Kalinjar – Nilakantha Temple

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Kalinjar (Kalanjar) is a fortress city built over Kalinjar (Kalanjar) Hill in the Banda district of Uttar Pradesh, however, sometimes it is mistakenly taken under Madhya Pradesh as the hill lies over the boundary of these two states. The hill is part of the Vindhya mountain ranges, the latter is not a single mountain range but contains a discontinuous chain of hills and ridges. Kalinjar Hill is flat-topped and has an altitude of 408 meters, 244 meters above the plain. The ascent to the hill starts from the village of Tarahati situated at the foot of the hill. Pogson tells the hill was also known as Ruvee chitr (Ravi Chitra) due to its association with solar worship.1 However, it is generally believed that the hill got its name after Shiva who is known as Kalanjara after he subdued Kala (death) by drinking poison. The antiquarian remains over the hill as well as its depiction in ancient texts suggest its strong association with Shiva. As per the Shiva Purana, Sveta, the nineteenth incarnation of Shiva, was born in the auspicious Kalanjara mountain.2 The Kotirudra-samhita of the Shiva Purana3 mentions Lord Nilakantha stands in his linga form on the divine mountain of Kalanjara and the same is also attested in the Skanda Purana4. There are a few references where the hill is associated with other gods and deities. Lord Balarama is also known as Kalanjara5 however the hill does not exhibit any association with Balarama. Skanda Purana and Devi Bhagavata Purana mention Kali as the presiding deity of Kalanjara and it may be right as, generally, Shakti accompanies Shiva.6 Kalanjara hill is featured in various texts as one of the main mountains of Jambudvipa. The Uma-samhita of the Shiva Purana mentions the Kalanjar mountain among the filament mountains of Meru in the north7 and the same is also told in the Brahma Purana8, Devi Bhagavata Purana9, Vishnu Purana10, and Bhagavata Purana11.

Kalanjar is not only portrayed as an important mountain in the ancient texts but also as a celebrated tirtha (pilgrimage spot). Kalanjar tirtha is mentioned in the  Mahabharata at multiple places. It is mentioned twice in the Sabha Parva, the first mention goes, “Arriving next at Medhavika, one should offer oblations of water to the gods and the Pitris. By this, one acquires the merit of the Agnishtoma sacrifice, and also memory and intellect. There in that tirtha is the mountain known over the whole world and called Kalanjara. Bathing in the celestial lake that is there, one acquires the merit of giving away a thousand kine. He that, O king, after a bath, offereth oblations (to the gods and the Pitris) on the Kalanjara mountain, is, without doubt, regarded in heaven.”12 The Mahabharata mentions Chitrakuta mountain after Kalanjar tirtha and the present Chitrakuta town is about 60 km from Kalinjar, this confirms the Kalanjara hill of the Mahabharata is the present Kalinjar hill. The second reference tells that in the quarters where lies the celebrated Prayaga is also a great tirtha called Hiranyavinda on the Kalanjar hills.13 The Anushashana Parva follows the Vana Parva stating, “Bathing in the confluence of the Ganga and the Yamuna as also at the tirtha in the Kalanjara mountains and offering every day oblations of water to the Pitris for a full month, one acquires the merit that attaches to ten Horse-sacrifices.”14

Kalanjar was also a celebrated tirtha during the Puranic period as it is mentioned in various Puranas. Shiva Purana says Vedavyasa, who was born as Dvaipayana, visited many tirthas after his birth and Kalanjar was one among those.15 Padma Purana counts Kalanjar as an excellent tirtha in many places.16 Brahma Purana17 also mentions Kalanjar as an important tirtha and so is the case with the Agni Purana18, Brahmanda Purana19, and Skanda Purana20. The story of seven brothers who were born at Kalanjar hills is mentioned in many Puranas.21 These seven Brahmans were the sons of Kaushika and disciples of Garga. They were on duty to tend their teacher’s cow, Kapila. One day, stricken with hunger, they killed and ate the cow. They were born as hunters in the province of Dasharna. Being aware of their sins in the past life, the brothers worked only for the time that was necessary to keep their body and soul together, and the rest of the time they dedicated to meditation. In the next birth, they were born as deers in the beautiful Kalanjar mountain. being aware of their sins in the past birth, all the brothers in their deer form subdued their minds and observed religious rites. They gave up their life and even now their footprints are visible over Kalanjar mountain.22 The sculptural frieze of seven deers at Mrigdhara in Kalinjar may be reminiscent of this story.

Among the classical Sanskrit work, a mention of Kalanjar is found in the Kathasaritsagar telling Vidhyadhara Vidhyutprabha is the lord of Kalanjar hill.23 Kalanjara also finds a mention in the Brihatkathamanjari telling Udayana with his two wives claimed Kalanjara, bowed before Vrshadhvaja and took his life-long friend, the lute Ghoshavati, in his hands, with his two queens at either side and joined by Yaugandharayana and the other ministers, he jumped off the cliff.24 Pogson got a fragment of the Kalinjar-Mahatmya from a pandit and published the same in his accounts. The Mahatmya says when Parvati asked Lord Shiva how the hill of Kalinjar became so famous, pious, and holy, the latter replied the sanctity of the hill was because he dwelt at the Kalinjar hill after drinking the poison that came out during the Samdura-manthan event. The Mahatmya also mentions that the hill was known as Ruvee Chitr, the former word signifying the sun, and the latter, a holy place. The same text also mentions Kalinjar among the nine pious hills. It further tells us the hill was called Kirtun in the Satyuga, Pingul Gurh in the Dwaparyuga, Muha Gurh in the Tretayuga.25 The corrected names are Ratankut in Sayuga, Pingul-giri in Dwaparara, and Mahagiri in Treta.

The earliest recorded history of the hill can be taken back to the Gupta period, attested by a clay seal from Bhita mentioning Kalanjara-Bhataraka in the Gupta characters.26 The present fort structure belongs to the Chandela period and it is among the eight famous forts built by those rulers.27 However, in pre-Chandela days, there must have been a fort, maybe small or a mud-fort, as the hill presents a very strategic position being almost perpendicular to a certain height from the top making the climb to the hill a nearly impossible task. Though we do not hear of this hill fort during the Gupta period however the seal suggests that Kalinjar was a considerable domain. We find Panduvamshi king Udayana ruling over Kalinjar during the last decade of the sixth century CE and early seventh century CE. Kahla plates of the Kalachuri king Sodhadeva, dated 1079 CE, mention his ancestor, the elder brother of king Lakshmanraja brought Kalanjara under his control.28 This event may be placed sometime in the seventh century CE as the plates do not provide the genealogy from Lakshmanaraja up to Sodhadeva. With the establishment of the Gurjara-Pratiharas at Gwalior sometime during the second quarter of the eighth century CE, Kalinjar would have come under their domain. The ninth-tenth century CE witnessed many political changes that affected the fate of Kalinjar. The area was under the Gurjara-Pratiharas, ruling from Kannauj, from the second quarter of the ninth century CE, around 836 CE. It was wrestled from them by the Rashtrakuras sometime before the mid-tenth century CE and around the mid-tenth century it ultimately passed on to the Chandelas.29 Chandela king Yashovarman (925-950 CE) is credited for the conquest of the Kalinjar fort, however, whether he took it from the Rashtrakutas or the Pratiharas is contestable.30 The Chandelas fortified the hill and the mountain is praised in their epigraphs as the dwelling place of Shiva which is so high that it impedes the progress of the sun at midday.

