Feb 11, 2013

Off the beaten track- Datia and Sonagir


Datia Mahal satkhanda palace
I took an autorikshaw to Purana Mahal. Autorikshaw went moving through narrow roads lined with sweet stalls, fruit and vegetable market and others. I wondered where was I heading ... and there was this withering yet majestic palace standing high on rock. Datia Mahal, Satkhanda Palace, Purana Mahal, Old Palace ... all mean the same ... Bir Singh Palace, a seven storied palace built by Bundela Raja Bir Singh Deo as a symbol of friendship between him and Jahangir, a mughal. Though a beautiful palace nobody lived here as it was considered unlucky.

This uncared palace still holds its beauty covered under dust and cobwebs. Built of only stone and bricks, no cement or iron, this palace is finest examples of Indo-Islamic architecture and is also considered a jewel of Bundelas. The interconnecting walkways are in the shape of Swastika, a Hindu religious symbol. The ceilings and walls of the upper floors have beautiful murals. The vegetable and natural dye murals have survived the forces of nature- the birds, elephants and flowering trees represent Rajputana  art. One of the interesting paintings is symbolic of the friendship between Vir Singh and Jahangir. Though the palace was built for welcoming Jahangir he never visited this palace. It was then left alone and then forgotten. Though the palace is seven storied, two of them are not accessible to the tourists.


The town of Datia is a district headquarters in Madhya Pradesh and borders with Uttar Pradesh. I took a bus from Jhansi to Datia (34KM) and got off at Peetambara Devi Temple, a Shaktipeetha of Baglamukhi Devi. Datia is an ancient town mentioned as Daityavakra in Hindu Epic MahabharathaVankhandeshwar temple in this same complex is from Mahabharatha time it seems. It is a pilgrim center too with Dhumawati Mai and Gopeshwar temples in the same complex. It was little strange to learn that married and young women were not allowed near the Dhumawati Mai temple!!

Murals of Datia palace

Pics: Mural on ceiling, Mural on the wall with Bir Singh Deo and Jahangir riding elephants, Beautiful carving underside of the dome, Parapet wall.

Sonagir is a jain pilgrim center 15KM from Datia. Sonagir means golden hill on which there are hundreds of temples belonging to Digambar sect of Jains. I took a bus from Datia which dropped me on the main road from where I took a shared van to the village. Unfortunately visitors are not allowed to climb the hill in the afternoon due to scorching sun. I couldn't see all those temples. I could see only few from the base of the hill. It must be a great sight to see all the white marble temples from the summit. 

Sonagir Jain Temples

It was  more of a tiring day running around under the hot sun. More tiring was a cheating autorikshaw driver and a long fight over the fare which was resolved by a Datia traffic police :) Whatever, travel adds spice to life- sometimes too much :) Well, from Sonagir I took a train to Jhansi then a shared transport to Orchha where I was staying for the day.
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Leave a comment to share your beautiful thoughts :)

Click HERE to read more articles about Madhya Pradesh.
Click HERE to read complete Backpacking India series.

This post is linked to Our World Tuesday.

If you want pictures please ask me :)
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Scrapbook- A Travel Blog by Kusum Sanu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

26 comments:

  1. The Mahal reminds me of the mahal in the movie Bhul Bhulaiya. Lovely murals!!

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    1. You mean Chomu Palace?! This is very ghostly place :)

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  2. Interesting post on less travelled destinations.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/2013/02/welcome-to-benares.html

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  3. Wonderful post and photos, Kusum, as always! And, as always, I learn something I didn't know before! Thanks for sharing your world with us! Have a lovely week!

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    1. Sylvia, glad you like the post. You are always kind :)

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  4. another interesting destination. one could live an entire life visiting the wondrous temples and ruins and palaces of india and would not even finish.

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    1. You are right Photo Chache! There are innumerable ancient and medieval structures one could visit everyday in India :)

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  5. Great tour!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  6. What a great tour, thanks for sharing your trip! Wishing you a happy day and week ahead!

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  7. How sad the palace was never lived in and has no memories within its walls.

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    1. Yeah, the palace was built for one visit of a mughal who never visited thinking that he may have to return the favor!

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  8. Great pics and info about the place. Hats off to you for traveling alone!

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    1. Thank you Indrani. Addiction makes you do things, and I travel alone :)

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  9. Such an impressive looking building. Does have a semblance to Rajasthani architecture, doesn't it?

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    1. Thanks Divya! Yeah, Bundelas were Rajputs and their architecture is similar to Rajasthani architecture.

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  10. Another fascinating post! So much to explore, so little time...

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    1. Yeah, you are right Lady Fi, so much to cover in so little time!

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  11. I love the murals and of course the buildings are incredible too! It must be wonderful to be able to travel all over and do your photography!

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    1. Jackie, yes it is very nice experience to travel around! Thanks for dropping by ...

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  12. such beauty through design and age

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  13. Ooo nothing about Jhansi... I am sure you missed a lot...

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    1. Yes, I was in Jhansi twice but, only to catch buses to other places. Missed out the beautiful fort of Jhansi ki Rani.

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