Chanderi, known for its Medieval Forts and Magical Weaves situated in Ashok Nagar District of Madhya Pradesh. Once, Chanderi was very an important location for the rulers of the North because of its strategic location as a military outpost on the Malwa- Bundelkhand Border. As a result several dynasties came to hold sway over the town including the Malwa Sultans, Mughals, Bundelas and Scindias – making it a prosperous centre of economic and cultural activity. From Kirti Pal’s Fort, the view over the town is expansive. The town spreads across a valley encircled by hills. Handloom weaving was always a significant activity in Chanderi, for the past 400 years it has been the primary occupation of the town’s resident.
Madhya Pradesh- the heart of Incredible India is not called so, only because of its location in the centre of the country but also because of it offers diverse experiences in art, culture, nature, religion and history. The cultural heritage of Madhya Pradesh is ancient and chequered. Innumerable Monuments, exquisitely carved temples, forts and palaces are reminders of the glorious past. Monuments of valour and glory, love and passion have been captured in them by the sensitive chisels of master craftsmen.
After knowing this much information about Chanderi, Explorer in me, pushed me towards Chanderi. So I along with my friends planned to visit this wonderland which comprises of heritage, culture, art and craft, rural lifestyle, temple, water bodies and what not
Here my story begins.
Hire a taxi and left Gwalior at 10:00 am for Chanderi via Datia, Dinara and Pichhore. Roads conditions were good and climate was also pretty well. Landscape of Village was soothing and rural lifestyle was also hospitable.
Reached Chanderi by 2:00 pm, Check-in to Hotel Tana Bana.
At 4:00 pm, we hired a local guide and moved out for exploring the town. Our first attraction was Chanderi Fort.
Chanderi Fort: Sitting atop a 200 m high hill, Chanderi Fort measures 2 kms in length and over a kilometre across. Originally built by Raja Kirti Pal, all subsequent rulers who conquered Chanderi like Alauddin Khilji, Babar, Bundela Kings and the Scindias, among others-left their mark on it. Within the crenellated walls are several buildings, including the three storey-palace complex, A Khilji period mosque, Jouhar Smarak, Kila Kothi, Hawa Mahal and the Samadhi of Baiju Bawra, a legendary singer. On the slope of Chanderi Fort, is the much-revered Jageshwari Temple.
After Fort, moved towards Shehzadi ka Rauza.
Shehzadi ka Rauza: It is one of the most impressive tombs in Chanderi. The Memorial to love, Shehzadi ka Rauza is an architectural delight known for its serpentine brackets and intricate jalis.
From Shehzadi ka Rauza, We headed towards Battisi Baoli.
Battisi Baoli: Abul Fazl in Ain-i-Akbari records an existence of 1,200 Baolis in Chanderi. Of those that remain, the most spectacular is the 15th century Battisi Baoli. Standing within a fenced compound, it is 20 sq. m. and four storeys deep. Thirty-Two (Battis, in Hindi) steps lead down to the water level, giving it a name Battisi Baoli.
It’s almost dark, so I came to Dilli Darwaja (Delhi Gate) for shopping some Chanderi saris for my mother. Main Market of Town i.e. Sadar Bazaar is around Dilli Darwaja. It was great time to do some shopping in local markets of Chanderi.
After shopping we headed back to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Good Morning from Chanderi,
Morning walk to Pranpur, which is famous for its Rural Tourism Resort, is 3 km on the foothill of the hill.
Amaree Rural Tourism Resort: It’s a beautiful resort, which gives you a glimpse of rural life. Initially, this rural tourism project was initiated by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India for the promotion of Rural Tourism. Now days, It attracts tourists from all over India and offer them a comfortable stay at minimal charges.
Then we moved to Badal Mahal,
Badal Mahal: Initially, Its name was ‘Vaadan Mahal Gate’ meant to welcome guest by playing music. Badal Mahal Gate is Chanderi’s most defining monument and was built by Sultan Mahmud Shah of Khilji Dynasty in 1450. It was meant to serve as the ‘Welcome Gate’ for visiting dignitaries. Some Historians believe that it was probably a triumphal archway.
In front of Badal Mahal, There is a beautiful Mosque named Jama Masjid,
Jama Masjid: The Jama Masjid is the largest and the oldest mosque in Chanderi and possibly all of Bundelkhand. This three-domed Jama Masjid was built in 15 century. It is very important architecture of Chanderi with size 31.42m X 24.38m. This holy place is decorated with stone carved art and attracts tourists.
After Jama Masdid, we moved to our next tourism attraction i.e. Chanderi Museum.
Chanderi Museum: Archaeological Survey of India’s Chanderi Museum was inaugurated in 2007 and is located 2 km on Bhopal Road from Jama Masjid. The two storied museum is housed in a swanky new building, surrounded by manicured lawns that double up as a sculpture garden.
After getting a lot of Information from ASI’s museum, we marched to Koshal Mahal.
Koshak Mahal: According to Tawarikh-i-Ferishta, that Mahmood II Khilji, Sultan of Malwa passed through this place in the Year 1445 and ordered that a seven-storeyed palace (Koshak-i-Haft Manzil) should be built here. The present building is the outcome of these orders the style of architecture resembles that of Mandu. It was rejuvenating during the reign of H.H. Maharaja Sir Madhav Rao Scindia Alijah Bahadur of Gwalior in 1923 by the Gwalior Archaeological Department.
After Koshal Mahal and related stories, we turned back to city moved towards Pichhore for exploring lasts attraction i.e. Singhpur Mahal
Singhpur Mahal: Singhpur Mahal is situated on hilltop of Vindhyachal and hill is surrounded by lush green forests and lake. According to local guide, this three-storeyed building was built by Maharaja Devi Singh Bundela of Orchha in the year 1656 for resting and hunting animals. Later Scindia family used it as their guest house and then it used as Chanderi Museum. This peaceful place in green forest and near to lake fascinate tourist towards it.
Other Tourist Places of Chanderi: Budhi Chanderi, Lakshman Temple, Chakala Baoli, Rajghat Dam, Kati Ghat, Jain Temples, etc.
How to Reach:
Airways: Nearest Airport is Gwalior (210 km) which is directly connected with New Delhi and Mumbai.
Railways: Nearest Railway Stations are Lalitpur (40 km) and Ashok Nagar (65km) both are directly connected with all major cities of India.
Roadways: There are few buses running on these routes. Bus is available from Ashok Nagar, Pichhore, Lalitpur etc and better option is to hire a taxi.
Where to Stay: There are various Private Hotels and Resorts available in Chanderi but the best one to stay is Hotel Tana Bana of MP Tourism and other one is Amraee Rural Tourism Resort.
What to Eat: Good Quality of food available in Tana Bana Hotel, Chanderi and must try local food in Sadar Bazaar.
What to Buy in Chanderi: Chanderi handloom Sarees of fine silk fabric woven by its skilled artisans. These are not only famous in India but throughout the world. Sadar Bazaar is the best place to pick Chanderi Sarees and fabrics, available in wide varieties of colours and designs.
Best Time to Visit: September to April.