The historical town of Chanderi is strategically located on the borders of Malwa and Bundelkhand in the Ashoknagar district of Madhya Pradesh. It is surrounded by hills southwest of the Betwa River as well as forests & lakes and is spotted with several monuments of the Bundela Rajputs and Malwa Sultans. History of Chanderi goes back to the 11th century, when it was dominated by the trade routes of Central India and proximate to the arterial route to the ancient port of Gujarat as well as Malwa, Mewar, Central India & Deccan. As a result, Chanderi became an important military outpost. The town also finds mention in the Mahabharata. Chanderi suffered a lot during the 1857 uprising; it was relentlessly plundered and partially burnt down. However in 1860 when a treaty signed between the British and the Scindias, Chanderi was returned to the Gwalior estates. After 1947, the princely state of Gwalior, which included Chanderi, became a part of the newly formed estate of Madhya Bharat, later known as Madhya Pradesh.
SIGHTS TO SEE IN CHANDERI
1. JAGESHWARI MATA TEMPLE
This Hindu Temple is dedicated to Goddess Shakti. At Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh, she is known as Jageshwari Mata. This temple dates back to the Mahabharata period during the reign of Shishupal. It is believed that Shishupal was a staunch devotee of Goddess Shakti. Pleased with his devotion and penance, the Goddess appeared embossed in an open cave. Thus, Shishupal built a temple in the cave premise and started to worship her. Devotees from far and near visited the temple. Over a period of time, the temple was renovated. Although currently there is no structural evidence from the Mahabharata Era, certain elements of the temple dates back between the 6th to 11th centuries & later periods.
2. PARMESHWAR POND OR PARMESHWAR TAL
Parmeshwar Pond or Parmeshwar Tal is a spectacular water body with a serene atmosphere. The water tank is located at a distance of half a mile from the historical city of Chanderi. This tank was constructed by the Bundela Rajput Kings. On the banks of the tank, is a picturesque temple dedicated to The Hindu deity Laxman. The temple is an impressive piece of architecture with well-carved features. The temple was built by the Bundela King in the 18th century and stands witness to the glorious architecture of the bygone days. There are also several memorials along the banks of the Parmeshwar Tal which were built to honour the Rajput kings.
3. BATTISI BAVDI
Battisi Bavdi is the most famous and largest step-well in Chanderi. The Battisi Bavdi was built by Sher Khan in 1485 during the rule of Sultan Ghiyasuddin Shah Khilji. It is believed the water in this well would always be stable as long as there is water in the oceans. The amazing feature of this well is that the water level remains at the same level throughout the year. The step well is square shaped with a 60 by 60 ft in dimension and a depth of around four storeys. The stairs start from the main entrance and leads to the base of the well. The end of the main steps at each storey leads to beautiful platforms that surrounds the well on all sides. There are 32 flight of steps in total in the well, thus giving it the name, ‘Batiisi Bavdi’.
4. ARCHEOLOGICAL MUSEUM
The Archeological Museum at Chanderi was built to preserve the remains of the heritage and culture of Chanderi. Chanderi is a town that is rich in cultural history and archaeological heritage. The place is a standing example of the splendour of forts, palaces, huge gates and a number of monumental wonders. These monumental structures were built by the rulers of various dynasties ruling Chanderi at different periods of history. Thus, in order to preserve the rich heritage and monuments of the creations of these rulers the Archeological Museum of Chanderi was established in the year 1999.
5. HANDLOOM UNIT OF CHANDERI
The Handloom Unit in Chanderi is famous all over the country and beyond due to the beautiful Chanderi sarees. Chanderi is famous for its’ rich weave of brocade and muslin and these sarees are made of silk and cotton. The birth of Chanderi weave dates back to the 4th century BC. Chanderi silk and cotton have been popular among the Royalty since the 11th century AD, as the appeal of this gorgeous weaves had impressed even the Kings and Queens from different parts of India. Chanderi Fabric is particularly known for its’ light weight, sheer texture and a transparent feel. The weavers of Chanderi are the careers of a rich cultural heritage. There are plenty of handloom stores and shops in Chanderi that one can purchase sarees for themselves.
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