Kalinjar played instrumental roles during the Ghaznavid invasions in the late ninth and early tenth century CE. Al-Utbi, a historian and secretary of Mahmud of Ghazni, tells that after completing his conquest of Kasdar, Sabuktigin (977-997 CE), the founder of the Ghaznavid dynasty, turned his attention towards India in order to strike a blow at those infidels, accursed land of non-believers. And, the Sultan displayed unshaken resolution in patiently prosecuting his holy war until he had utterly conquered and possessed himself of many castles and strongholds of those far lands whither the standard of Islam had never penetrated. The adversary of the Sultan was King Jaipal (Jayapala), the king of Hindustan. Facing constant incursions from Ghazni, Jayapala set up a huge army of more than 1,00,000 cavalry, many elephants, and innumerable infantry by utilizing all his princes, nobles, feudatories, and allies.31 Al-Utbi is silent on the allies of Jayapala, however, Firishta mentions the army of Kalinjar was part of that confederation along with the armies of Ajmer, Delhi, and Kannauj.32 The king of Kalinjar at that time would be the Chandela king Dhanga (950-999 CE) who had a long reign and would have supported Jayapala after the latter’s call for help. Sabuktigin defeated the confederation however he did not go beyond Indus into the Indian territories but annexed Lamghan and Peshawar under his domain and returned to Ghazni.

Mahmud of Ghazni (971-1030 CE), the son of Sabuktigin, started his Hind (India) campaign with the defeat of king Jayapala of Lahore in 1001 CE. In 1008 CE, Mahmud again attacked Lahore and his adversary was king Anandapal, the son of Jayapala. Anandapal formed a confederacy with the armies of Ujjain, Gwalior, Kalinjar, Kannuaj, Delhi, and Ajmer.33 The king of Kalinjar during this time would be the Chandela king Vidyadhara (1003-1035 CE). Though Mahmud emerged victorious in the battle however he left for Ghazni without intruding further into India. In 1018 CE, Mahmud attacked Kannauj and defeated the Gurjara-Pratihara king Rajyapala and the latter fled after being deserted by his allies. Later, Rajyapala was killed in a battle with Vidhyadhara, the latter attacked Rajyapala punishing him for surrendering before Mahmud. In 1019 CE, Mahmud attacked the fort of Kalinjar, the king then was Nunda Ray as told by Firishta. The reason for this attack was that Nunda Ray took away Kannauj from Kunwar Ray, the subordinate of Mahmud. Nunda Ray of Firishta can be identified with Vidhyadhara and Kunwar Ray with Rajyapala.34 Firishta tells Nunda Ray’s army consisted of 36,000 horses, 45,000 infantry, and 640 elephants.35 The same account is also narrated by Nizamuddin Ahmad stating the army of king Nanda comprises 36,000 horsemen, 145,000 infantry, and 390 elephants. Nizamuddin and Firishta mention when Mahmud saw this vast army, he repented of his coming but he submitted to his God in humility asking for victory. That night, great fear fell on the heart of Nand and he fled the scene.36 Mahmud again attacked Nanda in 1022 CE and this time besieged the fort of Kalinjar, which has no equal in the whole country of Hindustan for strength and impregnability.37 The siege lasted for a considerable time and at the end, Nanda offered three hundred elephants as attributed and begged for safety. Nanda also sent a few Hindi verses in the praise of Mahmud and the latter conferred the command of fifteen fortresses and other presents in return. After this Mahmud returned to Ghazni. Sen opines though there was a formal submission by the Chandela ruler, the real fact was that both sides retired with honors even.38 Dikshit tells if Mahmud had his way he would certainly have liquidated the Chandela king, but he found Kalinjar a hard nut to crack, and Vidyadhara a better general and strategist than the effete ruler of Kannauj. As Mahmud could not stay on indefinitely, he had to yield to the realities of the situation and conclude peace with Vidhyadhara.39

The latter half of the eleventh and the twelfth century CE was the most productive period for Kalinjar. As the threat from Mahmud was over, the fort witnessed many religious and construction activities. A mandapa in front of the Neelkantha temple was constructed by Srimurti, the preceptor of the Chandela king Kirttivarman (1060-1100 CE). In 1131 CE, an individual from the royal family of the Chandela king Madanvarman (1128-1165 CE) set up an image of the deity Neelakantha. In 1135 an image of Narasimha was set up in the Neelakantha temple by a feudatory. Many pilgrim records belonging to the twelfth century CE are found in the temple. The temple was probably completed and consecrated by Chandela King Parmardi-deva (1165-1203 CE) as evidenced by an inscription dated 1201 CE.40

Parmardi-deva has to bear the brunt of Prithviraj Chauhan (1177-1192 CE), as the latter attacked the Chandela domains sometime before 1182 CE. However, he did not hold to it for long and it is also debatable if he reached Kalinjar fort. The Chandelas were soon partially eclipsed by the growing power of the Ghurid empire. Two great kings, which ruled over India after Muhammad Ghori, were involved with the Kalinjar fort prior to assuming their throne. In 1202-03 CE, Qutb ud-din Aibak (1206-1210 CE), then the general of Muhammad Ghori, proceeded to Kalinjar in the company of Iltutmish (1211-1236 CE). His adversary was the Chandela king Parmardi-deva, the latter fled into the fort after a desperate resistance in the field and afterward surrendered himself. On his promise of allegiance, Parmardi was admitted to the same favors as his ancestors had experienced from Mahmud Sabuktigin. Parmardi promised tributes and elephants however died before execution of the same. His minister, Aj Deo, did not execute the terms of allegiance and gave a good fight, however, he had to surrender the fort due to severe drought drying up all the water reservoirs of the fort. Hasan Nizami writes, “and the fort of Kalinjar which was celebrated throughout the world for being as strong as the wall of Alexander was taken, the temples were converted into mosques and abodes of goodness, and the ejaculations of the bead-counters and the voices of the summoners to prayers ascended the highest heaven, and the very name of idolatry was annihilated.” Aibak41 conferred the fort to Hazabbaru-d din Hasan Arnal and proceeded to Badaun. The Ghurid control over Kalinjar fort did not remain strong and Iltutmish had to send his officers to launch an attack on the fort in 1233-34 CE. This raid by successful and the adversary was the Chandela king Trailokyavarman (1203-1245 CE).42

