I took an autorikshaw to Purana Mahal. Autorikshaw went moving through narrow roads lined with sweet stalls, fruit and vegetable market and others. I wondered where was I heading ... and there was this withering yet majestic palace standing high on rock. Datia Mahal, Satkhanda Palace, Purana Mahal, Old Palace ... all mean the same ... Bir Singh Palace, a seven storied palace built by Bundela Raja Bir Singh Deo as a symbol of friendship between him and Jahangir, a mughal. Though a beautiful palace nobody lived here as it was considered unlucky.
This uncared palace still holds its beauty covered under dust and cobwebs. Built of only stone and bricks, no cement or iron, this palace is finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and is also considered a jewel of Bundelas. The interconnecting walkways are in the shape of Swastika, a Hindu religious symbol. The ceilings and walls of the upper floors have beautiful murals. The vegetable and natural dye murals have survived the forces of nature- the birds, elephants and flowering trees represent Rajputana art. One of the interesting paintings is symbolic of the friendship between Vir Singh and Jahangir. Though the palace was built for welcoming Jahangir he never visited this palace. It was then left alone and then forgotten. Though the palace is seven storied, two of them are not accessible to the tourists.
The town of Datia is a district headquarters in Madhya Pradesh and borders with Uttar Pradesh. I took a bus from Jhansi to Datia (34KM) and got off at Peetambara Devi Temple, a Shaktipeetha of Baglamukhi Devi. Datia is an ancient town mentioned as Daityavakra in Hindu Epic Mahabharatha. Vankhandeshwar temple in this same complex is from Mahabharatha time it seems. It is a pilgrim center too with Dhumawati Mai and Gopeshwar temples in the same complex. It was little strange to learn that married and young women were not allowed near the Dhumawati Mai temple!!
Pics: Mural on ceiling, Mural on the wall with Bir Singh Deo and Jahangir riding elephants, Beautiful carving underside of the dome, Parapet wall.
Sonagir is a jain pilgrim center 15KM from Datia. Sonagir means golden hill on which there are hundreds of temples belonging to Digambar sect of Jains. I took a bus from Datia which dropped me on the main road from where I took a shared van to the village. Unfortunately visitors are not allowed to climb the hill in the afternoon due to scorching sun. I couldn't see all those temples. I could see only few from the base of the hill. It must be a great sight to see all the white marble temples from the summit.
It was more of a tiring day running around under the hot sun. More tiring was a cheating autorikshaw driver and a long fight over the fare which was resolved by a Datia traffic police :) Whatever, travel adds spice to life- sometimes too much :) Well, from Sonagir I took a train to Jhansi then a shared transport to Orchha where I was staying for the day.---
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.