Udaipur – Epoch of Parmara Architecture

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     “…this monument which is the most beautiful religious building of Aryavarta in the legacy of art come down to us from our ancestors of the medieval period. Man has nowhere made a lovelier abode for his god.”
– K P Jayasal1

Udaipur is a small village in the Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh. The village is famous for its Neelakantheshvara Temple which draws pilgrims from far and wide around the year. The village came to prominence when Parama King Udayaditya (1070-1093 CE) constructed a Shiva temple in commemoration of his victories and the consolidation of the Paramara empire. The Paramara empire suffered a catastrophic setback at the death of Bhoja (1010-1055 CE). Bhoja was succeeded by Jayasimha, the latter probably took over the throne with the help of the Chalukyas of Kalyani, the arch-enemies of the Paramaras. It was Udayaditya, the brother of Bhoja2, who conquered the Paramara dominion from Jayasimha. Local traditions associate the city with the Pawar Rajput king Udayajit of Dharanagar stating once the king was lost in a jungle while on a hunting expedition. He saw a snake in the middle of a fire. The snake was in great trouble as it could not escape the fire. The king took pity and brought the snake out of the fire. The snake suffered many burns and desired to be put in water but there was no water around. The snake begged the king to allow its head to be put in his mouth to soothe its pains. The king was hesitant but after the snake took an oath not to bite, the king put the snake inside his mouth. The snake swiftly passed through the mouth into the stomach of the king. The king reached his palace and told the circumstances to his ministers as the snake refused to come out of his stomach. The king and his ministers tried many tricks but all failed. Knowing the snake would not come out and very soon it would result in the king’s death, the king took a journey to spend his last days in Varanasi. The queen accompanied the king on this journey. One day, while on the journey, they camped at Murtezanagar. When the king was asleep in the night, and the queen was fanning, she heard noises and saw one snake coming out of a hole in the ground and another snake coming out of the king’s mouth. Both the snakes ratted out each other by speaking the means through which they could be killed. The snake from the ground said if the king takes a mixture of pepper, salt, and buttermilk the snake in the stomach would die.3 The snake in the stomach said if someone poured boiling ghee in the hole then the snake inside would die and all the treasure would be of that person. As the queen heard this conversation, she followed the steps in the morning thus curing the king, and got all the treasure hidden below the ground. In commemoration of this event, the place was called Udipur after the king’s name. The king established his new capital at the place and adorned it with many public buildings.4 Murtazanagar mentioned in the legend is a village bearing the same name located about 3 km from the Neelakantheshvara Temple.
The north-east of the Udayeshvara Temple, taken by J D Beglar in 1871 or 1872 | British Library
Sculptures, photograph taken by Deen Dayal in the 1880s and part of the Bellew Collection of Architectural Views | British Library
Captain T S Burt, who is better known for his rediscovery of Khajuraho temples, would have visited Udaipur in his tours as he sent a copy of an inscription from the temple to the Asiatic Society of Bengal. This inscription was first published in volume VII and later in volume IX of the society journal. The first account of the inscription tells Burt took this imprint in February 1838 therefore it is very clear that he would have visited the temple.5 However, he did not publish any detailed account of this temple. The need for republishing the inscription arose as the first interpretation had significant errors.6 The credit for bringing the temple to the notice of the scholar community goes to James Fergusson who published his accounts in 1876. He explains that the inclusion of the Udayeshvara temple in his work was because the temple is the best illustration of a specific temple style that became very fashionable in the 11th century CE.7 He was of course talking about the Bhumija mode however at that time the terminology was not established. In 1878, J D Beglar, the assistant of Alexander Cunningham, visited the town and published its temples. Beglar did not give many details however he was able to gather local legends.8 Two years later, in 1880, Alexander Cunningham revisited the place and corrected a few notices made by Beglar.9 D R Bhandarkar visited the temple in 1914 and provided a brief account of the temple and a mosque in the fort area.10 The conservation activities were taken up in 1923-24 after the formation of the Gwalior Archaeological Department under the Scindia government. The report says though the temple was in a comparatively fair state of preservation, however, it required a good deal of clearance and repairs.11 The conservation activities continued for some time and were completed in 1928-29. The report of that year also describes other monuments in the village and respective conservation activities.12 K P Jayaswal, who probably visited the place after the conservation activities, was in full praise of M B Garde, the then director of the Gwalior State Archaeology Department, and the Scindia ruler for carrying out good quality conservation work not only in this temple but at numerous places. He opines the best period of Northern Indian Architecture is 900 to 1100 CE and Udayeshvara temple is one of the best specimens of this architecture.13 While a dedicated study of the temple and the village was not attempted, however, as the Udayeshvara Temple is one of the finest examples of the Bhumija mode, it got featured in various studies dedicated to this specific temple architecture. Krishna Deva and M. A. Dhaky among others are a few pioneer archaeologists who studied this temple architectural style in detail. In a seminar organized in 1967 at Varanasi, Deva read his paper on bhumija temples. He takes the Udayeshvara temple as the earliest and the finest depicting all the architectural components of the Bhumija style. He describes the temple in brief as his paper also included temples across other geographies. Taking reference to its foundation inscription, Deva says the temple construction was started in 1059 and it was consecrated in 1080 CE.14 Dhaky takes notice of the temple in his 1977 study on Indian Temple forms. He says the Udayeshvara temple is not the earliest bhumija temple but slightly later than the Ambaranatha temple at Sinnar, the latter was constructed in about 1060 CE.15 In 1981-82, D K Sinha and P K Misra from ASI took excavation around the temple in order to expose its architectural features below jagati (platform). This revealed a set of moldings going to the bedrock. A few sculptures and architectural members were also recovered.16 The excavation work continued in 1983-84 when A K Pandey and P K Mukherjee joined Sinha. The work was mainly concentrated on the two sides, western and southern. The excavation at the southern part revealed a flight of steps and a niche on either side. These niches were carved with an image of Ganesha and a goddess.17 The first dedicated study of the temple was attempted by Doria Tichit whose Ph.D. dissertation was submitted in 2010.18 Anupa Pande attempts another dedicated study on the temple in an attempt to establish its association with Shiava Siddhanta.19