Though reduced to a minor domain after continued attacks from the early rulers of the Delhi Sultanate, the Chandelas continue to hold Kalinjar fort. The fort was finally wrestled from them by the Bundelas sometime at the end of the thirteenth century CE. How long it was with the Bundelas is not very clear, however, we see Humayun taking the control of the fort in 1530 CE as also attested by an epigraph of his found in the fort. It appears that Kalinjar was back to the Baghela and Bundela rulers and this may have happened during the exile of Humayun as we find Sher Shah Suri (1486-1545 CE) waging war at Kalinjar fort in 1545 against the Baghela king Kirat Singh. Sher Shar Suri died while the fort was under siege in a tragic accident. His army went berserk and stormed the fort resulting in the defeat of the combined army of the Baghelas and Bundelas. Islam Shah, the son, and successor of Sher Shah took over the control of the fort. But the Baghel king Raja Ram Chand Baghel got back the fort soon after the death of Islam Shah sometime in 1554 CE. It was Akbar who finally brought the fort into the Mughal domain sometime in 1569 CE from Raja Ram Chand, the latter surrendered due to the shortage of water inside the fort. Kalinjar fort remained with the Mughal for a considerable period, and it was taken back by the Bundela king Chhatrasal (1649-1731 CE) from Aurangzeb (1618-1707 CE) sometime in 1688-89 CE with the help of the Marathas. After the death of Chhatrasal, his domain was divided among his children and Kalinjar became part of Panna State under Raka Hardeo Shah. In 1812, Kalinjar fort was taken over by the British army under the command of Colonel Martindell.

The antiquities at Kalinjar were first noticed and reported by Pogson in 1828.43 Apart from his eye-witness description of various temples, sculptures, and secular structures, his account is important for the Kalinjar-Mahatmya that he procured from a local Pandit and which provides details on the legends associated with the hill and temples. The next account is from Maisey44 who publishes his paper in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. This was a very descriptive account and provides details about the hill, fort, and its various structures. Alexander Cunningham visited the fort in 1883-84 and recorded its antiquities in detail.45 The importance of Cunningham’s account lies in a separate chapter he provided on the inscriptions of Kalinjar. A Fuhrer included Kalinjar in his list of monumental antiquities of Oudh and North-western Provinces, however, for details, he mostly borrowed from Cunningham and Maisey.46 For a long period we observed a conspicuous absence of Kalinjar in the scholarly world except for a publication from S K Sullere on the sculptural art of Kalinjar and Ajaigarh in 1987.47 This was duly noted and a conference on Kalinjar was organized in 1991 and its proceedings were published soon afterward.48 Since then, various extensive studies were taken up by Ramita Singh49, Rakesh Yadav50, S A N Rezavi51, R K Dwivedi52, Vijay Kumar53, and Alok Ranjan54.

East View of Kalangar in Bundelkand. Sketched by Colin MacKenzie, May 1814. | British Library

Fort – The fort is about a mile in length and half a mile in breadth, aligned in an east-west direction. A tradition credits Chandra Varma, the first legendary king of the Chandela dynasty, as the founder of the Kalinjer fort, however, the local brahmans assign an early date to the fortress.55 Chandra Varma was a contemporary of Prthviraja III of the Chauhan dynasty. Franklin mentions the greatest objects of curiosity in the Bundelkhand region were the forts of Calinjer and Ajayghar.56 It has two entrances, the main entrance is in the north and the other is in the southeast. The main northern entrance that overlooks the village at the foothill has seven gateways. Pogson suggests these seven gateways represent the seven planets as he takes Kalinjar as a place dedicated to solar and planetary worship. However, this cannot be taken at its face value as originally there were only six gateways, the seventh gateway was constructed during Aurangzeb’s period. The first entrance is known as Alam Darwaza, named after the Mughal king Aurangzeb, also known as Alamgir, and an inscription over the gateway bears the date AH 1084 (1673 CE). The second gateway is called Ganesha Darwaza taking its name from an image of Ganesha carved on the right of the gateway. The third gate, a double gate with four towers, is called Chandi or Chandrika Darwaza. It is also known as Balkandi Mahadev Darwaza because of an image of that name in the descent of the gateway. An inscription, probably dated to the 7th century CE claims the “house of Bhadreshvara” was constructed by the Pandava king named Udayana. The fourth gate is known as Budh Budr (Budhabhadra) Darwaza named after the planet Budha (Mercury).57 It is also called Swargarohana gate. This gate has disappeared and is left with only its ruins.

Pen-and-ink drawing of a Hindu temple at Kalinjar Fort, Uttar Pradesh by an unknown artist, c.1840. This image is inscribed: ‘Henumaan Ka Darwaaza’. | British Library

The fifth gate is known as Hanuman Darwaza taking its name from an image of Hanuman carved over a slab on the midway ascending to the next gate. Hanuman-Kund, a small pool of water, is located next to this gate. The face of the rock between Hanuman Kund and the gate has many rock-cut images of various Hindu deities, however, these are much obliterated. The face of the rock from this Hanuman image to the next gateway is carved with many rock-cut images. There is also a small recess known as Siddha-ki-gupha next to which is an image of Narasimha.

Lal Darwaza, a Pen-and-ink drawing by an unknown artist c.1840. | British Library

The sixth gateway is constructed in red sandstone and is known as Lal Darwaza. To the west of this gate is a large rock-cut image of Bhiarava and a tank called Bhairava-kund. The rock-cut Bhairava is known as Khambor Bhairon, it is 10 feet high. The seventh and last gate is known as Bara Darwaza.

Parmal Gate
Enclosures around Nilakantha Temple

Parmal and Aman Singh Gates – The Nilakantha temple complex is situated in the western part of the fort and is approached through Parmal Gate. The gate appears a Pratihara period construction that was later repaired and modified by the Chandela king Paramardideva (Parmal-deva) and the modern name derived from his name. It is a double-story structure with windows on the upper story and a doorway of two-story high. Shaiva dvarapalas are present at the bottom of the door jambs on its eastern and western facades, one dvarapala on the western facade is Kartikeya. From this gate, one reaches another gate named Aman Singh Gate, a double-story gateway. It is believed that this gate was built by Aman Singh Bundela however there is no epigraphical evidence to support it. Below Aman Singh Darwaza is a wall of the first enclosure originating from the main rampart wall and going down the hill encircling the temple. Below this wall is another wall that surrounds the temple premises, making a second enclosure for the temple. The area around Aman Singh Gate is known as Panch Beehar in reference to the five Pandava brothers. Panch Beehar represents five rock-cut tanks in which only one has survived and the rest are filled with debris. Remains of many architectural and sculptural fragments are lying around the area suggesting the area was once adorned with many temples.

