Kadwaya is a small village located in the Ashoknagar district of Madhya Pradesh. During the eighth-ninth century CE, it was known as Kadambaguha and Mattamayurapura when it rose as a primary seat of the Mattamayura saints. This small village is adorned with not less than fifteen temples, a monastery, a mosque, a fortress, and a few tanks suggesting it was a town of considerable importance during its heydays. From the Ranod inscription1, we come to know that the Mattamyura line of sages started after Brahma was initiated by Shiva in the Daruvana forest. The first saint in the line was Kadambaguhadivasin or “inhabitant of Kadambaguha”. His teacher-disciple lineage was followed by Shankhaathikadhipati, Terambipala, Amardakatirthanatha, Purandara, etc. The same inscription tells that the Chalukya king Avantivarman was ruling from Mattamayura and in his desire to get initiated, he brought saint Purandara to his city. Purandara initiated the king and in return got sponsorship for the construction of a matha (monastery) at Mattamayura (Kadwaya) and Ranipadra (Ranod). After the Chalukyas, Kadwaya came under the Gurjara-Pratiharas and a Pratihara king Hariraja was initiated by the pontiff of the Kadwaya matha.
Branches of the Mattamayura clan spread far and wide to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka & Tamil Nadu, and their saints built mathas and temples at various places. Monasteries at Chandrehe, Gurgi, Ranod, Surwaya, and Terahi are a few mathas of importance belonging to the Mattamayura saints. Saints of this line gained much prominence with the Kalachuri kings of Tripuri. King Yuvarajadeva I (915-945 CE) invited saint Prabhavasiva to his capital and get initiation from him. His son, Lakshmana-raja II (945-970 CE) invited saint Hrdayasiva from Madhumati for his initiation.2 The influence of the Mattamayuras over the Kalachuris of Tripuri can be credited to Nohala, the wife of Yuvarajadeva I and the granddaughter of the Chalukya king Avantivarman.3 Nohala would have witnessed the initiation of her grandfather by the Mattamayura saints and when she was married into the Kalachuri family, she invited Mattamayura saints to the Kalachuri domain in order to receive initiation for her as well as for others. On the Mattamayura-Kalachuri ties, Misra tells one observes a phenomenon in which patronage was appropriated, serialized, distributed, redistributed, and in all these operations it unabatedly strengthened the ruler-pontiff ties.4 Taking cues from a few inscriptions at Kadwaya and other places, Misra suggests that militancy seems to have been an essential ingredient of matha’s existence and function and in this process of helping out the Kalachuri rulers this militant monachism seems to have succeeded in carving out for itself ‘a State within a State’.5
Tamara Sears6 seems right in attributing Kajarra (or Kajwara) of Ibn Batuta with the present village of Kadwaya. Traditionally, Kajarra is equated with Khajuraho however Sears explains that Khajurano was not popular during the time of Ibn Batuta and it did not lie on the route taken by Ibn Batuta. This also supports the identification of Kachwa (or Kachwaha), a stop before Chanderi, of Baburnama with Kadwaya. Beveridge, who translated Baburnama into English, identifies Kachwa with Kadwaya stating that Kachwa of Babur and Kajwarra of Ibn Batuta should be the same as both the towns were said to be situated at the bank of a large lake.7
Monuments – The town has around fifteen temples, all constructed in sandstone. These temples are under the protection of ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) and named in various groups i.e. Ekla, Pachhali Marghat (A, B), Chandla, Bag Group (A, B), Talao Group (A, B), Akhati (A, B, C), Khirna Group (A, B), Murayat and Garhi.
Matha and Bhuteshvara Temple – This matha represents the primary seat of the Mattamayura saints. The Mattamayura clan was founded by saint Kadambaguhadivasin (inhabitant of Kadambaguha) however no mention is made if he constructed a matha. The first reference of the establishment of a matha comes from an inscription from Ranod stating Purandara, fifth in the lineage from Kadambaguhadivasin, built a matha at Kadwaya and Ranod. This matha is the earliest structure at Kadwaya and it soon became a focal point of all future constructional activities. When the town was taken over by the forces of Alaud-Din Khalji (1296-1306 CE), a mosque was constructed next to the temple, and the platform of the former buried the latter underneath.