 

Photograph of the north-east of the Udayeshvara Temple, taken by J D Beglar in 1871 or 1872 | British Library
Udayeshvara Temple, taken by Joseph David Beglar in 1871 or 1872 | British Library

Neelakantheshvara (Udayeshvara) Temple – This magnificent temple is among the earliest surviving examples of the Bhumija mode of Nagara temple architecture. It holds prime importance in understanding the Bhumija architectural mode. While many grand Paramara temple projects, i.e. Bhojpur temple, Bijamandal Temple, etc. were left incomplete or suffered destruction during Islamic raids, the Neelakantheshvara is one among the few finished ones that suffered no destruction except a few modifications. Withstanding the toll of time and Islamic religious zeal, the temple stands in a well-preserved state. Bhumija mode was developed in the Malwa region during the 11th century CE as one of the late developments of the Nagara Temple architecture. Though it is the earliest surviving example of Bhumija mode, the temple does not show any clumsiness in the realization of various components but instead shows mastery over the same. Therefore, it appears that it was a result of considerable research and practice. However, all those previous temples have not survived.

The temple stands over a high-rising jagati (platform) and is surrounded by eight subsidiary temples, only a few of which have survived. The presence of matrika images over the exterior of the temple and the doorways of inner chambers suggests that the eight subsidiary temples were dedicated to the ashta-matrka group.  The main entrance to the complex was in the east as the central temple faces east. However, during the 14th century CE, when the mosque screens were constructed in the west, the eastern entrance was blocked and the main entrance was provided in the west. The temple consists of a mulaprasada or garbha-grha (sanctum sanctorum), antarala (vestibule), gudhamandapa (close hall), and three mukha-mandapa (porches), one each in the east, south, and north. Mulaprasada is built over a stellate plan of 32-point star. However, it is not an accurate stellate plan as the bhadra (central) part of each side is not a pointed star but is parallel to the cardinal directions. The stellate program gives a circular appearance externally. mulaprasada is saptaratha with seven projections on each side, consisting bhadra, karna, pratibhadra, and pratikarna. The vertical components of the temple are pitha (platform), vedibandha (base), jangha (wall), and shikhara (tower). The pitha is composed of four moldings, a few carry decorations of garlands, leaves, and diamonds. The vedibandha is made of three moldings. The middle molding, kumbha, is decorated with niches resembling mini shrines. Various gods and goddesses are housed inside these niches. The jangha has pilasters arranged in saptaratha pattern. Niches have been provided on all the projections, each pilaster except the central has two niches on two sides due to the stellar plan.