Vishnu-patta outside Aman Singh Gate wall
Nandi supporting a linga over his body

On the right side, outside Aman Singh Gate, a sculptural slab is embedded in the wall of the gate. This is a Vishnu-patta slab and it carries an inscription. This slab has five rows of sculptures. In the center stands Vishnu with his ayudha-purushas on either side. This image covers four rows in height. The topmost row has fourteen shivalingas. The second linga from the viewer’s right has a sculpture of a man fighting a lion, and the third linga from the right and second linga from the left have a human face carved on their shafts. The next row below has nine images of four-armed deities, their identification is not certain. The next below row has five Ganesha images on the left representing pancha-Ganapatis. On the right are six images, three standing male figures, and three seated goddesses. The next row below has a pot-bellied deity at the rightmost, next to him stands a male deity and then four female deities. On the left in that row are seven standing male deities. The lowermost row has twelve Adityas, six on either side. The inscription at the pedestal reads, “Sri-Delhana Pranavati”. Another sculpture of interest here is a sleeping Nandi supporting a linga above.

Rama-Sita-Lakshmana Temple
Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana, in the right Rama shotting arrow at golden deer

Rama-Sita-Lakshmana Temple – On the way to Nilakantha Temple is a Bundela-period structure known as Rama Sita Lakshmana Temple. The rock facade inside the temple has been carved with images of Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana dateable to the 12th century CE. Next to these images is a large image of Bhu-Varaha and in between are carved a few devotees. One devotee is shown worshipping Varaha accompanied by a sow with her piglets. A devotee below the former is shown worshipping shiva linga and a four-armed standing deity.

Interior of Cave No 6

Rock-cut Caves – Going further toward Nilakantha temple, a viewer passes through a series of rock-cut caves, six in total. The first cave numbered no. 6, is a rectangular structure with its opening covered by the staircases descending from Aman Singh Gate. At the top of its entrance are carved a number of sculptures. The principal sculpture is of Surya who is carved standing with four-armed, the upper two arms holding lotuses and the lower arms carrying chakra, the other is in the varada-mudra. On either side of him are standing a number of devotees. The inner chamber of the cave is carved with various sculptures, mostly shivalingas generally, a mukha-linga, being worshiped by devotees, Shiva and Parvati in the regular Uma-Maheshvara theme, and a few images of Vishnu. The cave and its sculpture are assignable to the 9th-10th century CE.

Cave No 5

The front facade above the entrance of Cave No 5 is decorated with miniature shrines, valabhi-style temples. The middle portion is left with an unfinished sukhanasa. On either side of this sukhanasa are carved lingas worshipped by devotees. The linga on the right which has devotees on either side and is carved in high relief is believed to be from the later Gupta period58 as this is the only sculpture in high relief and therefore already existed before the others were carved. This is also attested by a late-Gupta period pillar standing inside the cave.

Cave No 4

Northern lateral wall of cave 4
Sadashiva
Chamunda
Brahma and Vishnu flanking a linga and the inscription of Madan Verma

Cave No 4 is undecorated on its front facade and the inner rectangular hall is directly open to a viewer devoid of an entrance. The lateral wall has four sculptures, the central and largest sculpture is of an ekamukhi-shivalinga. It is enclosed within a rectangular niche with borders decorated with scroll designs. To its left is another but smaller ekamukhi-shivalinga within a smaller rectangular niche. It carries an inscription dated samvat 1194, equivalent to 1137 CE. To the right of the central shivalinga is a standing figure of a teacher (acharya) enclosed within a niche. Above this figure is a 12th century inscription. Next to this acharya figure is a sculpture of ekamukhi-shivalinga and a standing devotee in anjali-mudra. The right side lateral wall has three sculptures, the central one is of ekamukhi-shivalinga, a double-story shrine with ekamukhi-shivalinga on its upper story and a figure of Ganesha on the lower story with a female devotee standing in anjali-mudra and a figure of sleeping Nandi carrying a linga over its body. Outside the cave, on the right, is a Sadashiva sculpture, his nine faces are visible to a viewer. On either side of the Sadashiva figure are placed seated and standing devotees and acharyas. The intervening rock face between caves 4 and 3 is carved with a large figure of Chamunda and various other sculptures of mukhalingas, devotees worshipping sleeping Nandi carrying a linga above, Brahma and Vishnu flanking a linga worshipped by devotees, etc. The last sculpture carries an inscription of the Chandel king Madan Verma dated 1131 CE.

Cave No 3
Narasimha

The front facade of Cave No 3 is sculpted with various images including that of Narasimha, mukhalinga, Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva, and Parvati. An image of an archer is carved in the middle. Narasimha is shown with twelve hands, holding Hiranyakashipu in his lap tearing his stomach, and two devotees standing to his right. An inscription above the image mentions the sculpture was caused to be made by Thakkur Sri Narasimha Deva, son of Thakkur Sri Salhana (Ralhana) Pabhuvata, son of Dikshita Sri Prithvi Dhara on samvat 1192, equivalent to 1135 CE.

Cave No 2

Entrance doorway
Uma-Maheshvara inside the cave

Cave No 2 is the most important cave at the site. It is dateable to the 8th-9th century CE.59 The upper portion of the front facade is decorated with various sculptures. The left side of the facade is dominated by three large sculptures of ekamukhi-shivalinga. On the right, the first sculpture is of a four-armed Parvati seated over a pedestal and being anointed by two elephants, one each on either side. Her mount, a lion, is shown next to her pedestal.  The entrance door is composed of three shakhas (jambs). At the bottom of the jambs stand dvarapalas. A bust of Shiva is present in the lalata-bimba. The pillars next to the doorway pilasters carry a female image at the base, representing Ganga and Yamuna standing over a lotus pedestal. Beyond these pillars are provided two niches, one on each side, having a figure of a yogi shown seated and holding a kamandalu (water-vessel) in his one hand. Inside the cave are installed a few shivalingas and a sculpture of Uma-Maheshvara accompanied by Brahma and Vishnu. Below their pedestal is shown Ganesha, Nandi, Bhringi, and Kartikeya. The next sculpture is of Lakulisa seated over a lotus pedestal in the yogasana-mudra. He is ithyphallic, has four hands, and holds a lakuta (rod). His four disciples, Kushika, Gargya, Maiterya, and Kaurusya, are shown seated below the lotus pedestal. An inscription next to the sculpture reads a salutation of Sri Lakulisa. Next to this Lakulisa niche is a sculpture of ekamukhi-linga with devotees on either side. It carries an inscription dateable to the 6th-7th century CE. Next to it are the images of Kartikeya, Ganesha, Mahishasuramardini, and Bhairava, all carved in their separate niches.