The temple standing next to the matha faces west and is consisted of a mandapa and garbhagrha. It is built in pancha-ratha plan and is dedicated to Shiva. The temple is built on a low plinth with inverted lotus decoration. The vedibandha or adhishthana is built of five regular moldings. On all the projections of this vedibandha, provisions are made for niches to house images. Jangha has two registers of images on all the rathas. Images of dikpalas are present over the karna niches. Images of apsaras, vyalas, and various other deities are adorning the niches of pratiratha and recesses. Bhadra niche in the south has Ganesha and in the north has Chamunda, while the niche in the east is empty. Kapili niche in the south has an image of Kshemenkari and in the north has Parvati.
The garbhagrha doorframe is built with five shakhas (bands). Shiva as Natesha is present on the lalata-bimba while Vishnu with Lakshi is on one terminal and Shiva with Uma on another terminal. The recess portion in between is filled with images of nava-grahas. Over the architrave are the dvadash-Adityas (twelve Adityas) with Surya in the center. Ganga and Yamuna are present over the door-jambs with dvarapalas on their side.
Inscriptions: Many loose inscriptions are found from the debris of the monastery, below are a few important inscriptions. Many of these loose slab inscriptions are records of pilgrims providing their names and dates etc. From these, we find that the matha was in use and frequented by pilgrims till the 16th century CE.
- Fragmentary stone inscription8 – dateable to 10th century CE on paleography – The inscriptions consist of 29 lines and mentions sage Purandara as the first in the lineage of the Mattamayuras. He came from Malwa at the invitation of king Avantivarman of the Chalukya family. He chose Aranipadra (Ranod) for his penance. The name of his disciple is not legible, and he is told to be filled with rage on the death of a person when king Gobhata visited the monastery with his army of elephants. The sage, like Tripurantaka, conquered the whole army of his foes by means of a bow and arrow acquired by his own miraculous powers. The name of his disciple is not legible, and he was told to initiate king Hariraja. The king offered rutting elephants however the sage declined and agreed to accept a few villages.
- On a slab in the pavement of the Bhuteshvara temple in the garhi9 – dated in Vikram-samvat 1366 (1309 CE) – mentions sage Bhuteshvara worshiped the Shivalinga of the mulayatana when the world was harassed by the mlecchas. He did a severe penance after the Mlecchas committed sins nineteen times and he made a new jaladhara when the previous one was broken by the Mlecchas. The record was written by Pandita Vatsaraja and Kshemdhara.
- On the door-jamb of the Shiva temple in the Garhi10 – dated Vikrama-samvat 1626, corresponding 1569 CE – the inscription consists of 34 lines however it is legible only partially. After the regular invocation of Shiva, a mention is made of king Jayantavarmana for Lord’s blessings. Then is mentioned the reign of Gopala and Kshitipala.
- On a loose stone slab found in the debris of the monastery11 – records the name of a pilgrim named Pandita Gangadhara, name of his father is obliterated. The record was written by Shemandhara, son of Gangadhara. Two dates samvat 84 and 735 engraved separately, seem to be irregular.
- On a loose slab found during clearance of debris near the ruined temple12 – As this is only a fragment of a large inscription, therefore, the main purpose of the inscription is lost. The inscription gives a genealogy of a line of Shaiva ascetics, but only the name of Isvarasiva has survived. The inscription mentions planting of garden, and constructions of a few mansions. Names of three Brahmanas are found, Gangadhara, Vamana, and Sripala Mishra, however, their mutual relationship cannot be ascertained. Sripala is referred to as a mahatma and a great poet and he probably composed this inscription. The writer was Mangalaraja.
- On a stone slab found during clearance of debris near the Shiva temple in the premise of the Hindu monastery13 – The first four verses are benedictory offering salutation to Narasimha, Shiva, and Surya. A Pratihara branch is mentioned naming Ranapala, Vatsaraja, Svarnapala, Kirtiraja and his brother Uttama. Then follows the genealogy of certain Brahmanas of Talarashtra race, Lohapala, and Govinda.
Chandla Temple – This temple is located in the northwest part of the village and is the only temple constructed with a pyramidal phamsana shikhara. It is dateable to the ninth century CE and is the earliest structure after the matha (monastery). The temple faces east and is dedicated to Shiva. It consists of a garbhagrha and a mandapa. The garbhagrha doorway has Ganga and Yamuna on the jambs and Shiva as Natesha on the lalata-bimba over the lintel. In the bhadra niches are present Surya, Chamunda, and Ganesha. Over the sukanasika is an image of Shiva.
Ekla Temple – The Ekla Temple is built over a high rising jagati (platform). It faces east and has tri-ratha plan. It has survived only with its garbhagrha, its mandapa and shikhara are lost. The temple is dedicated to Vishnu and inside the garbhagrha are found sculptures of Yashoda nursing Krishna and Vishnu lying over Shesha. On the doorway lintel, Vishnu over Garuda is present over lalata-bimba while Brahma and Shiva are at the terminals. In the two friezes over the lintel are present Sapta-matrikas with Vainayaki and Nava-grahas. Over the architrave are eleven figures, which may be representing ekadasa-Rudras.
