Morena, known for its ravines of Chambal are what gave the land its notorious fame, the region has several significant archaeological sites with some monuments from the Mahabharata era to the medieval age. These monuments are the part of the country’s rich cultural heritage. Most of these sites are close to Morena town and Gwalior city, which itself has a lot to offer.
I heard a lot about ancient temples of Morena, which is very close to Gwalior. So I along with planned to explore the rich heritage of Morena Disrict. My plan for this trip was like this
Gwalior-> Nareshwar-> Padawali-> Bateshwar Group of Temples-> Mitawali-Kakanmath-> Gwalior.
Here is my travelogue…
I along with friend Amandeep left home at morning 8:00 am, followed Gwalior-Bhind Highway, before Malanpur Toll Plaza, we took left turn and followed Kachha Road for 3 km then 2 km trekking and we reached hidden treasure of temples i.e Nareshwar by 09:00 am.
Nareshwar: Nareshwar known for its beautiful temples built during 8th to 12th century. These group of temples were excavated by Archaeological Survey of India and process is still continued. There are around 21 temples still standing on three sides of the mountain. Nareshwar Temples are of Nagara styles and were built under the reign of Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty. On the mountain there is a rare tank with stairs is surrounded by temples. The tank has been made by cutting out the rocks of the mountain. There are statues of different deities like Shiva and Hanuman.
After Stepped down from hill of Nareshwar, We 2 hungry explorer wanted to eat something. So we moved to Malanpur and had food at 12:00 pm. After meal, we continued our journey and reached Padawali (Padawali village is now a Aadarsh Gram or Model Village) under Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojna. Distance between Malanpur and Padawali is 13km.
Padawali: The Fortress at Padawali was built by the Jat Ranas of Gohad. Among the most conspicuous architecture at this site is the temple inside the fortress. It consists of a central dome erected on pillars, instead of the usual outer wall. Presently there are no statues or idols within the temple. The beautiful part of the building was ceiling of the temple, which is intricately carved with gods and goddesses from the Hindu pantheon, as well as scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Padawali temples reminds you of the temples of Khajuraho.
Bateshwar Group of Temples is 2 km away from Padawali, temple complex is well maintained and is so beautiful. We reached there by 2:00 pm.
Bateshwar: Recent excavations at Bateshwar, have revealed a group of nearly 200 ancient Shiva & Vishnu temples. Most of them are single cell shrines with Shikars surmounted by Amalakas which were built between 9th and 11th century during the Gurjara-Pratihara Dynasty. Bateshwar Group of temples were excavated by ASI under the leadership of renowned historian Mr K.K. Muhammed. The famous temple in Bateshwar is Bhuteshwar Mahadev.
After Bateshwar Temples, we moved to our next attraction that is Mitawali is 4km only.
Mitawali: The fascinating 14th century Chausath Yogini temple at Mitawali dated to 1323 AD was believed to be built by erstwhile ruler Maharaj Devpala, Mitawali is situated on top of a hillock, it comprises a circular cloister, built around an open courtyard, and has an uncanny resemblance to the Parliament House in New Delhi. It consists of a series of small cells, each with an open flat-roofed mandapa enshrining a linga. A smaller circular shrine, also housing a linga stands in the centre of the courtyard.
At 3:00 pm, we moved for our final destination of the day i.e Kakanmath, 23 km drive was so amazing and we passed by green fields and small villages.
Kakanmath: Kakanmath at Suhaniya village, a known Shiva shrine, is recorded to have been built by Kachchhapaghata ruler Kirttiraja (r. 1015-1030), to fulfil the wish of his queen Kakanwati. Temple consists of a sanctum, a pillared hall and a porch. The temple is dated to 11th Century AD.
It was so amazing and memorable journey which was enough to break the myth that ‘Morena is not only famous for its dacoit and related stories’ but is also rich heritage. After this journey, I can say its a perfect Heritage Circuit of Madhya Pradesh. Roads were good and locals were also hospitable.
Other Places nearby to Explore is Shani Temple in Shanichara, which is very famous in this region and 10 km from Mitawali. or one can add Shani Temple in this circuit as well.
How to Reach:
Mitawali, Padawali, Bateshwar, Kakanmath, Shanichara and Nareshwar temples are in Morena District But feasible to reach by Gwalior. The Distance from Gwalior to Mitawali, Padawali and Bateshwar is 40 km via Malanpur, where as Nareshwar is 30km and Kakanmath (in Sihoniya Village) is 90 km via Morena or 60 km via Mitawali. So best option to hire a taxi from Gwalior and explore this Heritage Circuit of Morena.
Airways: Gwalior is directly connected with New Delhi and Mumbai via airway.
Railways: Gwalior Railway Stations is on the main Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi- Chennai lines. Among other major trains, the Taj Express and Shatabdi Express connect Agra, New Delhi and Morena.
Roadways: Gwalior is directly connected by regular bus services with Agra, Mathura, Indore, Jaipur, Chanderi, Shivpuri, Khajuraho, Ujjain, Morena, Kanpur etc.
Where to Stay: All categories of hotels and resorts are available in Gwalior
Where to Eat: There is NO restaurant/ dhabas on this route except some of them in Malanpur. So pack some food before leaving your place.
‘Keep Travelling Keep Learning’