Monday, 29 January 2018

Motorcycling to Kamad Fort,Alampur ,Indergarh Fort and Datia Chhatris.

Hi there
   on this  nice chilly Sunday morning the plan was  to hit the road, visiting the forgotten fort of kamad,Chhatri of Maharaja Malhar Rao Holkar,Jat fort of Indergarh and Datia Chhatris.

    Route    - Jhansi-Unao Balaji-Kamad fort-Bhander-Ratanpur-Alampur-Indergarh-Datia Jhansi.

   Road Condition    - Excellent,with few challenging patch.Fit for all types of bikes.

  Road side assistance   - Very friendly locals.

  Food               -  We did have lunch in Indergarh.

Kamad Fort

      The journey started with one of the group riders missing the RV,finally after delay of 10 mins we met up,refuelled and resumed our journey.It was pretty warm in the city, just after crossing the rly crossing on Gwalior road we took a sharp right onto Unao Balaji.We just travelled for  05kms , and we had to stop as Mukesh wanted to have his fag,as the weather started getting chilly,after 10 mins we resumed our journey and hell break loose as all of a sudden the fog set in and  it become very chilly and on top of it, we had to raise our visors since droplets started forming on it,one felt that as if one is riding in mountains.

      After crossing Unao Balaji village after about 10 kms we entered Kamad Village .The Kamad fort is located in the village.To reach the fort one has to pass through narrow village lanes,there is a very narrow pathway leading to the fort entrance,you can take your bike easily on it.

     The only remaining structure of the fort is the main entrance,a small pillar with inscription ,a shiv temple and a well ,rest whole fort is in ruins.The fort was build by Datia Bundelas as a guard fort .There is not much to see and one can easily skip the fort.

      It was still cold both Mukesh and Sumit wanted to stop for tea and we decided to stop at next big town of Bhander .Since it was sunday morning the town was still getting out of its sunday mood,we halted at the tea stall at the bus depot.After about 20 mins we resumed our journey to Alampur.
          Alampur Chhatri

     After travelling on the Bhander-Ratanpur road,one has to take a left turn from Ratanpur for Alampur.It is about 10 kms from Ratanpur.Just before you enter the village of Alampur you see a prominent sign for The Chhatri.

    Alampur is named after Alam Shah Pavar who was the governor of the province.In 1765-66 there were many sustained campaigns by both Scindias and Holkars to regain supremacy in Northen India. 

Malhar Rao Holkar I.jpg
     During one of its campaign against Indergarh and Gohad rulers MalharRao was camping at Alampur .During this campaign his health got deteriorated,and with lack of proper care he died on 20th May 1766.A small piece of land was earmarked and a cenotaph was made however due to despise for the Maratha Rule it was destroyed many times by neighbouring rulers,it was only when Ahilya Bai Holkar sought help of Scindias ,not only was she able to build a masterpiece of art but also got a dedicated pargana for Indore state of 37 villages to maintain the Cenotaph.

    Build in Maratha Style it has beautiful intricately carved walls .It is a triple storey structure,the inside are also equally beautifully  carved,however the roof of the passage are beautifully painted but with time paint has worn off.

Malharrao Holkar

      An interesting incident happened ,me and Sumit climbed up to the third floor in order to see the structure more closely,all of a sudden a swarm of bees attacked us,while sumit immediately took lying down position and urged me to do the same,but some how i stood up and started waving off the bees,without realising that the more I do it the more they will attack and sting me,it took a quite an effort and about 20 stings to escape to the ground floor,but thank god due to Mukesh he removed all the stings and I was saved the swollen  face ,in spite of the pain I decided to continue with the ride.
     If you want to visit this best kept cenotaph of Alampur, than take the road from Datia-Indergarh-Alampur excellent black top road.The cenotaph is still maintained due to  efforts of private trust of Holkars and state govt,a must visit place if you are visiting Datia.

                                              Indergarh Fort
    Indergarh is located about 20 kms from datia on Datia -Lahar road .The fort is located inside the town.Raja Balwant Singh (Doderiyan Jat clan) in about 1650 A.D founded the Jat State of Indergarh. Raja Balwant Singh was succeeded by his son Indar Singh who further enlarged his patrimony and built a stone fort, still extant, which even now perpetuates his name and memory. The principality of Indergarh remained unimpaired during Aurangzeb's and some of the later Mughals' reigns, but had rather a precarious existence during the ascendancy of the Maratha's in the 18th century A.D.

 Main entrance of the fort

Remnants of old paintings

Sumit,Mukesh and Me

        It is a huge fort but now most of it is encroached,also the many buildings inside are in absolute ruins.Due to its location it has a commending view of the surrounding area.Due to internal fights within the Jat rulers one of them sought the help Scindia to settle the score ,and in return awarded them a small part of kingdom,by 1820 the whole area was under Scindia control.

      It was time for lunch and after enquiring from locals we went to this amazing place to have our lunch known as Sonu Panda Dhaba-it is a veg food joint and servers really tasty food,very cheap too,however avoid his dal tadka which was very oily.

Datia Chhatris
      As we were riding back to Jhansi taking the bypass road in Datia we chanced upon this Chhatris right next to the road.We just took the chance and to click few snaps we entered the main gate,and behold we hit upon one of the finest example of datia school of art.

