Mandsaur or Mandsour is a city in the Malwa region and district of Madhya Pradesh state of central India. It is the administrative headquarters of Mandsaur District. Mandsaur is rich in archaeological and historical heritage But what makes it famous is the temple of “Lord Pashupatinath” located on the bank of Shivna river. Its idol has parallel only in Nepal. The most common language is Malvi (Rajasthani and Hindi Mixed).It is also famous for large production of Opium around the world. The slate pencil industry is the main industry of the district.
The name Mandsaur evolved from Marhsaur, which originated from Marh and Saur (or Dasaur), two of the villages which merged in the town. The town was known as Dashapura in ancient times. The city consists of ten ‘Puras’, which gave it the name Dashpura (ten puras).
It is also believed that this place was once the maternal residence of Mandodari, the wife of Ravana. In old city areas, people worship the idol of Ravana and avoid participating in the ‘Ravana Dahan’ (burning the idol of Ravana as a symbol of victory of good over evil )ritual on Vijayadashami(Dashahara) as they regard Ravana their son-in-law. A 35-feet ten headed sitting idol of Ravana can be seen in the Khanpura area of the city.
Best Places to visit
Mandsaur and its neighborhood are full of places of tourist interest. An inscription discovered near the town indicated the erection of a temple of the sun in 437, and at Sondani are two great monolith pillars recording a victory of Yasodharman, king of Malwa, in 528. The fort dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. Hindu and Jain remains are numerous, though the town is predominantly Muslim.
Mandsaur is also famous for Pashupatinath Temple, a Hindu temple situated on the banks of the Shivana river. Pashupatinath Temple is one of the prominent shrines in Mandsaur of Madhya Pradesh. Lord Shiva in the form of Lord Pashupatinath is the principal deity here. The highlight is a unique Shivling with eight faces of Lord Shiva.
The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is the most known and highly visited temple of Mandsaur.
Popular for its eight-faced Shivalinga, the temple is situated on the bank of Shivana River. Weighing 4600 kg it is about 7.25 ft. high in curvature and 11.25 ft. in straight. The beautifully constructed Shivlinga has 8 heads divided in two parts. First 4 heads on the top and second 4 head bottom. Top 4 heads are clear, refined and complete then 4 bottom heads are not reined. This beautiful Shivalinga presents the blissful image of Lord Shiva. The whole temple is very beautifully carved and decorated. With four doors in the four directions the entrance of the temple is situated in the west. The west facing image of Lord Shiva presents fearful image.
The effigy’s heads with three rasp (relish) and bun-shaped hair with poisonous snakes, emerging third eye opened injects fear into the hearts of sinful. In the centre tangled hair are surrounding snakes that is acquainted annihilation Omkar (Veda mantras symbolizing God almighty).
The temple of Lord Shiva and Vishnu, Dharmarajeshwara Temple is one of the popular temples of Mandsaur. It has the 9th century monolithic temple of Dharmarajeshwara, carved out of solid natural rock. The temple is carved out of a rock of size 50 metre in length, 20 metre in width and 9 metre deep. The temple is rich in architecture and also can be compared with Kailash Temple of Ellora.
There is a big temple in the middle 14.53 metre in length and 10 metre in width. Around the main temple there are seven small temples. There is a big Shivalinga in the main temple along with a statue of Vishnu. The entrance gate of the temple is engraved with the gures of Vishnu and Lakshami. There are statues of Bhairava, Kali, Shiva, Garuda and Parvati.
Taxakeshawar or Takhaji is a religious and historical place in Mandsaur district. It is situated at a distance of 22 km from “Bhanpura” town on “Hinglajgarh road“. The temple is dedicated to serpent King Taxak, who is worshiped here as Taxakeshawar. Local people call him Takhaji. It is only temple dedicated to Nagaraja Taxak. Seven serpent hoods protecting Taxaka image is revered in the region.In one hand of Taxaka is shown a human head.
On one side is shown his wife and his son on other side. A hot natural water spring pool with varieties of fish is major attraction near the temple. Every year on every Purnima of Baisakh month of Hindu Calendar grand fair is organized in the region. Rich in history, the temple is devotees throughout the year. It’s a fascinating place to see.
The Nalcha Mata Mandir is also one of the famous temples near Mandsaur. It is situated 3 kms from Lord Pashupatinath temple. The shrine takes festive look during Navaratri when devotees from across the region throng to seek blessings from the divine deity. Inside the temple, there is a beautiful idol of Nalcha Mata decorated with glittering Clothes and Jewellery. Daily aarti is done in the presence of priest and inhabitants of the region.
This temple is another places to visit in Mandsaur. Dedicated to Lord Hanuman, it is a very old temple with interiors decorated with stones. The place is situated near Gandhi Chauraha and it is a worth your every second spend here. Don’t miss the yearly Maha Aarti and Annakut Prasad organised by Yuvak group during the Diwali season.
