Thanks to our Airbnb owner at Gwalior and our knowledgeable guide Nabbu Ji, we were able to visit the Kakanmath temple in Sihoniya. It’s in the same vicinity as the Bateshwar temple complex, Garhi Padhavali and Chausath Yogini Temple, Mitaoli but not many people know about it.
We visited the Kakanmath temple dedicated to Bhagwan Shiva at Sihoniya, Madhya Pradesh on Nov 8th. This is also a 11th century temple built by the wife of Maharaj Kritiraj of the Kacchapaghata dynasty. The Sanskrit word Kachchhapa-ghata (कच्छपघात) literally means “tortoise killer”. Interestingly, I knew nothing about the Kachchhapaghata dynasty that ruled parts of MP for two centuries – 10th to 12th century.
If you remember the Chausath Yogini Temple at Mitaoli is also built by a Kachchhapaghata ruler King Devapala. The Bateshwar temples and the Garhi Padhavali temple is built by the Pratihara Gurjara dynasty. The Kachchhapaghata dynasty were contemporaries of the Pratiharas who ruled between 8th and 11th centuries. Both these dynasties seem to have build magnificent temples in central and northwest India.
The Kakanmath temple is in ruins probably due to an Earthquake. Sadly, many of the sculptures at this temple have been defaced by the Mughals. What remains is so stunning that you wonder how anyone can bring themselves to break such pieces of art :(:(.
A unique thing about this temple is there is no binding agent used, it’s made by interlocking stones. The top dome is broken in half. In many places when you look up, the columns or spires are tilting precariously it would seem, but they are not toppling over anytime soon. The Archaeological survey of India has painstakingly numbered all the stones and rebuilt the main temple to a certain extent. There are many stones with carvings lying all around the temple.
A folklore associated with this temple is that it was built overnight by ghosts and demons which obviously is not true.
The Kakanmath temple is dedicated to Shiva but has several sculptures of Vishnu, one particularly unique Murti where Mahavishnu is holding the conch and chakra in the same hand. Usually he has the Conch and Chakra in both his arms on two sides.
A Photo Tour of Kakanmath Temple
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Please do visit this beautiful temple to get a glimpse of what our sculptors are capable of. Each sculpture is more stunning than the other and you feel a sense of spiritual serenity here. Some of our young folks have tried to carve their name on these timeless stones but now that ASI has made this temple a protected monument, the chances of further damage is reduced.