North side of the shikhara
Surasenaka in the west
Surasenaka in the north
Surasenaka in the south

Bhumija temple mode is characterized by its shikhara (tower) which displays vertical rows of kutastambhas arranged in a manner that the stambhas (pillars) of the upper row are hidden by the mini-shikhara of the lower row. The shikhara of Udayeshvara Temple consists of seven bhumis (tiers). It has a central flat band, known as lata, on each side. This lata is decorated with a mesh or gavaksh pattern. Kutastambhas have been arranged on either side of this central lata, in a series of three kutastambhas on either side. The base of this lata, on the south, west, and north, contains a chaitya arch over a pillared shrine (surasenaka) housing a deity inside. Shiva as Natesha is present in the top arches of all the surasenakas, however, the deity in the below pillared shrine differs for each, six-armed seated Shiva in the south and the west, and an unidentified deity holding a bow and an arrow.

Side view of the sukanasa from the south
Side view of the sukanasa from the north

In the east, the base of the central lata is extended over the antarala space forming a sukanasa. The chaitya medallion of sukhanasa is a trefoil-shaped structure made of two parts. The lower part has a pillared shrine in the center. Inside the shrine is an image of Harihara-arka-pitamaha, a syncretic image of Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, and Surya. He has eight hands and three faces. He is holding padma (lotus), trishula (trident), shankha (conch), chakra (discus), etc. in his various hands. He is accompanied by two dancers placed on either side. Various mounts and attendees belonging to the four gods are shown near the feet, including Danda, Pingala, Nandi, and Garuda. In the arches, on either side, of the shrine are two dancing goddesses. The image on the viewer’s left is an unidentified goddess depicted in urdhvajanu-karana, and the image on the right is of Sarasvati who also is depicted in urdhvajanu-karana with her mount, swan, is shown near her feet. The upper arch of this trefoil-shape chaitya has an image of dancing Shiva, as Natesha with his retinue. Natesha is shown in urdhvajanu-karana accompanied by two dancing goddesses, one on either side. The chaitya arch at the top is issued from two makaras integrated within a kirtimukha. On the north and south sides of the sukanasa, five different tiers have been carved. On both these sides, five images of Shiva and five images of goddesses have been arranged. The northern side has four images of goddesses and one image of Shiva. The southern side has four images of a seated Shiva and one image of a goddess. Pande20 identifies the images of goddesses, in the north are Mahalakshmi, Maheshvari, Sarvamangala, and Rambha, and in the south is Sriya. The image of Sriya shows the goddess holding an iguana and a ghost (preta) in her hand. Pande21 says the iguana is the mount of the goddess and she is generally shown seated over a preta, however, in this peculiar image she is shown holding both in her hands.

Amalaka with pointed ends

The amalaka over the griva (neck) also reflects the stellar plan with pointed edges. On the northwest face of the shikhara is a peculiar sculpture of a human figure shown in the mode of ascending the shikhara. This probably reflects the practice of hoisting a flag over the shikhara. Interestingly, the inscription from the reign of Udayaditya mentions the flag-hoisting at the temple.

Vinayaka and Vinayaki (hidden in the picture)
Virabhadra over the south bhadra

The sculptural program over the exterior walls of the garbha-grha and antarala primarily belongs to the Shaivite theme. There are three pilasters over the south kapili, the first pilaster has two dikpalas – Indra and Agni. The following pilaster has two images – both of Shiva. The third pilaster also has two images, Vinayaka and Vinayaki. Shiva as Virabhadra is present over the south bhadra and the west bhadra. Tichit identifies the figure as Natesha but not Virabhadra.22 Between the bhadra of each side are placed five pilasters. Moving south, the first pilaster in the series has an image Bhringi and Chamunda over its two facets, the next pilaster has an image of Shiva and Bhairava, the third pilaster has two dikpalas – Yama and Nrrtti, the fourth pilaster has images of Vishnu and Shiva, and the last pilaster has an image of Nandi shown with bull-head and Nadikeshvari as a bull-head goddess.

Virabhadra over the west bhadra
Kartikeya at vedibhandha on the west
Kubera at vedibandha at the west

Virabhadra on the west bhadra is shown strangling a headless figure by his right left.  Pande tellss the figure probably is Daksha whose sacrifice Virabhadra destroyed.23 Tichit identifies the deity as Shiva without providing any specifics.24 Five pilasters intervening between the west and north bhadra carry two images over two facets. Moving from west to north, the first pilaster has images of Kaumari and Kartikeya, the next pilaster has Shiva and Bhairava, the third pilaster has images of two dikpalas – Varuna and Vayu, the fourth has Shiva on both facets, and the fifth pilaster has a goddess, probably Maheshvari and an unidentified male deity. The images over the vedibandha at the west have mostly celestial couples, Kumara-Kaumari, Uma-Maheshvara, Brahma-Brahmani, Vinayaka-Vinayaki, except for Kubera and Sarasvati who are enshrined as single deities.

