Menal is is about 90 Kms. from Chittaurgarh in Rajasthan. Its ancient name was Mahanala (महानाल). Menal is also known as the "mini khajauraho", blessed with nature’s beauty, this picnic spot is situated on the Chittaur - Bundi road and is famous for the ancient temples, waterfalls and beautiful forests.
Menal temple complex
The Menal temple complex consists of a group of Siva temple on both sides of the waterfall. The name Menal is derived from Maha Nal (great gorge). This temple complex was built by Someshvar Chahamana and his queen Suhavadevi of the Shakambhari dynasty during the 11th century A.D (circa). The construction of the main structural group, on the left side of the gorge, is credited to the king while the single temple with a detached monastery across the river is associated with the queen, albeit the foundation inscription has been lost now. However, the fame of place grew during reign of King Prithviraj Chauhan, as it was his favourite mountain retreat during the scorching Rajasthan summers. For this he had built a palace on the banks of the Menal river which runs over granite slabs before finally plunging into a gorge over 122 meters deep. When it rains, the water flows over the granite rocks and plunges into a gorge 100 feet below into a pool and then proceeds onwards.
The 11th century Mahanaleshvara temple, is replete with various gates & arches in front of smaller temples is a perfect example of the western Indian style of stone temple architecture. The entrance is embellished with a seated stone lion, and there are number of guardian deities carved on protruding panels in the walls. The inner sanctum is dominated by projecting balconies while the roof is a pyramidal array of ribbed and finely carved stone. The entrance to the mansion is via a two storied gateway carved with images of the gods Ganesha and Bhairava. The square courtyard beyond the entrance houses a huge Shiva temple of stone, built in the ancient Hindu style with a carved pagoda and pillars. The walls of the temple are carved with motifs of Hindu deities and various other themes, interspersed with images of elephants. Of special mention are the images of Shiva and Parvati which form the chief subject of the engravings. Shiva and Parvati are depicted in various postures and surrounded by dancers, musicians, lesser gods and animals. Halfway up the pagoda is a large stone lion. A number of smaller ruined temples lie around the Shiva temple Though the main shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva is built in sand-stone, brick-work is visible wherever the surface of the tower covering The Garb-griha or Sanctum sanctorum of the Meental temple with ornate pillars along the sides of the smaller temples (perhaps even older) has peeled off. Before the main temple of Mahanala is a Nandi enclosure, solidly built, but barely sufficient to accommodate the bull.
Menal Inscription of Prithviraja II V.1225 (1169 AD)
We have two inscriptions of Prithviraja II dated V. 1225 and V. 1226. The inscription dated V. 1226 is incised on pillar of Menal fort. It tells about character of Prithviraja II. It also tells that a math was established by him at Menal.
- तस्मै धर्मवरिष्ठस्य पृथ्वीराजस्य धीमत: पुण्यैकुर्वति वैराज्यं निष्यन्तं मठमुत्तमं
We found many inscriptions at Mahanal, and of one I shall here insert a free translation, as it may be applied hereafter to the correction of the chronology of the Haras, of which race it contains a memorial.
By Asapurana1 (the fulfiller of our desires) the kuladevi2 (tutelary goddess) of the race, by whose favour hidden treasures are revealed, and through whose power many Chohan kings have ruled the earth, of which race was Bhaonrd'hun;3 who in the field of strife attained the desires of victory. Of his race was the tribe of Hara, of which was Koolun4 of illustrious and pure descent in both races ; whose fame was fair as the rays of the moon. From him was Jypal5 who obtained the fruits of the good works of his former existence in the present garb of royalty ; and whose subjects prayed they might never know another sovereign. From him was Deva-raj,6 the lord of the land, who gave whatever was desired, and whose wish was to render mankind happy. He delighted in the dance and the song. His son was Hur-raj 7 whose frame was a piece of fire ; who, in the field of battle, conquered renown from the princes of the land [bhom-eswar], and dragged the spoils of victory from their pinnacled abodes.
From him were the lords of Bumaoda,8 whose land yielded to them its fruits. From Deva-raj was Rit-pal 9 who made the rebellious bow the head, or trod them under foot, as did Capila the sons of Sagara. From him was Kelhan, the chief of his tribe, whose son Koontul resembled Dhermaraj : he had a younger brother, called Deda. Of his wife, Rajuldevi, a son was born to Koontul, fair as the offspring of the ocean.10 He was named Mahadeva. He was [in wisdom] fathomless as the sea, and in battle immovable as Soomeru ; in gifts he was the Calpa-vricsha of Indra. He laid the dust raised by the hoofs of hostile steeds, by the blood of his foe. The sword grasped in his extended arm dazzled the eye of his enemy, as when uplifted o'er the head of Umi Shah he rescued the Lord of Medpat, and dragged Kaitah from his grasp, as is Chandra from Rahoo.11 He trod the Sooltan's army under foot, as does the ox the com ; even as did the Danoos (demons) churn the ocean, so did Mahadeva the field of strife, seizing the gem (rutna) of victory from the son of the King, and bestowing it on Kaitah, the lord of men. From the centre even to the skirts of space, did the fame of his actions extend, pure as curdled milk. He had a son, Doorjun, on whom he bestowed the title of Jiva-raj12 (Jeojraj), who had two brothers, Soobut-sal and Cumbhacarna13
Here, at Mahanal, the lord of the land, Mahadeva, made a mindra, in whose variously-sculptured wall this treasure (the inscribed tablet) is concealed. This (the temple) is an epitome of the universe, whose pinnacle (sikra) sparkles like a gem. The mind of Mahadeva is bent on devotion in Mahanal, the emblem of Kylas, where the Brahmins perform varied rites. While the science of arms endures, may the renown of Mahadeva never perish ;14 and until Ganges ceases to flow, and Soomeru to be immovable, may this memorial of Mahadeva abide fixed at Mahanal.
