Padhavali – Where Gods Come to Play

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Padhavali (पढावली) is a small village in the Morena district of Madhya Pradesh. This otherwise nondescript village is famous for its only surviving architectural marvel, a Shiva temple fortified inside a fortress, locally known as Garhi. The old name of the village was told to be Dharon which as per legend was a part of a large city constituted by three villages, the other two were Kutwar (ancient Kantipuri) and Suhaniya (ancient Simhapaniya).1 This legend takes the history of Padhavali back to that of Kantipuri, the latter was one among the three capitals of the Nagas during the 3rd-4th century CE. Though we do not have any physical evidence to support this legend, however, it may be very probable that the Nagas of Kantipuri had Padhavali under their dominion. How long the name Dharon was in vogue is not certain as a 7th-century CE inscription refers to the village as Padhavali.

Tirthankara, 12th CE, from Padhavali, now in the Gujari Mahal Museum, Gwalior

The village was an important Jain center as evident from a number of Jain images found here. These Jain images also help in fixing the antiquity of the village back to the sixth century CE as evident from an inscription over an image of Neminatha.2 Among the other numerous Jain images, a few to mention are Parshvanatha3, Ajitanatha4, Sambhavanatha5, Chandraprabha6, and Shantinatha7. The region would have been under the rule of the Pratiharas before it passed to the Chandelas and after them to the Kachhapaghatas. A Shiva temple was constructed during the Kachhapaghata rule.  The village takes a time leap when it finds itself with the Jat rulers of Dholpur in the first half of the 18th century CE. The Jats constructed a fortress here to station a small army in order to keep vigil around their domains.

Inscriptions – Inscriptions found in and around the Padhavali area are enumerated below.

  1. On a memorial stone (now in the Gwalior Archaeological Museum)8 – 1 line on each face of the stele in shell characters  – undeciphered – based upon its sculpture, datable to 7th century CE
  2. On a small slab in the floor of the fort9 – a fragment of one line in shell characters – undeciphered
  3. On a memorial stone (now in the Gwalior Archaeological Museum)10 – 1 line, old Nagari characters, Sanskrit language – Eulogy of a chief, mentions Padhavali – datable to 8th century CE
  4. On a memorial stone11 – 1 line, Sanskrit language – reads Pratiharatirtha – datable to 9th century CE
  5. On a memorial stone12 – 1 line, Sanskrit language – reads ‘[ce]ghataachuna’ – datable to 9th century CE
  6. On a memorial stone13 – no of lines not known, Sanskrit language – purpose not clear – datable to 9th century CE
  7. On a memorial stone14 – no of lines not known, Sanskrit language – damaged and fragmentary – datable to 9th century CE
  8. On a pillar near the fort15 – no of lines not known, Sanskrit language – damaged and fragmentary – datable to 9th century CE
  9. On a loose slab16 – dated in Vikram Samvat 1332, corresponding 1275 CE, written in 7 lines, old Nagari script, language Sanskrit – mentions the construction of a yakshamandapa by Vasa[dhara], his wife Vihi and their son, [Da]rsana. It also mentions sutradhara Jayantasimha
  10. On a temple pillar in the fort17 – dated in Vikram Samvat 14[11], corresponding to 1354 CE, Nagari, a local dialect, damaged pilgrim record, only provides a name
  11. On a pillar near the fort18 – dated Vikram Samvat 1526, damaged Nagari, Sanskrit, purport not clear
  12. On a slab built on Chaukuan19 – 7 lines, Nagari, a local dialect, mentions Kirtisimha but purport not clear, dated Vikram Samvat 1528, corresponding 1471 CE
  13. On a temple pillar in the fort20 – dated Vikram Samvat 1560 corresponding 1503 CE, Nagari, a local dialect, mentions sutradhara Narayana and some of his work
  14. On a pillar21 – 9 lines, Nagari, corrupt Sanskrit, purport not given, dated Vikram Samvat  1566 corresponding 1509 CE
  15. On a slab in fort2214 lines, Nagari, corrupt Sanskrit, gives a verse and mentions a poet but otherwise not legible, dated Vikram Samvat 1584 corresponding to 1527 CE
  16. On a pillar23 – 11 lines, Nagari, corrupt Sanskrit, mentions death and provides some verses, dated Vikram Samvat 1588 corresponding to 1531 CE
  17. On a temple pillar in fort24 – dated Vikram Samvat 1590 corresponding to 1533 CE, 11 lines, Nagari, Hindi, mentions Bhaktinath Yogi, purport not clear
  18. On a temple pillar in fort25 – dated Vikram Samvat 1595 corresponding to 1538 CE, Nagari local dialect, damaged pilgrim record, seems to mention Padhavali
  19. On a temple pillar in fort26 – dated Vikram Samvat 1595 corresponding to 1538 CE, Nagari local dialect, purport not clear
  20. On a temple pillar in fort27 dated Vikarm Samvat 1595 corresponding to 1538 CE, 9 lines, Nagari local dialect, records the name of Magardvaja jogi with the figure 700

