As we drove into Chanderi, we encountered the Chanderi Museum of the Archaelogical Survey of India and
it merited a visit. So in we went and spent close to an hour admiring all the artefacts on display. The
collection in there was amazing! We spent close to an hour there taking a walk through history. No photography allowed in the museum.
We checked into the lovely MPTDC cottage called Tana Bana. Lovely, clean, luxurious accommodation at affordable prices!
Post lunch we set out on a tour of the Chanderi fort which is being restored by ASI.
Then we drove to see the fascinating Kati Ghati Gate. The story of the gate is both interesting and tragic. In
1495 A.D. when Sher Khan was the Governor of Chanderi, he received notice that King Gyasuddin Khilji the Sultan of Malwa wished to visit Chanderi and Jimman Khan was advised that the Sultan wished to be welcomed to Chanderi by the sight of a grand gateway at the top of the hill range. But this information was received very late and there was just a day left for his arrival hence a huge reward was announced for the person who could create such a gate in a day. One stonemason agreed to the challenge and with his crew started to work on it. The next morning Jimman Khan got the news that the work was completed and he reached the site to inspect it. He was amazed to see that the gateway had indeed been cut out the rock. On further inspection Jimman Khan saw that the craftsman had not made arrangements to fit the door to close the gateway. He told the craftsman that since this gateway formed the first line of security of the fort it should have a door. To fit the door they would need to put in extra stone, and then the uniqueness of the gateway would be lost. Jimman Khan refused to pay for the work and the craftsman in shame walked away empty handed. Later the craftsman committed suicide and his tomb can be found to the side of the gate.
Now it was time to visit the ruins of Koshak Mahal. This simple yet imposing building was built in 1445 as a
victory monument by the Sultan of Malwa, Mehmood Shah Khilji, to commemorate his victory over Sultan Mehmood Sharki in the battle at Kalpi.
One legend has it that the real reason the Sultan ordered the monument’s construction was to provide employment to the people of Chanderi. At that time, the people of the town were facing a severe shortage of work and using the pretext of the victory at Kalpi, the project was initiated to provide the people with work and pay.
It is believed that once the first storey was completed, the builders were faced with the problem of raising the heavy stone blocks to the second level. This was resolved by burying the first storey under dirt to create a slope on which the blocks could be carried uphill. Each storey was similarly constructed and finally the dirt was cleared away to uncover the entire structure.
It was evening by the time we visited the Jama masjid and Badal Mahal. Of Badal Mahal the palace is almost
non existent and only the Darwaza(door) remains inside the fort. The importance of this Darwaza can be guaged by the fact that it is the stamp which Madhya Pradesh Handloom Department puts on the hand-woven sarees which Chanderi is famous for and also as a seal which is put on the letters which are posted in Chanderi.
Our last stop in Chanderi was the Parameshwar talab and the Laxman temple. The legend of the Laxman
Temple is that once there was a group of devotees who reached the pond and stayed overnight there to rest.
They were carrying an idol of Lord Laxman which they placed under a peepal tree. In the morning the devotees tried to pick up the idol but it would not budge. They then believed that the reason for this was that Lord Laxman wanted to stay at that spot, and so they performed the rituals to erect a temple there.
And you thought Chanderi was famous only for its sarees!
How to get there :
By Air: The nearest airports are at Bhopal (258 km) and Gwalior (259 km).
By Rail: Lalitpur (36 km) and Jhansi (124 km) on the Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Mumbai main line are the closest railheads. Ashok Nagar (46 km) and Mungaoli (38 km) also serve Chanderi.
By Road: Chanderi is connected by regular bus services with Gwalior, Indore, Guna, Shivpuri, Ashok Nagar, Jhansi, Lalitpur, Tikamgarh, Vidisha, Sanchi and Bhopal