11 Jun 2015

Marvels of Vidisha

Vidisha travelogue

Our great country is bestowed with tremendous natural beauty and possesses so much of geographical diversity that you can easily find a tourist worthy delight in even the smallest of places. When my uncle invited us to his son’s wedding in Vidisha, I had no idea that I was going to return as an admirer of the city. Little did I know that the trip would encompass sightseeing and joyful trips to monuments.

So, as it happened, after the wedding we were left with two more days and since there was nothing much to do, uncle planned the trip and to kill time and I joined merrily to explore the marvels of this sweet little city. It all began with the Udaygiri caves. Situated within 10 km from the town, the site is housed on a small hill and carries sculptures, carved out of the rocks. It is a series of 14 caves that were carved during the Gupta period. The rock-cut sanctuaries and the excavations on the hillside, belonging to 5th century BC, are wondrous works of architecture. Shrouded in mythology and religion, the caves have many inscriptions and carvings, related to Gods and their avatars.

The most prominent among them is of Lord Vishnu in his Varah avatar. The Shiv linga, Goddess Durga killing the buffalo demon Mahishasura and Ganesha are also enchanting. The caves are a complete cocktail of mystery and history. You are sure to feel an instant connect with the past and can sense your soul drifting into the recesses of the mystical monuments. It is a pity that the place is not well maintained. Though the Archaeological Survey of India has taken it under its wings, one wishes, it was better preserved.

Having surveyed the cryptically charming caves, it was time to pay obeisance at Bijamandal. This 1000 years old temple houses remarkable artifacts and sculptures from the bygone eras. The verdant compound with green grass beds looks amazing in company of the dark archaic rock structures. The detailing is so neat and images so engrossing that you cannot cover everything in one day. How I wished I had some more time in hand. I had anyway made a mental note to come to this place again and examine every sculpture closely. Till then, the photographs would be sufficient to cure my longing.

Last on the list was Heliodorus Pillar, another monumental wonder that bears testimony to the rich heritage of India and the charming influence of Hinduism on foreigners. It is a stone column built by Heliodorus, the Greek ambassador of Indo-Greek king, dedicated to Lord Vasudeva whose temple lies opposite to the pillar. Also known as Khamb Baba among the local people, it is worshipped in great numbers especially by those who belong to the fishermen community. The Garuda on the top and the inscriptions in Brahmi tell a beautiful tale of love and devotion.

Vidisha woke me up to the glorious history of India. A memorable trip, it will always remind me of our brilliant past.

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