On a hill overlooking the plain and about 40 km from Bhopal, the site ofSanchi comprises a group of Buddhist monuments (monolithic pillars, palaces, temples and monasteries) all in different states of conservation most of which date back to the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. It is the oldest Buddhist sanctuary in existence and was a major Buddhist centre in India until the 12th century A.D.
This hill of Udaygiri is about one and half miles in length, its generaldirection being from south-west to north-east and its height is about 300 ft from ground level. The region in which the hill is situated was in ancient times known as Dasarna. The name 'Dasarna' of a kingdom famous for its sharp-edged swords is mentioned in one of the early Buddhist canonical works and it is generally identified with the region about modern Bhilsa. The foundation of Vidisha went back to a very remote age and that its population was a large one in the early centuries of Buddhism is abundantly clear from the extent of its well-defined site as well as from the depth of debris that had accumulated there before, 2nd Century B.C.
There are 20 caves of Hindu and Jaina pantheons built during the period of imperial Gupta. The Caves are partially rock cut and partially structural. On the hill top of Udaigiri caves, there are ruins of a Temple plinth of late Gupta period. A broken pillar also lying in the front of the ruins. It's datable 5th-6th Century A.D. A Buddhist Stupa was also observed by Cunningham in 1875 on the top of the hill. Beside this there are important inscriptions of Chandragupta II and Kumaragupta of Gupta dynasty.
Gwalior is derived from the name of a hermit Gwalip who is said to have cured Raja Suraj Sen from leprosy during his hunting pursuit. Accordingly, this place was named Gopagiri or Gopadri. Later it got corrupted to Gwaliawar or Gwalior. Gwalior, famed for its fort, is well connected with rail, road and airways. One is delighted to have its glimpse while alighting at the station or passing through it.
There is no escape from encountering this magnificent fort encompassing the massive hillock. The antiquity of this place goes back to prehistoric times as a number of stone age artifacts were found form Gupteshwar. 3 Km west of Gwalior. In early historical period, this area was under the Control of Mauryas, Sungas, Kushanas, and Nagas who governed over this area till C.AD 400. Afterwards, Guptas ruled over this place till the last quarter of the C.AD 500.
The temples at Khajuraho were built during the Chandella dynasty, which reached its apogee between 950 and 1050. Only about 20 temples remain; they fall into three distinct groups and belong to two different religions – Hinduism and Jainism. They strike a perfect balance between architecture and sculpture. The Temple of Kandariya is decorated with a profusion of sculptures that are among the greatest masterpieces of Indian art.
BADA MADARSA: Bada Madarsa, which is also a tomb, It is a square tomb building having an arcade of five arches supported on stone pillars on each side and a 6.1 m. varandah girding on all sides. There are no struts or any other ornamental features on the exterior. The mortuary hall is square with 9.96 m. side. Except for the entrance, it is closed on all sides with jail-panels on the exterior verandah above the dado height the famous geometrical designs of Fatehpur Sikri by more than a century. Arches are built with the help of voussiors and are truly radiating. They have a very assertive ogee; indeed the curves of ogee are so overwhelmingly prominent as to have gone out of shape. Pendentives and stone squinches have been used in the phase of transition. The dome has fallen down.
BADAL MAHAL GATEWAY: It is named Badal Mahal Gate though there is no Mahal or palace with which it may have been connected. Such isolated gateways are not uncommon at Chanderi or elsewhere and were probably erected to commemorate certain important events. This gateway is a double arched entrancewith circular and tapering bastions at sides, the total height of the structure being about 50 feet. Architecturally it is quite an imposing and interesting structure against the background of the hill-fort.
BATTISI BAOLI: There are innumerable baolies or step wells at Chanderi, of which the Battisi Baodi is the largest and the best preserved. It is so called as it sinks by 32 flights of steps arranged in four stages or storeys wih eight staircases in each. According to a Persian inscription on it the well was built in the reign of Sultan Ghiyas Shah of Malwa in A.H. 890 (A.D. 1485).
CHANDERI FORT: The hill-fort of Chanderi stands overlooking the town. According to a Sanskrit inscription the nucleus of the fort was built Kirttipala, a Pratihara king, in the 11th century and was named Kirtti-durga after its builder. At present, there are no old buildings of importance on the fort except the ruins of a palace (Naukhanda or Hawa Mahal) of the Bundela Rajas and a mosque. A monument had been erected to commemorate the august ceremony of Johar performed there by a number of Rajput ladies on the eve of Babar's conquest (A.D. 1528).