Lower – Saptamatrikas, upper – Lakulisa, Shiva-Andhakantaka

Going further right after cave 2 are various images carved over the rock face. A sculptural panel depicts Sapta-matrikas accompanied by Veerabhadra. The interesting feature of this panel is that Varahi is replaced by Narasimhi. The order in the sculpture is Virabhadra, Brahmani, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, Narasimhi, Indrani, and Chamunda. All the figures are shown dancing in various postures. The sculpture is dateable to the 10th century CE.60 Above this sculpture are various images, on the left are five four-armed standing goddesses, all representing Parvati. To the left of these standing figures is a seated image of Lakulisa accompanied by one devotee on his left. The next image is of a Shaiva acharya with heavy jatabhara with a devotee on either side. The last image is of Shiva-Andhakantaka.

Bhairava, Chamunda, and Gajantaka-Shiva

In another set of sculptures, three large images have been carved. The middle figure is of Chamunda who is shown with ten arms and standing over a human or preta. Shiva-Gajantaka is shown with sixteen arms and holds the slayed elephant’s stretched body in his uppermost two arms. The last figure is of Bhairava who is shown with his dog companion. Next to the figure of Bhairava is a lady shown seated and touching her right breast. As a devotee sits next to her, the lady may be identified with Parvati keeping the Shaivite context of overall sculptures. Next to the lady are two sculptures, one of Uma-Maheshvara and another of Vishnu-Lakshmi. Below these sculptures is a large panel with an ekamukhi-shivalinga in the middle. Five seated figures are placed on either side of this linga. These ten figures and the linga may represent the Ekadasha-Rudra concept.

Katra Gate

Katra Gate – This gate is situated opposite Cave 2. The left side of this gate leads a visitor to Nilakantha Temple. Two pilasters are embedded in the rampart walls. At the bottom of the jambs are large figures of Ganesha and a mutilated male figure serving as dvarapalas. Three sculptural panels over the door jamb are decorated with mithuna figures.

Rock facade leading to Nilakantha Temple
Rock facade leading to Nilakantha Temple

The rock facade leading to Nilakantha Temple is sculptured with various figures and images. Many of these images are of ekamukhi-shivalinga worshipped by devotees. One interesting figure is of a water carrier shown carrying water vessels over a rod held over his right shoulder. This figure may represent a kanwariya, a person traveling and fetching water from the sacred Ganga river and anointing lingas in their locality with that water. Many such images have been found at Kalinjar suggesting kanwariyas used to visit the fort and Nilakantha temple supplying Ganga water for anointing Nilakantha-linga. Bakker studies various similar images sculpted at different spots over Kalinjara hill and also their associated inscriptions. He suggests as the inscriptions associated with few images mention samanta Vasanta and there is no such known historical person in the records of the Kalachuris, it is very possible that Vasanta of the inscription is vidushaka Vasantaka of the famed Udayana and Vasadatta legend.61 To support the same, he takes the Bhadreshvara inscription of Udayana belonging to the legendary king rather than Panduvamshi king Udayana. Vasantaka in the story took the form of a dindika while he entered the city of Ujjain. Bakker tells dindikas or dindins were considered to be itinerant rogues and in stage directions, they are described as carrying sticks. Bakker takes the rod that the figure in the sculpture carries as the rod of dindins. However, he does not explain how the sculpture of Vasantaka, that also in disguise, was relevant for depiction and how it would have been perceived by the common mass to understand the hidden meaning of this sculpture. Also, most of these sculptures are found near a linga and this also does not align with the proposed  Vasantaka identification. Thus, it is safe to take these figures as that of a kanwariya who brings Ganga waters for oblations of lingas.

View of the temple octagonal mandapa from the top
Nilakantha Temple

Nilakantha Temple – Kalinjar hill has many rock-cut shelters, a few adorned with paintings, and a few later converted into shrines dedicated to different deities. The original Nilakantha temple was also a painted rock shelter that was later attached to an octagonal mandapa during the Chandela period. However, not everything about that original rock shelter was included in the new design of the temple but the Chandela builders only included the main linga and its adjoining linga. The rest of the lingas of this rock shelter are now approachable through a different gate but not through the main mandapa.  The present rock shelter is now known as Gupta-Nilakantha, or hidden Nilakantha. It is suggested that the original shrine was existing during the Kushana period and it was further developed by carving many lingas and other sculptures during the Gupta period of the 4th-6th century CE.62 As the main linga is rock-cut and part of the mother rock, it is considered a svayambhu linga (of self-origin). This svayambhu Nilakantha linga at Kalanjar is included in the list of sixty-eight places that possess svayambhu lingas.63

Garbhagrha doorway

Lord Nilakantha and Kartikeya

The octagonal mandapa is supported by sixteen pillars arranged on its periphery. In the middle of this mandapa is a raised platform that originally was a Nandi-mandapa however it does not have the Nandi image now. The garbha-grha doorway has nine pilasters on either side, all decorated with large figures. A description of one side will suffice the understanding of the decorative pattern, therefore I describe the left facade. The first pilaster has a Shaiva-dvarapala, and the next pilaster has a figure of Bhairava. Next is an image of standing Shiva-Parvati. The next three pilasters have standing male figures, and the last may be a dvarapala. The next pilaster has a standing figure of Nandi. The next recess portion has two elephants over a lotus. The last pilaster on the left has a Naga king. The right side facade starts with Ganga over a makara on the innermost pilaster. The rest of the figures follow the pattern of the left side. The main deity inside the garbha-grha is a rock-cut mukha-linga known as Nilakantha. Another rock-cut mukhalinga to the right of the former is known as Kartikeya. To its left is an inscription of the Chandela king Kirttivarman telling the construction of the mandapa by Srimurti, the teacher of the king in 1090 CE.

Varahi
Mahishasuramardni
Narasimhi
Samdura-manthana

Various sculptures are placed in a room in front of the Nilkantha temple on its western side. Among some important sculptures are a few Matrikas images, a dashavatara panel, and a scene of Samudra-manthana. The image of Narasimhi as matrika suggests her inclusion in the heptad group, either replacing Varahi as seen in a rock-cut sculpture above or as an additional matrika taking the total number to eight.

Shiva-Gajantaka

To the south of Nilakantha temple, in an open quadrangle space, a gigantic rock-cut image of Shiva-Gajantka has been carved. The image is 7.31 meters high and 5.18 meters broad.64 He is shown with eighteen hands holding a dhanush (bow), trishula (trident), damaru, shakti (spear), mala (rosary), chakra (discus), nara-munda (skull), ankusha (elephant-goad), matulunga fruit, khadga (sword), pasa (noose), and khatvanga. In his upper two hands, he holds the skin of an elephant. He is shown standing ithyphallic wearing a large garland of skulls. Near his feet is an image of Chamunda standing over a nara-vahana.

Inscriptions: There are more than 500 inscriptions found in and around the fort. A few important inscriptions are provided below.

