Baroli Chittorgarh

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Author: Laxman Burdak IFS (R)

Location of Baroli in Chittorgarh

Baroli (बाड़ोली) is a village in Rawatbhata tahsil in district Chittorgarh of Rajasthan.



Baroli is located in south-west of Kota but in Chittorgarh district near the border of both districts.



James Tod[1] visited Bhainsrorgarh on 19 February 1820 and has provided us following information:

According to James Tod[2] we were informed of some celebrated temples across the river at a place called Barolli, anciently Dholpoor. The shrine is dedicated to Ghateshwara Mahadeva, with a lingam revolving in the yoni, the wonder of those who venture amongst its almost impervious and unfrequented woods to worship. As I could not go myself, I despatched the guru to hunt for inscriptions and bring me an account of it.


बाडोली कोटा, राजस्थान से 50 किलोमीटर दक्षिण में चित्तौड़गढ़ ज़िले में स्थित है। यह हिन्दू मन्दिरों के लिए प्रसिद्ध है। [3]

बाडोली में स्थित मन्दिर समूह में नौ मन्दिर हैं, जिनमें भगवान शिव, विष्णु, त्रिमूर्ति, वामन, महिषासुर मर्दिनी एवं गणेश मन्दिर मुख्य हैं। बाडोली के ये मन्दिर पंचायतन शैली में बने हुए हैं। इन्हें कर्नल जेम्स टॉड ने सबसे पहले 1821 ई. में खोजा था। फ़र्ग्यूसन ने इन मन्दिरों को तत्कालीन युग का सर्वश्रेष्ठ स्थापत्य बताया है। जेम्स बर्जेस, गौरीशंकर ओझा इत्यादि विद्वानों ने भी इन पर खोजपूर्ण कार्य किया। ये मन्दिर समूह आठवीं से बारहवीं शताब्दी की कृतियाँ हैं। इनका राजनीतिक इतिहास पूर्णतः स्पष्ट नहीं है। इन मन्दिर के समूहों में शिव मन्दिर प्रमुख है, जो 'घाटेश्वर शिवालय' के नाम से प्रसिद्ध है। यह उड़ीसा शैली के मन्दिरों से मिलता-जुलता है। अलंकृत मण्डप व तोरण द्वार इसकी विशिष्टता है। मूर्तियों की भंगिमाएँ, लोच व प्रवाह एलोरा के गुफ़ा मन्दिरों में चित्रित शिव के बलिष्ठ स्वरूप की स्मृति दिलाते हैं।

स्थापत्य कला: बाडोली के मन्दिर स्थापत्य कला में मुख्यतः चार भाग में विभाजित हैं- 1. गर्भगृह, 2. अन्तराल, 3. मुखमण्डप, 4. शिखर,

टॉड का वर्णन: कर्नल टॉड ने बाडोली के मन्दिरों को देखकर आश्चर्यपूर्वक लिखा है कि "उनकी विचित्र और भव्य बनावट का यथावत् वर्णन करना लेखनी की शक्ति से बाहर है। यहाँ मानों हुनर का ख़ज़ाना ख़ाली कर दिया गया है।" उन्होंने इसके वर्णन में लिखा है कि "लगभग 500 हाथ की चौकोर भूमि में यह मन्दिर बना हुआ है।" इसके दीर्घ स्थायित्व के दो कारण हैं। एक प्रत्येक पत्थर से रंगा हुआ है। इस मन्दिर समूह में पूर्वाभिमुख शेषशायी विष्णु की प्रतिमा थी, जो अब 'कोटा संग्रहालय' में सुरक्षित है।

The grand temple of Barolli

Fragment from the Ruins of Barolli
Outline of a Temple to Mahadeva at Barolli
Sculptured Niche on the Exterior of the Temple at Barolli
Ceiling of the Portico of Temple at Barolli
Remains of an Ancient Temple at Barolli, near the Chambal

James Tod[4] visited Barolli in July 1821 and has provided following information:

The grand temple of Barolli is dedicated to Siva, whose emblems are everywhere visible. It stands in an area of about two hundred and fifty yards square, enclosed by a wall built of unshaped stones without cement. Beyond this wall are groves of majestic trees, with many smaller shrines and sacred fountains. The first object that stuck my notice, just before entering the area, was a pillar, erect in the earth, with a hooded-snake sculptured around it. The door-way, which is destroyed, must have been very curious, and the remains that choke up the interior are highly interesting. One of these specimens was entire, and unrivalled in taste and beauty. The principal figures are of Siva and his consort, Parbutty, with their attendants. He stands upon the lotus, having the serpent twined as a garland. In his right hand he holds the dumroo, or little drum, with which, as the god of war, he inspires the warrior; in his left is the cupra, formed of a human skull, out of which he drinks the blood of the slain. The other two arms have been broken off : a circumstance which proves that even the Islamite, to whom the act may be ascribed, respected this work of art. The "mountain-born" is on the left of her spouse. standing on the coorm, or tortoise, with braided locks, and ear-rings made of the conch-shell. Every limb is in that easy flowing style peculiar to ancient Hindu art, and wanting in modern specimens. Both are covered with beaded ornaments, and have no drapery. The firm, masculine attitude of ' Baba Adam' as I have heard a Rajpoot call Mahadeo, contrasts well with the delicate feminine outline of his consort. The serpent and lotus intertwine gracefully over their heads. Above, there is a series of compartment filled with various figures, the most conspicuous of which is the chimerical animal called the gras, a kind of homed lion; each compartment being separated by a wreath of flowers, tastefully arranged and distributed. The animal is delineated with an ease not unworthy the art in Europe. Of the various other figures many are mutilated ; one is a hermit playing on a guitar, and above him are a couple of deer in a listening posture. Captain Waugh is engaged on one of the figures, which he agrees with me in pronouncing unrivalled as a specimen of art. There are parts of them, especially the heads, which would not disgrace Canova. They are in high relief, being almost detached from the slab. In this fragment (about eight feet by three) the chief figures are about three feet.

The centre piece, forming a kind of frieze, is nearly entire, and about twelve feet by three ; it is covered with sculpture of the same

[p.647]: character, mostly the celestial choristers, with various instruments, celebrating the praises of Siva and Parbutty. Immediately within the door-way, is a small shrine to the ' four-armed ;' but the Islamite having likewise deprived him of the supernumerary pair, the Bhil takes him for Devi, of whom they are desperately afraid, and in consequence the forehead of the statue is liberally smeared with veimiiion.

On the left, in advance of the main temple, is one about thirty feet high, containing an image of Asht-Mata, or the ' eight-armed mother ;' but here the pious Mooslem has robbed the goddess of all her arms, save that with which she grasps her shield, and has also removed her head. She treads firmly on the centaur, Maheswar, whose dissevered head lies at some distance in the area, while the lion of the Hindu Cybele still retains his grasp of his quarters. The Joginis and Apsaras, or ' maids of war' of Rajpoot martial poetry, have been spared.

On the right is the shrine of Tri-murti, the triune divinity. Brimha's face, in the centre, has been totally obliterated, as has that of Vishnu, the Preserver; but the Destroyer is uninjured. The tiara, which covers the head* of this triple divinity, is also entire, and of perfect workmanship. The skill of the sculptor " can no further go." Groupes of snakes adorn the clustering locks on the ample forehead of Siva, which are confined by a bandeau, in the centre of which there is a death's head ornament, hideously exact. Various and singularly elegant devices are wrought in the tiara : in one, two horses couped from the shoulder, passing from a rich centering and surmounted by a death's head : a dissevered arm points to a vulture advancing to seize it, while serpents are wreathed round the neck and hands of the Destroyer, whose half-opened mouth discloses a solitary tooth, and the tongue curled up with a demoniacal expression. The whole is colossal, the figures being six feet and a half high. The relief is very bold, and altogether the groupe is worthy of having casts made from it.