JAMA MASJID: This mosques has a spacious open court ( 31.42 x 24.38 m) with sanctuary on its west and arched cloisters (dalans) on its north and south, the one on the eastern side having been destroyed. The sanctuary, which measures 37.49 x 11.73 m. is three aisles deep with a corridor running north-south. Wings on either side of the nave have each an oblong barrel-vaulted hall and a square hall at the extreme end, the former thus being intermediary between the nave and the wing proper in each case. Stone ribs have been used in the barrel-vault. The nave and the square hall are roofed by elongated, massive domes, having padmakosa and Kalasa and amalaka finial. The quibla wall has been ornamentally divided into a series of beautiful mihrabs with prominent ogee curves. The skilful use of the building technique and the refined taste for exquisite ornamental effect in the structural masses, show that the building could not have been built later than A.D. 1450.
KATI GHATI: The ghati was built after cutting solid rock by Miman Khan in AD 1480 during the reign of Ghiyasuddin Shah of Mandu. It is 58.52 m. long, 11.89 m. broad and 24.38 m. high. The main opening is 5.18 x 3.51 m.
KOSHAK MAHAL: The Koshak-Mahal is by far the most important palace at Chanderi. It is a square building with 35.36 m. side. Its plan like a Roman cross has been so disposed as to provide wide open passage in the middle of each side running across the whole length, the two E-W and N-S bisecting each other at right angles, thus leaving three storeyed mansions at the four corners. In other words, Koshak mahal is a complex of four palaces of equal dimensions standing at equal distance from one another on the sides of passages which connect them as much as they separate them. It allows each adjunct to stand independently and draw its ventilation and light freely on all the four sides and yet be interconnected through the overhead covered corridors instead of a single spacious courtyard in the middle of the compound, the wide open passages have been provided for better reasons. The superstructure has been destroyed ut obviously no dome was used. Probably there were chhatris, one on each corner, crowning the corner adjunct independently.
Entirely built of white local sandstone, all the four mansions of Koshak Mahal are identifical. Each one is three – storeyed and is three aisles deep on either side, measuring, like a perfect cube, a little ore than 15.24 m. on eigher axis. The first storey has a comfortable division of its plan into chambers and corridors, strictly devoted to its residential purpose. Its ceiling is unique. Divided into square bays altogether, each one is roofed by four fling arches – all in stone – meeting at the apex, thus forming a gorgeous cross- vault. Massive pillars have been used for support. The second storey too has an ingenious, yet extremely simple, technique of roofing. Here the slabs have been laid diagonally across the breadth along the whole length of each division. Except at the ends where triangular qediments have been provided they rest by their joint weight. It is this wonderful way that the force of gravitation has been exploited. The third has the conventional flat ceiling with the use of pillars and brackets. In comparision to the lower ones, the uppermost storey is most ornamental. There is carving and jail work.
NIZAM-UD-DIN'S TOMB: Some of the Muhammadan tombs at Chanderi possess ornamental carvings of great beauty and variety of design. The most notable among these is a finely carved panel or niche on a tomb in the family graveyard of Saint Nizam-udddin.
SHAHJADI KA ROZA: It is believed to be the tomb of an emperor's of daughter whose name is not known. It is a square building built entirely of grey coloured sandstone. It must have originally been a tiny and beautiful structure as glaned now partly by its wavy brackets supporting the eaves and by the bands of the geometrical designs inlaid with blue enamels. From extant remains, it appears that it was covered by a single dome, each side of which has series of five closed ogee arches resting on 20 pillars it is dated A.D. 1420-35.
The Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka are in the foothills of the VindhyanMountains on the southern edge of the central Indian plateau. Within massive sandstone outcrops, above comparatively dense forest, are five clusters of natural rock shelters, displaying paintings that appear to date from the Mesolithic Period right through to the historical period. The cultural traditions of the inhabitants of the twenty-one villages adjacent to the site bear a strong resemblance to those represented in the rock paintings.
The temple stands magnificently over the rocky outcrop lying on theright bank of the river Betwa (ancient Vetrawati). It is about 32 km south-east of Bhopal. This unique temple left incomplete for some unknown reason is ascribed to the illustrious King Bhojadeva (1010-1055 A.D) of Paramara dynasty of Central India, who was a great patron of art, architecture and learning. The king Bhojadeva was a renowned author of more than eleven books of which Samarangana Sutradhara, a celebrated book on architecture is the most important.
Source: Must See Indian Heritage