Among India’s best-loved and most impressive monuments , the Khajuraho temples, a world Heritage site , attract tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world every year . Eighty-five extraordinary temples were built over a relatively brief period of 100 years , from 950-1050 AD by the Chandela Rajput rulers . Only twenty-two temples have survived the ravages of time .
The temples, built mostly of sandstone, are conveniently divided into the Western, Eastern and Southern groups. The Kandariya Mahadeo Temple in the western group, dedicated to Shiva, is the largest and tallest of them all . Some of the other superb examples of temple architecture and sculpture include the Lakshmana and Vishwanatha Temples.
The Western group is also the venue of a fascinating Son-et-Lumiere show (in both Hindi and English), which tells the story of the great Chandela kings and recreates the legend of the Khajuraho temples . The main structures in the Eastern group include the ruined Ghantai, the Javari, the Vamana and the Brahma Temples. Of the three Jain Temples that stand near the Ghantai Temple, the Parsvanatha is considered the finest
Founded in the 8th Century by the chieftain Suraj Sen, Gwalior was named by him after the hermit Saint Gwalipa who had cured him of a deadly disease. A succession of Pratiharas, Kachwahas and Tomars have left a legacy of wonderful palaces, temples and monuments.
The town is defined by the spectacular Gwalior Fort, a brilliant specimen of medieval architecture. Some notable structures within the fort include Raja Mansingh’s Palace, Teli ka Mandir, Sas Bahu ka Mandir, and the Gujari Mahal Museum,as well as the atmospheric Sound and Light Show in the evening. Don’t miss a visit to the Tomb of Tansen, an icon of Indian classical music.
A rich legacy of the Bundela rulers who built beautiful palaces and temples here in the 16th -17th centuries,Orchha was founded by chieftain Rudra Pratap on a stretch of land along the river Betwa. It was thereafter most notably ruled by Raja Bir Singh Ju Deo, who built the exquisite tiered Jehangir Mahal ,crowned with chhatris.
The site is also strewn with little shrines and memorials, each with a history, and each contributing to the beauty and nostalgia that is Orchha. Also see the Rai Praveen Mahal, Ram Raja Temple, Chaturbhuj Temple, Phool Bagh, Dinman Hardaul’s Palace Sunder Mahal , Chhatris and the Shahid Smarak
Set among picturesque hills,lakes and forests, Chanderi is also a craft centre, widely known for its fine saris and brocades.
It has a large Mughal-era Fort, and several monuments dating from the rule of the Malwa Sultans and the Bundela Rajputs. The 9th and 10th century Jain Temples in the old part of the city attract thousands of Jain Pilgrims from all over the country.
Mentioned in the Mahabharata as Daityavakra, Datia is most famous for the 17th-century, seven-storey hilltop Palace of Raja Bir Singh Deo.
Among its main historical monuments, don’t miss the temple with Mughal frescoes and the Gopeshwar Temple.
The Great Stupa at Sanchi, built by Emperor Ashoka, has become an icon of India’s cultural heritage, and is another World Heritage Site. It is the most famous of host of stupas, monasteries, temples and pillars on this hill, dating from the 3rd century BC to the 12th century AD.
The gateways of Stupa 1, carved with stories of the Buddha’s life, are the finest specimens of early classical art. Don’t miss the Gupta Temple and the Archaeological Survey of the Indian Museum which houses some of the earliest known stone sculptures in the Indian art from the 3rd to the 1st century BC.
The treasures at Bhimbetka have been designated a World Heritage Site. Embraced by the northern Vindhya range and covered with huge rocks(see), Bhimbetka is where India’s richest collection of prehistoric cave paintings was discovered in 1957.
Over 600 rock shelters-the largest group in the world-harbour that date back to the Early Stone Age.
The Palace of Bhopal’s Afghan rules, Islamnagar was built by Dost Mohammed Khan.
It’s Palaces & pavilions are a synthesis of Hindu and Islamic decorative art, surrounded by formal Mughal gardens.
The erstwhile fort capital of the Parmara rulers of Malwa, Mandu was renamed Shadiabad, the ‘City of Joy’ , by the Sultans of Malwa at the end of the 13th century. It embodies the love of the poet-prince Baz Bahadur for his beautiful consort Rani Roopmati; her pavilion, high on the crest of a hill, still overlooks his magnificent palace, and the balladeers of the region still sing about their love.
The Sultans built exquisite palaces such as the Jahaz Mahal and the Hindola Mahal as well as ornamental canals, baths and pavilions. Each structure in Mandu is an architectural gem-don’t miss any, especially not the massive Jamai Masjid, and Hoshang Shah’s Tomb, which provided inspiration to the builders of the Taj Mahal. Within the royal enclosure, it’s well worth visiting the Champa Baoli, Dilawar Khan’s Mosque, Nahar Jharokha, Ujali (bright) and Andheri (dark) Baolis, Gada Shah’s Shop and House, and Taveli Mahal.
A small town lies on the banks of the Tapti River.Apart from its architectural significance and several historic monuments , the town is also known for its religious harmony as it is a pilgrimage for different communities, mainly for Bohra Muslims as well as for Sikhs and Hindus.
Vidisha or Besnagar as it is called in the Pali sculptures, once the prosperous capital of the western dominions of the Sungas, contains some remarkable antiquities that throw light on the considerable architectural development of the period.