We started from Khajuraho, and after a quick tour of vintage cars in our hotel, the drive was long. Almost 6 hours to reach Sanchi. This place belongs to the Ramayan era, known as Besnagar. The location where the Great Emperor Ashoka halted, married, and started the construction of the stupas in Sanchi. Renamed it as per his wife’s name i.e. Vidisha. Hence, I thought why not let’s give the credit to the place? As per history, Sanchi was just one part of Vidisha in older times.
There are direct roads connecting Vidisha with Khajuraho in the North and Bhopal in the South. The option of trains is easily available. Even you can take flights to Bhopal and then travel by road to reach the location. After traveling in the 7 states by road, I have realized that the freedom which a road trip gives you, can not be given by any other means of transport. The best part of traveling on the road is that we can always not only see but also feel the cultural shift that is happing along the route. Be it religion, caste, food, language, or clothes, you can feel it all. Ever heard
“Kosh kosh par pani badle or char kosh par vani” – means in India at every Kilometer water changes and at every 4 km the speech.
Panna National Park: Is It Haunted as well?
I guess Heart of India- Madhya Pradesh has so much hidden inside. It’s like it wants us to explore all of them on this trip. We were traveling from Khajuraho toward Sanchi. The route we had taken, took us toward Panna National Park. Not exactly inside, just the outskirts of it. As we were only on the Heritage tour of Madhya Pradesh this time, there was no plan to stay at the national park. ( Let us know in the comments if you want us to plan a road trip, only for the wildlife of MP). This was a soothing treat for the eyes where it was all about shades of green.
Interestingly while we were having all these beautiful feelings, about being able to be so close to nature, at a few locations it was not the same. At one such location, we encountered very strange vibes. There were houses, perfectly intact from the outside yet abandoned. The area was exceptionally quiet, which should not happen. After all, we were in mid of a national forest, in the early hours of the day.
It felt really uncomfortable and we just drove ahead without looking back, as if something or someone is going to follow. We halted for lunch. I don’t exactly remember the place, but no worries, the entire route is a highway except, initially those few kilometers around the national park. Please do not expect lavish food or a location where you can find some of it. Dhabas or small roadside restaurants are in abundance, serving basic yet delicious food.
Gyaraspur: The Fair held in Gyarawan (eleventh) month
As we were traveling by road we had options to explore more places along the route. One such place we came across was Gyaraspur. It is almost 40km before our final destination for the day, Sanchi. Amid the nondescript chaos of a village, Gyaraspur retains traces of its ancient heritage in small, isolated enclaves spread through and around the village.
Maladevi Temple: Vidisha
As we drove towards the Sanchi, the MP tourism signposts led the way. Maladevi temple, build on the cliffside of a mountain on a large platform. The effect of wind, rain, and time had given the temple the color of mountain rock, camouflaging it from all, except those who look with interested eyes. This time the weather did not support us. within 30 mins, the clear sky turned into clouds and then to heavy rain. Thus we were not able to click a clear picture for you.
The view from the temple is mesmerizing. The cliff on which the temple stands overlooks a deep pool of water locally called the Mansarovar lake and agricultural fields. This 9th-century temple of the Pratihara period had created a lot of confusion among historians. Alexander Cunningham termed the temple as Buddhist, but actually, research showed that originally a Hindu temple, was later utilized for Jain guru the Adinath.
Hindola Toran: Vidisha
On the way down towards the main road, on our right was again a small complex consisting of Chawkambha and Hindola toran. one first look it feels it must have been a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Toran must have been the entry gate to the temple, richly decorated by the ten incarnations of Vishnu. today this gate might not be leading anywhere but it does lead you to the rich history of our country. Among the other attractions in the village are, Asthkhamba (dedicated to lord shiva), Bajramath (a sun temple), and Dhekhinath Stupa.
This small exploration in Vidisha’s one part was over in two hours and we headed towards the next part. On our list to explore Vidisha two more locations en route are Udaygiri caves and Bijamandal, but we left them for the next day and decided to fall back. The destination and visit of these two will be shared soon with you all.