DEOGARH

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» North India
» Madhya Pradesh
Location: Near Gwalior, MP
Architecture: Jain architecture
Built in: 8th - 17th centuries.
Season: Sept.-May

Santinath TempleDeogarh, the Fort of the God is situated on the right bank of the Betwa river at the western end of the Lalitpur range of hills. Due to its strategic location on the main route to the Deccan it was a constant bone of contention, and figures in the history of the Guptas, the Gujarat-Pratiharas, the Gondas, the Muslim rulers of Delhi, the Marathas and the British. As a result, it is of great antiquarian, epigraphical and archaeological value today.

The natural setting of the fort is dramatic, so is its scale, which takes the visitor by surprise. The fort is entered though a corbelled gateway in the outer wall. A path has been cleared through the undergrowth and broken statuary lies scattered about. Within the fort is a remarkable group of 31 Jain Temples. The site was a Jain centre from the 8th to the 17th centuries. Within the temples are panels depicting scenes from Jain mythology, tirthankara images, Manasthamba or votive pillars, Ayagpattas or votive tablets, Sarvatobhadra Pratima's or Jain images visible from all sides and Sahasrakuta's or pillars carved with a thousand Jin figures. Most important among the group are temples No.11 and 12, the Santinath temple. Among other important structures at deogarh are the Varah temple, the rock cut cave-Siddha-ki-Gufa, Rajghati and the Naharghati. The jewel of Deogarh, however is in a field by a well close to the banks of the Betwa. This is the Dashavatar Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It belongs to the Gupta period and is dated to about the 6th century AD. It is the earliest known Panchayatan temple of north India. It bears an inscription attributable to Govinda, Viceroy of Malwa and brother of the great Kumaragupta I. A row of superbly sculpted panels adorn the terraced basement which rises above the high plinth of the temple. A doorway with intricately carved figures of Ganga and Yamuna leads to the garbhagriha or sanctum sanctorum. The temple is particularly well known for its Rathika panels in recesses along its three side walls.

These fine stone reliefs depict scenes from Vaishnava mythology, and are identified as the Gajendra Moksh panel, Nar-Narayan Tapasya and the Anantasayi Vishnu. Only the lower portion remains of the shikhar, once the most important part of the temple.

The Gupta age, because of its superb sculptures, is "in the annals of classical India almost what the Periclean age is in the history of Greece". The beauty of the images at Deogarh carved out of granite and red or grey sandstone bear testimony to this.

Manastambha

GENERAL INFORMATION

Area : 5 sq. km.
Population : 35(1991 census)
Altitude : 211 mtrs. Above sea level.
Season : September-May
Clothing (summer) : Light cottons
(winter) : Woollens
Language : Hindi, Bundeli
Festivals : Jain Mela and Gajrath Mahotasav
Local Transport : Bus/Private Jeeps/Private Cars
STD code : 02904

ACCESSIBILITY
AIR
Nearest airport is at Gwalior: 235 km.
RAIL
The nearest railway station is Jakhlaun 13 km, on the Jhansi-babina Passenger train route. Lalitpur is another railhead, 23 km from Deogarh. Some important trains stopping at Lalitpur areare: 1078/1077: 1078/1077 Jhelum Exp; 1038/1037 Punjab Mail; 1058/1057 Amritsar-Dadar Exp; 1016/1015 Gorakhpur-Bombay-Kushinagar Exp; 8478/8477 Kainga Utkal Exp; 4310/4309 Dehradun-Ujjain Exp; 4068/4067 Malwa Exp; 8268/8267 Chhatisgarh Exp; 7022/7021 Nizamuddin-Hyderabad Exp.

ROAD
It is connected with bus services to all important centers in the region. Some of the major road distances are: Jhansi 123 km, Katia 147km, Lalitpur- 23km, Matatila- 93km.

UP TOURISM ACCOMMODATION
Tourist Bungalow, Deogarh.
Or reservations contact: Manager, Tourist Bungalow, Deogarh or Advance Reservation Centres of U.P. Tourism.

EXCURSIONS
CHANDERI
Jain TirthankarThis town, famous for its gossamer-like sarees, also has fine examples of Rajput and Sultanate architecture. A magnificient Mughal fort dominates the skyline. Among the interesting sites are the koshak Mahal, the Badal Mahal, Victory arch, the Jama Masjid and ancient Jain temples.

TALBEHAT
31 km, south of Lalitpur on the Jhansi-Sagar national highway. It derived its name from Tal (Lake) and behat (Village), in the language of Gonds, the original settlers at the site. In 1618, Bharat Shah the raja of Bar and Chander, Built a fine fort with the famous Barsingh temple inside.

MATATILA DAM
93 km. This is and ideal picnic spot developed by the irrigation department. Water-sports and a garden on the lines of the Vrindavan gardens are added attraction.



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