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Bateshwar: Temples of Dacoits

“Come to Red Fort to meet me this Sunday”, said Sh. K.K. Muhammed, the then Superintending Archaeologist of Delhi Circle ASI. “Where in Red Fort?”, I asked. He said, “just say my name and guards will direct you.”
Till this point, all I knew was that K.K. Muhammed is just another ASI officer and I wanted to seek his permission for my Delhi Heritage Photography Club’s next event. But when I reached Red Fort to meet him, he turned out to be a legend, a great human being and master of his work. He used to stay in the Chapel inside Red Fort, which was temporarily converted to his residence. While sipping tea, he showed us his collection of photographs from the site of Bateshwar in Morena District (Madhya Pradesh). Please note that this Bateshwar is different from Bateshwar in UP. The UP Bateshwar is on banks of Yamuna River between Fatehabad and Etawah. It is a complex of 101 small Shiva temples, painted white and still in use. The one we are talking about is deep in ravines of Chambal. When Muhammed sir started narrating the story of this restoration, every line gave me Goosebumps. So here’s the secret of Bateshwar of MP…

Site of Bateshwar originally consisted of 200 temples (mostly Lord Shiva) from Gujjar-Pratihar Dynasty. It is located deep in ravines of Chambal and were occupied by Dacoits like Nirbhay Singh Gujjar and Ram Babu Gadariya. The Temple Complex was in very bad shape. Stones were lying all over, mixed with each other. When KK Muhammed was made Superintending Archaeologist of Bhopal circle ASI, he asked for the most challenging archaeological site. His staff pointed to this Bateshwar and suggested him to avoid that path. But he did not listen. Through a mediator, Mr. Muhammed approached the Dacoits and requested them to allow the restoration of these temples. While I can go on and on explaining how things unfolded in this magnificent bollywood-like epic, I think it is better that you hear it directly from Mr. Muhammed:

 

Some clicks from the site…

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One thought on “Bateshwar: Temples of Dacoits

  1. DEBASIS Banerjee on said:

    It was a splendid experience to attend his lecture organized by you in habitat… thank you again for the posting that helped me enjoy the experience again

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