North facade
Chamunda
Mahishasuramardini at vedibandha at north bhadra

The bhadra in the north has an image of Chamunda. Similar to the south kapili, two pilasters are present on the north kapili. The first pilaster has an image of Parvati and Bhairava. The next pilaster has two images, both of Shiva, though the images are much mutilated. The niches over the vedibandha have various celestial couples, Lakshmi-Narayana, Uma-Maheshvara, etc. The vedibandha niche at the bhadra has an image of Mahishasuramardini.

Samvarana roof of the mandapa

The mandapa follows a stepped diamond plan and has three mukha-mandapa attached to it. Its roof is of samvarana type, a variation of phamsana (tiered pyramidal) type. A samvarana roof is characterized by a slopping roof made of bands, punctuated by small pavilions, topped by a finial bell, and displaying valabhi dormers on the cardinal projections.

Southeast view of mandapa
Bhairava in the south-east of mandapa
Surya
Indra on the left and Shiva on the right
Agni
Harihara
Ardhanareeshvara
Natesha

The sculptural arrangement and program over the jangha of the mandapa primarily constitute Shiavite images. A series of sculptures are provisioned over the five buttresses between the two arms of the east and south mukha-mandapas, starting with an image of Bhiarava in the east and ending with an image of Shiva-Natesha in the south. The terminal buttresses have only one image while the three buttresses in the middle have two images each. One side of the terminal buttresses is used as a side for the mukha-mandapa. On the terminal buttress in the east is shown Bhairava with twelve arms, most of which are broken, and in the rest, he holds a shield and a damaru. His mount, dog, is standing next to him. The next image is of Surya shown standing wearing long boots and accompanied by Danda and Pingala. The next image is of Shiva shown holding trishula and damaru. The next buttress has images of dikpalas, Indra facing east and Agni facing south. The next buttress has two images, Shiva-Ardhanareeshvara and Harihara.

View from the south
Shiva as Natesha on the right
Shiva-Andhakantaka on the left and Nrrtti on the right

The sculptural program on the southwest follows the same pattern similar to the southeast jangha. The first image is that of Shiva as Natesha who is shown with sixteen arms many of which are mostly broken. He is standing with his back to a viewer with his torso twisted to face the viewer, a stance that needs flexibility to the maximum. The following two pilasters have two images each, one on each face. The image next to Natesha is of an unidentified male deity. On the same pilaster, the following image is of a male deity holding a book. Pandey identifies the deity as Shiva-Kiranaksha, as the book held by him is a distinguished attribute of his iconography, however, Tichit does not attempt any identification.25 The next pilaster has images of two dikpalas, Yama and Nrrtti. The following image is of Shiva as Andhakanataka. He is shown standing in alidha-mudra with his right foot placed over a demon.

North-east facade of the mandapa
Shiva-Tripurantaka
Isana and Varuna
Natesha
Mahishasuramardini
Vayu
Brahma
Chamunda

The northwest side of the mandapa follows a sculptural pattern similar to the southwest side. The first image is of Shiva as Tripuantaka in a posture of drawing an arrow to shoot the three demon cities located in the sky. The three cities are shown at the top in the right corner. The next pilaster has two images of two dikpalas – Varuna and Isana. The next pilaster has an image of Agni and Kartikeya on its two faces. The identification of Agni is not certain as Tichit26 identifies him as Agni but Pandey27 as Brahma.  The deity is not shown with multiple heads and the attributes he carries in his four arms are also broken except for a lotus stalk. His mount is also much obliterated. He flaunts a prominent beard, a characteristic of both, Agni and Brahma. Tichit substantiates her identification by establishing a relationship between Kartikeya and Agni as the latter played a critical role in the birth of the former. Pandey gives much credence to the lotus stalk thus identifying him as Brahma. The last sculpture in the series of Shiva-Natesha. The northeast side of the mandapa has six sculptures spanning over three pilasters. The sculptural program starts with an image of Mahishasuramardini. The right foot of the goddess is placed over a buffalo. The image depicts an in-action fight between the goddess and the demon where the zoomorphic form of the demon depicted as buffalo is defeated and the demon Mahishasura is shown emerging out of the neck of that buffalo to continue his fight with the goddess. The next pilaster has an image of Shiva-Natesha and Shiva-Parvati. The next pilaster has two dikpalas – Kubera and Ishana, the latter is much obliterated. The next pilaster has Brahma and Sarasvati. A large image of Chamunda adorns the last pilaster in the series. Tichit says the obliterated image does not give a scope to correctly identify the deity as it could be Chamunda or an emaciated aspect of Bhairava.28 Various images are placed over a frieze sandwiched between the pilasters and shikhara. These images are aligned in the same line as the images over the pilasters. The images mostly are of Shiva and various goddesses, among a few notable ones are Chamunda, Harihara-arka-pitamaha, Yogeshvari holding an elephant and wearing a crescent moon in her hair, Bhuvaneshvari, and Bhairava. Images placed over vedhibandha mostly correspond to different aspects of Uma-Maheshvara theme.