We now come to the grand temple itself, which is fifty-eight feet in height, and in the ancient form peculiar to the temples of Siva. The body of the edifice, in which is the sanctum of me god, and over which rises its pyramidal sikr, is a square of only twenty-one feet ; but the addition of the domed vestibule (munduf) and portico makes it forty-four by twenty-one. An outline of this by Ghassi, a native artist (who labours at Oodipoor for the same daily pay as a tailor, carpenter, or other artizan), will give a tolerably good notion of its appearance, though none of its beauty. The whole is covered with mythological sculpture, without as well as within, emblematic of the 'great god' (Mahadeo), who is the giver, as well as the destroyer, of life. In a niche outside, to the south, he is armed against the Dytes (Titans), the roundmala, or skull-chaplet, reaching

* The Trimurti is represented with three faces (murti) though but one head.

[p.648]: to his knees, and in seven of his arms are offensive weapons, cap is the frustrum of a cone, composed of snakes interlaced, with a fillet of skulls : the cupra is in his hand, and the victims are scattered around.On his right is one of the maids of slaughter (Jogni) drunk with blood, the cup still at her lip, and her countenance expressive of vacuity ; while below, on the left is a female personification of Death, mere skin and bone : a sickle (koorpi) in her right hand,* its knob a death's head, completes this groupe of the attributes of destruction. To the west is Mahadeo under another form, a beautiful and animated statue, the expression mild, as when he went forth to entice the mountain-nymph, Mera, to his embrace. His tiara is a blaze of finely-executed ornaments, and his snake-wreath, which hangs round him as a garland, has a clasp of two heads of Scheshanaga (the serpent-king), while Nanda below is listening with placidity to the sound of the dumroo. His cupra, and karg, or skull-cap, and sword, which he is in the attitude of using, are the only accompaniments denoting the god of blood The northern compartment is a picture, disgustingly faithful, of death and its attributes. Vulgarly known as Bhooka Mata personification of famine, lank and bare ; her necklace, like her lord's, of skulls. Close by are two mortals in the last stage of existence, so correctly represented as to excite an unpleasant surprise.

The outline, I may say, is anatomically correct. The mouth is half open and distorted, and although the eye is closed in death, an expression of mental anguish seems still to linger upon the features. A beast of prey is approaching the dead body ; while, by way of contrast, a male figure, in all the vigour of youth and health, lies prostrate at her feet.

Such is a faint description of the sculptured niches on each of the external faces of the mindra, whence the spire rises, simple and solid. In order, however, to be distinctly understood, I shall give some slight ichnographic details. First, is the mindra or cella, in which is the statue of the god ; then the munduf, or, in architectural nomenclature, the pronaos ; and third, the portico, with which we shall begin, though it transcends all description.

Like all temples dedicated to Bal-Siva, the vivifier, or 'sun-god,' it faces the east. The portico projects several feet beyond the munduf, and has four superb columns in front, of which the outline by Ghaisi conveys but a very imperfect idea. Flat fluted pilasters are placed on either side of the entrance to the munduf, serving as a support to the internal torun, or triumphal arch, and a single column intervenes on each side between the pilasters and the columns in front. The columns are about eighteen feet in height. The proportions are perfect ; and though the difference of diameter

* Nowhere else did I ever see this emblem of Time, the counterpart of scythe with which we furnish him, which is unknown to India.

[p.649]: between the superior and inferior portions of the shaft is less than the Grecian standard, there is no want of elegance of effect, whilst it gives an idea of more grandeur. The frieze is one mass of sculptured figures, generally of human beings, male and female, in pairs ; the horned monster termed gras, separating the different pairs. The internal torun or triumphal arch, which is invariably attached to all ancient temples of the sun-god, is of that peculiar curvature formed by the junction of two arcs of a circle from different centres, a form of arch well known in Gothic and Saracenic architecture, but which is an essential characteristic of the most ancient Hindu temples. The head of a gras crowns its apex, and on the outline is a concatenation of figures armed with daggers, apparently ascending the arch to strike the monster. The roof of the munduf (pronaos), cannot be described : its various parts must be examined with microscopic nicety in order to enter into detail. In the whole of the ornaments there is an exact harmony which I have seen nowhere else ; even the miniature elephants are in the finest proportions, and exquisitely carved.

