Dhubela, the kingdom of Maharaja Chhatrasal (4 May 1649 – 19 December 1731) is a historical place situated on Orchha- Khajuraho Road near Nowgong (Mau Saniya Village) in Madhya Pradesh. Maharaja Chhatrasal was a medieval Indian warrior who fought against the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and established his own kingdom in Bundelkhand, becoming a Maharaja. He was one of the great warriors of Central India and his Empire had alliances with Maratha Empire and Mewar Empire. Great female warrior Mastani Bai (Second wife of Bajirao Peshwa) belongs to Dhubela.
Dhubela comprises of various historical monuments related to Maharaja Chhatrasal and his family members, which reflects the glorious past of his kingdom. Dhubela Museum is Madhya Pradesh’s first Museum. Around Dhubela, there are numerous freshwater bodies and lush green forest which make it always fresh.
Recently, I got a chance to visit Dhubela. It is situated in Bundelkhand region or I can say between two most important historical destinations i.e Orchha and Khajuraho. I was planned to visit Orchha temple then one of my relative from Chhatarpur told to stretch my journey and come to Chhatarpur and he promised me to show something interesting, amazing and hidden gems of Bundelkhand.
I agreed with him and he directed me to stop at Mau Saniya (a place between Chhatarpur and Nowgong). He accompanied me to explore Dhubela.
List of Monuments which I saw in Dhubela
Dhubela Taalab (Lake): It is the fresh water lake surrounded by historical monuments related to Bundela Empire. State Tourism Board constructed theme based sitting areas and interpretation centers from where tourist can enjoy the beauty of the lake.
Maharaja Chhatrasal (Dhubela) Museum: It is said that Dhubela Museum was the first museum of Madhya Pradesh and was inaugurated by then Prime Minister Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru on 12-09-1955. The museum is located in the palace which was built by Maharaja Chhatrasal on the bank of lake Dhubela. There are about 8 galleries in which two on the ground floor and rest on the First floor. All these galleries showcase the inscriptions, copper plates, sati pillars, lingas, inscribed images, garments, weapons, and paintings related to the era of Gupta, Kalachuri, and Bundela period. Most of them were collected from the excavation in entire Bundelkhand region. Statue of Maharaja Chhatrasal in open air gallery on the first floor attract most of the tourists. Museum maintained by Archeological Department.
Open Art Gallay:
Mastani Mahal: The Beautiful palace was built by Maharaja Chhatrasal in about 1969 A.D. for her beautiful dancer ‘Mastani’. Bajirao Peshwa who became here after victory on Bangash he got married with Mastani. There are lot more stories related to Mastani in the region but none have proved yet. Mastani Mahal is connected with museum building and because beautification work is in full swings these monuments looking more attractive.
Cenotaph of Maharani Kamlapati: This cenotaph was built in the memory of Maharaja Chhatrasal’s first Queen Maharahi Kamlapati. The monument is having a beautiful collection of 180 paintings made up of Fresco technique. It is an octagonal structure situated on a high platform on the bank of lake Dhubela. This 17th-century Octagonal structure is a fine example of Bundeli architecture of style. Forty- Eight petaled lotus flowers spread over seven domes. It is one of the important tourist attractions of Dhubela. The monument is really good but needs some restoration work.
Sheetal Garhi (Fortress): The 17th century double storied fortress was built by Deewan Kirat Singh, grandson of Maharaja Chhatrasal, on such strategic altitude for the purpose of the patrolling, security and surveillance. This beautifully decorated building was once used for residential purposes of the army officers or security personnel. From this top, you can enjoy the paranoiac view of Lake, Palaces, Cenotaphs, Temples, Forts, Forests, Village can easily watch from here. It is the best place to click photos or selfies.
Maheba Dwar (Gate): Maheba gate is a huge architecture comprises of two gateways, and small rooms, Rooms might be used by security guards. It was built in 1678 A.D when Maheba Town was founded by Maharaja Chhatrasal. It showcases the rich Bundeli art was one of the main gates to connect Maheba and Dhubela.
Mahabali Teli ki Samadhi (Tomb): It is the Tomb of Mahabali Teli. He was one of the best friends of Maharaja Chhatrasal who helped him to make an army for fighting against Mughal Empire.
Maharaja Chhatrasal’s Cenotaphs: This beautiful example of Bundeli Architecture was built by Maratha Empire’s General Baji Rao Peshwa (I) in the memory of Maharaja Chhatrasal in 1736 A.D. Tourists from all over the world visit to see the Bundeli architectural beauty of Cenotaph of Maharaja Chhatrasal. This symmetrical architecture comprises of beautiful gates, windows, balcony etc.
The Horse’s Cenotaphs: Next to the Cenotaph of Maharaja Chhatrasal is his beloved horse Bhale Bhai’s Cenotaph. It is said that, After Maharaja’s final journey, his loyal horse abandoned his body.
All monuments are really amazing but are in shabby condition. It really needs rejuvenation for their better future.
Hridyashah Palace: It is the biggest monument of Dhubela but in very bad condition. Hridayashah was the son of Maharaja Chhatrasal and this palace belongs to him. This property really needs some restoration from responsible department. Ruins of the palace still trying to tell their pride history.
Other Places to visit: Shri Krishna Pranami Mandir, Ganesh Temple, Shani Temple, Old Fort, Badal Mahal etc.
All these tourist attractions in one destination prove that It is hidden heritage gem of Bundelkhand of Madhya Pradesh. One should visit and experience and know a lot about Brave King Chhatrasal and Mastani.
How to Reach:
Airways: Nearest Airport is in Khajuraho (60km) directly connected with New Delhi and Varanasi.
Railways: Nearest stations are Chhatarpur (20km) and Harpalpur (20km) but have very few trains run on this route.
Roadways: Dhubela is situated on Orchha- Khajuraho highway. And buses can easily available from Nowgong and Chhattapur to all nearby cities.
Where to Stay: Tourist can stay in Dhubela Resort and other options are available in Chhatarpur which is 15 km from Dhubela.