This invocation to Mahadeva was made by Mahadeva, and by the Brahmin Dhuneswar, the dweller in Chutturkote (Cheetore), was this prashiskta composed :
" The month of Bysak (soodi), the seventh. By Viradhwul, the architect (silpi), learned in the works of architecture (sipla-sastra), was this temple erected."
|Menal Inscription of Hara (Chohans) S. 1446 (1389 AD) |
Comments by James Tod:
- 1. Asa is literally, 'Hope.'
- 2. Goddess of the race, pronounced cool
- 3. 'The wealth of the bee ;' such are the metaphorical appellations amongst the Rajpoots.
- 4. This is the prince who crawled to Kedarnath (see p. 421), and son of Rainsi, the emigrant prince from Asir, who is perhaps here designated as 'the wealth of the bee.' This was in S. 1353, or A.D. 1297.
- 5. Jypal ('fosterer of victory') must be the prince familiarly called " Bango" in the annals (Annals of Haravati, p. 422,) and not the grandson but the son of Koolun— there said to have taken Mynal or Mahanal.
- 7. Hara-raj, elder son of Dewa, became lord of Bumaoda, by the abdication of his father, who thenceforth resided at his conquest at Bundi — (Annals of Haravati, p. 425.)
- 8. Hara-raj had twelve sons, the eldest of whom, the celebrated Aloo Hara, succeeded to Bumaoda. See Annals of Haravati, note, p. 422.
- 9. Here we quit the direct line of descent, going back to Dewa. Rit-pal, in all probability, was the offspring of one of the twelve sons of Hara-raj, having Mynal as a fief of Bumaoda.
- 10. In the original, "fair as Chanderma (the moon), the offspring of Samudra "(the ocean)." In Hindu mythology, the moon is a male divinity, and son of the ocean, which supplies a favourite metaphor to the Bardai, — the sea expanding with delight at the sight of his child, denoting the ebb and flow of the waters.
- 11. This Umi Shah can only be the Pathan emperor Humayoon, who enjoyed a short and infamous celebrity and Mahadeo, the Hara prince of Mahanal, who takes the credit of rescuing prince Kaitsi, must have been one of the great feudatories, perhaps generalissimo of the armies of Mewar (Medpat), it will be pleasing to the lovers of legendary lore to learn, from a singular tale, which we shall relate when we get to Bumaoda, that if on one occasion he owed his rescue to the Hara, the last on another took the life he gave ; and as it is said he abdicated in favour of his son Doorjun, whom he constituted Jiva-raj, or king (raj), while he was yet in life (jiva) it is not unlikely that, in order to atone for the crime of treason to his sovereign lord, he abandoned the gadi of Mynal.
- 12. Here it is distinctly avowed that Mahadeva', having constituted his son Jiva-raj, passed his days in devotion in the temple he had founded.
- 13. Pronounced Koombkurun, ' a ray of the Kumbha,' the vessel emblematic of Ceres, and elsewhere described.
- 14. It appears he did not forget he had been a warrior.
The cryptographic date, contained in the above four words (Arga, Goon, Chandra, Indu), is not the least curious part of this inscription, to which I did not even look when composing the Bundi annals, and which is another of the many powerful proofs of the general fidelity of their poetic chronicles.
- Arga is the sun, and denotes the number 12 ;
- Goon is the three principal passions of the mind ; and
- Chandra and Indu each stand for one : thus,
- Arga, Goon, Chandra, Indu = 12. 3. 1. 1.
and this " concealed (goopta) treasure," alluded to in the inscription, must be read backwards. But either my expounder, or the silpi, was out, and had I not found S. 1446 in a corner, we should never have known the value of this treasure. Many inscriptions are useless from their dates being thus enigmatically expressed ; and I subjoin, in a note, a few of the magic runes, which may aid others to decipher them.†
- † Indu (the moon).... 1
- Pukheo (the two fortnights).... 2
- Netra (the three eyes of Siva).... 3
- Veda (the four holy books).... 4
- Sur (the five arrows of Camdeo, or Cupid).... 5
- Sest (the six seasons, of two months each).... 6
- Juludhee (the seven seas, or Samoodras).... 7
- Sid'h.... 8
- Nid'h (the nine planet.... 9
- Dig (the ten comers of the globe) 10
- Roodra (a name of Siva).... 11
- Arga (the sun).... 12
- Anhul, Nund, Ind, Ind. = 3. 9. 1. 1.
- Anhul (fire) stands for three, denoting the third eye of Mahadevs, which is eventually to cause pralaya, or ' destruction.'
- Nund stands for nine, or the no-nund of their ancient histories. :Indu, the moon, (twice repeated,) is one, and the whole, read backwards, is S. 1193, or A.D. 1137.
In the mundur of Samarsi, we found the fragment of another inscription, dated S. 12-2, and containing the eulogy of Samarsi and Arnoraj, lord of the region ; also the name of " Pirthi Raj, who " destroyed the barbarians ;" and concluding with Sawunt Sing.
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