Mukha-mandapa in the south
Chamunda
TBD
Mukha-mandapa in the north
TBD
TBD
Dancing maidens
Half-pillars supporting mukha-mandapa ceiling
Chamunda in the south mukha-mandapa
TBD

Three mukha-mandapa, one each in the east, south, and north, allow entry into the gudhamandapa. The entrances are provided with large sculptures positioned as guardians. All the mukha-mandapa follow kakshashana-type style consisting of high seats with slanting back. The exterior of these kakshashana is decorated with various friezes including a frieze carrying large sculptures of dancing maidens. Over the high seats rise half-pillars to support the roof. These half-pillars support a heavy round capital made of concentric circles.  The bracket above the capital has large bharavahakas (weight bearers). The ceiling of all the mukha-mandapa has not survived in full, from its appearance as well as from traditions, the ceiling would be of phamsana style.

Doorway of the eastern mukha-mandapa

 

Northern doorway
Mukha-mandapa ceiling
Northern doorway

The doorways of all the mukha-mandapa are very similar except for the figures at the bases of their jambs. The jambs are of pancha-shakha (five bands) style and are elaborately decorated with various patterns and designs. The inner three shakhas, patra-shakha, gandharva-shakha, and stambha-shakha, form the inner frame of the door with corresponding lintel and sur-lintel. The middle of the lintel has a niche housing an image of Ganesha. Above this niche is another niche of similar size at the sur-lintel housing an image of Lakshmi. The architrave supported on the stambha-shakha has a series of nine niches arranged in projections and recesses. Nine matrka figures are enshrined in these nine niches, starting from the left, Brahmani, Maheshvari, Kaumari, Vaishnavi, an unidentified matrka goddess, Varahi, Indrani, Chamunda, and Mahalakshmi holding lotuses in her upper two hands. All the goddesses are shown with four hands and seated in ardhaparyanka-mudra. The lower face of the panel is carved with a circular medallion in the center and two flying figures at either end. The last two shakhas form the external frame of the doorway and support a panel consisting of niches. The lower face of the panel has three circular medallions with two intervening flying gandharva figures. There are five niches projected outward forming four recess areas in between. These niches have, from left to right, Shiva, Brahma, Harihara-arka-pitamaha, Vishnu, and Ganesha. Nava-grhas are distributed in the four recess spaces, the first three have two grahas each and the last has three grhas, Shani, Rahu, and Ketu. The external frame encloses the inner frame where the latter takes the appearance of a torana.

Gudhamandapa with Nandi in its center

gudhamandapa ceiling

The main entrance of gudhamandapa from the east has two entrance pillars and four pillars in the center. The pillars are highly embellished and carry sculptures on all four faces. Among the sculptures are found Brahma, Ganesha, Shiva, Kubera, Parvati, etc. In one image of Parvati, she is shown holding Ganesha in one hand and in another hand a shivalinga. They have circular capital similar to the pillars of mukha-mandapa and also carry brackets with bharavahakas. The ceiling is composed of concentric circles enclosed within an octagonal frame. The octagonal frame is enclosed within a square frame and the space between the four corners of the square and octagon is decorated with kirtimukha. Female bracket figures adorn the third tier of the ceiling from the bottom. There are a total of twelve such bracket figures, except for one sculpture of a couple the rest all are single female figures.

Antarala pillars

The antarala space has two free-standing pillars standing next to wall pilasters. These pillars and pilasters are decorated in the same style and designs as those of gudhamandapa. The garbha-grha doorway is decorated in a similar style as that of the other doorways of mukha-mandapa. Inside the garbha-grha is a shivalinga mounted over a large pitha or yoni. The shivalinga is covered by a brass sheet carved with a face. This brass cover was donated by Khanderao Appaji, a general of Mahadji Scindia, in 1783 CE.29

Vedi

In front of the temple is a vedi, a square building used probably to recite Vedas. Jalis (stone grills) with ventilation space have been embedded into the walls all around. It has two entrances, one in the east and one in the west. Four pillars support the square ceiling. The pillars have decoration similar to the temple pillars except for the bottom part which does not have sculptural decoration. Traditions credit that the vedi was constructed soon after the construction of the temple and the purpose was yajna or ritual performances.

