Sunday, 11 February 2018

Motorcycling to Balabehat Fort and Chandpur group of temples

 Hi There
     Its another beautiful Sunday to ride,since I had rode a bit more in last week so thought to keep this weeks ride of  short distance. I chose to visit the Fort of Balabehat(not even marked on google) and Chandpur group of Hindu and Jain temples.Both these places are near Lalitpur town.

      Route                   Jhansi-Lalitpur-Betna-Bhamori bansha-Balabehat-Dhaura-Chandpur-                                     Jakhalun-Lalitpur-Jhansi.

     Road side assistance      Limited to villages/towns most of the roads in interior are                                                         deserted.

     Condition of roads         Excellent to very bad,however fit for all types of bikes. 

     Food Joints                    I did try lunch in Lalitpur .

Balabehat Fort

     Till Betna one travles  on the beautiful AH 43, from Betna I took a right turn crossed the highway and entered the small Betna village,within 20meters the road bifurcates to Balabehat via Rasoi.This is a very isolated road and goes through reserve forest,it almost runs parallel to the AH 43.At Bhamori Bansha I took a left turn and afterabout 14 kms reached Balabehat Village .
      Balabehat  also has the famous 1008 Shri Digamber jain mandir. The fort is located on the eastern part of the village,spread on an area of 10 acres,now only some portion remain.The Balabehat fort was build by the Gond kings and subsequently it formed part of Chanderi Kingdom.It was captured by the Marathas by Sardar Govind Rao pandit/Govind pant Bundele who  further expanded and build the outer perimeter wall of the fort.

Isolated road through reserve forest

Challenging Road

 Narrow Village Road to Fort

      In 1732 Maratha's first attacked the Chanderi Kingdom and by 1787,they had captured Balabehat.In 1811 Scindia army led by its french commander Col Jean Baptiste captured Chanderi.
      The fort again came into prominence when it played an important role in 1857, during defence of Lalitpur by Maharaja Mardan Singh.To regain Lalitpur and Balabehat captured by Mardan Singh from British,it was decided by Brig Cdr loc at Sagar to launch an offensive to by battalion size force of 42 Native Inf battalion led by Maj Gosian .

      The force attacked Balabehat Fort on 13 June but they had to face a stiff resistance by Mardan  Singh and  had to retreat back.Maj Gosian requested for additional troops,accordingly an additional bn of Gwalior Infantry and a Risala(100 horses) of Bhopal cavalry were send.With this additional force,  renewed attack was launched and finally Balabehat fort was captured. Mardan Singh retreated to Malthone to fight another battle.

    The fort was awarded to Scindias along with Chanderi ,and remained with Gwalior state till 1947.Some restoration has happened and it is a worth a visit .

  Inside View of main door

Carved stone a grim reminder of its glorious past

  The main door has two beautiful elephant heads

5 ft Idol of Lord Hanuman

Still functional well ,water used for drinking by locals

Chandpur group of temples

      From Village Balabehat there is a road going to Dhaura. The road passes through reserve forest and it is absolutely isolated, you will hardly find any traffic or help.The condition of the road is good,as the road climbs down to Dhaura village one gets a beautiful view of valley below.

Beautiful Valley below

      Once I reached Dhaura I asked a passerby for directions to old temple complex.The temple complex are located ahead of Dhaura in an area called Jhajpur/Chandpur along Delhi-Mumbai railway route.As  one crosses the village you will  see the first complex of Jain temple which  is maintained, however the second Jain temple which is further in reserve forest is not at all maintained.

Path leading to second Jain temple

 Restoration work in progress in second Jain complex

     There is not even a route marking on the paths leading to temple,nor is there any board giving brief history ,due to its location and lack of facility there is very less tourist flow in the area.
   For going to the remaining three temple complex's one has to cross the railway line.The track to the temple complex is through reserve forest in fact it is not a track it is just a forest path,and here is a 1.5 Km path which will test your ability to ride,it is no go for low floor bikes,after anxious moment of riding one came up to this beautiful temple complex.

Mysterious designs looks like puzzle

      These temples  belong to Lord Shiva,Vishnu.Since they are located in  isolated place they are kept as it is by ASI,accept that they have guards and the area is clean,again they lack any kind of info boards.

     There is a huge water tank in the area and it is striven with beautiful stone art work .

Water tank 

Art work lying on the bed of the now dried water tank 

      There is another famous temple in the area know as the Varha temple ,the Varha statue partially destroyed has still beautiful carvings on it.

      The entrance door to the Varha temple also has this unique figures,I have seen it for the first time .

      The journey back home  was via Jakhlaun-Lalitpur.The road upto Jakhlaun is absolutely bad and I was driving with a constant fear of flat tyre,but luckily I did not have any.The road from Jakhlaun to Lalitpur is good road.
     Even if one is not interested in the history one should visit these places for the charm of riding in countryside.
     Ride Safe Firm Saddle.Adios .