Bundelkhand Circuit : Lalitpur
It is situated 93 km south of Jhansi, on the rail and road route towards
Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh. It used to be a part of the greater Jhansi district
till March 1974, when it was given the status of a separate district with three
tehsils lalitpur, Mahrauni and Tal Behat. Legend has it that the place got its
name after Queen Lalita of the Malwa king Sumer Singh. The river Betwa flows on
its west, separating it from neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.
The entire district is rich with archaeological findings dating back to
prehistoric times. These include workshops for making Stone Age tools.
What to see
Matatila dam, Tal Behat, Chandpur, Mansarover Lake, Pali Neelkanteshwar
Temple, Narsingh rock cut sculpture and The shrine of Baba Sadanshah.
It is located about 36 km on the road to Jhansi. The picturesque dam is built
on the Betwa river and is a popular excursion and picnic spot. It has facilities
for water sports and has a beautiful garden.
Situated 31 km to the south on the Jhansi-Sagar highway, it derived its name
from Tal (lake) and Behat (village) in the language of the Gonds. There is a
fine fort built in 1618 by Bharat Shah, the Chanderi king.
This village about 10 km from Deogarh is famous for its archaeological finds
of Chandel and Jain origin. There is an ancient temple that now lies in ruins.
Chandpur village in Lalitpur tehsil is known for extensive archaeological
remains, scattered especially in the east and north west parts. It is situated
midway between Dudhai and Devgarh, and the Jhansi-Mumbai railway track is
located on the west of this village.
This place is very rich in Chandel and Jain period archaeological remains.
These include five groups temple ruins and several pieces of statues, all
examples of unique artwork. The presence of pieces and ruins of nude statues
indicate them to be of Jain origin. A little away is the second group of Hindu
temples, which includes mainly Vishnu temples. Another group of Hindu temple
ruins includes the Sahastralag temple built in 1882. Atop the entrance gate of
the temple is a statue of six-armed Lord Shiva in the famed Tandav nrittya pose.
On the right and left, respectively, are statues of Vishnu and Brahma. After
entering the temple is a Nandi statue with a roof overhead. the statue is 1.5
metres long, 0.6 meteres wide and 1.10 metres high. On its boundary wall are
engraved countless figurines of exquisite artwork, including a dancing statue.
Some frames are made in the human and animal form. Another group of temples is
in almost complete ruins, known as Varaah temple. On a high platform near the
railway line there is another group of ruins of Lord Vishnu temples. A short
distance away is the temple of Jhajhar dedicated to Lord Vishnu. The ceiling of
the entry gate is decorated with statues. According to legend, the footsteps of
king Jhajhar Dev, a king of central India, can be seen at a place near the
Madanpur in Mahrauni tehsil is 75 km from the district headquarters of
Lalitpur and 171 km south of Jhansi. On the northeast it is connected by road to
Madavara,and on north-west, it is connected by Jhansi-Lalitpur-Sagar National
highway at Narhat village. The legend is that Madanpur is named after its
founder Chandela ruler, Madan Verma. It used to be a prosperous village in those
Ruins of Vishnu, Shiva and Jain temples in addition to several Chandela
period structures are found here. There is exquisite painting on the ceiling of
the sanctum sanctorum of a Jain temple. In a Jain temple a stone inscription
mentions the year Samvat 1206 and also the name of the village. Two small stone
inscriptions are seen in a Baradari with small columns. In one of them the
description of the conquest of king Prithviraj Chauhan over king Parmardi (Parmal)
of Jejakbhukti in Samvat 1239 is inscribed. In front of these ruins there is a
huge lake, banked by red stones, believed to be made in the Chandel period. In
front of the lake, there is a 12-feet high platform, on which the seat and court
of the mighty warrior heros of the 12th century Aalha and Udal, are located.
Madanpur is situated in the most narrow stretch of the Vindhya mountain
range. During the 1857-58 War of Independence this pass was in the control of
the king of Shahgarh. The king had fiercely opposed the forward advance of the
British officer Hughrose who was marching towards attacking the Jhansi Fort.
A little away from this village is Patan village, which is older.
Some old Jain temples are situated here. The ruins of an old structure and a
gate are believed to be the archaeological remains of the palace of king Mangal
Singh of Patan.
The noted Jain site Pava is located about 50 km from Lalitpur in Lalitpur
tehsil, and 46 km from Jhansi. Pava is a big village, situated at the south bank
of Belna, and a road from here meets the Jhansi-Sagar national highway near
Karelara. About 100 years ago this place was known as an important centre of
Jain pilgrimage. There is a hill near this village, which is known as the Hill
of the Siddhas. According to an ancient Jain tradition, four Jain saints,
including Swarnbhadra, had received Nirvana in Pawagiri.
Another hill close by is known as the Pava hill. There are two other temples
connected with Jain saints. From one point near these temples visitors can have
a panaoramic view of the area and Matatila dam. Below the hill, there is Lala
Hardaul ka Chabutara, a platform named after the famed and popular Bundela
warrior. There are also remains of a large Jain temple known as Naik Gadi. It is
said that this was built by two Jain traders named Devpat and Siyopat. Among the
ruins is is a wall, a gate and a baoli (deep well.)
Chandan Van Var Block (Bar)
Bar, which is a large village and the capital of the development block of the
same name, is located at 24° northwest of Mahrauni. Its distance from Mahrauni
is 40 km. It is connected with Bansi by road. There is a railway line from Bar
to Lalitpur. The nearest railway station is Jakhaura. There is an emergency
Airport in Lalitpur. Earlier it was a town but in 1608 when Jahangir gave this
estate to Ramshah, this became the headquarters of the estate. In 1616 Ramshah’s
son Bharat Shah won Chanderi which he made his state headquarters.
