Middle Kingdoms of India, Part 43


Mandu Ruins

Jun 15, 2015 — CANADA (SUN) — A serial presentation of India's great history, religious movements and temple architecture.

The Paramaras

The Paramaras were an Indian dynasty that ruled over the Malwa region in central India during the Middle Kingdom period. This dynasty was founded by Upendra, c.800 A.D. Along with the Pratiharas and Chalukyas, it was one of the four main Rajput dynasties of that era.

The seat of the Paramara kingdom was Dhara Nagari (present day Dhar city in Madhya Pradesh). [57] This region suffered greatly at the hands of the Mughal intruders. In terms of the destruction of Vaisnava and Shaivite temples, which were either plundered for building materials or turned to rubble by the Muslims, the Paramara lands of Mandu (Madhya Pradesh) were a significant target. As described in the Sun Feature series, "The Mughal Influence on Vaisnavism":

"Mandu became the capital of the Muhammadan Sultans of Malva who set about buildings themselves palaces and mosques, first with material pilfered from Hindu temples (already for the most part desecrated and ruined by the iconoclastic fury of their earlier co-religionists), and afterwards with their own quarried material. Thus nearly all the traces of the splendid shrines of the Paramaras of Malva have disappeared save what we find utilized in the ruined mosques and tombs…

"The date of the construction of the Hindola Mahall cannot be fixed with exactitude… There can, however, be no doubt that it is one of the earliest of the Muhammadan buildings in Mandu. From its outward appearance there is no sign of Hindu workmanship but the repairs, that have been going on for the past one year, have brought to light a very large number of stones used in the structure, which appear, to have been taken from some pre-existing Hindu temple. The facing stones, which have been most accurately and smoothly cut on their outer surfaces, bear in very many cases on their inner sides the under faced images of Hindu gods, or patterns of purely Hindu design, while pieces of Hindu carving and broken parts of images are found indiscriminately mixed with the rubble, of which the core of the walls is made."

    VI. Dhar District.

    1. Dhar, Capital of Raja Bhoja Paramara converted into a Muslim capital. The following Muslim monuments tell their own story:
    (i) Kamal Maula Masjid. Temple materials used.
    (ii) Lat Masjid (1405). Jain Temple materials used.
    (iii) Mazar of Abdu’llah Shah Changal. Temple site.
    2. Mandu, An ancient Hindu city converted into a Muslim capital and the following monuments built on the sites of and/or with materials from temples
    (i) Jami‘ Masjid (1454).
    (ii) Dilawar Khan-ki-Masjid (1405).
    (iii) ChhoTi Jami‘ Masjid.
    (iv) Pahredaroñ-ki-Masjid (1417).
    (v) Malik Mughis-ki-Masjid.
    (vi) Maqbara of Hushang Shah.
    (vii) Jahaz Mahal.
    (viii) Tawil Mahal.
    (ix) Nahar Jharokha.
    (x) Hindola Mahal.
    (xi) Rupmati Pavilion.
    (xii) Ashrafi Mahal.
    (xiii) Dai-ki-Chhoti Bahen-ka-Mahal.
    (xiv) Baz Bahadur-ka-Mahal.
    (xv) Nilkanth Mahal.
    (xvi) Chhappan Mahal.
    (xvii) Fort and Gates.
    (xviii) Gada-Shah-ka-Mahal.
    (xix) Hammam Complex.

Aside from the properties destroyed by the Muslim infidels, there are other records of land holdings of the Paramaras. The historical records of Northern India illustrate how, from time to time, the king's prerogatives with reference to the land were conducted. Such historical records agree with the evidence of the Smrtis and the Arthasastra. For example, in the extant records of the Paramaras there are references to the royal farms or allotments in the villages which were often let out to tenants.

Succeeding the founding king, Upendra (c. 800 A.D.), the most significant Paramara ruler was Bhoja I. He was renowned as a philosopher king and polymath, as evidenced by his writings. King Bhoja of Dhārā (1018–1060 A.D.) authored the Samarāngana Sūtradhāra, an encyclopedic work on classical Indian architecture. Over the course of its 83 chapters many subjects are presented, such are town planning, house architecture, temple architecture and sculptural arts together with mudrās, the canons of painting, and a chapter on the mechanical contrivances, the yantras.

Samarāngana Sūtradhāra's chapter on yantras deals with gathana, the art of mechanical constructions, delineating the definition of yantra, its elements; qualities and manifold varieties of pleasure machines, toy-machines, the machines of warfare as well as the domestic machines, like dvārapālayantra, the soldier machine, etc.

Also dealt with are the complex mechanical devices called 'vimanas', which are the ancient Vedic flying machines. In fact, the Samarāngana Sūtradhāra contains 230 stanzas devoted to flight. It describes in detail every possible aspect of flying. Among the topics covered are the vimānayantra like vyomacāriviha gamayantra, a wooden brief machine travelling in the sky, and ākāśavāni-dārumayavimāna-yantra, a wooden plane flying in the air, along with various other vāriyantra, dharayantra and rathadolāyantra flying devices.


[57] Agnivansha: Paramara Dynasty


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