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Chanderi -

Chanderi

Chanderi is located in Ashoknagar district of Madhya Pradesh state in Central India. It is of historical importance. It is located on strategically on the borders of Malwa and Bundelkhand. Some nearby destinations from Chanderi are Shivpuri (127km.), Jhansi(135km.), Datia(155km.), Orchha (143km.), Bhopal (205km.), Sanchi (159km), Gwalior (230km.). Chanderi is located on Vindhya hills, southwest to Betwa river. Nearest railway station to reach Chanderi is Lalitpur. From Lalitput is just 45kms away. Lalitpur lies on Jhansi - Bhopal railway track. Nearest Airports to reach Chanderi are Bhopal & Gwalior Airport. In Central India Tourism, Chanderi occupies important place to know art, culture & heritage at one destination.

Chanderi is full of landmarks, dating from 11th century through the medieval periods of 13th and 18th centuries and to modern times. Chanderi is located strategically on Borders of Malwa and Bundelkhand regions of Central India. It is always dominated for being on trade routes to ports of Gujarat, Mewar, Malwa, Central India and Deccan. In early vedic period, Chanderi was founded by Lord Krishna’s cousin, Shishupal. He was one of the character of Mahabharat. Ancient Chanderi called Budhi (Budhi=old)-Chanderi is about 19km. away from present Chanderi settlement. Chanderi was first settled and fortified in the 11th century by the Pratihara king, Kirtipal. A vast majority of he exiting standing monuments at Chanderi were raised in the the years between 1312 A.D. to 1687 A.D. These could be broken down into three main groups, Islamic architecture from the period of the Sultan's of Delhi, the Mughal period, and then which comprise the majority, the Malwa Indo-Islamic.

Other interesting points are:

  • Chanderi PaintingKirti Durg (The Hill Fort of Chanderi) founded 11th century A.D.
    The foundation of Kirti Durg was constructed by Raja Kirti Pal in the 11th Century A.D. over the next centuries major construction, demolitions, and reconstruction have created the fort we see today. Existing additions to Kirti Durg have been made by Alauddin Khilji of Delhi, Mahmood Khilji of Malwa region, Ibrahim Lodi of Delhi, The Mughal dynasty and Sher Shah Suri of Delhi. The fort extends in a five kilometer radius. Inside the main fort is The Nokhanda Palace, Khilji Mosque, tomb of Hazrat Abdul Rehman Naar Nooli Baba, a pond, and the modern Jauhar memorial, which are worth visiting. Kirti Durg has withstood many attacks in the course of Central India history. In 1528 Mughal Emperor Babur captured the fort in a historic battle from Rajput Rana Sanga of Mewar that also saw over 600 women of the Rajput court commit ritual suicide by Jauhar where they threw themselves into fire to escape capture by the enemy. Jauhar was a tradition adopted by Hindu women in which they commits suicide in mass to avoid being captured & subsequent harassment by enemies especially by Islamic forces. Later the fort was captured by Bundela Rajputs in 1586.

  • Parmeshwar Taal (Parmeshwar Pond)
    The Parmeshwar Taal was once a naturally formed pond and now is an enclosed pool

  • Sri Jageshwari Temple
    11th A.D: There are no inscriptions or writings as to the actual founding date of the Sri Jageshwari Temple. However certainly some parts of the temple complex are ancient and must date back to the 11th century A.D. or even earlier origin.

  • Sri Chandraprabh Digambar Jain Temple

  • The Delhi Gateway
    1411 A.D

  • Dargah of Hazrat Wajihuddin
    The Dargah of Hazrat Wajihuddin is one of the earliest and most famous in Chanderi. Hazrat Wajihuddin reached Chanderi in the year 1395 A.D. He was born in 1260 at Kaal Kahar where he spent his childhood. As a young man Hazrat Wajihuddin with his parent's permission moved to Delhi where he served under the Sufi Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya as a disciple. Hazrat Wajihuddin spent most of his time in meditation in a small hut in Gyas Pur Delhi.

    He was appointed by Sultan Allauddin Khilji to look look after the poor and needy of Chanderi. In his appointment he so spread the word of Allah on unity, equality, brotherhood, and harmony, that he gained 1000s of disciples in Chanderi and also other towns.

    Chanderi Madhya PradeshDuring that time the head of the province, a Malik Tamar Sultan became very jealous of Hazrat Wajihuddin. 1000s of people visited Hazrat Wajihuddin's Darbaar and no longer coming to pray at the Sultan's Darbaar. Out of Jealousy Malik Tamar Sultan instigated an attack on Hazrat Wajihuddin Ashram. Soon a civil war started and more attacks from the Sultan's army followed with many of Hazrat Wajihuddin devotees killed and injured. The Sultan also sent a letter to Hazrat Wajihuddin to leave Chanderi. The situation was grave and many devotees fled. One devotee requested that Hazrat Wajihuddin move to Lukhnoti and that he would bear all the expenses an also build an ashram for him there. However Hazrat Wajihuddin refused and replied that he had not come to Chanderi on his own wish but had been ordered by his gurus to serve here, and he could not defy their order.