  1. Inscription on the top of the Alam Darwaza facing north65 – dated Hijri 1084 (1673 CE) – five lines, written in Persian and Nastaliq characters – it tells Kalinjar fort was repaired on the desire and by order of King Aurangzeb and Mohammad Murad constructed this strong and beautiful gate. The inscription says when the author asked his mind about this wall, it said, “Build it like the wall of Alexander”.
  2. Outside the doorjamb of Chandi Darwaza facing the bastion66 – The inscription refers to the reign of the Pandava king Udayana. It tells King Uadayana did not have any greed for worldly things and did not do anything not benevolent towards the law. He had fear of sin but not of war. He constructed a temple for Bhadreshwara, the lord of the entire universe. The king died and attained the adobe with Shiva. Umbhaka wrote the inscription.
  3. On a stone boulder near the Balkhandeshwar Temple, above a sculpture of a kanwar bearer67 – the inscription may be dated to the 8th century CE on paleographic grounds. It mentions Samanta Vasanta who held the title of Samadhigata Panch Mahasabda.
  4. Over a cliff outside Patal-Ganga68 – dated 936 A.H. (1530 CE) – reads, “Muhammad Humayun padshah ghazi batarikh salkh raja al murajjab san 936” 
  5. Over a cliff outside Patal-Ganga69 – dated samvat 1116, corresponding 1174 CE – written in Sanskrit, in Nagari characters – the record mentions trayigangaiva, three streams of Ganga, which may refer to Patal-Ganga.
  6. On a boulder near the entrance of Patal-Ganga70 – dated in samvat 1337, corresponding 1395 CE – it mentions making of an image of Gorakshanatha.
  7. At the top of the entrance of Sitakund, next to an image71 – dated in samvat 1340, corresponding 1398 CE – it records the making of an image of Gorakshanatha
  8. Inscription near Sitasej72 – it is a single-line inscription dated to 10th-11th century CE on paleographic grounds. It records a name, Sutradhara Kalhau
  9. Inscription on a stone bed inside Sitasej73 – There are three single-line inscriptions, dateable to 9th century CE on paleographic studies – these mention different labels, Sri Devi Jaya, Sri Manayogah, and Sri Prakanaja
  10. Over the lintel of the cave of Sitasej74 – this is a two-line inscription, dateable to 8th-9th century CE. It mentions the making of this cave and a king.
  11. Inscription near Sitasej75 – this is a single-line inscription dateable to 10th-11th century CE on paleographic studies – the inscription salutes Lord Shiva and mentions Kalinjar Fortress (Kalinjara Durga)
  12. In a cave near Siddha-ki-Gufa76 – this single-line inscription is dateable to 1st-2nd century CE, it is written in Brahmi characters, Prakrit language – it reads, “Raka Udayana” 
  13. Inscription at the base of Mandukya Bhairava image77 – This one-line inscription is written in a local dialect and in Nagari characters of the 14th-15th century CE – it records a salutaion of Sadeva to Manduki Bhairava
  14. Label inscription below the frieze of deers at Mrigadhara78 – the inscriptions are in the characters of the 14th-15th century CE, they record names as Dina, Pandit, Vilochana, Shravakala, Mana, Unmukha, Nityarvitrasta, Dhasmmara, and Jnati
  15. Inscription near Mrigadhara79 – one-line inscription written in Brahmi characters of 4th-5th century CE – mentions salutation to a vishayapati (officer)
  16. Inscription near Mrigadhara80 – one-line inscription written in Brahmi characters of 4th-5th century CE – records a name Aditya
  17. On the west side of Mrigadhara, near the sculpture of a kanwar bearer81 – a five-line inscription written in the Nagari characters of the 6th century CE, language Sanskrit – it records a salutation to Shiva by a group of people and Bhadra Mahirajnya, who appears to be a commander of the fort
  18. Inside Nilakantha Temple next to Kartikeya linga82 – The objective of the inscription is to record the construction of the mandapa of the temple of the god Nilakantha by Srimurti, the guru of Kirttivarman. The donation of land was made during the dhvajarohana ceremony. A mention of Vasudeva comes in a few lines however not sure if it was Vasudeva who made the donation. The royal preceptor directed the chief of the royal Srikarahas, the Shaivas, the Pasupatas, and their acharya Varika and others that they should comply with the request of Vasudeva and allow him to enjoy the merit of his good deed. The inscription is dated samvat 1147, corresponding to 1090 CE. The prashashti was composed by Kayastha Devapala, son of Paya, and the mandapa was built by Sutradhara Rama.
  19. Inside Nilakantha temple83 – written in seven lines in the Nagari characters of 11th-12th century CE, Sanskrit language – records daily shashtanga salutation of mahabhaktas namely Madhava, son of Pope and grandson of Mahull of Chiranjokapuri-anavaya and govila-gotra accompanied by his wife Suga and Kulachandra, Harichandra, Devachandra, and Ramachandra.
  20. Inside Nilakantha Temple84 – single-line inscription written in the Nagari characters of 11th-12th century CE, Sanskrit language – records name of Mahamahatrka Thakkur Vatsaraja
  21. On the doorjamb of Nilakantha Temple85 – one-line inscription written in the Nagari characters of  12th-13th century CE, Sanskrit language – records salutation to Lakulisa
  22. North of Narasimha sculpture in Nilakantha Temple86 – four-line inscription in the Nagari characters, Sanskrit language – dated samvat 1192 (1135 CE) – records Thakkur Narsimha Deva, son of Thakkur Sri Salhana, son of Dikshita Sri Prithvi Dhara