There have been a few suggestions from various scholars for explaining the sculptural program and arrangements of deities over the external walls. Tichit suggests that the sequence of images following the circumambulation, starting with fearsome Bhairava and continuing with cosmic forms of Natesha transiting through Mahishasuramardini and ending with another fearsome image of Chamunda or emaciated Bhairava, suggests proclamation of Shiva’s supremacy and its assertion.30 Pande indicates the distribution of Shaiva and Shakti images over the right and left side of the temple respectively confirming the influence of Shaiva-Siddhanta over the temple design and architecture.31 Both arguments are not strong enough to come to a definitive conclusion. However, it is very clear that the presence of various matrkas over the janghas, doorways, and eight subsidiary shrines suggests a strong influence of shakta tradition which is also attested by the statement that the temple was constructed as a victory monument by Udayaditya.

Sometime in 1338-39, the temple underwent desecration at a small scale in the hands of the Muslim army of Muhammad bin Tughlaq. The noses of many images over the temple walls were broken and faces were desecrated. However, the temple was left standing intact and did not face the fate of many others which were torn down to their bare plinths. A legend tells us that the emperor gave the orders to bring down the temple, however, in the night he had a dream where he was stopped to do so by the gods. The next morning, the order was withdrawn and two screens were constructed at the west of the temple. Many pilgrim records dating later are the proofs that the temple was in worship even after the construction of a mosque within its enclosure.

Stone Inscription samvat 1137

Inscriptions: The temple is very rich in terms of inscriptions and epigraphs. A few important inscriptions are provided below in detail. More than ninety pilgrim records have been published in the Annual Report of Indian Epigraphy 1961-62 (numbered C 1611-1690).

