Gwalior was the first halt of our Trip 2. The drive from Meerut to Gwalior was more than eight hr so we decided to take a night halt at Agra and continue to Gwalior the next morning. The halt in Agra was utilised by a quick visit to the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort which will be shared subsequently. The next morning on the way to Gwalior we halted at places less known for their architecture but famous for bandits and outlaws. These are the three places Padhavali, Bateshwar, and Mitawali in the Morena district of Madhya Pradesh. We never expected them to be so beautiful.
From Agra, it will take two and a half hr to reach Gwalior but it took more than four hours for us, reason was the detour for the hidden gems. From Agra, we moved to NH44 which directly connects to Gwalior via Morena. (Fact: NH44 is also a part of AH43, Where AH stands for Asian Highways). Amazingly on NH44, you can actually stand at such a location where one foot is in Uttar Pradesh and another in Rajasthan while your eyes look into Madhya Pradesh. Passing the (in)famous ‘chambal ki ghati‘ at the banks of the Chambal river you leave Rajasthan behind and enter Madhya Pradesh. For Padhavali leave NH44 at Lohgarh after Nurabad bridge.
We all know where Khajuraho is and what it is famous for. But does anybody knows where is mini Khajuraho? It’s a place called Padhavali. As per the historians, it was a Shiv temple of which only the temple built for Nandi is left. Every inch of space inside the temple narrates a story. It has 4 chambers depicting all four eras in Indian mythology. (Interesting fact: You can even find pictures depicting the game of Polo. Why it is interesting? The temple is built somewhere around the 10 Century A.D.) This is one place you must visit to witness the preciseness of our sculptors, who even sculpted about ‘Kalyug’.
Bateshwar Hindu Temples
Just 01 KM drive from Padhavali is a group of Bateshwar Hindu temples. There are approx 200 temples dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Very few of them have stood the test of time. The Archaeological Survey of India is doing a good job and has restored approx 40 of them and the restoration of the rest is under progress. You will also find numerous peacocks dancing in the courtyard. This also reminds us why this place is known as Morena.
First thing first you have to search for “Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple, Mitoali” on google maps to reach the destination. If you lose your network, which is likely to happen there, ask directions for to “Chausath Yogini Temple’ from the locals. We parked our car near the entrance and climbed around 80 steps to reach the top to witness the genesis of ‘The Sansad Bhavan building. Enter the main building to unwrap the vision of the 6th century A.D. temple of Lord Shiva. You may wonder if Sir Herbert Baker did get some inspiration from trawling Indian heritage sites before designing ‘Sansad Bhawan’ with Lutyens.
Morena to Gwalior
After starting our journey on a high note, mesmerized with the sculpture of Bateshwar Hindu Temple group, Padhavali, and Mitawali, we headed towards the Crown city of Madhya Pradesh described as ‘The pearl in the necklace of the forts of India’ by the Mughal emperor, Babur, for night halt. Since we reached well in the time we explored the local market, just to find nothing unique, followed by a light and sound show at Gwalior Fort.
Extra Tip: Do carry water bottles and food items along with you for these small offbeat destinations. Presently there is no facility available in a rural areas, but MP tourism is in the making of a small hotel right next to the Padavali temple.