The jangha of the vimana has two registers for images. Niches on bhadra are empty. Dikpalas are present on the karna while apsaras are adorning the partiratha niches. Brahma is on the south kapili niche. The upper register over the jangha is mainly having images of amorous couples. Spaces over recesses are also decorated with images of vyalas and damsels in various postures.
Akhati Group of Temples – This group has three temples. All these temples have lost their shikharas. Temple A is the largest and best-preserved among these and it has survived with its garbhagrha and mandapa standing in the west of the complex. It faces east and is built over a low jagati (platform). The temple is built in pancha-ratha plan, having two registers of images over its jangha. The upper register is smaller than the lower and is adorned with images of vidyadharas. The lower register has images of avarana-devatas, bhadra niches are empty except a mutilated image of Narasimha in the north, dikpalas occupy the karna niches, and apsaras are present over the prati-ratha niches. Niches over kapili have Parvati in the north and Vaikuntha in the south. The garbhagrha doorway is built with five shakhas (bands). It has Vishnu riding over Garuda over the lalata-bimba, while Brahma and Shiva are present on the terminals. The frieze in the recess has images of the nava-grahas. Architrave over the lintel has images of Vishnu dashavataras. Over the door-jambs are Ganga and Yamuna standing over their respective mounts. The mandapa pilasters have bharavahaka (weight bearers) above the capital, an advancement from the Chandla temple. A label inscription over the chandrashila at the entrance reads “Pratihara”. The lateral walls of the garbhagrha are adorned with images, Yashoda with baby Krishna sucking milk, Vishnu lying over Shesha and standing Yashoda holding bay-Krishna in her arms. A pedestal with a Garuda image is placed inside the garbhagrha suggesting there was once an image of Vishnu placed over it.
Temple B faces west and is built over a low jagati (platform). It is built in pancha-ratha plan. The jangha has a single register of images, except the pratiratha where a second smaller register for images is provided. Dikpalas are present over the karna niches. The lower register on pratiratha has images of apsaras while the upper register has images of ascetics. In the bhadra niches are found Varaha in the south, Vamana in the east, and Narasimha in the north, the last is very much damaged. The garbhagrha doorway is composed of three shakhas and its lintel has an image of standing Vishnu on the lalata-bimba and Brahma and Shiva on the terminals. In the recess are present Saraswati and Ganesha. Ganga and Yamuna are present on the door-jamb.
Temple C faces east. The entrance doorway has not survived as otherwise, it would be of much help in understanding the dedication of this temple. However, the presence of Ganesha, and Parvati in the bhadra niches suggests that the temple was dedicated to Shiva. The temple is built in pancha-ratha plan however there is no recess space between the bhadra and pratiratha. Bhadra and pratiratha have two registers for images, while only one register is present on the karna. Images of dikpalas adorn the karna niches which are topped with a vimana structure. Pratiratha has apsaras on the lower register and warriors on the upper register. Over the bhadra, in the south, we find Ganesha and Saraswati and in the north are found Parvati and Gaja-Lakshmi. The recessed space is filled with vyalas, apsaras, and warriors.
Bag Group of Temples – This group is referred to as Nahalvar group by Krishna Deva14. There are two temples in the group, the larger, A, one faces west and is dedicated to Vishnu. It is built in pancha-ratha plan and is consisted of a garbhagrha and mandapa. It is built over a jagati (platform) approachable by a flight of steps. In the bhadra niches are found Vamana in the east, Varaha in the south, the niche in the north is empty. The kapili niches have Brahma in the north and Vishnu in the south. Vishnu riding over Garuda is present over lalata-bimba of the garbhaghra doorway which is built with five shakhas (bands). Brahma and Shiva are present on the terminals of the lintel and the recess portion is filled with sapta-matrikas and nava-grahas. Over the architrave are depicted Vishnu dashavataras.
The other temple, B, faces south and is dedicated to Vishnu. It is built in pancha-ratha plan and has survived only with its garbhagrha, the mandapa is lost. The jangha has two registers for images, the lower register larger than the upper register. Bhadra niche in the north has an image of Shiva-Natesha, in the east has an image of Surya and in the west is an image of Lakshmi-Narayana. Kapili niche in the east has an image of Brahma and in the west an image of Vishnu. Garbhagrha doorway consists of five shakhas (bands) with Vishnu at the lalata-bimba. Brahma and Shiva are at the terminals. In the recess are carved nava-grahas. Ganga and Yamuna are present over door-jambs. Krishna Deva suggests that it is affiliated to Shiva but not to Vishnu.