  23. North of Narasimha sculpture facing west87 – four-line inscription in Nagari characters and Sanskrit language – records making of this image by Narasimha son of Ralhan, and grandson of Dikshit Sri Prthvidhar
  24. Outside Bhairava gate at Nilakantha temple88 – written in Nagari characters of 11th-12th century CE, Sanskrit language – praises Nilakantha situated on the neck of the Kalinjar hill
  25. Outside Bhairava gate at Nilakantha temple89 – one-line inscription written in Nagari characters, Sanskrit language, dated samvat 1240 (1173 CE) – records the name of King Parmardideva
  26. Inscription in the Ari south of Nilakantha Temple90 – one-line inscription of Nagari characters of the 5th century CE, Sanskrit language – records the name of soma Brahmaja Guha
  27. Grafitti in the Ari south of Nilakantha Temple91 – one-line inscription in the Nagari characters of the 5th century CE, Sanskrit language – records the name of some sacred cave or rock shelter
  28. Pillar in the Nilakantha Temple92 – mentions king Madan Verma, commissioned by pratihara Sangrama Sinha and the chief of dancing girls (maha-nachni) Padmavati. Inscribed by Auji.
  29. On the rock to the left side of the Nilakantha temple93 – dated samvat 1188, corresponding 1131 CE – seems to record the setting up of the image of deity Nilakantha by certain individuals one maha-Rajaputra Vachharaja (Vatsaraja), the son of prince Kamalendu, and the king’s son Solhana, sculpted by Lahada, son of sutradhara Rama and his brother Lakshmidhara IN a cell near the Nilakantha Temple – Rezavi, 1252/ARIE 1966-67 C-2406 – dated samvat 1194, corresponding 1137 CE – records the construction of a beautiful cell of Gauripriya (Shiva) by Narasimha, son of Bharadvaj brahmana named Ralhana
  30. Black stone slab near the door of Nilakantha temple94 – data samvat 1258, corresponding 1201 CE – praises the king and contains eulogy of the latter for the deity. Records that it was inscribed by Padma, the favorite of Parmardi and grandson of an eminent artist, the son of Anrina, in the company of his younger brother Deoki.
  31. Grafitti in the Ari south of Nilakantha Temple95 – one-line inscription in the Shell characters of the 9th century CE – reads Parasasana 
  32. On a gate of Jakhira Mahal96 – one-line inscription in Brahmi characters of the 5th-6th century CE, Sanskrit language – reads Chira
  33. On a gate of Jakhira Mahal97 – one-line inscription in the Brahmi characters of the 4th-5th century CE, Sanskrit language – reads name, Sri Datta
  34. On a gate of Jakhira Mahal98– one-line inscription in the early Nagari characters of the 6th century CE, Sanskrit language – reads, Sada Bhupa Dhyacha
  35. On a pillar inside the Patthar Mahal Mosque99 – four-line inscription written in the Nagari characters of the 10th-11th century CE, Sanskrit language – mentions word Pratihara raja
  36. Inscription inside the Patthar Mahal mosque100 – twenty-four lines written in the Nagari characters, Sanskrit language – dated vikrama samvat 1543, corresponding 1486 CE – This inscription starts with salutation to Lakshmi and Narayana. Then it describes the birth of Atri and from him Kshatra. After it is mentioned the birth of Lakshana and then it mentions Matrisharma and Mahasharma, who were great scholars and religious-minded. King Dronapal was born to Nananga. Dronapal built temples in Kalinjar and excavated the Dronasagar tank in a place called Sri Khandetu. Then it mentions prince Subandhu and then king Bhoja is mentioned. It mentions the rise of the brave king Prithvi Chand and the capture of Jaipur by the king. The bravery of Senapati Ramalla is mentioned. It also describes the repulsion of the invading army of Hussain from the city. It also mentions the death of Prithvi Chand. Then Purushottam and his wife Trilok Devi are mentioned. The birth of Kumar Holadeva is mentioned and also the building of a Vishnu temple. The birth of Pratap Rudra Deva is mentioned with his exploits in war. After this, the building of the temple of Lord Sri Vallabha is mentioned. The writer of this inscription was poet Durgadas, son of Gyandas, resident of Mangalpur, which lies to the west of Gorakhpur. The architect of the temple was Kamadeva. Then the donation of land to priest Prabhakar is mentioned. The image of Lakshmi-Narayan was installed in the temple by Pratap Rudradeva after he had taken blessings from his mother Trilok Devi in vikram samvat 1543. It mentions Jude, Dama, etc. who engraved this inscription. In the last, it mentions Bhamraj, a resident of Mahoba is mentioned along with a blacksmith named Satan, Kanha, a resident of Kotwar, and Narayana, the sculptor of the image of Lakshmi-Narayana.
  37. On the western wall of the Patthar Mahal mosque101 – Persian language, Nastaliq script, dated 952 AH (1545 CE) – it records the capture of Kalinjar by Sher Shah Suri, and his death. The fort was named Sherkoh after the king. The foundation of the mosque was laid during the reign of emperor Islam Shah, the son of Sher Shah. It mentions Sher Shah, very much like Alexander, with his strategy he vanquished the Hindus of Kalinjar. It also mentions Diwan Bari Teka Rai, a minister under Islam Shah.
  38. An inscription kept in the Kalinjar Museum102 – twenty-one lines, this inscription belongs to the time of King Parmardideva and is dated Ashwin sudi 1 sukrawar samvat 1258. This also mentions the construction of a panchayatana temple on the bank of Kotitirtha, in memory of his father by Veer Singh, the son of Somaraja, the grandson of Sallakshaņa.