The ceilings both of the portico and munduf, are elaborately beautiful : that of the portico, of one single block, could hardly be surpassed. Of the exterior I shall not attempt further description : it is a grand, a wonderful effort of the silpi (architect), one series rising above and surpassing the other, from the base to the urn which surmounts the pinnacle.

The sanctum contains the symbol of the god, whose local appellation is Rori Barolli, a corruption of Bal-rori, from the circumstance of Balnath, the sun-god, being here typified by an orbicular stone termed rori, formed by attrition in the choolis or whirlpools of the Chumbul, near which the temple stands, and to which phenomena it probably owed its foundation. This symbolic rori is not fixed, but lies in a groove in the internal ring of the Yoni ; and so nicely is it poised, that with a very moderate impulse it will continue revolving while the votary recites a tolerably long hymn to the object of his adoration. The old ascetic, who had long been one of the zealots of Barolli, amongst his other wonders gravely told me, that with the momentum given by his little finger, in former days, he could make it keep on its course much longer than now with the application of all his strength.

Some honest son of commerce thought it but right that the mindra (cella) of Bal-rori should be graced by a Parbutty, and he had one made and placed there. But it appeared to have offended the god, and matters soon after went wrong with the Banya:first his wife died, then his son, and at length he became devali, or 'bankrupt.' In truth he deserved punishment for his caricature of the ' mountain-born' Mera, who more resembles a Dutch burgomestre than the fair daughter of Syeel.

Fronting the temple of Bal-rori, and apart from it about twenty yards, is another superb edifice, called the Sengar-chaori, or nuptial

[p.650]: hall.* It is a square (chaori) of forty feet, supported by a double range of columns on each face, the intercolunmiations being quite open ; and although these columns want the elegant proportions of the larger temple, they are covered with exquisite sculpture, as well as the ceilings. In the centre of the hall is an open space about twelve feet square ; and here, according to tradition, the nuptials of Raja Hoon with the fair daughter of a Rajpoot prince, of whom he had long been enamoured, were celebrated ; to commemorate which event, these magnificent structures were raised: but more of this Hun anon. The external roof (or sicr, as the Hindu silpi term the various roofs which cover their temples) is the frustrum of pyramid, and a singular specimen of architectural skill, each stone being a miniature temple, elegantly carved, gradually decreasing in size to the kullus or ball, and so admirably fitted to each other, that there has been no room for vegetation to insinuate itself, and consequently they have sustained no injury from time.

Midway between the nuptial hall and the main temple, there is a low altar, on which the bull, Nand-isvar, still kneels before the symbolic representation of its sovereign lord, Iswar. But sadly dishonoured is this courser of the sun-god, whose flowing tail is broken, and of whose head but a fragment remains, though his necklace of alternate skulls and bells proclaims him the charger of Siva.

Around the temple of the ' great-god' (Mahadeva) are the shrines of the dii minores, of whom Ganesha, the god of wisdom, takes precedence. The shrine of this janitor of Siva is properly placed to the north, equidistant from the nuptial hall and the chief temple. But the form of wisdom was not spared by the Tatar iconoclast. His single tooth, on which the poet Chund is so lavish of encomium, is broken off; his limbs are dissevered, and he lies prostrate on his back at the base of his pedestal, grasping, even in death, with his right hand, the ladoos, or sweetmeat-balls he received at the nuptial feast.

Near the dishonoured fragments of Ganesha, and on the point of losing his equilibrium, is the divine Nareda, the preceptor of Parbutty, and the Orpheus of Hindu mythology. In his hands he yet holds the lyre (vina), with whose heavenly sounds he has been charming the son of his patroness ; but more than one string of the instrument is wanting, and one of the gourds which, united by a sounding board, from the vina, is broken off.

To the south are two columns, one erect and the other prostrate, which appear to have been either the commencement of another temple, or, what is more probable from their excelling every- thing yet described, intended to form a torun, having a simple architrave laid across them, which served as a swing for the recre-

* This is not the literal interpretation, but the purpose for which it is applied. Chaori the term always appropriated to the place of nuptials: singer means ' ornament.'

