Chanderi

Chanderi  is a town of historic importance right from the time of Malwa Sultans and Bundela Rajputs, who ruled the region in 15th and 16th century. Surrounded by exotic Hills, Lakes, and Forest, this attractive destination is incredibly famous for Chanderi Saris and historic monuments that draw a large number of tourists to this place every year. Also, the great Jain monuments and their fascinating culture make Chanderi, one of the most preferred tourist destinations in Madhya Pardesh Tourism. There are many things that boost Tourism in Chanderi like Chanderi Fort, Chanderi Museum, Jain Palaces, and Exquisite Lakes.

Chanderi town is located in Ashoknagar District of Madhya Pradesh  Tourism on the borders of Bundelkhand & Malwa, whose history takes you back to the 11th century. The town is full of historic Landmarks, dating from the 11th century to the 18th century and has witnessed both good and bad times. All the three religions, Hindu, Jain, and Islam flourished in the town in bygone years. Chanderi  is extremely popular among historians and traders, involved in hand loom cottage industry business in making Sarees, Salwar Suits, and other Dress Material.

In A certain Battle of Chanderi, the Mughal Emperor Babur captured the city from Medini Rai and witnessed the macabre” Rajput rite of jauhar”, in which, faced with certain defeat and in an attempt to escape dishonor in the hands of the enemy, women with children in their arms jumped in a fire pit to commit suicide, which was made for this specific purpose, against the background of Vedic hymns recited by the priests. Jauhar was performed during the night and in the morning the men would rub the ashes of their dead women folk on their forehead, don a saffron garment known as Kesariya, chew tulsi leaves (in India tulsi leaves are placed in the mouth of a dead body), symbolizing their awareness about impending death and resolve to fight and die with honour.This method of fighting & dying for the cause of retaining honour was called “SAKA“.

Festivals in Chanderi

If you are keen on buying the famous Chanderi Sarees and similar fabric that the place is known for, do visit the town during Chanderi Silk Festival, which takes place almost every year. Visitors can buy wide range of items in this festival like designer Chanderi Sarees, Suits, Fancy Sarees, Dupattas, and more. They can even get fantastic prints like Bagh, Baaboo, Kalamkari, Rapit, etc. that are the speciality of Chanderi.

Places to Visit

There are only few places in Madhya Pradesh where you can find large number of monuments at small area or destination and Chanderi is one among such mustsee tourist destinations. Approximately 375 historic monuments can be seen in Chanderi, but some are very famous & antique. Here we have tried to short-list some of them for readers:

A place of prayer having Arabic script carving. A shelf of land behind the mosque gives outstanding, though vertiginous views of the town below.

A place where Rajput families used to commit suicide it’s a place where hindu women commit suicide in throng to avoid being invaded & subsequent harassment by rivals especially by Islamic forces.

Also known as ‘Blood gate’ a place where Rajput met their enemies & slaughtered by them.

It is the largest mosque in Chanderi with a competence for 3400 persons, the mosque is typically use for Friday prayer & for the funeral as well.

The gate was built during the supremacy of Mehmood Shah Khilji in 1450 A.D. It is located at the Southern end of the inner city near and facing the Jama Masjid and looking up orders a prominent view of the fort above. Badal mahal gate got recognition nation wide as it is a defining monument in chanderi as well as the the Indian Postal Department issued a cancellation stamp for all posts leaving Chanderi and it bears the icon of the Badal Mahal Gate. Not only this even Madhya Pradesh Government Cottage Industries uses Badal Mahal Gate image on all Sari and dress materials it manages.

There are number of graves set in a walled compound with beautifully carved stones & patterns. Locals of Chanderi believed that these tombs belong to 14th century Sufi saint, Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya’s family but other contends that these belongs to descendants of the 16th century Nizamuddin Ahamad Bakshi a writer of the best historical book named Tarikh-i-Nizami a commander in chief in Mughal Army in Gujarat.

There are number of Jain places nearby as we can say Chanderi is most likely the centre of Jain Culture & attracting the devotees of Jainism for at least 900 years & having beautiful sites like: Seronji, Deogarh, Sonagiri, Boodi Chanderi etc. The very recent construction is Sri Coubisi Temple it has its own fame & recognition & every year it attracts thousands of pilgrims. The temple also contain a very giant statue of Sri Bahubali & has a large library containing thousand’s of Ancient Religious scripts written on “Leaves”.

A naturally formed pond is now an enclosed pool, the tank is having the white Lakshman Temple on one side & Ochre-coloured sandstone tower of the Durjan Singh Chhatri on the other side. The pond is also known as Kirti Shishupal Pond & Popular as there is a tale tells that this is the pond where King experienced “the miracle of water” which show the way to the founding of Chanderi.

Built in 15th century by the Sultans of Malwa, Rouza is located at North of Chanderi near Parmeshwar lake possibly the most impressive tomb of Chanderi. There is a tale behind the construction of Rouza as King Hakim khan had constructed the Rouza in memory of his daughter who loved Army-chief but gone against her father’s wish & killed herself after the chief been killed by the king’s hired mans.

It is a tall building of arches & courts & a plaque says it was supposed to be of 7 stories but now 3 & half stories exists. The Architect of this palace has intermingled & integrated the styles of the Malwa Islamic, Indian, Iranian & Afghani Vedic architect forms. Koshak mahal is basically located off the Isagarh Road 4 kms from the Chanderi.

These Jain temples were carved out of the rock about seven hundred years ago. There is a Colossal statue of the Tirthankar, the spiritual guide, “Mahavira” is leading when we embark on flight of steps. There were not only a single statue although more standing & seated images of the Tirthankars have been carved & protected by pillared. At the time of sunset the stone seems to glow of its own & this is the best time to visit these cliff temples.

The gate is been used since its construction as the entry gate of Chanderi  for visitors & guests from Malwa & Bundelkhand. According to an inscription on this dramatic gorge, the gateway was cut out on the orders of Jiman khan in 1430 during the Ghias Shah, Sultan of Malwa. The passage that leads to the gate is worth examining in some details & as a 15th century defensive structure its really fascinating as well.

Basically there are no inscription regarding the origin of Sri Jagehwari Temple as some parts of the temple are quite ancient & must be 11th century A.D or even earlier than that. The temple is built against the rock face of a hill like the Jain one in Khandagiri. The Jageshwari temple, guarded by the statues of two lions. The idol has a white face with large eyes & seems to have been escalated on a tall dais.

This is now the well kept museum of the Archeological Survey of India. The boar incarnation of Vishnu, at the sculpture of Varaha kept in the garden & at a gracefully executed” Ganesh“. The galleries inside have slide exhibits of the stone age rock paintings in Madhya Pradesh Tourism. This is followed by sketches of various Architectural styles, galleries devoted to Hindu Sculptures from old chanderi & then one playing Buddhist & Jain Sculptures. The Last gallery downstairs has blown up pictures of Mughal Miniatures including one of Babur fighting Ibrahim Lodiin Panipat in 1526; & particularly relevant one of Babur taking Chanderi Fort in 1528. Not only this the gallery have different weapons, kitchen utensils etc that is kept in the first floor & also reserved different scripts & sculptures that represents the history of Chanderi in broader terms as well.

Best time to Visit

Climate in Chanderi. The best season to visit Chanderi is the winter season. The temperature remains comfortable and is apt for visiting the places of interest in Chanderi. The best months to visit are October, November, December, January and March.

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