 2016,i have travelled 12 jotirlingas,4 vishnu dhams and allmost all temples, tourist places in india,recently i went by walk to kinnerkailash,manimaheshkailash,aadi kailash omparvat,shrikhand kailash at my 68 age

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Vishwanath ji,

      Thanks for reading!

      Wow that is some travel! Though my temple travel is mostly to the ASI ones where I usually hope not to find any kind of crowd!

      And I do hope too that I continue to travel when I am 68 years young!

      I would recommend that you hire a car from Gwalior to see these three temples and another temple that missed – Kakanmath. These are interiors of Morena and public transport is not available.

      Apologies for late reply.

      Regards

  • Patricia

    Dear Nirdesh Singh
    I’m going to visit some of India quite soon and a friend of mine gave me the link to your article. I Loved it! So interesting. Thanks a lot for this great and enthusiastic article! It will definitely help me when in Gwalior.
    Same thing for your article about Chanderi. ;-)
    I am more than ever looking forward to visiting India and those places. Best Patricia

    • Nirdesh Singh

      Hi Patricia,

      Thanks for reading and so I am so glad that you liked the post.

      Yes the area around Gwalior is a heritage treasure trove. I do hope you are coming on a long holiday because there is so much to see in India!

      Gwalior Fort with lots of conservation work done lately will need an entire day. Then the temple trail including a temple called Kakanmath (which i missed) will need a full day. Chanderi is amazing with lots of step wells too my recommendation will be two days! And then how can you miss Orchha near Jhansi! And Khajuraho temples beyond. The list goes on!

      I am sure you are going to enjoy your India trip a lot do let me know if you need any help.

      Regards

      Nirdesh

  • Sushil

    Beautiful. Keep traveling, keep writing