[p.651]: ation of the god. Their surface, though they have been exposed at least one thousand years to the atmosphere, is smooth and little injured : such is the durability of this stone, though it is astonishing how it was worked, or how they got instruments to shape it. There is a bavari, or reservoir of water, for the use either gods or mortals, placed in the centre of the quadrangle, which is ..ewed with sculptured fragments.

We quit the enclosure of Raja Hoon to visit the fountain (coond) of Mahadeo, and the various other curious objects. Having passed through the ruined gate by which we entered, we crossed the black ..ream, and passing over a fine turf plot, reached the coond, which is a square of sixty feet, the water (leading to which are steps) full to the brim, and the surface covered with the golden and silver lotus. In the centre of the fountain is a miniature temple to the god who delights in waters ; and the dam by which it was once approached being broken, it is now completely isolated. The entrance to the east has two slender and well-proportioned columns, and the whole is conspicuous for simplicity and taste.

Smaller shrines surround the coond, into one of which I entered, little expecting in a comparatively humble edifice the surprise which awaited me. The temple was a simple, unadorned hall, containing detached piece of sculpture, representing Narayana floating on the ..aotic waters. The god is reclining in a fit of abstraction upon his Shes-seja, a couch formed of the hydra, or sea-snake, whose many heads expanded from a canopy over that of the sleeping divinity, at whose feet is the benignant Lacshmi, the Hindu Ceres, awaiting the aspiration of his periodical repose. A group of marine monsters, half-man, half-fish, support the couch in their arms, their scaly extremities gracefully wreathed, and in the centre of them is a horse, either too terrestrial to be classical, with a conch-shell and other marine emblems near him. The back-ground to this couch rises aboat two feet above the reclining figure, and is divided horizontally into two compartments, the lower containing a group of the chimerical monsters, each nearly a foot in height, in mutual combat, and in perfect relief. Above is a smaller series, depicting the Avatars, or incarnations of the divinity. On the left, curma, the tortoise, having quitted his shell, of which he makes ..pedestal, denotes the termination of the catastrophe. Another marine monster, half-boar (Varaha), half-fish, appears recovering the ..mi the symbol of production, from the alluvion, by his tusk. Next to him is Narsinga, tearing in pieces a tyrannical king, with other ..eorical mysteries having no relation to the ten incarnations, but being a mythology quite distinct, and which none of the well- informed men around me could interpret : a certain proof of its antiquity.

The position of Narayana was that of repose, one hand supporting the head, under which lay the gada or mace, while in another head the conch-shell, which, when the god assumed the terrestrial

Note - Some alphabets are missing in this page marked as ..

[p.652]: form and led the Yadu hosts to battle, was celebrated as Dakshinavrata, from having its spiral involutions reversed, or to the right (dekshin). The fourth arm was broken off, as were his nether limbs too near the knee. From the nab or naf (navel), the umbilical cord ascended, terminating in a lotus, whose expanded flower served as a seat for Brimha, the personification of the mind or spirit " moving on the waters" (Narayana) of chaos. The beneficent and beautiful Lacshmi, whom all adore, whether as Anapurana (the giver of food), or in her less amiable character as the consort of the Hindu Plutus, seems to have excited a double portion of the zealots' ire, who have not only visited her face too roughly, but entirely destroyed the emblems of nourishment for her universal progeny. It would be impossible to dwell upon the minuter ornaments, which, both for design and execution, may be pronounced unrivalled in India. The highly imaginative mind of the artist is apparent throughout ; he has given a repose to the sleeping deity, which contrasts admirably with the writhing of the serpent upon which he lies, whose folds, more especially under the neck, appear almost real ; a deception aided by the porphyritic tints of the stone. From the accompaniments of mermaids, conch-shells, sea-horses, &c., we may conclude that a more elegant mythology than that now subsisting has been lost with the art of sculpture. The whole is carved out of a single block of the quartz rock, which has a lustre and polish equal to marble, and is of far greater durability.

The length of this marine couch (seja) is nearly eight feet, its breadth two, and its height somewhat more than three : the figure, from the top of his richly wrought tiara, being four feet I felt a strong inclination to disturb the slumbers of Narayana, and transport him to another clime : in this there would be no sacrilege for in his present mutilated state, he is looked upon (except as a specimen of art) as no better than a stone.