Other Interesting Places to Visit in Mandsaur
Gandhisagar Dam is the only dam of this region and is constructed on the famous Chambal River. The power station of the dam is 65 meter long and 56 feet wide. The foundation stone for the construction of dam was laid by the Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1954. The work was started in 1957 in the power station, while power generation and its distribution commenced in November, 1960.
The Power Station has five turbines of 23 M.W. capacity, thus having a total installed capacity of 115 M.W. This is the only dam which supplies electricity throughout the District. Besides meeting the power requirements in the District, electricity from this power house is supplied to such far off places in the Madhya Pradesh and in Rajasthan state.The dam is a must place to visit as it gives immense feel of the beauty of Chambal river.
The only wildlife sanctuary of this region, Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary is situated on the northern boundary of Mandsaur and Nimach districts in Madhya Pradesh. It is spread over an area of 368.62 km squire adjoining Rajasthan state in India. The popular Chambal River passes through the sanctuary and divides into two parts. The river adds on another point to the beauty of this sanctuary.
The western part of this sanctuary is in Nimach district and eastern part is in Mandsaur district.
This sanctuary is the favorite place for the citizens looking for a place to plan picnic. Educationists and researchers visit this place in large number to extract deep study on this sanctuary. It’s a fun to visit and explore the flora and fauna of this place.
The Buddhist caves are located 40 from the Mandsaur city. Carved into the rough laterite rock of the hillface, these Buddhist caves were constructed in 5th century AD. These caves were discovered by James Tod, an officer of the East India Company in the early 19th century.
Although Tod described these as Jain caves and said there were 170 of them, this was disputed by later scholars, including Alexander Cunningham, who identified the caves as Buddhist and their number as about 70. Rich in history, the caves are known for its interiors and unique architectural work. People visit this place to spend some peace of time along with friends and family members.
Hinglajgarh Fort is situated in Mandsaur district at a distance of 18 kms from Bhanpura on way to Gandhi Sagar. The fort is covered in an apsidal deep trench, situated on a hillock the fort can be approached from northern side only .There is Mandeshwari Nallah to west of the trench, which flows southwards. It is said that the architectural work of this fort originally belongs to Parmara period.
The fort has the typical features of a forest fort, a mountain fort, a water fort and arches were built there on per injunction of the Shastra. The fort has four entrance gates. The fort suffered considerable damage during invasion from Mohammedan rulers .The gate of inner wall that divides the entire fort is called Ganesh poll. Beyond it towards the eastern slope there exists the Suraj kund .It belongs to Parmara period and its Baradari was built in 18 century AD.
Rock Cut Caves, Khejadia Bhoop Khejadai Bhho Caves are situated in the tehsil Sitamau of Mandsaur district. It is at a distance of 3 kms from Khejadia Bhoop of Mandsaur. These are 28 Caves and were made by cutting the hills for residential purpose for Buddhist monks. The cave has small cells and verandahs in front portion. Some are single caves and some are inter connected. The Stupa inside the caves is the most attractive thing of this place. The architecture of these caves reflects features of the architecture of Gupta period.
The popular Pola Dunger caves have preserved the memories of the Buddhist religion in Dashpur region in its caves. Situated 128 km from Mandsaur , it is constructed on a small hill (dungar) which has been made hollow (pola) by the architects in their effort to construct caves.
That is how it derives its name Pola Dungar meaning hollow hill. These caves were made of red stone and seems belonged to the Hinayana sect as they are totally devoid of the images of the Buddha. Initially there were about 100 small & big caves over here, however, due to the bolt of time and nature only few of these have survived. Most of these caves were used as Viharas. The main entrance of these caves are known as Surajpol. There is also a Stupa inside the caves having a square base of 3 meter. This region has the largest number of Buddhist caves. Tourists visit this place in a large number every year.
Popularly known as Teliya Talaab, the Teliya Tank is the largest tank of this region. It is a source of the water for the city and also a famous tourist attraction. This particular lake has developed into more of a family and friends gathering place with beautiful park and a temple nearby. Most of the inhabitants of the region spend their time here in the evenings and or the holidays.
Situated approximately 30 kms north of Bhanpura, this place is a rock shelters stretching in a 5km long ‘gallery’, with thousands of figures painted on its walls. Of this long gallery of spectacular rock paintings, about 700 m are easily. Chaturbhujnath Nala is located within the Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary.
The place is very much visited by students and researchers and also by well known architectures and painters. All the articles of this place are made by renowned personalities of the country.
Best Time to Visit Mandsaur
October to March is the best time to visit Mandsaur. However, you can also visit during the Monsoons as rains are mostly average here. The town is also very attractive during the festive season of Dusshera and if possible, you should visit this place during that time to see the illuminated town.
Winter (October – February)-: Beginning from October, the winter season is the most advisable time for a visit to Mandsaur. The months from October – February is a nice time for a visit when the climate is pleasant and the ambience lovely. This is also the peak season for travellers.
Monsoon (July – September)-: Although the monsoon season receives moderate to heavy rainfall, this is a nice time to visit, as the hilly area turns a lively green owing to the rainfall, though an excess may ruin your travelling plans as well. This is the best time for budget travellers, who can expect huge discounts at this time.