"DEOGARH- VISHNU DASAVATARA EXTRAVAGANZA" Deogarh by vaticanus
Deogarh Travel Guide: 4 reviews and 21 photos
Photos of the exquisite Dasavatara Temple are located below in two Travelogues
Dasavatara is the term for the ten avatars (descents, or incarnations) of Lord Vishnu.
Pictured above VISHNU-NARAYANA as primordial Godhead dreams on the snake of eternity Ananta (aka Shesa) whose endless coils represent time. The Goddess Lakshmi massages his feet.
Below Vishnu stand the Pandava brothers -heroes of India's epic poem The Mahabharata.-and their shared wife Draupadi- Just visible at the top are Kartikeya riding a peacock, Indra on his elephant, Brahma on the lotus and Shiva and Parvati on the bull, Nandi.
DEOGARH: The Fort of the God is situated on the Betwa river at the western end of the Lalitpur hills. SEE the Map below for directions.
Adjacent to the fort are several dozen Jain Temples. (Shoes must be removed) The site was a Jain centre from the 8th to the 17th centuries. Within the temples are panels depicting scenes from Jain mythology, Tirthankara images, Manasthamba votive pillars, Ayagpattas votive tablets, Sarvatobhadra Pratima's Jain images visible from all sides and Sahasrakuta's pillars carved with a thousand Jin figures.
Among other important structures at Deogarh are the Varah temple, the rock cut caves-Siddha-ki-Gufa, Rajghati and the Naharghati.
The highlight of Deogarh, however is the Dasavatara Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It belongs to the Gupta period and is dated at about the 6th century AD. It is the earliest known Panchayatan temple of north India. A row of superbly sculpted panels adorn the terraced basement which rises above the high plinth of the temple. A doorway with intricately carved figures of Ganga and Yamuna leads to the Garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum -No Entry).
The temple is particularly well known for its Rathika panels in recesses along its three side walls. You can see detailed photos in my traveloges.
These fine stone relief's (of grantite, red and grey sandstone) depict scenes from Vaishnava mythology, and are identified as the Gajendra Moksh, Nar-Narayan Tapasya and the Anantasayi Vishnu panels.
The Gupta age, because of its superb sculptures, is in the annals of classical India almost what the Periclean age is in the history of Greece.
Gupta art is noted for its sensual modeling, its deeply cut reliefs, and easily recognized hairstyling (the cascading locks!). Females are noticeably plump, even heavy, full chested and with wide hips. Overall, the general impression of these panels is their liveliness and their rhythmic composition.
A government bungalow managed by its scholarly and generous host, Mr. Yadav Malkhan Singh, is available for visitors. See Travel Tips section.
Trains run to Lalitpur from Delhi and Bhopal. From the parking lot of Lalitpur's bus station (take a cab from the station) there are two buses daily to Deogarh. If you only have a day to visit, it were best to hire a car and driver. There is a Tourist Bungalow in Deogarh across the road from the temple and in the town there is a compound for pilgrims.
Deogarh boasts a medieval fort, bluffs overlooking the Betwa River, hermit caves carved into the cliffs, a Jain temple complex, protected forest and numerous Gupta era temples scattered throughout a large forested area- a great incentive for hiking and exploring.
The path winds along with stairways built down to these sites. The path starts in the parking lot of the Jain temple complex (Sahu Jain Sangrahalaya) and also passes some temle ruins; one with a famous reclining Vishnu. This is a good spot to look for large birds riding the air currents. The trail takes about an hour if you take the stairs down and up to the cliff temples.
TWO OUTSIDE LINKS FOR IMAGES:
American Institute of Indian Studies
Center for Art and Archaeology Photo Archives
They have about 200 black/white images of this site and other sites in this area
I have posted large file photos of the Dasavatara Temple on flickr
- Pros:Betwa River Caves, Jain & Gupta Temples, Fort, Hiking
- Cons:Only two buses a day from Lalitpur
- In a nutshell:Great place to relax, hike, and explore
The relative isolation of this area overlooking the Betwa River after the decline of the Gupta Empire helped to preserve... more travel advice
This is a large several story hotel that has the following: Within easy walking distance to the train station on Station... more travel advice
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