Mandsaur is a city as well as district in Eastern of Madhya Pradesh state in Central India. It is very close from Rajasthan – Madhya Pradesh state border thus here we can find some effect of Rajasthani culture. It is a historic township thus well known city of this region. Travel distance from Indore to Mandsaur is approx. 250 kms and Ujjain to Mandsaur is approx.150 kms. It is an important city on the route connecting Indore with Udaipur or Chittorgarh thus many tourists takes stopover at this place, during their transfer on this route. Being a historic city so here we can find many historic buildings in & surrounding places like fort, temples etc. Its name Mandsaur is believed to be derived from two words i.e. “Marth” & “Saur”, name of two villages which enlarged with the passage of time and get linked together to form a city called Mandsaur. This region is popular for large production of Opium, Wheat, Maize, Lentils. Here slate-pencil industry is popular in this region. Here people speaks local language called “Malvi” which is combination of Rajasthani language and Hindi language. It lies on the border of Malwa & Mewar region of Central India and falls on the trade route which connects Central India region with North-West region of India. In past, it was on trade route that connects India with Middle-East of Asia, due to which here we will find the prominence of Hindu & Jain community temples.
It is believed that Mandsaur is one time maternal residence of Mandodari, wife of Ravana. This fact is supported by local people also. In old city area, people worship idol of Ravana and “Ravana-dahan” on Dussehra festival is not celebrated here. Local people have believe that Ravana was the son-in-law of local people thus it is not appropriate to celebrate “Ravana-dahan” in Dussehra. In past, name of Mandsaur was Dashapura.
If we go by the history of this region, we will notice that this region was ruled by Aulikaras clan in the form of two royal-houses. The first dynasty ruled from Dashapura, from the beginning with kings like Jayavarma, Naravarma, Vishwavarma, Bhanuvarma etc. Here Sun Temple was constructed by Silk Workers which was later renovated by King Bhanuvarma in 436 CE. In year 1983, a risthal stone slap was discovered which described more about Aulikaras dynasty in which Kings order of succession was written as: Drumavardhana, Jayavardhana, Ajitavardhana, Vibhishanavardhana, Rajyavardhana and Prakashadharma. After rule of Prakashadharma, Mandsaur was ruled by King Yashodharma. Here we can find pillar of victory at Bayana which is believed to be erected by King Vishnuvardhana, thus this place called Vijaygarh. If we explore the nearby areas of Mandsaur, we can find more such pillars like Sondani Pillar, at a small village, located at a distance of 4 kms from main city in which inscription was also discovered giving details of victory of King Yashodharman over King Mihirukula.
In later history we will find that during rule of Delhi Sultanate capital of India, Dilawar Khan Ghauri governor of Malwa province. After Timur attack, Delhi Sultanate became weak and taking advantage of situation, in year 1401, Dilawar Khan declared himself as independent Sultan of Malwa and did some construction work in this region. He shifted his capital from Dhar to Mandu, located on safe hill-top and named it “Shadiabad” which means “City of Joy”. After death of Dilawar Khan, his son Hoshang Shah Ghauri ruled (1405-1435) over this region whose tomb can be visited in Mandu. He understood the strategic importance of Mandsaur as it shares its boundary with Mewar of Rajasthan region which was under rule of Hindu Rajput rulers and there is always threat of attack from that side thus he ordered to construct a fort in Mandsaur to strengthen its position in its north-west border. Later this fort came in hand of many rulers & governors like Rana Sanga, Humayun, Sadar Khan etc. In later period, when Maratha, strengthen their position in Indore region, they had control over Mandsaur fort and repulsed many attacks by Rajpoot from Mewar region. In year 1818, when Britisher’s impact of region increased, Malwa Maratha ruler Malhar Rao Holkar-II did treaty with British rule and fort of Mandsaur came under control of British rule. During their control, many British officers did some excavation work in surrounding areas to trace the historical artifacts. In beginning of 19th century, Mandsaur was part of princely state of Gwalior who had always made favored British rule over freedom fight of India so as to maintain their personal comfort & maintain their kingdom. In was that period when Mandsaur became center of opium trade.
Mandsaur lies in Madhya Pradesh state, close to Rajasthan state. When we talk about presence of Mandsaur tourism in Madhya Pradesh tourism, we will notice that it is negligible. It means, despite of being an ancient township, its presence in tourism map is negligible. Famous tourist destinations like Ujjain, Indore, Chittorgarh, Udaipur are not so far from Mandsaur. At those places, tourists are expressing their interest to visit but overlooking Mandsaur. So far, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Department also not given too much for promotion of tourism in this region but now things are changing. Recently MPSTDC has opened its new hotel i.e. Hinglaj Resort, close to backwater of Gandhi Sagar dam. This is a remarkable and long term step taken for promotion of tourism in this region. It is not just a accommodation facility but also a major step that will ensure promotion of surrounding places, monuments, buildings. In reality, Mandsaur is a deserving place to visit in Madhya Pradesh. Here we can find many popular places to visit, about which are ignorant till now. Some of them are as follows:
It is the main attraction of Mandsaur. Pashupatinath Temple is dedicated to lord shiva. It is a 8 faced Shivalinga whose height is 8 ft. x 10.5 ft. Weight of this Shivlinga is approx. 4.6 tons. This temple was built on a platform of 90 ft long and 30 ft. wide. It was built adjacent to Shivna river. It is very popular temple, visited by mainly domestic tourists from various cities. It is open for visitors from sunrise to sunset in all 7 days of a week. This shrine have 4 doors, opening to all 4 different directions.