Marghatia Temple – This temple faces east and is dedicated to Shiva. It is built in pancha-ratha plan and consists of a garbhagrha and a mandapa. The garbhagrha doorway is composed of five shakhas (bands) with Shiva at the lalata-bimba and Brahma and Vishnu at the terminals. The recessed space is adorned with the images of nava-grhas and sapta-matrikas. Inside the garbhagrha, on the rear wall, is an image of Uma-Maheshvara. Bhadra niches in the north have Lakulisa and Parvati, in the west Surya and Natesha, and in the south Saraswati and Shiva-Gajantaka. The sukanasi over the mandapa has an image of Surya riding a chariot driven by seven horses.
Khirna Group of Temples – This group has two temples, both dedicated to Shiva. Temple A has survived with its garbhagrha and shikhara but its mandapa is lost. Temple B has survived with its garbhagrha and mandapa, but its shikhara is lost. Temple A is built in pancha-ratha plan with its jangha carrying two registers of images. Bhadra niches in the north have Uma-Maheshvara and Shiva-Natesha, in the south Uma-Maheshvara and Kartikeya, and in the east Brahma and dancing Chamunda. Kapili niches have celestial couples, in two registers, Uma-Maheshvara, Ganesh-Vignheshvari, Brahma-Savitri, and Lakshmi-Narayana. Dikpalas are present over the karna niches. The rest of the niches are adorned with apsaras, vyalas, and various Shaivite figures. The garbhagrha doorway is composed of five shakhas with Shiva at the lalata-bimba. On the terminals are Brahma and Vishnu and in the recess are nava-grahas and sapta-matrikas in two friezes. Ganga and Yamuna, riding over their respective mounts, are present over the door-jambs with their attendants.
Temple B is also built with pancha-ratha plan however its jangha has only one register of images. Over the bhadra are found Surya in the east, Ganesha in the south, and Parvati in the north. Kapili niches in the north have Natesha and in the south have Parvati. Garbhagrha doorway is composed of five shakhas with Shiva at its lalata-bimba. Brahma and Vishnu are present over the lintel terminals and recess space is filled with nava-grahas and sapta-matrikas. The architrave over the lintel has ekadasa-Rudra images. Inside the garbhagrha, on its rear wall, is an image of Parvati.
Pacchali Marghat Group of Temples – This group has two temples, both facing west. The bigger temple, A, is dedicated to Vishnu, and the smaller temple, B, is dedicated to Shiva. Temple A is survived with its garbhagraha and mandapa, but its shikhara is lost. Thought it has a linga inside the garbhagrha however it was originally dedicated to Vishnu as evident from the iconography of the doorway. The garbhagrha doorway is composed of five shakhas with Vishnu riding over Garuda present over its lalata-bimba. Shiva and Brahma take positions at the terminals. The recess portion is decorated with nava-graha and sapta-matrikas accompanied by vinadhara-Veerabhadra in two friezes. The positions of images in these two friezes are reversed, as navagraha panel starts with Rahu, Ketu and ends with Surya, and the similar for the group of matrikas. Was there a special objective behind this arrangement is not very clear. The architrave above the lintel is decorated with Vishnu dashavataras. The pancha-ratha plan of the temple carries two registers of images over its jangha. Bhadra niche in the north has Varaha, in the south Narasimha, and the eastern niche is empty. The kapili niche in the north has Vamana and in the south Brahma.
Temple B is composed of a garbhagrha and a mandapa and is built over a low plinth. The garbhagrha doorway consists of five shakhas with Uma-Maheshvara over its lalata-bimba. Brahma with Savitri and Vishnu with Lakshmi take their place over the terminals of the lintel. The recessed space, in two friezes, is occupied by nava-grahas and vidyadharas. The architrave above the lintel has ekadasa-Rudras. Bhadra niches in the north have Chamunda, in the south have Ganesha, and in the east has an image of Hariharahiranyagarbha, a composite image of Surya, Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma. Dikpalas are present in the regular place of karna niches.
