Monday, 30 April 2018

Motorcycling to Kurwai Fort , Sanchi Stupa,Udayagiri caves and Heliodorus pillar.

Hi There
   Happy Summers😊
   I was planning from a long time to Visit Sanchi. However I kept on delaying it by some way or other,and finally with these two days of holidays, I decided to go on ride to Sanchi and also visit  fort of Kurwai,which is on way to Sanchi.
  Route                                     Jhansi-Lalitpur-Khimlasa-Bina-Kurwai Fort-Sanchi.

  Roadside assistance             Number of Petrol pumps enroute.

  Food                                      I did not eat enroute.

  Traffic density                        Heavy traffic only in town,otherwise road is Superb/good. 

  Weather                                 Mornings are cool but after 0900 am it starts getting warm to                                                   Hot.

    Having prepared for the ride a night prior incl reservation at Gateway retreat Sanchi for night stay,I slept early,but the butterflies of a long ride woke me up at 0400 am! Having kitted up it was time to mount the saddle at 0530 am. Suddenly I remembered I had not mounted by Figo ride pad on the saddle,after a delay of 10 mins I finally started for my ride .
   The weather was excellent being a holiday roads were pretty empty,the crimson sky was a welcoming sight.

   I was in great mood and wanted to twist the throttle,however Since I was not even half way to my destination I gave up the idea and settle down to enjoy the cool breeze.The ride till Bina was excellent after Bina I took the SH14 ,another excellent road but narrow at times.

 After about 20kms I reached the Kurwai town,its a small place and located inside/around the fort itself.

Kurwai Fort

    The Kurwai state was founded in 1716,by Mohammed Diler Khan an afgan soldier in Mughal army.He was cousin of Nawab of Bhopal. Diler Khan's son Izzat Khan  fought in Third battle of Panipat alongside the Marathas .In which he was badly injured after recovery he joined the enemy camp of Ahmed Shah Abdali,thereby receiving  high post, titles and territories . He died of the battle injuries after returning to Kurwai.

   In 1857/58 a fierce battle was fought between forces of Maharaja Mardan Singh and british Central India Field Force led by Hugh Rose.The first attack was repealed by troops of Mardan Singh ,the british force retreated back suffering casualties. In meanwhile  the british played their game and promised the Nawab Hurmut Khan son of Nawab Izzat Khan to help in defeat of Mardan Singh and in return he will be given independent Jagir. Hurmut joined hands with british,the combined force helped in gaining Kurwai fort from Mardan Singh. 

   However the  british annexed the recovered land and Kurwai became a princely state under the british .

   The present fort is a living fort ,due to infighting in the family, it has been divided over number of times and has  now become a large settlement inside the fort,however some part is still with the present Nawab.

The main Entrance

The fort walls at one time stored ammunition,now stores fodder

Its Chaotic inside

The main entrance

Inside view of the main entrance

  The condition of the fort is very bad ,even though it is being used as a residential fort. 
A visit to the fort can be skipped. 

   It was time to hit back the SH 14 again,as I rode the geography kept changing from green to sparsely green to absolutely plain area with warm wind blowing.This made me halt at least twice just to keep one hydrated.


     I reached my hotel in Sanchi at 1130am. After lunch and some rest it was time to Explore Sanchi.

 Sanchi Stupa

  The Sanchi Stupa is located just across the road from Gateway retreat the hotel were I was staying for the night. As I entered the road leading to Stupa , I came across a ticket counter for entrance ticket to Stupa. The ticket for Indian tourist was 30rs and incls visit to ASI museum too.Since the tourist season was over it was not at all crowded.

    I first visited the ASI museum.As you enter the museum one comes across a beautiful house -The house of Sir John Marshall the director of ASI from 1902-28 and credited with finding of Sanchi as well as Taxila,Sarnath,Harrapa and Mohenjodaro . Nothing much to see in the house.

  The ASI museum is full of many Carved stones however most of them are in broken condition,the items have been kept excellently ,but I felt I have seen much better stone carvings in Bundelkhand. The Visit to the museum can be a skipped.

  From museum its a short ride to the Stupas .Just outside the main entrance there is a Srilankan Buddhist temple,inaugurated by Pandit Nehru .

   There is a huge parking at the entrance of the main Stupa,the area is very neat and clean.
A lot of material is available on the net on Sanchi stupa, so I  will not explain any history.The Carving are superb and one can spend hours just looking at them.


    I moved to the next destination the Udaygiri caves.As you get on the Bhopal road , and move towards Vidisha, just after a 500m from sanchi railway station ,you will come across a prominent sign board showing direction to Udayagiri caves.The road is bad just for about 50m till the railway crossing,thereafter its a fantastic road,and well marked .

Udayagiri Caves

   The Udayagiri Caves are located next to the road at about 10 kms from Sanchi.   They were extensively carved and reworked under the command of Chandragupta II, Emperor of the Gupta Empire, in the late 4th and 5th century AD. 

    Udayagiri consists of a substantial U-shaped plateau immediately next to the River Bes. The caves here are a series of rock-cut sanctuaries and images excavated into hillside. The figure of Viṣhṇu in his incarnation as the boar-headed Varaha is amongst the more impressive artistic sculptures. The site has important inscriptions of the Gupta dynasty. In addition to these remains, Udayagiri has a series of rock-shelters , ruined buildings, inscriptions, water systems, fortifications and habitation mounds.

Road from Sanchi to Udayagiri

Ghost tree

Meditating caves

Lords resting place

 Ruins of a Monastery 

Rest house build in 1933

We  saw the above in Hollywood movies

      The caves were mesmerizing,from there one just drives for about 4kms to go to Heliodorus pillar,locals also call it Kamba Baba.It is just 100mts from SH19.

Heliodorus Pillar 
    It is a  stone pillar that was erected in 113BCE by Heliodorus a  Greek ambassador of Indo-Greek King Antialcidas. It was dedicated to lord Vasudeva by Heliodorus.

     It is neatly kept, an excellent example of ancient art,a,must visit site.

 An excavation done in 1960 concludes that there was also temple at this place.

Some remains of the temple

   To see the sunset I again returned back to the Udayagiri caves and saw this marvelous sunset.Do visit the Caves either for Sun rise or Sunset,due to its location it offers a beautiful view.

    After resting for the night I started my journey back home,however this time I started late,at about 0845h had to ride in the hot central India sun as well as blowing winds,but my Thunderbird she just loves,this weather and did not give any trouble at all.
     Clicked at 1330h,in background is Talbehat fort

    The memorable ride came to an end,the whole ride of 650km plus felt as if I was in a dream,it was lovely.I would recommend all to visit these places.
                     Till my next ride Ride Safe Firm Saddle.Adios