  1. Stone inscription of the time of Udayaditya32 – consists of six lines, written in Nagari characters, Sanskrit language – dated in vikrama samvat 1137, equivalent to 1080 CE – the inscription refers to the reign of the Paramara king Udayaditya. It mentions the hosting of a flag on the Udayeshvara temple. The inscription was composed by Pandita Mahipala, son of Pandita Sringavasa.
  2. Stone inscription prashashti of the time of Udayaditya33 – The inscription was first brought to notice by F E Hall in 1852 and edited by G Buhler in 1888. The inscription was found lying in the courtyard of the Udayeshvara temple and was later shifted to the Gujari Mahal Museum, Gwalior. Written in 24 lines in Sanskrit language and Nagari script of the eleventh century CE. The inscription starts with obeisance to Shiva and then to Parvati and Ganesha. It then records the genealogy of the Paramara dynasty stating a hero sprang from the fire-alter of Vashishtha on Mount Arbuda (Abu) and slayed enemies to bring back the cow sage Vishwamitra has taken away. As a reward, the hero was named Paramara and blessed with kinship. In the lineage of Paramara was born Upendraraja who acquired kinghood by his prowess. It next mentions Vairisimha, Siyaka, Vakpati, and another Vairisimha, all as son and successor of the respective predecessors. It then introduces Vakpati’s son Harshadeva who defeated Khottigadeva in a battle. His son was Vakpatiraja who was well-versed in shashtras and poetry. It tells his feet were colored by the jewels on the heads of Karnnatas, Latas, Keralas, and Cholas. He vanquished Yuvaraja and slaying his general, as a victor, raised on high his sword in Tripuri. Vakpati’s younger brother was Sindhuraja who won a victory over a king of Hunas. His son was Bhojadeva who is praised for his temple-building activities, dedicating temples to Kedara, Rameshvara, Somanatha, Sundira, Kala, Anala, and Rudra. He is also praised for his command over poetry and titled kaviraja. The inscription then introduces Udayaditya as another Sun dispelling darkness. It compares the restoration of the Paramara power by Udayaditya with the Premial Boar (Varaha) who restored the earth. The latter half of the inscription was found by M B Garde in 1925-26. This inscription continues describing bravery and glorious success against the lord of the Chedisa. The Paramara genealogy stops with Udayaditya and the description of the members of the Nemaka dynasty starts. The name of the ruling prince of this dynasty is not clear due to the imperfect nature of the record. The inscription tells Udaipur was placed in charge of a king who belonged to the Nemaka dynasty and he constructed a temple. The father of the king was a sudraka who had vanquished the king of Gujarat. The inscription ends with the word prashashti followed by a double danda and a flowery design.
  3. Stone inscription over a pillar in the eastern mukha-mandapa34 – refers to the reign of the Paramara king Udayaditya. Dated in samvat 1222, equivalent to 1166 CE – mentions the construction of two mandapikas called Mahastava and Talavarta and some gifts made by Chahada.
  4. Stone inscription of the time of Devapala35 – The inscription is incised on the lower part of a pillar on the proper right side of the eastern entrance of the Udayeshvara temple. It consists of fourteen lines, written in Sanskrit and in the Nagari characters of the thirteenth century CE. The inscription refers to the reign of the illustrious Paramara king Devapaladeva. The object of the inscription is to record the donation of some plots of land in the presence of the deity Udalmeshvara. The donor was Dhamadeyava, an officer in charge of the treasury of the king. The inscription is dated in samvat 1286, equivalent to 1229 CE.
  5. Stone inscription of the time of Devapala36 – This inscription is engraved on one of the left-side pillars of the eastern mukha-mandapa of Udayeshvara temple. Above this inscription are two short pilgrim records. The inscription consists of fifteen lines, written in Sanskrit and in Nagari characters. The inscription refers to the reign of the Paramara king Devapaladeva. The object is to record donations of land in some villages. The inscription is dated in samvat 1289, equivalent to 1232 CE.
  6. Pilgrim record of samvat 1434 on the doorjamb of the eastern mukha-mandapa37 – mentions the pilgrimage of Gopi, son of Sanasan was fruitful
  7. Pilgrim record of samvat 1503 on the eastern doorjamb38 – mentions the fruitful pilgrimage of Surjja and Golhana. The engraver of Chamdakara, son of Aditya.
  8. On the northern jamb39 – records the yatra festival of the god Udaleshvara
  9. On the arch near the mosque in the enclosure of the Nilkantheshvara Temple40 – Dated Hijri 739, equivalent to 1338-39 CE – refers to the reign of King Muhammad bin Tuglaq Shah. Mentions the construction of the mosque to Ahmad, son of Wajih.
  10. Another slab in the same place as above41 – Dated Hijri 739, equivalent to 1338-39 CE – refers to the reign of King Muhammad bin Tuglaq Shah. Mentions that Ahmad, son of Wajih, was in the employ of Azam Malik, the sarjamdar-i-khas, and that Fakhr, son of Muhammad Lahori supervised the work.