Murayata Group – This group has two temples. Krishna Deva opines Murayat as a corrupt form for Mattamayura. The bigger temple of the group is known as Toteshvara Mahadeva. It faces east and entered through a flight of steps. This is the most developed and advanced temple at the site, dateable to the eleventh century CE. It is built in pancha-ratha plan and consists a garbhagrha, an antarala and a mandapa. Garbhagrha doorway is composed of seven shakhas and had Ganesh over the lalata-bimba. The architrave above the lintel has Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, all with their consorts. The doorsill is different from other temples as it depicts deities than the regular decoration of lion-elephant fight and udadhikumaras.
The jangha has two registers of images all over its various rathas. The shikhara is executed in proto-shekhari mode. Many images embellishing the jangha niches are broken or mutilated. Images on the niches above the jangha are more or less intact.
Inscriptions: A few inscriptions are found on the mandapa and the garbhagrha of the temple. Many are single-line pilgrim records, and a few mentions gifts. Details of a few inscriptions are provided below.
- On the south kakshasana in the mandapa of Toteshvara Temple15 – It records some gifts to the Brahmana Bhagohara belonging to Gautama gotra by Pandita Ramadasa, son of Pandita Dhanudeva, and grandson of Mujaladeva.\
- On the garbhagrha of the temple16 – dated Vikrama Samvat 1512, corresponding 1454 CE – Obeisance to Ganesha, mentions the reign of Maharajadhiraja Sri Sultan Mahamud Sah. The writer of the inscription was Mahipala, son of Sri Thirapala. Sutradhara was Gagumata.
Temple B – This is a unique temple of the site, as it has two garbhagrhas, one in the east and one in the west. The temple is built in pancha-ratha plan and dedicated to Shiva. The eastern garbhagrha doorway has Shiva on the lalata-bimba and Brahma and Vishnu at the lintel terminals. Bhadra niches in the north have Shiva-Natesha and Parvati and in the south an image of dancing Ganesha.
Food and Accommodation – Chanderi is the nearest town where you will get proper accommodation. MP Tourism runs the hotel Tana Bana which is the best place to stay. I would recommend you to contact Mr. Kalle Bhai who works as a guide in Chanderi. He is very reasonable and adequately knowledgeable about Hindu temples and nearby sites. He can be contacted at +91-9425381065.
How to Reach – Kadwaha is about 40 km from Chanderi and 16 km from Isagarh. Take SH10 to Isagarh from Chanderi, a diversion from Isagarh goes to Kadwaha. The nearest railway station is Ashoknagar and the nearest airport is Gwalior. Kadwaha is well connected via road to Chanderi. Isagarh, Shivpuri, Guna, and Ashokanagar.
1 Epigraphia Indica Vol. I, pp 351-360
2 Mirashi, V V (1950). The Saiva Acharyas of the Mattamyura Clan published in Indian Historical Quarterly Vol. XXVI, No. 1. pp 1-16
3 Mirashi, V V (1950). The Saiva Acharyas of the Mattamyura Clan published in Indian Historical Quarterly Vol. XXVI, No. 1. p 9
4 Misra, R N (1993). The Saivite Monasteries, Pontiffs and Patronage in Central India published in Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bombay volume 64-66 for 1989-91. p 108
5 Misra, R N (1997). Pontiff’s Empowerment in Central Indian Saivite Monachism published in Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bombay volume 72 for 1997. p 72
6 Sears, Tamara I (2015). Following River Routes and Artistic Transmissions in Medieval Central India published in Ars Orientalis, vol. 45. ISSN 05711371
7 Beveridge, A S (1921). Babur-nama Vol. 1. Low Price Publications. New Delhi. ISBN 9788175364257. p 591
8 Epigraphia Indica Vol. XXXVII, pp 117-124
9 Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy for 1975-76. p 97
10 Annual Administration Report of the Archaeological Department, Gwalior State for year 1939-40. pp 19-20.
11 Annual Administration Report of the Archaeological Department, Gwalior State for year 1939-40. p 40.
12 Annual Administration Report of the Archaeological Department, Gwalior State for year 1939-40. pp 44-45.
13 Annual Administration Report of the Archaeological Department, Gwalior State for year 1939-40. pp 45-46.
14 Deva, Krishna (1998). Kacchapaghatas of Gopadri: Phase I published in Encyclopaedia of Indian Temple Architecture, North India: Beginnings of Medieval Idiom, Vol. II, Part 3. Indira Gandhi Centre for the Arts. New Delhi. ISBN 8173042268. pp 22-23
15 Singh, A K (2000). Inscriptions from Kadwaha, Dist. Guna (M.P.) published in Pargdhara No 10. pp 231-32
16 Singh, A K (2000). Inscriptions from Kadwaha, Dist. Guna (M.P.) published in Pargdhara No 10. p 232