Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Motorcycling to Gulganj Fort and Chhatrasal Museum and Tomb

Hi There

  The night before the ride day ,it had rained very heavily in and around Jhansi,bringing respite from the scorching heat ,otherwise it was so hot that the water in overhead tanks was also boiling. But due to rains there was sudden drop in the temperature and it was a great day to go for a long ride.

  To beat the heat and to come back early I started early in the morning.It was pleasant morning,the earth smelled ecstatic due to rain,the leaves were sparkling and suddenly it seems life has returned to the parched earth. Thunderbird just out of service  settled into a soft thump  .
   Route               Jhansi-Orchha-Pritvipur-Jatara-Gulganj Fort-Chhatarpur -Dhubela-Jhansi

  Road condition   Excellent fit for all types of Bikes.

  Assistance         Friendly people and lot of fuel pumps.

  Food                  I did not have any food .

     From the time I had started exploring Bundelkhand ,apart from  Rani Laxmibai, I was attracted to one personality and that is Maharaja Chhatrasal Bundela who got inspired from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and went on to carve an independent Kingdom in Bundelkhand.

     Maharaja Chhatrasal when he was 12 yrs old his father Champat rai and mother passed away,leaving his two elder brothers and him.Initially he went on to  saty with his maternal uncle and thereafter ,he joined his elder brother to serve the Mughals.However he had not forgotten the treatment meted out to his father by the Mughals.

    During the Campaign of Deccan he joined the Mughal forces and was awarded for his conspicpus bravery .During the Siege of Panhala fort,he left the Mughals camp on pretext of hunting and went on to meet Shivaji Maharaj.AT that time Shivaji Maharaj was already famous for his call of Swaraj .

   Chhatrasal express his wish to join Shivaji and remain in Deccan,however Shivaji Maharaj had already sensed his potential and motivated him to establish an independent kingdom ,this way  Mughals will have two centers of resistance and will weaken them subsequently. And Shivaji gifted him Bhavani Sword.After remaining with Shivaji for few days ,he returned back to Mughal Camp.

   Subsequently he launched an all out war against the Mughals in Bundelkhand and went on to establish  Panna State.

    On partition of his territories amongst his  three sons(incl Bajarao Peshwa his adopted son),the Bijawar State was granted to Raja Jagat Raj,Fort Gulganj was part of Bijawar State.

Gulganj Fort 

    Gulganj Fort is located near the town of Gulganj,it has been named after concubine of Maharaja Sawant Singh-Gulabai,whom he gifted the fort.

    There are two ways to reach the fort one is just short of the village of Gulganj an off roading track and the other is through the town,I took the track.

    The fort has the typical Bundeli architecture,with high walls and triple storey Palaces ,it has the magnificent central hall,queens palace,office complex,stores,guard rooms etc.It is located on a rock and oversees a vast area around it.

    For their service to British in 1857,  Bijawar State was granted , 11 gun Salute.Earlier the area was under Gonds but later on captured by Maharaja Chhatrasal.
    The fort has been restored by MP govt ,it is pretty neat and clean and can be visited if you are around Chhatrapur.

Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum Dhubela

     After the visit of Gulganj fort it was time to move to Dhubela,I asked a local lad for directions to hit the main road from the fort,he should me a simple short cut to the main road.By the time I left Gulganj fort it was already 1000 am,the weather was still pretty cool and the Thunderbird was dancing on the road.By 1030 I had crossed Chhatrapur and halted for a cup of tea at a Small joint.

     From the tea shop Dhubela was just 6 kms,as you near the Dhubela your eyes will get attracted to a fantastic grand old Cenotaph on the left side of the road,near to Dhubela Resort.

Cenotaph of Sawai Singh

    This is the Cenotaph of Sawai Singh,the 5th Maharaja of the Bijawar state,he also helped the British during First war of Independence 1857.However his maladministration put the state in financial difficulties.On his death his adopted son become the 6th Maharaja of Bijawar.

     There is no proper marking or way to the beautiful tomb,also it has not been kept properly,however due to its location it has somehow escaped the vandals.


Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum

    The Palace of Dhubela,  was build by  Maharaja Chhatrasal (1649 – 1731)  located in Dhubela on Chhatarpur- Nowgong road in Madhya Pradesh. 

     The area has a beautiful museum,cenotaph of Rani Kamlapati,Chhatrasal cenotaph,Mastani Mahal ,Lake etc.The museum is located in a palace built by Chhatrasal ,next to  Mastani Mahal. It has number of galleries were in most of the idols are from 12th century found in Chhatarpur area,  a must visit place.Just opposite to the museum is Hridayashah Mahal now partially restored.

Hridayashah Mahal

Mastani Mahal

Image result for mastani

Chhatrasal Museum

Cenotaph of Maharani Kamlapati

     After soaking in the history of Maharaja Chhatrasal it was time to visit his Cenotaph.Just outside the Museum there is a cement road going to the cenotaph as well as other attractions. 
    The first Cenotaph is of Maharani Kamlapati,wife of Maharaja Chhatrasal .It is an octagonal structure situated on a high platform. There are latticed ventilations on all four sides. Built in 17th century the monument is a fine example of Bundeli art.


Cenotaph of Maharaja Chhatrasal 

Image result for maharaja chhatrasal
  This is an  beautiful example of Bundeli architecture , built by  Baji Rao Peshwa  in the memory of Maharaja Chhatrasal in 1736 A.D. This symmetrical architecture comprises of beautiful gates, windows, balcony ,it also has tomb of the beloved horse of Maharaja.It is a triple storey grand structure, but has not been maintained properly as compare to other monuments in the vicinity.It also has tomb of the famous horse of Chhatrasal Maharaj-Bhalebhai.

Cenotaph of 'Bhalebhai' horse of Maharaja Chhatrasal

   The Visit was so mesmerising that ,that It was difficult to leave Dhubela,how ever by this time the sun had crossed the crest of peak heat and weather had once again become pleasant and it was time to head back home,the ride back was again great however now traffic had increased on the road ,nevertheless it was a great trip and will remain itched in mind for long.
   Till my next blog Ride Safe Firm Saddle Adios.