    For guidance Hazrat Wajihuddin traveled to Delhi and met with Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya. On consulting Nizamuddin he went back to Chanderi where he constructed a new Ashram and continued his service till his passing in 1328.

  • Tombs of Sufi Saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya's disciples - 1424 A.D. :
  • This tomb complex is one of the most impressive and beautiful monument sites in Chanderi. The intricate stone work here on the walls of the tombs are masterfully carved. It is situated towards the South within the inner city. Currently the site is conserved by the Archeological Survey of India


  • Kushk Mahal 1445 A.D.:
    Kushk Mahal is located four kilometers from Chanderi off the Isagarh Road. The monument is erected on four pillars and is 116 square feet in size. Each story is 15 feet high and the verandahs are 43 by 43 feet wide. The two main door entrances are 45 feet high and 26 feet wide. The width of the walls are 10 feet thick. Every story has six doors and one window. The architect of this palace has blended and incorporated the styles of the Malwa Islamic, Iranian, Afghani, and Indian Vedic architecture forms. It was planned to made of 7 stories but now 3 and half stories exists.

  • Badal Mahal Gate 1450 A.D.:
    This gate was built during the reign of Mehmood Shah Khilji in 1450 A.D. It is situated at the Southern end of the inner city near and facing the Jama Masjid and looking up commands a striking view of the fort above

  • Chanderi Silk SareeShezadi Ka Rauza (Tomb of Princes) -
    Probably 15th Century A.D.: The Shezadi Ka Rauza memorial is arguably the most impressive tomb of Chanderi. It appears to date from the 15th Century A.D. There are no inscriptions regarding it, therefore there is no accurate information as to its construction. It is situated near the Parmeshwar Pond and Laxman Temple

  • The story that behind the memorial is that Mehrunisa, a daughter of a royal named Hakim of Chanderi, fell in love with the chief of the Army. Mehrunisa's father was against the alliance because he wanted to arrange her marriage to a prince. He tried to explain this to his daughter and well as to the head of the army. Despite all the couple refused to comply with his wishes. The father then decided to take drastic action. When the army was preparing to go to a battle he hired some soldiers to assassinate the army chief when the battle was over. The soldiers carried out the plan Hakim had hired them for but the chief was only seriously injured and escaped and then somehow rode his horse back to Chanderi. He fell and died from his wounds at the place where the memorial now stands. When Mehrunisa came to know about it she reached the spot where her lover lay dead. She could not bear it and ended her life too.
    Hakim then buried both of them together and constructed a pond around it so that nobody could reach their tomb. The reason behind this is that his daughter had gone against his wishes, but since he loved her so, he constructed a large and beautiful tomb for her and her lover, but placed it in the middle of the pond to symbolize the impossibilty of the situation. Today the pond no longer exists and the tomb is surrounded by farmland.

  • ChanderiBaiju Bawra Smarak (tomb of Baiju Bawra) -
    Baiju Bawra is the only person in India History who defeated TANSEN, music legend and pearl of Mughal court. He defeated Tansen in music competition. In 16th century A.D. :The Pandit Baiju Nath Prasad was born in Chanderi in the 16th century A.D. History books do not give any clear dates as to his birth or upbringing. It is believed that he was born to a rich religious family and grew up in one of the fine havelis of Chanderi. The story goes as he grew up Baiju wanted to lead a life that was beyond luxury and prosperity. He found more peace in the natural beauty around him and natural beauty inspired him to sing. He would visit Vrindavan with his parents where he became a student of music from Swami Hari Das. After his training he became well known through Bundelkhand in the field of music.
    It is said the days Baiju lived in Chanderi he would stay by the lakeside where wild animals roamed and the fragrance of lotus flowers would compel him to sing. At this lake Baiju met and fell in love with a beautiful girl named Kala. However for certain reasons he could not marry her and he became so disheartened that he shut himself in his world of music forever. He would practice music to such an extent and intensity that people started calling him Bawra (mad person). The ruler of Chanderi having heard of Baiju appointed him as royal poet in the court. The king though had little sensitivity towards music and Baiju Bawra received little encouragement or fame.


