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Ancient Temples in Vidisha

Vidisha, a quaint and historically rich town in Madhya Pradesh is known for its architectural wonders in the medieval period. Some structures were built under the reign of the Gupta dynasty. Noted sculptures, inscriptions on walls and pillars, temples, ruins, caves and shrines are a part of the places for a tourist to see in Vidisha.

Vidisha Temple

Some of the noted temples are highlighted below:-

Dashavtar Temple, Vidisha

A cluster of Vaishnava shrines built between the 8th to 10th centuries is known as the Dashavtar temple, located on the north of the local lake. With a large open hall, each shrine of the temple is dedicated to the embodiments of Lord Vishnu. It is said that the remains of a small Vaishnava memorial can be found in the temple and is therefore also known as the Sadhavatara Temple. Ruins of many sati pillars from the 9th or 10th centuries can be found on the western bank of the lake. One amongst these has carvings with faces on four sides that show Hara-Gauri in a seated position with a band of musicians and dancers. Also can be seen a male sculpture that holds up both his hands in utter devotion.

Bajramath Temple, Vidisha

Located in Gyraspur, Vidisha, the Bajramath temple is a rare and ancient temple with three shrines containing Digambara Jain idols in them. The shrine towards the North has been made for Lord Shiva, the central one for Lord Brahma and the one towards the South for Lord Vishnu, built in a way to indicate the Hindu Trinity. With intricate carvings on the doorways and a shikhara, this temple is a delight to view for anyone traveling to Vidisha.

Maladevi Temple, Vidisha

Temples in VidishaFound on the slope of a hill, the Maladevi Temple in Vidisha is situated at a very picturesque location. The views of the valley from the temple are breathtakingly beautiful. The temple is located on an enormous platform cut out on the side of the hill, leaving the tourist wonder at the brilliance of the architecture of this temple. The temple has an entrance porch, a hall and a shrine. The sanctum sanctorum has a statue which is considered to be of a Jain Thirthankar. However, not having any symbol typical to the 24 Thirthankars, the statue could also be of Buddha. The temple also contains a circular passage and large shikhara which has been very intricately carved.

Udayeshwara Temple, Vidisha

Vidisha is connected by road to Udaipur village at Basoda where the Udayeshwara Temple is located, which is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Dated Sanskrit inscriptions found in the temple explain that the temple was founded by the Paramara King Udayadithya from the 11th century A.D. during the period 1059-1080. Made out of sandstone, the temple contains a sanctum sanctorum, a mandapa and three entrances. There is a short wall fence with very intricate carvings on the exterior. The architecture style this temple has been adapted from is the Bhumija style of architecture.

Sironj, Vidisha

The town of Sironj or Sironcha, known for the presence of numerous shrines, temples and mosques and believed to be a Jain pilgrimage centre located on the periphery of Bundelkhand lies 85 kms away to the north-west of Vidisha. Amongst the interesting pieces linked to history is the ruins of the observatory built to measure the height of Mount Everest during the 18th century and the Girirdhari Temple built in the 11th century A.D. Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb is believed to have built the Jama Masjid that is found in Sironj sometime in the 17th century. The temples of Jatashankar and Mahamaya, ancient and unmodified are unique in nature. Another such one is the Madan Mohan Temple.

Hindola Torana, Vidisha

Gyraspur in Vidisha is also renowned for an exquisitely carved structure called the Hindola Torana. Hindola or swing and Torana or portal is so called because its huge pillars resemble the trestles of a swing. The Hindola Torana was an entrance gateway to the now ruined temple.

Ancient temples of Vidisha

The remains of the entrance consist of two pillars and a beam on top of them and a small ornamental beam joining the two pillars at the end. The beams depict mythical creatures sculpted on them and there is also a Dasavathara carved out in an intricate design on the sides of both pillars. Engraved on the pillars is a Buddhist sun window motif engraved, making the Hindola Torana a rare site where elements of both Buddhist and Hindu architecture can be found.

Gadarmal Temple, Vidisha

At about 84 kms away from Vidisha, is the town of Pathari, home for many medieval temples, the most famous amongst them being the Gadarmal Temple, belonging to the 9th century A.D. is located. The temple is of a large height and is therefore visible from a long distance. 2 separate basements make the temple look like a two-part structure, both structures appearing to be from different periods. The belief is that many diverse smaller structures from the ruins of Jain and Hindu temples in the nearby areas were used to build this temple. With a nostalgic similarity to the Teli ka Mandir Temple in Gwalior city, the temple is surrounded by seven shrines, though they are now in ruins.

Bijamandal or Vijayamandira Temple, Vidisha

Bijamandal or Vijayamandira Temple, Vidisha is located at Vidisha city. A large temple of the late Paramara period, it is believed to have been constructed in the second half of the 11th century. The inscriptions carved on the pillars in the temple symbolize that the temple was made for Goddess Charchika and they also bear the name of King Naravarman. The name Vijayamandira came about from the name of Vijaya, another name of the Goddess. Many sculptures collected in the neighborhood are housed in a storehouse located nearby. The premises of the temple also contain a 7th century step-well along with two tall pillars adorned with Krishna scenes.

During the reign of the Mughal King Aurangzeb, the temple was demolished and a mosque was erected at the same site. The mosque was then known as Alamgiri Masjid. The mosque made using pillars and dating from the 8th and 9th centuries is located on top of the temple plinth. During the monsoon of 1991, it is said that very heave rains washed away the wall that was concealing the frontage of the Bijamandal mosque established by Aurangzeb in 1682. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) got access to many idols which were behind the wall that broke, for as long as three centuries. Splendid statues, as high as eight feet were excavated.

Sola-Kambi Temple, Vidisha

According to local belief, the Sola Kambi Temple is believed to be from the age of the Guptas. It is located in Badoh, Kurwai and the temple consists of sixteen pillars, hence the name Sola Kambi. The design of the temple structure is flat roofed and is almost eight metre square standing on a 1.5 meters plinth.

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