Ancient Shiva Temple at Garhi Padhavali in Madhya Pradesh || A hidden architectural marvel in the remote rural landscape of Morena

We hadn't really planned to visit Gadhi Padhavali in Morena, but we happened to be in the vicinity. We had travelled to Mitaoli to visit the Chausath Yogini temple near Morena, Madhya Pradesh, and VJ knew that there were other interesting sites around. Several years ago, he had done a helicopter tour of this area for a Photography assignment.

We hadn't really planned to visit Gadhi Padhavali in Morena, but we happened to be in the vicinity. We had travelled to Mitaoli to visit the Chausath Yogini temple near Morena, Madhya Pradesh, and VJ knew that there were other interesting sites around. Several years ago, he had done a helicopter tour of this area for a Photography assignment

We were on our way to the Bateshwar Group of Temples when we spotted the sign for Padhavali and soon spotted the entrance gate to the site. It looked interesting so we thought we would stop for a bit and check it out. On this trip, we had missed a few sites because they weren't in the original plan and then later regretted the decision. We didn't want to make the same mistake again.

We were on our way to the Bateshwar Group of Temples when we spotted the sign for Padhavali and soon spotted the entrance gate to the site. It looked interesting so we thought we would stop for a bit and check it out. On this trip, we had missed a few sites because they weren't in the original plan and then later regretted the decision. We didn't want to make the same mistake again. 


 The entrance was quite enticing too, with the two stone lions daring you to enter the place. Research indicates that these are replicas of the original ones and the original ones have been moved to a museum in Gwalior. A lot of such artefacts have been moved around like this. However, a lot of restoration has also been undertaken in the recent years and the result is quite apparent.


The entrance was quite enticing too, with the two stone lions daring you to enter the place. Research indicates that these are replicas of the original ones and the original ones have been moved to a museum in Gwalior. A lot of such artefacts have been moved around like this. However, a lot of restoration has also been undertaken in the recent years and the result is quite apparent. 


 
The temple is very unique in the sense that it has fort-like bastions and walls around it. However if you look closely at the walls you discover that the walls were made higher and the bastions added much later than the original structure. While the original structure seems to be very intricately carved and as much for ornamental purpose as for protection, the later additions were straight-to-point protective ones. So you do not find carvings on the bastions or the as you go higher on the walls.

The temple is very unique in the sense that it has fort-like bastions and walls around it. However if you look closely at the walls you discover that the walls were made higher and the bastions added much later than the original structure. While the original structure seems to be very intricately carved and as much for ornamental purpose as for protection, the later additions were straight-to-point protective ones. So you do not find carvings on the bastions or the as you go higher on the walls. 



The temple that the walls and the bastions are built around is apparently a Shiva temple and as was common practice in those days, the temple is as intricately carved as was the custom in those days. You can find intricate carvings at the most difficult-to-reach corners of the ceilings.

The temple that the walls and the bastions are built around is apparently a Shiva temple and as was common practice in those days, the temple is as intricately carved as was the custom in those days. You can find intricate carvings at the most difficult-to-reach corners of the ceilings. 


Most of the carvings are religious and devotional in themes. There is some amazing detailing on the four most important walls inside the temple. The north panel depicts Brahma, Shiv, and Vishnu in their old age.

Most of the carvings are religious and devotional in themes. There is some amazing detailing on the four most important walls inside the temple. The north panel depicts Brahma, Shiv, and Vishnu in their old age. 


The lower section depicts celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna. The east panel celebrates Chamunda with its lower section depicting Lor Ram and Vanars worshipping Shivling. The south panel is about Shiv and Parvati and Nandi. The lower part of the panel depicts the killing of Abhimanyu in Chakravyuh during the war of Mahabharat. The west panel is about Surya and the lower section goes back to the Trinity.

The lower section depicts celebration of the birth of Lord Krishna. The east panel celebrates Chamunda with its lower section depicting Lor Ram and Vanars worshipping Shivling. The south panel is about Shiv and Parvati and Nandi. The lower part of the panel depicts the killing of Abhimanyu in Chakravyuh during the war of Mahabharat. The west panel is about Surya and the lower section goes back to the Trinity. 


As is common in the temples of this belt, one can also find erotic carvings on the walls of these temples. The art depicting various stages of intimacy adorn the walls inside the temple and forces one to consider how much taboo-less the world in those days was. There were obviously other bigger problems in those times which I am glad are resolved now, but I wish we could have retained some of that non-judgemental attitude as well.

As is common in the temples of this belt, one can also find erotic carvings on the walls of these temples. The art depicting various stages of intimacy adorn the walls inside the temple and forces one to consider how much taboo-less the world in those days was. There were obviously other bigger problems in those times which I am glad are resolved now, but I wish we could have retained some of that non-judgemental attitude as well. 


We spent about 45 minutes here. The temple turned out to be an interesting stop after all. The area is developing quite beautifully actually and I do hope that some of the infrastructure problems that plague the surrounding areas are taken care of soon so that the approach to the temple can be better as well.

We spent about 45 minutes here. The temple turned out to be an interesting stop after all. The area is developing quite beautifully actually and I do hope that some of the infrastructure problems that plague the surrounding areas are taken care of soon so that the approach to the temple can be better as well. 

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