Here in the 9th century a pond was made by Bachraj which is known as
Bachsagar. The nearby hills are covered with Bundela buildings and sandalwood
trees. There is a pond of 52 hectare at the shores of which there is a precious
garden of Kevada. All this makes this place extremely interesting and
delightful. Currently Bar is also known as Chandan Nagar.
Vijaypur temple situated here is archaeologically important. Other scenic
spots include the tomp of Raja Shah located on the pond, Samadhi of devotee
Maharaj near the Bhole Baba temple, Copra Baba temple on the hill and fort built
by Raja Mardan Singh on the hill
This vast lake is situated 50 km from Jhansi on the Jhansi-Lalitpur-Deogarh
highway at Talbehat. This lake is ideal for water sports. On the bank of the
lake are Fort of Mardan Singh, Hazaria Mahadev temple and many ghats. About 10
km away is the Matatila reservoir built on the Betwa river. The lake, temples
and the reservoir are among favourite spots for tourists.
Pali Neelkanteshwar Temple
Neelkantheswar, is a famous temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is said to be
the oldest temple of Lord Shiva near in Pali area of Lalitpur district, about 25
km from Lalitpur. The idol of Lord Shiva in this temple is unique in that it has
three heads, and it is considered to be one and only Avatar of Lord Shiva. Pali
. This temple is situated amid dense forests on a hillock and this place is also
famous for betel growing. The temple dates back to the Chandela period, and
legend has it that the idol came out in its own from the mountain and the temple
was built around it. A very huge fair (mela) is held here every year during the
Maha Shivratri festival. A procession of devotees can be witnessed on this day.
Narsingh rock cut sculpture
A magnificent rock cut sculpture of Narsingh (incarnation of Lord Vishnu) can
be seen at Dudhai in Lalitpur district, 100 km south of Jhansi on NH 26 from
Lalitpur. One can reach this great spectacle by turning off the highway at
Bagaria and drive about 28 km to Dudhai. Dated at 5th century, this sculpture at
Dudhai is one of those ‘forgotten’ treasures of India. It is a significant site
as it comprises a set of Hindu and Jain temples with awe inspiring iconographic
detailing on each structure. An impressive ‘Varaha’ — the wild boar incarnation
of Vishnu — stands in the middle of the site. The lines of rock have been drawn
to a fine point and some articles of clothing and a necklace stand out. The
ferocity of the Narasingh-avatar is typified by the teeth drawn back in a snarl.
The statue, created out of the rock it stands in, has near perfect camouflage
and is nearly invisible unless seen from a relatively close distance. The
amazing sculpture is believed to belong to Gupta period.
The Shrine of Baba Sadanshah
The shrine (mazaar) of famous Sufi saint Sadanshah is situated in Lalitpur
city. Baba Sadanshah was born in a family of butchers around the year 1600 AD. A
mention of the Baba is made as 'Sadan Kasai' in the "Bhaktmal" composed by
Legend has it that Sadanshah used to sell chopped meat. He used to weigh the
meat with a sacred stone (batia) of Lord Shankar. This stone, it is said, used
to change its own weight according to the weight of the meat -- whether a ser or
a maund -- required by the customer. Once some saints passing that way saw this
sacred stone being used by a butcher, and they stole it. But in the night the
Lord appeared in the dream of these saints, and told them that "This butcher is
my devotee, return him the stone." The saints did as they were told.
A big fair is held at the shrine of the Baba every year from March 31 to
April 2, and people from all religions and faiths congregate here. This site is
a symbol of religious harmony in the region.
The shrine of Baba Sadanshah is also known by its nine steps and 32 pillars.
Residents of Lalitpur believe that it is because of the holy effect of the Baba
that the region has never witnessed any Hindu-Muslim riot since the
partition.The shrine of Baba Sadanshah is also known by its nine steps and 32
pillars. Residents of Lalitpur believe that it is because of the holy effect of
the Baba that the region has never witnessed any Hindu-Muslim riot since the
There is another legend associated with Baba Sadanshah. It is said that once
the Baba was going on a pilgrimage to Jagannath Puri. Seeking shelter on the way
he knocked at a door. There emerged a woman who did not appear to be normal by
her behaviour. The Baba asked her about her husband, at which the woman went
inside, beheaded her husband and brought his head to the Baba. He was taken
aback and then the woman started shouting, maligning the Baba. Soon, angry
villagers collected there and severed the hands of the Baba.
In Jagannath Puri, the temple priests had a dream in which the Lord said that
"My devotee is coming to me. Bring him in a palanquin with song and dance."
The priests did as they were told. All those present in the temple were
dancing and singing with cymbals in their hands. The Baba thought that he too
would have played cymbals if he had his hands.
And his severed hands reappeared.
The Baba had a divine realization that "The woman was a cow in the previous
birth, who was running away from the butcher, but you had stopped it and it was
later killed by the butcher. The woman had taken revenge of the previous birth
but your hands were given back to you because of your devotion." There is an old
church in the vicinity.
In ward number 5, there is a building known as Bansa, under the control of
the archaeology department. There is a temple of Lakshminarayan, believed to be
from the Dwapar era.
In ward number 15, there is a Hanuman temple and a mosque, symbolizing
Hindu-Muslim unity. In the same ward there is Sumera lake, built by the king of
Vanpur, Sumer Singh. There is also a clock tower, built in the year 1952-53.