Nov 8, 2022
We started out at 7.30 am for our trip to the Bateshwar Temple complex. These are a set of nearly 100 temples that have been restored in the past 25 years by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India). For the efforts that Shri K K Muhammed and his team have put in…. he should be awarded the Bharat Ratna. These breathtaking temples would have been lost to us forever if not for the efforts of Shri K K Muhammed.
Bateshwar temple complex is about 35 kms from Gwalior city. There are two routes to reach them. One from Agra and the other from Gwalior. The route from Gwalior crosses the airport and then goes through villages before reaching the complex.
Reaching the Bateshwar Temples
About Bateshwar Temples
The Bateshwar temples were built by the Gurjara – Pratihara dynasty about 1300 years back. The Pratiharas are apparently descendants of Lakshmana, Bhagwan Rama’s brother. There are nearly 200 temples and all of them were just a mound of rubble 25 years back. Restoration of about 100 temples is complete. Several more remain.
No one ventured into this area as they feared the dreaded Chambal Valley dacoit, Nirbhay Singh Gujjar. The entire area was in his control. Do read about the process that Shri K K Muhammed went through before getting the opportunity to restore these temples. How a dacoit and a Muslim archaeologist restored a forgotten Hindu temple complex
The restoration work is painstaking to say the least. It seems like an Earthquake literally upended these temples and the entire area got covered with stones, pillars, sculptures etc. Shri K K Muhammed and team have numbered each stone in an attempt to put the temples back together.
The restoration team makes the binding agent like ancient times – using Bel leaves, Urad Dal, Sugarcane molasses and fine mud.
What I found most interesting is the mix of Shiva and Vishnu temples in the complex. Unlike South India the divisions between Shiva and Vishnu followers seem more fluid in these temples. The sculptures on the temple pillars just take your breath away !! Today being Chandra Grahan, there was no Puja in the main Bhutnath temple. It’s a temple surrounded by temples.
The Dashavatar sculptures found here depict Buddha as the 9th avatar of Vishnu instead of Balarama. Very interesting again. Ganeshas abound and several of them are dancing Ganeshas. There is a Hanuman Ji’s sculpture that seems a little recent 🙂 even though he is Chiranjeevi. Peacocks keep you company as you wander through the temple complex.
A Photo Tour of Bateshwar Temples
Travelling from breathless Gurgaon (courtesy the pollution) we witnessed breathtaking Bateshwar temples …. the whole complex is actually surreal. A truly memorable visit.
Would request every reader to visit this temple complex. It’s truly breathtaking.