      The Chhatris are dated  from 16th century to 18th century,how ever the effort put in  to maint it does not commensurate with the potential it has to develop into an excellent tourist place. For Photographers this is a gold mine ,a must visit place during visit to datia.

      It was a beautiful day spend, the pain of bee sting was nothing in front of such beautiful exquisite art work long forgotten and struggling to remain.The land of Bundelkhand has number of these kind of hidden treasures some are explored and others are still unexplored,and the joy one derives from exploring these magnificent witness of history is  unfathomable.So lets get out of our creature comfort and explore our beautiful country,so Ride Safe Firm Saddle. 

Friday, 26 January 2018

Motorcycling to Malhargarh,Koshak Mahal and Thubon monastery

      Hi There 
         Happy Independence Day 
         Today's ride was to an forgotten fort of Malhargarh in Mungaoli,in Ashok Nagar district of MP, Koshak Mahal of Chanderi and Thubon  Monastery.
         Route                 Jhansi-Pichhore-Chanderi-Mungaoli-Malhargarh Fort-Koshak Mahal-                                      Thubon-Chanderi-pichhore-Jhansi.Total 423 Km.

        Condition of Road    Excellent road ,fit for all types of Bikes.Except road from Mungaoli                                           to Malhargarh is single lane and broken at few places.

        Road Side Assitance  Available .

        Eating Joints        Quite a number of Dhabas mostly veg,I haven't tried any.

      The best part about motorcycling is ,it offers a kaleidoscope of nature in such a way that one soaks into it ,one can halt at any place and enjoy the raw nature.

Lovely Road

Beautiful Rugged surrondings

                                                     Malhargarh Fort

     This fort was earlier a Gond fort ,later on captured by Malwa Sultans and in 1740 it was  captured by Malharrao Holkar when he was on expansion mode.He further repaired and added to the beauty of the fort.The fort came into possession of Scindias,the fort lost its prominence as the trade route shifted to more central part.It remained occupied till Independence,thereafter it lost  its grandeur as the last occupant moved out.

Malhargarh Fort

    The Entry to the fort is through a small gate on the road through which one can easily enter with bike .The fort has outer wall  which is intact. While inside all buildings are in ruins.One of the main reasons of it is, theft by locals for massive wooden slippers used in construction of fort ,also buildings have been teared down to search for a hidden treasure and off course thick growth of trees have added to destruction.

    The buildings inside were 4 storeys with one storey underground .The Cupolas of the 
fort were also 3 storey .Each Cupola was divided into the top portion on which gun was mounted,the second storey which was rest room for the guards and the ground storey.There are about 7/8 cannons in the fort complex.

   Entry to Cupola and ground floor

Second Floor

Top floor

Beautiful carving on the gun

      The massive water tank inside surrounded by beautiful walls ,a reminder of its grandeur past.


Koshak Mahal
   This simple yet imposing building, located on the Isagarh road at a distance of 4 kilometres from Chanderi, was built in 1445 as a victory monument. Chronicler Mohammad Kasim ‘Farishta’ in his Tarikh-e-Farishta mentions that the palace was built by the Sultan of Malwa, Mehmood Shah Khilji, to commemorate his victory over Sultan Mehmood Sharki in the battle of Jaunpur.

   The building is square in plan and at the centre of each of the four sides of the first storey are tall, arched doorways. Initially planned as a seven-storeyed structure, as suggested by its original name, Kushk-e-Haft Manzil or ‘the edifice with seven-storeys’, at present it shows only three complete storeys and a part of the fourth.  
     Once the first storey was completed, the builders were faced with the problem of raising the heavy stone blocks to the second level. This was resolved by burying the first storey under dirt to create a slope on which the blocks could be carried uphill. Each storey was similarly constructed and finally the dirt was cleared away to uncover the entire structure.
    The present day structure was restored in 1923.

     It is build  like a Greek cross  so  as to provide wide open passage in the middle of each side running across the whole length, the two E-W and N-S bisecting each other at right angles, thus leaving three storeyed mansions at the four corners. In other words, Koshak mahal is a complex of four palaces of equal dimensions standing at equal distance from one another on the sides of passages which connect them as well as  separate them.                 Entirely built of  local sandstone, all the four mansions of Koshak Mahal are identical. There is carving and jail work. 

Thubon Monastery
    It is located at a distance of 25 kms from Chanderi on Chaderi-Isagarh road.On this road passing through beautiful wheat fields on both sides, after travelling for about 18 odd kms one has to take a left turn for Ashok nagar .From the turn, Thubon is just 7kms. The Thubon temple complex starts the moment you enter Thubon village.

First temple as you enter the village

 Main temple Monastery under restoration
The archaeological potential of the site has still not properly been probed. Around 15 of these Mandapika temples are still standing, some of which are Shaiva and others Vaishnava in affiliation; their time periods vary from the 10th to the 12th centuries.
The style of temples is reminiscent of the Gupta temple architecture which continued to flourish alongside the fully evolved "sikhara" type of temples of the Nagara style during the early medieval period.
Most of the idols have been disfigured by purpose by invading Mughals,there by destroying a masterpiece of stone architecture,which was impossible to build in later years.
If you are on Chanderi visit this complex should be on the bucket list.

Restoration work under progress

Meditation chambers

   As the sun turned crimson and nip in air increased it was time to call off a  fantastic day .Sometimes I feel there is so much to see in our country,so many undiscovered places,one life time may not be enough.So lets ride and keep exploring.