Chaturmukha Mahadeva (Chaumukhnath) Temple – This 9th century CE east facing temple is presently in worship. Like the Parvati Temple, this temple is also constructed over a jagati (platform). It is composed of a garbha-grha, an antarala and a modern mandapa. The modern mandapa of the temple has been reconstructed sometime in 1918 utilizing decorative material from the nearby Parvati Temple. From the construction technique and utilized material, it is very evident that the present structure is not a homogenous but comprised of materials coming from different eras, at least two distinct periods. R D Trivedi rightly says that at the time of construction of the temple, the architectural material of the earlier period was utilized in the formation of the bhadra-niches and the doorway with the flanking pillars.9 The temple is tri-ratha in plan till its jangha, the shikhara above is in pancha-ratha style. monuments dates from Pratihara period.
The bhadra-niches has perforated windows with two bands forming three spaces. Below these bands are figures of ganas, five in number, in various postures. The window in the west does not have figures of ganas but has jewel design. Above the windows are two niches separated by pilasters. In all these niches are present vidyadhara couples, flying or standing. From the style and design, these windows appear to be part of the Parvati temple. The karna-niches (corner niches) were having ashta-dikpalas however, only two have survived, Agni in the south and Kubera in the north.
The temple draws its name from the magnificent chaturmukhi-Shivalinga (four faced linga). The face facing the entrance, or east, represent the Tatpurusha aspect of Shiva, while the face facing south represents Aghora, the face facing west represents Sadyojata, and the face facing the north represents the Vamadeva aspect. The Aghora face representing the terrific aspect of Shiva is beautifully carved with bulging eyes, wide open mount and protruding teeth.
Telia (Taliya) Math (Kumra Math) – This ruined structure is located about 500 meters from the Parvati Temple complex. It is a fifteenth century CE structure utilizing the material, specially the doorways, of an earlier structure, probably of the fifth-sixth century CE. The present structure has four entrances adorned with doorways on each entrance. Walter Spink10 suggests that these four doorways were part of an earlier four-sided shrine, however, Joanna Williams11 differs.
The southern doorway is the best preserved and provides details of its origins. On the terminals of its lintel are present two avataras of Vishnu. Narasimha is shown grasping demon Hiranyakashipu, the latter is on his feet suggesting his submission to the former. This posture is very different to the usual iconography where Narasimha is shown tearing the demon and therefore suggests the beginning of formalization of icon. Varaha on the other terminal is shown holding Bhu-devi. The figure of Bhu-devi is almost the same size as that of Varaha, and this again is differs from the usual iconography of the icon where Bhu-devi is of very small size in comparison of the Varaha. The uppermost band of the lintel is decorated with a series of 29 human heads, two different specimens placed in alternate order.
The eastern doorway has only the door-jambs of the original and its lintel has been replaced with a plain beam. Decoration over two bands of the doorway are still intact, one band carries rosette molding and another carry floral decoration. The floral moldings are issuing from a vase (purna-ghata) held above head over a gana.
The northern doorway is very different from the last two discussed doorways as it is bereft of original material. The present lintel over the door jambs is in fact a window (jali) of some lost temple that was lying nearby and utilized here. The door pillars were also be part of that original temple however these would have been the pillars of a mandapa and now utilized as doorway pillars. The western doorway has preserved better details of its original structure. At the base of the door jambs are Ganga and Yamuna over their respective mounts. Spink12 mentions the nearby fallen lintel belonging to this doorway having an image of Surya over its lalata-bimba.
Rupni Temple – The local legend says that Udal’s lover used to visit this temple to worship Shiva and thus the name Rupni’s temple. The present structure is, of course, a later period construction however its doorway is certainly a work of sixth-century CE. The river goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna, are present at the base of the door-jambs. Gaja-Lakshmi is present over the lalata-bimba however it would be tough to say whether the original temple would have been dedicated to Vishnu or Shiva as Gaja-Lakshmi is found in both types of temples. Panels over the door bands have niches carrying mithuna-couples. Williams13 dates the doorway to 530-540 CE.
Lakhurabagh – As per a local legend, the place was named after a king planting one lakh mango trees and fed one lakh brahmins. This led to a belief that the place had hidden riches under its soil making the locals dig and desecrate the ancient ruins it once had. Remains of these ancient riches, mostly pillars and columns, are now embedded into modern or in later medieval dipladidated structures.
Jain Images – Nachna was once an important Jain center as evident from the volume of sculptural remains obtained in the village. Rupni Temple would once be a Jain temple as suggested by Jain images inside the shrine. In many Gupta period sites, it is witnessed that Hindu and Jain cultures co-existed and their temples were erected near vicinities.
Inscriptions: Two important inscriptions are found from the village and its nearby Ganj village.
- Nachne-ki-talai inscription (Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, vol. III, pp. 233-35)– not dated, refers to the rule of the Vakataka king Prithivishena II (460-480 CE) – language Sanskrit, box-headed variety of central India alphabet – This was discovered by Alexander Cunningham during his visit of 1883-84 in the tank of the village Nachna
- Translation = Vyaghradeva, who meditates on the feet of the Maharaja of the Vakatakas, the illustrious Prithivishena, has made (this) for the sake of the religious merit of (his) parents.
- Ganj Vakataka inscription (EI vol. XVII, pp. 12-14) – language Sanskrit, box-headed southern variety of characters – this inscription was discovered by R D Banerji in 1919
- Translation = Vyaghradeva, who meditates on the feet of the Maharaja the illustrious Prithivishena, (of the family) of the Vakatakas, has made (this) for the sake of the religious merit of (his) parents.
How to Reach – GPS coordinates for the village are 24.39926297334727, 80.44769886574099. The village is located 4 km from Ganj, the latter is situated on NH 943. The road from Ganj to Nachna is called Chaumukhnath Road. Ganj is about 30 km from Nagod and 50 km from Panna.
1 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. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi. pp. 95-99
2 Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey of India, Western Circle for the year ending 31st March, 1919. pp. 60-61
3 Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, vol. III, pp. 233-35
4 Dubreuil, G Jouveau (1926). Vyaghra, The Uchchakalpa published in the Indian Antiquary vol. LV. p. 103
5 Williams, Joanna Gottfried (1982). The Art of Gupta India: Empire and Province. Princeton University Press. New Jersey. ISBN 0691039887. p. 105
6 EITA p. 39
7 Meister, Michael W. (1986). On the Development of a Morphology for a Symbolic Architecture: India published in RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics No. 12. p. 35
8 Bawa, Seema (2018). Visualising the Ramayana: Power, Redemption and Emotion in Early Narrative Sculptures published in Indian Historical Review vol. 45. p. 96
9 Trivedi, R D (1990). Temples of the Partihara Period in Central India. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi. p. 127
10 Spink, Walter (1971). A Temple with Four Uchchakalpa (?) Doorways at Nachna Kuthara published in Chhavi: Golden Jubilee Volume. Bharat Kala Bhavan. Banaras Hindu University. Varanasi. p. 162
11 Williams, Joanna Gottfried (1982). The Art of Gupta India: Empire and Province. Princeton University Press. New Jersey. ISBN 0691039887. p. 111
12 Spink, Walter (1971). A Temple with Four Uchchakalpa (?) Doorways at Nachna Kuthara published in Chhavi: Golden Jubilee Volume. Bharat Kala Bhavan. Banaras Hindu University. Varanasi. p. 167
13 Williams, Joanna Gottfried (1982). The Art of Gupta India: Empire and Province. Princeton University Press. New Jersey. ISBN 0691039887. p. 112