When it comes to visiting heritage sites, India offers a variety of destinations. India has several states that are incredibly rich in terms of historical culture and architecture. In terms of tourism, cuisine, adventure, forests, and many other things.

Madhya Pradesh is one of India’s most fortunate states. Most of the state is high in historic values. Chanderi in Madhya Pradesh is one such underrated yet equally stunning area. Despite Chanderi’s extensive history, it is not frequently listed as a top tourist destination by historical enthusiasts.

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The view of historic city-Chanderi_©fabmytrip

Most people think of the corresponding cloth when the word “Chanderi” is spoken. While it is entirely acceptable and justified, Chanderi is also a very well-known but small town located in Madhya Pradesh just between Malwa and Bundelkhand. Furthermore, the location along the Betwa river makes it a fantastic alternative to explore. Chanderi has a number of Bundela Rajput and Malwa sultan monuments and is surrounded by hills, lakes, and woods. It is renowned for its historic Jain temples. Jain culture has always been strongly rooted in the Chanderi region. It served as the Parwar Jain community’s main hub.

Because of its strategic location, Chanderi at that time acted as both a commerce route for Central India and a conduit to Malwa. Back then, the town was a perfect trading centre since it was rich in natural resources and situated in a highly advantageous location. A number of the important rulers in India at the time were interested in the location of the area.

Historic architecture makes Chanderi special.

Chanderi is stunning from all angles, making it a place one may not even imagine existed in India. The area has such a rich history that it has also been used as a location for various movies.

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The view of Chanderi fort_©outlookindian

Understanding culture and heritage can be enhanced by the variety of historical sites, making this a fascinating journey. This may be the perfect location to visit to delve further into the richness of history and tradition.

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The view of Kirti Durga structure at Chanderi fort_©alamy

The enormous Kirti Durg structure at Chanderi Fort provides spectacular views of Chanderi and the area’s forests and meadows because it is perched on a hill. The fort, which was constructed in the 11th century by king Kirtipal, represents a synthesis of the many cultural and architectural components that each conqueror brought with them. 

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The view of Naukhanda Mahal at Chanderi fort_©NathR

Durjan Singh, the Bundela ruler, constructed the Naukhanda Mahal, a structure featuring a central courtyard, a fountain, and a tank. Alauddin Khilji also constructed a mosque with beautiful stone carvings of flower designs and Quranic passages. The complex has a bloodier past in several areas.

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The Johar Smarak outside of Chanderi fort_©Nisha&Vasudevam

The Johar Smarak, for instance, was constructed to honour the mass burning of 600 Rajput women in 1528 when Babur stormed the kingdom. Then there is Khooni Darwaza, where the Malwa sultans would hang the remains of prisoners and where it is reported that when Babur besieged the fort, it was soaked in blood once more. The fort serves as a sort of allegory for Chanderi.

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The Shehzadi ka Rauza at Chanderi_©wikimedia

The abandoned Raja Rani Mahal, one of the town’s 43 remaining palaces, the domeless Shehzadi ka Rauza, constructed in the 15th century by the governor of Chanderi for his daughter Mehrunissa, and Parmeshwar Tal and its surrounding cenotaphs of the Bundela kings and their satis are more of Chanderi’s historical sites.

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The Koshak Mahal, Chanderi_©businessmirror

Chanderi and its surroundings have historically been a centre of significant religious and spiritual activity, aside from the royal relics dispersed across its terrain. Numerous Hindu and Jain temples were constructed nearby during the period of the Kachhwahas and the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty.

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The Nizammudin family tomb complex at Chanderi_©Faridgaur

The former is made up of the lovely Nizammudin Family Tombs complex. We stumbled upon it while casually wandering around the alleyways of Chanderi, a well-known tourist destination run by the Archaeological Survey of India. Inside were stone tombs with incredibly detailed engravings. Some of them had domes over them, while others were out in the open. They were decorated with geometric carvings and jaali work. The Chishti Nizami sect, which was founded when Nizammudin Auliya despatched his khalifas to the Malwa area to establish the order, has tombs here that belong to its adherents.

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The Toteshvara Mahadev temple, Kadwaya, Chanderi_©outlookindia

Kadwaya, an ancient settlement that dates to the eighth century CE, is located around 50 kilometres from Chanderi. Despite its outward appearance, Kadwaya is home to 15 Hindu temples, a monastery, a fort, and tanks dating back to the eighth century CE. Its narrow roads are studded with ancient, vividly painted dwellings, modest shrines, and stores. The Toteshvara Mahadev temple is the largest of them all. Toteshvara Mahadev is an exception to the general pattern, even though many old temples are no longer used for worship.

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The Badal Mahal Gate, Chanderi_©Flickr

Cultural, social and political dynamics of Chanderi.

Chanderi is mostly recognised for its weaving tradition. Between the second and seventh centuries, Chanderi’s weaving tradition began to develop. It is located at the intersection of the Malwa and Bundelkhand cultural areas of the state. The traditions of the inhabitants of the Vindhyachal Ranges are very diverse. The prominence of the area expanded in the eleventh century because of the trading centres of Malwa, Medwa, central India, and south Gujarat.

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The Chanderi fabric_©fabriclore

The Chanderi sari custom dates back to the thirteenth century. Koshti weavers from Jhansi moved to Chanderi and settled there around 1350. The height of Chanderi’s textile industry occurred during the Mughal era. The Chanderi textiles and fabric are well known from the Bunkaar quarters. The sarees there are exquisite and very reasonably priced.

Madhya Pradesh is also known best for some of the mouthwatering regional cuisine. The popular Dal Tikka and Churma Laddoo are must-try. The meals’ textures are also fairly wonderful for you to test out, and the taste is simply too good to pass up. Instead of lingering in a posh restaurant, check out the neighbourhood eateries to experience that true flavour.

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The Chanderi fabric_©fabriclore

One cannot afford to miss the region’s renowned rich culture and tradition, as already indicated. You simply must not miss Chanderi’s Bundelkhand music, which is likely another one of the best.

How demographics and modernization each affect the architecture of the city.

Indian architectural culture has laid the groundwork for an appropriated modernity and a new paradigm of development that is awaiting the materialisation of public architecture and urbanism in this new century through the meetings of the formal and the informal in the Chanderi. These interactions reveal the social, political, and economic tensions and ideals of the populace, as well as incorporate them into the social space, territory, and material culture, particularly in the design of mass housing.

Modernism, which sought order and universals in architecture, eschewed adornment in favour of fresh, modern materials and cutting-edge technology. Modernism developed new forms of expression with a new aesthetic while emphasising usefulness, simplicity, and logic. As a result, to respect the local culture, less emphasis was placed on the traditional architectural design that has been used for decades. Modernization had an impact on and decreased appreciation for the intricate carvings and portraits that told stories via building.

References:

  • Wikipedia.com (2021) last edited 4 October 2022 [ Online]

Available at- 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanderi 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanderi_sari 

  • Traveltriangle.com (2020) [Online]

Available at- 

https://traveltriangle.com/blog/chanderi-in-madhya-pradesh/ 

  • Outlookindian.com (2022) [Online]

Available at-

https://www.outlookindia.com/outlooktraveller/explore/story/71828/in-the-land-of-forts-and-temples-rediscovering-chanderi 

Author

Ayushi Samarth is a freshly graduate architect. Reading, understanding and writing upon the analysis made have always been the keen interests of Ayushi. She has always been curious in understanding the impact of social issues on architecture and design. Dealing with the theory of user and context interaction with architecture and narrating the story of architecture always has her attention.

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