All round the coond the ground is covered with fragments of shrines erected to the inferior divinities. On one piece, which must have belonged to a roof, were sculptured two busts of a male and a female, unexceptionably beautiful. The head-dress of the male was a helmet, quite Grecian in design, bound with a simple and elegant fillet : in short, it would require the labour of several artists for six months to do anything like justice to the wonders of Barolli.

There is no chronicle to tell us for whom or by whom this temple was constructed. The legends are unintelligible ; for although Raja Hoon is the hero of this region, it is no easy task to account for his connexion with the mythology. If we, however, connect this apparently wild tradition with what is already said regarding his ruling at Bhynsror, and moreover with what has been recorded in the first part of this work, when 'Ungutsi, lord of the Hoons' was enrolled amongst the eighty-four subordinate princes who defended Cheetore against the first attempt of the Islamite, in the eighth century, the mystery ceases, The name of Hoon is one of frequent

[p.653]: occurrence in ancient traditions, and the early inscription at Monghir has already been mentioned, as likewise the still more important admission of this being one of the thirty-six royal tribes of Rajpoots ; and as, in the Cheetore chronicle, they have actually assigned as the proper name of the Hoon prince that (Ungutsi) which designates, according to their historian Deguignes, the grand horde, we can scarcely refuse our belief that "there were Huns" in India in those days. But although Raja Hoon may have patronized the arts, we can hardly imagine he could have furnished any ideas to the artists, who at all events have not produced a single Tatar feature to attest their rule in this region. It is far more probable, if ever Grecian artists visited these regions, that they worked upon Indian designs — an hypothesis which may be still further supported. History informs us of the Grecian auxiliaries sent by Seleucus to the (Puar) monarch of Oojein (Ozene), whose descendants corresponded with Augustus ; and I have before suggested the possibility of the temple of Komulmer, which is altogether dissimilar to any remains of Hindu art, being attributable to the same people.

Baroli Chittorgarh Inscriptions S. 981 (A.D. 925)

Inscriptions - We discovered two inscriptions, as well as the names of many visitors, inscribed on the pavement and walls of the portico, bearing date seven and eight hundred years ago ;

  • one was " the son " of Jalansi, from Dhawalnagri (धवलनगरी);"
  • another, which is in the ornamental Nagari of the Jains, is dated the 13th of Cartic (the month sacred to Mars), S. 981, or A.D. 925. Unfortunately it is but a fragment, containing five slocas in praise of Sideswar, or Mahadeo, as the patron of the ascetic Jogis. Part of a name remains ; and although my old Guru will not venture to give a translation without his sybelline volume, the Vyakurna, which was left at Oodipoor, there is yet sufficient to prove it to be merely the rhapsody of a Pundit, visiting Rori Barolli, in praise of the 'great god' and of the site.* More time and investigation than I could afford, might make further discoveries ; and it would be labour well rewarded, if we could obtain a date for this Augustan age of India. At the same time, it is evident that the whole was not accomplished within one man's existence, nor could the cost be defrayed by One year s revenue of all Rajpootana.

We may add, before we quit this spot, that there are two piles of stones, in the quadrangle of the main temple, raised over the defunct priests of Mahadeo, who, whether Gosens, Sanyasis, or Dadoopantis, always bury their dead.

Barolli is in the tract named Puchail, or the flat between the river Chumbul and the pass, containing twenty-four villages in the lord-ship of Bhynsror, laying about three miles west, and highly improving the scene, which would otherwise be one of perfect solitude.

According to the local tradition of some of the wild tribes, its more ancient name was Bhadravati, the seat of the Hoons ; and the traces of the old city in extensive mounds and ruins are still beheld around

* This is deposited in the museum of the Royal Asiatic Society.

[p.654]: the more modern Bhynsror. Tradition adds, that the Chirmitti (the classic name of the Chumbul) had not then ploughed itself a channel in this adamantine bed ; but nine centuries could not have effected this operation, although it is not far from the period when Ungutsi, the Hoon, served the Rana of Cheetore.

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