  • At this time Maharaja Man Singh of Gwalior
    was supporting the importance of musicians and artist in his realm. Hearing about this Baiju Bawra left Chanderi for Gwalior and soon became a singer with in the Maharaja's Darbaar. In Gwalior Baiju was encouraged and wrote original works and proved to be masterful at it. He also taught music to the queen, Mrigaini and gained fame as an artist. When the Maharaja died, Baiju was compelled by circumstances to return to Chanderi. In historical texts it has been noted that Baiju Bawra who belonged to Chanderi also met his end there.
    There is a well told story that Baiju once defeated Emperor Akbar's king of music Tansen in a competition near the jungles of Agra. There is evidence that a raga called Kalpdrum was created by Baiju and Tansen. Yet Baiju's name does not appear in the Ainay Akbari (Memoirs of Akbar) and some speculate the reason for this was that Baiju of Chanderi's talent was equal to Akbar's favorite singer Tansen. One of Baiju's raga called Dhrupado is preserved in the Chanderi museum.
    The tomb of Baiju Bawra can be visited near the Jauhar Monument within the Kriti Durg hill fort

  • Chanderi Silk SareeBattisi Bawdi - 1484 A.D.:
    This famous bawdi is located at the North Eastern side of Chanderi. There is an inscription near the main door into the the bawdi which states that this bawdi and mosque was completed in 1484 by Sher Khan during the rule of Sultan Gyas Shah Khilji. Battisi Bawdi is 60 feet by 60 feet square and four stories deep.
  • Ram Nagar RamPalace and Museum - 1698 A,D: This palace is four Kilometers from the main town and can be found on the road leading through the Kati Ghati (rock cut gate). The palace was built for the Maharaja Durjan Singh Bundela as a retreat for hunting and sightseeing. In front of the palace is a large artificial lake called Mehjatiya Talaab made in 1510 A.D. by the Governor Behjat Khan. The original name of the lake was Behjad Khan Tallab, however over time the name has been changed. At present the Ram Nagar Palace houses a museum maintained by the state of Madhya Pradesh. The museum has a collection of Hindu temple fragments of gods and devi in the Chandela style and some fine examples of large well preserved sati stones.


  • Harkund Bawdi (probably built well before the 13th century A.D.)
    The Harkund step well is built near Mauryan Hill South West of the main town and can be seen right from the Chanderi Moongawali Road. No inscriptions have been found to tell about this bawdi. The architecture though shows that of ancient Vedic style. On the North side there is a platform on which a big dome has been made. On the South side is the popular Bijasan Devi Temple. On the West side is a Shani (Shiva) Temple which is why the bawdi has been named Harkund. The step well is daily used for bathing and washing clothes.
    On the South end of the Harkund Bawdi is another larger step well which is known as Vishnu Kund

  • Kati Ghati Gate (Rock Cut Gate) - 1495 A.D.:
    The Kati Ghati stands at the Southern end of Chanderi. This impressive gate has been cut out of the standing rock of the Southern hill range that surrounds Chanderi. It is near the top of the hillside about 240 feet above the city, and the gate itself is over 30 feet high and 85 feet wide. It is known and been used since its construction as the entry gate into Chanderi for visitors and guests from Malwa and Bundelkhand. It was commissioned by Jimman Khan, son of Sher Khan in the year 1495 A.D. The whole gate and staircase leading to the roof has been cut from existing rock of the hillside


  • Chnaderi Silk SareesThe story of the gate is both interesting and tragic.
    In 1495 A.D. when Sher Khan was governor he received notice that King Gyasuddin Khilji the Sultan of Malwa was to visit Chanderi. Sher Khan's son Jimman Khan made various arrangements for the Sultan's arrival. While supervising the arrangements Jimman Khan was advised that the Sultan wished to be welcomed to Chanderi by the sight of a grand gateway at the top of the hill range. However by then there was only one day left till his arrival and a huge price was fixed for whomever could create such a gate in one day.
    Only one stonemason agreed to the challenge and with his crew started to work on it. The next morning Jimman Khan got the news that the work was completed and he reached the site to inspect it. He was amazed to see that the gate had indeed been cut out the rock. On further inspection Jimman Khan saw that the craftsman did not leave any place to fit the door to close the gate. He told the craftsman that this gate formed the first line of security of the fort and as such it should of course have a door. To fit the door they would need to put in extra stone, and then the uniqueness of the gate would be lost. Jimman Khan refused to pay for the work and the craftsman in shame walked away empty handed. Later the craftsman committed suicide and his tomb can be found to the side of the gate. Still to this date the Kati Ghati has never had a door.

  • Taalab and Bawdi (man made pools and step wells) of Chanderi
    During the rule of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, his chronicler Abul Fazal wrote in the Ainay Akbari (Memoirs of Akbar) about the town of Chanderi. He stated that there were an estimated 1200 Bawdi (step wells) in Chanderi. The question arises, why so many Bawdi and aritifical pools. The reason of course is water management and many administrations and rulers who were thoughtful of proper civil upkeep of the towns infrastructure. During the medieval period Chanderi had a population well over one hundred thousand. So the need for proper water management was crucial. Also some of the more elaborate and grand bawdi in Chanderi were reserved for the use of royals, aristocrats, and some pools were reserved for the use of only upper class woman.
    Chanderi also is 2200 feet above sea level at a high elevation along the Vindyachal Range. Scarcity of water has always been an issue in this area. Bawdies were built all though Chanderi with large ponds excavated in outlying areas where rainwater collected from the hills and served to keep the level of the water in the bawdies stable. The water from these ponds was and is still also used for farm irrigation.
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