Monuments – The only monument of interest is a Shiva temple situated inside a Garhi (fortress).

Garhi

Garhi (Fortress) – This fortress was constructed by the Jat Ranas of Dholpur in the first half of the 18th century CE.28 The fortress is of oblong shape and consists of two courtyards of similar size, an upper courtyard, and a lower courtyard. The upper courtyard has a Shiva temple while the lower courtyard has a step-well called Chhau. With its two bastions in the front, the fortress gives a majestic appearance to a visitor. It can be reached through a flight of steps, at the base of which two lions are placed.

Shiva Temple

Shiva Temple – This temple is located inside the fortress described above. The temple faces west and originally consisted of mukha-mandapa, ardha-mandapa, maha-mandapa and a garbha-grha. The garbha-grha is lost and the temple survived with its remaining portions. The temple is generally dated to the early 10th century CE and is associated with the Kachhapaghata period.29 The maha-mandapa was converted into a room by running up walls on three sides of it and an open balcony with a domical roof upon it. This construction was removed in 1926 by the Gwalior Archaeological Department and the conservation activities were completed in 1931.30

Kakshasana with projecting elephant heads

The temple is constructed over a high-rising platform. The western entrance is through an ardha-mandapa supported by two pillars. The maha-mandapa is supported on sixteen pillars and has a high pitha (plinth) topped by a vedika (fence-like parapet). Above the parapet is placed kakshasana (sloping splat) with projecting elephant heads at the corners. Beneath the seats are placed small shrines, and Willis31 terms this arrangement as internalization of the panchayatana (quincunx) plan. The maha-mandapa has open porches on two sides. The roof of the hall has not survived however it may be in phamsana style, made up of tiered horizontal stone slabs. To the west of the hall, the present large open space was where the missing garbha-grha would have been standing originally.

 

Architrave with Surya in middle
Shiva in center, flanked by Brahma on the left and Vishnu on the right, below are scenes from Krishna-lila
Architrave adorned with Chamunda in the middle

The maha-mandapa is profusely carved with exquisite figures, images, and geometric patterns. Krishna Deva32 categorizes the temple as one of the finest 10th-century temples of central India, notable for the high quality and rich variety of its sculptural and decorative ornaments. The architraves of the maha-mandapa are decorated with four to six rows of figures of Hindu deities. There are four major architraves around the central bay. Over one architrave is shown Surya riding over his seven-horse chariot, driven by Aruna, and accompanied by his twin sons, horse-faced Ashvinikamars. In another architrave are present Shiva in the center, Brahma in his right, and Vishnu in his left. The lintel below has various scenes from Krishna’s childhood, from left, Devaki lying over a bed giving birth to Krishna, exchange of Krishna with another newborn baby in the hands of Vasudeva and Nanda, lifting of the Govardhana mountain, Putana-vadha, butter-churning, Shakata-bhanga, Kesi-vadha, Arishtasura-vadha, Yamalarjunaoddhara, Pralambasura-vadha, and fight with wrestlers of Kamsa. Another architrave has Chamunda in the center and the lintel below has a scene of linga-worship. The last major architrave has Uma-Maheshvar in the center, accompanied by Ganesha and Kartikeya. The lintel below has scenes of punishments including trampling under an elephant.