1 Jayaswal, K P (1932). The Udaypur Temple of Malwa and its Builder published in the Modern Review, vol. LI, No 6. p. 603
2 Dongargaon inscription, Epigraphia Indica, vol. XXVI, p. 184
3 Cunningham, Alexander (1880). Report of Tours in Bundelkhand and Malwa in 1874-75 and 1876-77, vol. X. Government Press. Calcutta. p. 65
4 Beglar, J D (1878). Report of a Tour in Bundelkhand and Malwa, 1871-72; and in the Central Provinces, 1873-74, vol. VII. Government Press. Calcutta. pp. 83-84
5 Journal of the Asiatic Society, vol. VII, no. 84, December 1838. p. 1056
6 Journal of the Asiatic Society, vol. IX, no. 101, May 1840. pp. 547-548
7 Fergusson, James (1876). Indian and Eastern Architecture. John Murray. London. pp. 456-457
8 Beglar, J D (1878). Report of a Tour in Bundelkhand and Malwa, 1871-72; and in the Central Provinces, 1873-74, vol. VII. Government Press. Calcutta. pp. 81-88
9 Cunningham, Alexander (1880). Report of Tours in Bundelkhand and Malwa in 1874-75 and 1876-77, vol. X. Government Press. Calcutta. pp. 46-56
10 Archaeology – Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey of India, Western Circle, for the year ending 31st March 1914. pp. 64-66
11 Annual Report of the Archaeological Department, Gwalior State, for samvat 1980, year 1923-24. pp. 5-6
12 Annual Report of the Archaeological Department, Gwalior State, for samvat 1980, year 1928-29. pp. 5-6
13 Jayaswal, K P (1932). The Udaypur Temple of Malwa and its Builder published in the Modern Review, vol. LI, No 6. pp. 603-606
14 Deva, Krishna (1975). Bhumija Temples. published in the Studies in Indian Temple Architecture, Pramod Chandra (ed.). American Institute of Indian Studies. Varanasi. pp. 90-113
15 Dhaky, M A (1977). The Indian Temple Forms. Abhinav Publications. New Delhi. p. 19
16 Indian Archaeology 1981-82 – A Review. p. 48
17 Indian Archaeology 1983-84 – A Review. p. 56
18 Tichit, Doria (2010). The Udayesvara Temple, Udayapur: Architecture and Iconography of an 11th century Temple in Central India, thesis submitted to Cardiff University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. UMI number – U564497
19 Pande, Anupa (2018). The Udayesvara Temple – Art, Architecture and Philosophy of the Saiva Siddhanta. Aryan Books International. New Delhi. ISBN 978-81-7305-561-4
20 Pande, Anupa (2018). The Udayesvara Temple – Art, Architecture and Philosophy of the Saiva Siddhanta. Aryan Books International. New Delhi. ISBN 978-81-7305-561-4. p. 18
21 Pande, Anupa (2018). The Udayesvara Temple – Art, Architecture and Philosophy of the Saiva Siddhanta. Aryan Books International. New Delhi. ISBN 978-81-7305-561-4. pp. 19-20
22 Tichit, Doria (2012). Le programme iconographique de temple d’Udayeśvara à Udayapur, Madhya Pradesh, xie siècle pubsished in Arts Asiatique, vol. 67. p. 5
23 Pande, Anupa (2018). The Udayesvara Temple – Art, Architecture and Philosophy of the Saiva Siddhanta. Aryan Books International. New Delhi. ISBN 978-81-7305-561-4. p. 60
24 Tichit, Doria (2012). Le programme iconographique de temple d’Udayeśvara à Udayapur, Madhya Pradesh, xie siècle pubsished in Arts Asiatique, vol. 67. p. 5
25 Tichit, Doria (2012). Le programme iconographique de temple d’Udayeśvara à Udayapur, Madhya Pradesh, xie siècle pubsished in Arts Asiatique, vol. 67. p. 5
26 Tichit, Doria (2012). Le programme iconographique de temple d’Udayeśvara à Udayapur, Madhya Pradesh, xie siècle pubsished in Arts Asiatique, vol. 67. p. 5
27 Pande, Anupa (2018). The Udayesvara Temple – Art, Architecture and Philosophy of the Saiva Siddhanta. Aryan Books International. New Delhi. ISBN 978-81-7305-561-4. p. 44
28 Tichit, Doria (2012). Le programme iconographique de temple d’Udayeśvara à Udayapur, Madhya Pradesh, xie siècle pubsished in Arts Asiatique, vol. 67. p. 5
29 Archaeology – Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey of India, Western Circle, for the year ending 31st March 1914. p. 65
30 Tichit, Doria (2012). Le programme iconographique de temple d’Udayeśvara à Udayapur, Madhya Pradesh, xie siècle pubsished in Arts Asiatique, vol. 67. p. 6
31 Pande, Anupa (2018). The Udayesvara Temple – Art, Architecture and Philosophy of the Saiva Siddhanta. Aryan Books International. New Delhi. ISBN 978-81-7305-561-4. p. 44
32 Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, vol. VII, part 2 – Inscriptions of the Paramaras, Chandellas, Kachchapaghatas and Two Minor Dynasties. pp. 65-66
33 Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, vol. VII, part 2 – Inscriptions of the Paramaras, Chandellas, Kachchapaghatas and Two Minor Dynasties. pp. 75-82
34 No C-1664 of Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy 1961-62. p. 171
35 Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, vol. VII, part 2 – Inscriptions of the Paramaras, Chandellas, Kachchapaghatas and Two Minor Dynasties. pp. 185-187
36 Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, vol. VII, part 2 – Inscriptions of the Paramaras, Chandellas, Kachchapaghatas and Two Minor Dynasties. pp. 187-189
37 No C-1612 of Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy 1961-62. p. 167
38 No C-1613 of Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy 1961-62. p. 167
39 No C-1625 of Annual Report on Indian Epigraphy 1961-62. p. 168
40 Rahim, Syed Abdur (2000). Arabic, Persian and Urdu Inscriptions of Central India – A Topographical List. Sundeep Prakashan. New Delhi. ISBN 8175740914. No 737 on p. 122
41 Rahim, Syed Abdur (2000). Arabic, Persian and Urdu Inscriptions of Central India – A Topographical List. Sundeep Prakashan. New Delhi. ISBN 8175740914. No 738 on p. 122

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

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