1 Pogson, W R (1828). A History of the Boondelas. The Baptist Mission Press. Calcutta. p. 148
2 Shiva Purana, Chapter 5 of Satarudra-samhita
3 Shiva Purana, Chapter 5 of Kotrudra-samhita
4 Skanda Purana, Kashi-khanda, Section 2 – Uttarardha, Chapter 69
5 Garga Samhita 8.13.77
6 Skanda Purana, Book 5 – Avantya-khanda, Section 3- Reva-khanda, Chapter 198 | Devi Bhagavata Purana, Book 7, Chapter 70 | Devi Bhagavata Purana, Book 7, Chapter 38
7 Shiva Purana, Chapter 17 of Uma-samhita
8 Brahma Purana, Chapter 16
9 Devi Bhagavata Purana, Book 8, Chapter 6
10 Vishnu Purana, Book II, Chapter II
11 Bhagavata Purana, Skandha 5, Chapter 16
12 Mahabharata, Vanaparva, Chapter LXXXV
13 Mahabharata, Vanaparva, Chapter LXXXVII
14 Mahabharata, Anushashanaparva, Chapter XXV
15 Shiva Purana, Uma-samhita, Chapter 44
16 Padma Purana, Svarga-khanda, Chapter 37 | Padma Purana, Svarga-khanda, Chapter 39 | Padma Purana, Srsti-khanda, Chapter 11
17 Brahma Purana, Chapter 61 | Brahma Purana, Chapter 53
18 Agni Purana, Chapter 109 | Agni Purana, Chapter 219
19 Brahmanda Purana, Upodghata-pada, Chapter 13
20 Skanda Purana, Kashi-khanda, Section 1-Purvardha, Chapter 6 |
21 Padma Purana, Section 1 – Srsti-khanda, Chapter 10 | Padma Purana, Section 1 – Srsti-khanda, Chapter 50 | Agni Purana, Chapter 117 | Shiva Purana, Section 5 – Uma-samhita, Chapter 41
22 Harivamsha Purana, Book 1 – Harivamsha Parva, Chapter 21
23 Tawney, C H (1880). The Katha Sarit Sagara, vol. I. The Baptist Mission Press. p. 454
24 Bakker, H T (). An Enigmatic Figure from Kalanjara – The Carrier of the Vihangika or ‘bangy’. p. 10
25 Pogson, W R (1828). A History of the Boondelas. The Baptist Mission Press. Calcutta. pp. 158-160
26 Archaeological Survey of India, Annual Report, 1911-12. p. 49
27 Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem (2002). The Medieval Fort of Kalinjar and its History published in the Proceedings of the Indian History Congress vol. 63. p. 1233
28 Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Vol. IV, Part II. pp. 382-397
29 Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem (2002). The Medieval Fort of Kalinjar and its History published in the Proceedings of the Indian History Congress vol. 63. pp. 1239-1240
30 Epigraphia Indica, vol. I. pp. 122-135
31 Raynolds, James (1858). The Kitab-i-Yamini.  Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and and Ireland. London. pp. 33-42
32 Briggs, John (1831). History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, Vol. I. Low Price Publications. Delhi. 10052. p. 11
33 Briggs, John (1831). History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, Vol. I. Low Price Publications. Delhi. 10052. p. 26
34 Sen, B C (1958). The Early Rulers of Khajuraho.  Motilal Banarsidass. Delhi. ISBN 08426913X. p. 73
35 Briggs, John (1831). History of the Rise of the Mahomedan Power in India, Vol. I. Low Price Publications. Delhi. 10052. p. 38
36 De, B (1927). The Tabaqat-i-Akbari of Khwajah Nizamuddin Ahmad, vol. I. The Asiatic Society of Bengal. Calcutaa. pp. 12-13
37 De, B (1927). The Tabaqat-i-Akbari of Khwajah Nizamuddin Ahmad, vol. I. The Asiatic Society of Bengal. Calcutaa. pp. 12-13
38 Sen, B C (1958). The Early Rulers of Khajuraho.  Motilal Banarsidass. Delhi. ISBN 08426913X. pp. 82-83
39 Dikshit, R K (1977). Chandellas of Jejakabhukti. Abhivan Publications. Delhi. p. 96
40 Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem (2002). The Medieval Fort of Kalinjar and its History published in the Proceedings of the Indian History Congress vol. 63. pp. 1241-42
41 Dawson, John (1869). The History of India as told by its own Historians, Vol. II. Trubner & Co. London. p. 232
42 Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem (2002). The Medieval Fort of Kalinjar and its History published in the Proceedings of the Indian History Congress vol. 63. p. 1243
43 Pogson, W R (1828). A History of the Boondelas. The Baptist Mission Press. Calcutta. pp. 148-168
44 Maisey, F (1848). Description of the Antiquities at Kalinjar published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, vol. XVII, Part I, January to June, 1848. pp. 171-200
45 Cunningham, Alexander (1885). Reports of a Tour in Bundelkhand and Rewa in 1883-84; and of a Tour in Rewa, Bundelkhand, Malwa, and Gwalior, in 1884-85, Vol. XXI. Government Printing. Calcutta. pp. 20-33
46 Fuhrer, A (1891). The Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions, in the North-Western Provinces and Oudh. Government Press, N.W.P. and Oudh. Allahabad. pp. 149-154
47 Sullere, S K (1987). अजयगढ़ और कालिंजर की देव प्रतिमाएं. Ramanand Vidya Bhawan, Kalkaji. pp. 196-217
48 Roy, B N (ed.) (1992). Kalanjara, A Historical and Cultural Profile. Post Graduate Department of History. Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru College. Banda. pp. 1-5.
49 Singh, Ramita (2001). कालिंजर  का सांस्कृतिक एवं ऐतिहासिक महत्त्व तथा पर्यटन विकास की सम्भावनएं. A Ph.D. thesis submitted to the Bundelkhand University, Jhansi.
50 Yadav, Rakesh (2002). A Glimpse of Sculptural Art of Kalinjara published in Puratana: Emerging Trends in Archaeology, Art, Anthropology, Conservation and History, Vol. III. Agam Kala Prakashan. Delhi. pp. 563-565.
51 Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem (2002). The Medieval Fort of Kalinjar and its History published in the Proceedings of the Indian History Congress vol. 63. p. 1243
52 Dwivedi, R K (2008). कालिंजर का ऐतिहासिक , सांस्कृतिक एवं पुरातात्त्विक अध्ययन. A Ph.D. thesis submitted to the Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya Awadh University, Faizabad.
53 Kumar, Vijay (2016). New Kaliñjar Inscriptions published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 1, No. 1. ISSN 2455-2797. 100-372
54 Ranjan, Alok etal. (2016). Nilkantha Temple Kalinjara published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 1, No. 1. ISSN 2455-2797. 90-99
55 Franklin, James (1826). Memoir on Bundelkhand published in the Transactions of Royal Asiatic Society of the Great Britain and Ireland, vol. I, No. 2. p. 261
56 Franklin, James (1826). Memoir on Bundelkhand published in the Transactions of Royal Asiatic Society of the Great Britain and Ireland, vol. I, No. 2. p. 279
57 Cunningham, Alexander (1885). Reports of a Tour in Bundelkhand and Rewa in 1883-84; and of a Tour in Rewa, Bundelkhand, Malwa, and Gwalior, in 1884-85, Vol. XXI. Government Printing. Calcutta. p. 29
58 Kumar, Vijay (2016). Nilakantha Temple Kalinjara published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology Vol. 1, No. 1. ISSN 2455-2797. pp. 149-150
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61 Bakker, Hans T (2014). An enigmatic figure from Kālanjara: the carrier of the vihangikā or ‘bangy,’ a lecture presented at the 22nd conference of the European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art (EASAA). Stockholm.
62 Kumar, Vijay (2016). Nilakantha Temple Kalinjara published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology Vol. 1, No. 1. ISSN 2455-2797. p. 229
63 Gopinatha Rao, T A (1916). Elements of Hindu Iconography, Vol. II, Part I. The Law Printing House. Madras. p. 84
64 Kumar, Vijay (2016). Nilakantha Temple Kalinjara published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology Vol. 1, No. 1. ISSN 2455-2797. p. 336
65 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 619
66 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 627-628
67 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 640
68 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 702-703
69 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 705-706
70 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 741
71 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 747-748
72 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 754
73 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 756-757
74 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 758
75 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 779
76 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 815-816
77 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 850
78 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 917-922
79 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 924
80 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 924
81 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 950
82 Epigraphia Indica Vol. XXXI. p. 163
83 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 964-965 | ARIE 1971-72 B-255
84 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 966
85 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 989
86 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 990
87 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 991
88 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 997-998
89 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 998
90 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 1106
91 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 1124
92 Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem (2002). The Medieval Fort of Kalinjar and its History published in the Proceedings of the Indian History Congress vol. 63. p. 1251
93 Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem (2002). The Medieval Fort of Kalinjar and its History published in the Proceedings of the Indian History Congress vol. 63. p. 1251 | ARIE 1969-70 C-2970
94 Rezavi, Syed Ali Nadeem (2002). The Medieval Fort of Kalinjar and its History published in the Proceedings of the Indian History Congress vol. 63. p. 1254 | ARIE 1971-72 B-268
95 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 1125
96 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 1142
97 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 1144
98 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 1144
99 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 1190
100 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 1216-1219
101 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. p. 1226
102 Kumar, Vijay & Ranjan, Alok (2021). Inscriptions of the Kalanjar Fort, Kalinjar District Banda, Uttar Pradesh published in the Indian Journal of Archaeology, vol. 6, No. 2. ISSN 2455-2798. pp. 1260-62

Acknowledgment: Some of the photos above are in CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain from the collection released by Tapesh Yadav Foundation for Indian Heritage.