A devout centre Maihar in the state of Madhya Pradesh boasts of a rare combination of tradition and history. Maihar literally means Mai-Mother’s Har-Necklace. Historians strongly believe that the necklace of the dead Goddess Sati fell here when she was carried by Lord Shiva.
The crowning glory of Maihar is the Sharadha Devi Temple which is located on the Trikuta hills, which is about 5kms from the city, pilgrims come in large numbers every year to seek her blessings. The devotees fill their eyes with the beautiful idol of the goddess made of stone. There is an old manuscript near the goddess’s feet. Beside the goddess the statue of Lord Narsingh can be seen. These idols are estimated to be placed in about 502 AD. The introduction of the ropeway to the temple in the year 2009 benefited the pilgrims. The temple is famed to provide fascinating views of the underlying city.
Alha and Udal who fought bravely with the great King Pritviraj Chauhan belongs to Maihar. Alha took up a tough penance for 12 years and became immortal by Sharadha Mata’s blessings. Alha pond is located behind the temple. Devotees can visit Maihar to attain spiritual enlightenment and spend some time in tranquillity.
It is said that when Lord Shiva was carrying the body of the dead mother goddess (“Mai in Hindi“) Sati, her necklace (har in Hindi) fell at this place and hence the name “Maihar” (Maihar = Mai+Har, meaning the “necklace of mother“). There is also one fact about Maihar, that related to famous king Alha and his brother Udal.
According to the locals of Maihar, the warriors Alha and Udal, who had war with Prithvi Raj Chauhan, were very strong followers of Sharda Devi. It is said that they are the first ones to visit the goddess in this remote forest. They called the mother goddess by the name “Sharda Mai“, and henceforth she became popular as “Mata Sharda Mai“. Alha worshiped for 12 years and got the Amaratva with the blessings of Sharda Devi. Behind the temple and downhill is Alha Pond. At a distance of 2 km from this pond is situated an “Akhara” (wrestling ring) where Alha and Udal used to practice kushti (wrestling). The people of Maihar believe that Alha is still alive and comes at 4:00 a.m. to worship the Goddess Sharda.
The town was formerly the capital of the princely state of Maihar. The state was established in 1778 by Jogis clan, who were granted land by the ruler of the nearby state of Orchha.(Maihar king developed the other state Vijayraghavgarh). The state became a princely state of British India in the early 19th century, and was administered as part of Bundelkhand Agency in the Central India Agency. In 1871 the eastern states of Bundelkhand Agency, including Maihar, were separated to form the new agency of Bagelkhand in Central India. In 1933 Maihar, along with ten other states in western Bagelkhand, were transferred back to the Bundelkhand Agency. The title of the ruler is “MAHARAJA” and the present ruler is HH Maharaja Shrimant Saheb AkshayRaj Singh Ju deo Bahadur. The state had an area of 407 square miles (1,050 km2), and a population of 63,702 in 1901. The state, which was watered by the Tamas River, consists mainly of alluvial soil covering sandstone, and is fertile except in the hilly district of the south. A large area was under forest, the produce of which provided a small export trade. The title of the ruler was Maharaja.
Best Places to Visit
The temple of Maa Sharda is situated on a height of approx 587 feets between the round shaped hills called Trikoot parvat and is one of the 51 Shaktipeetha. Maihar wali Mata is an another name of Mata Sharda, a form of Mata Durga. In actual Maihar is the name of the place where the temple of Mata Sharda is situated.
Millions of pilgrims visit the temple all-round the year. It is considered to be a very powerful place of worship. It is about 5 KM from Maihar Station. There are 1063 steps to reach the top of the hill, now ropeway facility is also available there, it is a great boon to the pilgrims (particularly the old and the handicapped) to fulfill their wish to have the audience of Mother Goddess Sharda.
According to a belief, when Prithviraj Chauhan defeated king Parmal then in anger Aalha took out his sword to kill all the army of Prihviraj Chauhan but goddess Sharda caught his hands and stopped him.
There is an Aalha and Udal arena in the forest. There is also a pond at this place whose water never finishes. It is said that even today Aalha comes everyday to offer flowers to Mata.It is said that the devotees like Aalha-Udal and Dhanu etc., established the temple of Mata to gain victory in the war and to please the goddess he even sacrificed his son Indal. The belief also states that Aalha -Udal comes to the temple after it is closed to worship Mata. There is one ancient inscription near the feet of stone sculpture of Sharda Devi situated in Sharda Devi temple. There is another statue of Lord Narsingh along with Sharda Devi. These statues were established by Nupula Deva in 502 AD.
From 6.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
The temple known as Golamath is dedicated to lord Shiva. This east facing Pancharathi temple is built in Nagara style. It has Adhisthana, Jangha and Sikhara in its elevation, while in plan there is sanctum, Antarala and a Mukha-Mandapa resting on pillars. The ceiling of the temple is decorated with Shatdal lotus motifs. The lower part of the pillars is octagonal and the upper part of the pillars is having sixteen faces. While the piller capital is circullar, which is shown with Kichakas.The temple has been built during Kalchuri period(10th 11th centuary A.D.).
Music is in air of Maihar
Famous Maihar Gharana belongs to Maihar having prominent place in Indian Classical Music. One of the legend of Indian Classical Music Ustad Allauddin Khan (passed away in 1972) was from Maihar. His famous students are: Sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar (his son-in-law), Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (his son), Pandit Pannalal Ghosh, Srimati Annapurna Devi(his daughter) etc Here Madhya Pradesh Tourism have its hotel for nice accommodation. While traveling from Khajuraho to Bandhavgarh or vice-versa, one can visit to Maihar temple. It has important place in Central India Pilgrimage Tour. People visiting for all over India visits this important site in Central India. Here many cement –industries are located in near-by areas.
Best Time to Visit
Falling under Madhya Pradesh, it remains hot during most of the time of the year. Thus, it is advised for you to visit this historical site during winters when you would be able to roam around and appreciate this beautiful historic city.
- Winters (October-March): October to March is the best time to visit as the days remain cool as well as sunny to take a stroll around. This is the peak season to visit, so expect high hotel prices.