: It is a located on 12 kms north-east of Mandsaur town. It is a sacred place with beautiful Jain temple, visited by devotees and tourists. This place was developed on the inspiration of Jain Saint Acharya Shree Kalyan Sagar Ji Maharaj. Moolnayak of this temple is a 58cms high black-colored idol of Lord Parshvanath Ji in the posture of Padmasana. Since this place lies in Vahi Nagar thus people also called this idol as Vahi Parshavanath.
Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary: Famous Chambal river passes through this region. There is a dam built on this river called Gandhi Sagar Dam, completed in year 1960. This dam is used for hydro-power generation. This whole area lies in Mandsaur district. Presence of so much of backwater in this region has resulted into development of sanctuary in northern part of Mandsaur district which goes into Neemuch district also. This sanctuary is spread over 368.62 sq.kms. area and offering shelter to many mammal and bird species. Famous Chaturbhujnath Nala rock painting sites is also inside this sanctuary. Here we can find many popular animals like Leopard, Spotted Deer, Wolves, Hyena, Fox, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Porcupine etc.
Mandsaur Fort: As Mandsaur district is located on the border of Malwa and Mewar region thus it has its strategic importance thus Mandsaur fort was constructed during rule of Hoshang Shah Ghauri in his term from 1405 to 1435. Mewar Rajpoot rulers often attacks on this region thus from security point of view, this fort was required and thus developed. Ancient name of Mandsaur was Dashpur thus this fort was actually called Dashpur fort which was later on known by the name of Mandsaur fort.
Bandi Ji ka Bagh: It is a 120 years old Jain temple with glass interior. This beautiful Jain temple is located near bus stand thus can be visited in day-time on any day. Apart from temple, here we can also see Maan Stambh (pillar) erected on completion of 100 years of this temple.
Hinglaj Fort: It is a massive fort, located approx. 150 kms north-east of Mandsaur town, developed during rule of Mauri (Maurya) rulers. Hinglaj Goddess was their Kuldevi (family-god). As distance is long so it can be visited as excursion tour or there is MPSTDC Hinglaj Resort, just close to fort so guest may take night stay their. Hinglaj Fort lies near Navali village of Bhanpura Tehsil of Mandsaur district. It was developed during Parmara rule in Malwa region. Its name is derived from the name of Hinglaj Devi Goddess which was very popular in this region. This fort was the center of excellence in terms of craftsmanship of sculptures for more than 800 year. The Uma-Maheshwar & Nandi sculptures of this fort were sent to France and Washington for display in India festivals, leaving mark of India on international level. While visiting this Mandsaur, this fort is counted among must visit place to see. On visiting this fort, we can also visit to the Hingalgarh site museum.
Gandhi Sagar Dam: This dam is located on the north-east of Mandsaur town. It is one of the four major dams, constructed on Chambal River. This dam is located in Mandsaur & Neemuch districts, in North-Eastern part of Madhya Pradesh state. It is a hydroelectric power generation dam. Its construction was started in year 1954 and completed in year 1960. Reservoir area of this dam is second-largest in India, after Hirakund dam. Presence of such a huge wetland area attracts large number of migratory birds and residential birds in this area thus this place is good for birding & nature lovers. The International Bird Life Agency has qualified this reservoir under “A4iii” category. Recently Madhya Pradesh Tourism department has started boat club to offer mini cruise ride(sunrise to sunset) to tourists with small cafeteria.
Chaturbhuj Nala Rock Painting: This site is located around 160kms north-east of Mandsaur town, close to Hinglaj resort of MPSTDC in Bhanpura area. It is actually a pool of water walled in on either side by two long lines of rock shelters. It is a tributary river of Chambal river. This rock art site is considered as unspoiled location on rock shelters along both sides of the river, few meters above the water level. This area lies under Gandhi Sagar Sanctuary thus Forest Department takes care of the site. This site was discovered by Mr. Ramesh K. Pancholi. This art gallery is stretched along 1kms which makes it one of the longest and most important rock art gallery in the world. These paintings are estimated approx. 10000 years old. It is highly recommended site while visiting this region.
Dharamrajeshwar Cave Temple: This is a stone carved cave temple just like Ellora, near Aurangabad Maharashtra. It is located 90 kms east of Mandsaur town, connected by road. It also called Ellora of Mandsaur. It is an ancient Buddhist & Hindu cave temple site of 4th-5th century in Mandsaur district of Madhya Pradesh. It is one more magnificent example of Indian Rock-art Architecture. This monolithic temple of Dharamrajeshwara is believed to be of 9th century, carved out from natural rock whose size is 50 meters in length and 20 meters in width. Here we can find Shivalinga & Lord Vishnu statue in temple thus we can say that it is dedicated to Lord Shiva & Lord Vishnu. Apart from temple, here we can find series of Buddhist caves also.
Malasari Island: It is located on the back-water of Gandhi Sagar Dam of Mandsaur district. It is located around 150kms north-east of Mandsaur town. In order to visit this island, we need to reach MP Tourism Boat Club, near Hinglaj Resort and then hire a boat to reach this island to spend some time here, with water all around.
Teliya Lake: It is a lake site, located on western corner of Mandsaur town. It is a nice picnic spot for local people who use to spend some time here and enjoy scenic view of lake water. Many tourists visit this site for peace and to witness sunrise and set. Being located on one side of city, this place is free from sound pollution. But in near future, human encroachment will definitely going to affect the beauty of this place and spoil the region.
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