Kurmavatara in Samudra-Manthan, King Bali and Vamana, and Vishnu as Trivikrama
Yama in Yamaloka, people get various punishments
Shiva as Gajasura-vadha, Natesha, and Andhakasuravadha
Sapta-matrikas
Nava-grhas
Kalyanasundaramurti – Shiva’s marriage with Parvati
Dashavatara panel

In other architraves are found various iconographic schemes such as Sapta-matrikas, Vishnu dashavataras, Nava-grhas, Ashta-dikpalas, various forms of Shiva such as Gajasuravadha-murti and Andhakasuravadha-murti, Kalyanasundra-murti, etc. Willis33 tells the iconographical plan of the temple has never been studied and he places the temple in the early tenth century CE based on his survey.

Shiva-Mahesha-murti in Gujari Mahal Museum, Gwalior
Shiva Trimurti from Padhavali, now in the State Museum, Bhopal
Kalyanasundaramurti from Padhavali now in the Gujari Mahal Museum, Gwalior
Nrtya-Ganesha from Padhavali, now in the Gujari Mahal Museum, Gwalior
Balarama from Padhavali, now in the Gujari Mahal Museum, Gwalior
Vishnu from Padhavali, now in the Gujari Mahal Museum, Gwalior
Ganesha from Padhavali, now in the Gujari Mahal Museum, Gwalior
Surya from Padhavali, now in the Gujari Mahal Museum, Gwalior

Among the other scattered sculptures that are housed in different museums, mention of a few Sadashiva images must be made. Trivedi34 briefly mentions two images that were then in the Gwalior Museum. Trivedi provides a photograph for only one image and that image can be located in the Gujari Mahal Museum, Gwalior. The photograph for the other image is provided by Banerjee35 and he mentions the image was in the Gwalior Museum. Another similar image is described by Willis36 and he mentions the image was housed in the State Museum, Bhopal however he does not provide any photographs of this image. The image described by Banerjee and Willis is located in the State Museum, Bhopal and it appears that once this image was in the Gwalior Museum however at some later point in time it was moved to the State Museum, Bhopal. Both panels have similar iconography, showing three faces corresponding to the Vamadeva, Tatpurusha, and Aghora aspects of Sadashiva-murti. The face on the left of Vamadeva shows a feminine character and holds a mirror while the face on the right of Aghora shows a terrific character with protruding teeth and a tongue. Krishna Kumar37 differs from the opinion of Banerjee on the identification of the three heads, he asserts that the three faces represent the Aghora, Sadyojata, and Vamadeva aspects of Shiva.


References:

1 Cunningham, Alexander (1885). Report of a Tour in Eastern Rajputana in 1882-83, vol. XX. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi. p. 107
2 Shah, U P (1987). Jaina-Rupa-Mandana. Abhinav Publications. New Delhi. ISBN 8170172187. p. 168
3 Shah, U P (1987). Jaina-Rupa-Mandana. Abhinav Publications. New Delhi. ISBN 8170172187. p. 181
4 Shah, U P (1987). Jaina-Rupa-Mandana. Abhinav Publications. New Delhi. ISBN 8170172187. p. 131
5 Shah, U P (1987). Jaina-Rupa-Mandana. Abhinav Publications. New Delhi. ISBN 8170172187. p. 131
6 Shah, U P (1987). Jaina-Rupa-Mandana. Abhinav Publications. New Delhi. ISBN 8170172187. p. 143
7 Shah, U P (1987). Jaina-Rupa-Mandana. Abhinav Publications. New Delhi. ISBN 8170172187. p. 155
8 Willis, Micheal (1996). Inscriptions of Gopaksetra. British Museum Press. London. ISBN 0714114758. p. 117
9 Willis, Micheal (1996). Inscriptions of Gopaksetra. British Museum Press. London. ISBN 0714114758. p. 118
10 Willis, Micheal (1996). Inscriptions of Gopaksetra. British Museum Press. London. ISBN 0714114758. p. 118 | Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy 1952-53, B: No 163
11 Willis, Micheal (1996). Inscriptions of Gopaksetra. British Museum Press. London. ISBN 0714114758. p. 118 | Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy 1961-62, C: No 1562
12 Willis, Micheal (1996). Inscriptions of Gopaksetra. British Museum Press. London. ISBN 0714114758. p. 118 | Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy 1961-62, C: No 1563
13 Willis, Micheal (1996). Inscriptions of Gopaksetra. British Museum Press. London. ISBN 0714114758. p. 118 | Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy 1961-62, C: No 1564
14 Willis, Micheal (1996). Inscriptions of Gopaksetra. British Museum Press. London. ISBN 0714114758. p. 118 | Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy 1961-62, C: No 1565
15 Willis, Micheal (1996). Inscriptions of Gopaksetra. British Museum Press. London. ISBN 0714114758. p. 118 | Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy 1961-62, C: No 1567
16 द्विवेदी, हरिहर निवास (1947). ग्वालियर राज्य के अभिलेख. मध्य भारत पुरातत्त्व विभाग. ग्वालियर. No 130, p. 21 | Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 64
17 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 67
18 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 69
19 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 69
20 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 70
21 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 70 | द्विवेदी, हरिहर निवास (1947). ग्वालियर राज्य के अभिलेख. मध्य भारत पुरातत्त्व विभाग. ग्वालियर. No 360, p. 48
22 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 70 | द्विवेदी, हरिहर निवास (1947). ग्वालियर राज्य के अभिलेख. मध्य भारत पुरातत्त्व विभाग. ग्वालियर. No 370, p. 49
23 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 70 | द्विवेदी, हरिहर निवास (1947). ग्वालियर राज्य के अभिलेख. मध्य भारत पुरातत्त्व विभाग. ग्वालियर. No 374, p. 49
24 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 71 | द्विवेदी, हरिहर निवास (1947). ग्वालियर राज्य के अभिलेख. मध्य भारत पुरातत्त्व विभाग. ग्वालियर. No 375, p. 50
25 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 71 | द्विवेदी, हरिहर निवास (1947). ग्वालियर राज्य के अभिलेख. मध्य भारत पुरातत्त्व विभाग. ग्वालियर. No 377, p. 50
26 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 71
27 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 71 | द्विवेदी, हरिहर निवास (1947). ग्वालियर राज्य के अभिलेख. मध्य भारत पुरातत्त्व विभाग. ग्वालियर. No 378, p. 50
28 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 165
29 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 120
30 Annual Report of the Archaeological Department Gwalior State for Samvat 1982, year 1926-26. p. 6 | Annual Report of the Archaeological Department Gwalior State for Samvat 1987, year 1930-31. p. 4
31 Willis, Michael D (1997). Temples of Gopaksetra. British Museum Press. Dorchester. ISBN 0714114774. p. 79
32 Deva, Krishna (1995). Temples of India, vol. I – Text. Aryan Books International. new Delhi. ISBN 817305052X. p. 176
31 Willis, Michael D (1997). Temples of Gopaksetra. British Museum Press. Dorchester. ISBN 0714114774. p. 79
34 Trivedi, R D (1990). Temples of the Pratihara Period. Archaeological Survey of India. New Delhi. p. 30
35 Banerjee, J N (1956). Development of Hindu Iconography. The University of Calcutta. Kolkata. p. 477
36 Willis, Maroo & Misra (2010). The Chambal Valley – A Heritage Treasure. Bookwell. New Delhi. ISBN 9789380574011. p. 194
37 Kumar, Krishna (1975). A Dhyāna-Yoga Maheśamūrti, and Some Reflections on the Iconography of the Maheśamūrti-Images published in Artibus Asiae Vol. 37, No. 1/2. pp. 105-120

1 COMMENT

  1. Very attractive and interesting. Would you please like to get it published in our Journal STHAPATYAM (Journal of the Indian Science of Architecture) published from Delhi (also referable on Facebook and on NET http://www.sthapatyam.com).

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