If the secrets of Chambal at Mitawali and Padavali had you captivated, wait till your eyes feast on the symphony in sandstone – Bateshwar. And, it is not a lone beauty from the past that enchants you but a cluster of around 200 artworks in stone that seem like a magical setting.
Sitting pretty in a small valley surrounded by the hills near Padavali, hardly a few kms from Garhi Padavali, the Bateshwar temples, spread over 25 acres offer a magnificent journey through time. Constructed between eight and 10th century, these temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. As the morning sun plays with their shadows and the nearby jungles resonate with the chirping of birds, you feel as if you are watching the rebirth of an era.
Also Read: Exploring the temples of Belur and Halebidu
Starting from the twin Gopur Dwar pillars, the carvings here not only elicit awe for their finesse but make you wonder how they have survived the long passage of time. As per the locals a bit of credit could be given to the presence of dacoits in the Chambal valley as despite people knowing about the presence of the ruins, no one dared to visit them. While most of the temples have a ‘Shivling’ in their sanctum sanctorum, some temples that are believed to be earlier ones have flat roofs; the others have finely-carved tops or ‘shikharas’.
The most prominent temple among all is Bhuteshwara and undoubtedly the most magnificent. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, this temple is believed to have divine powers. The folklore has it that the Mughal invaders had in fact turned blind when they tried to destroy the temple. Then there is this bright orange vertical slab that you can’t miss even from far. When you go near you see it is Lord Hanuman. The friendly guide at the site might even tell you quite excitedly that no one, not even the machinery, could shift him from that place. Then, there is the lone Vishnu temple on a hillock on your way out which is also a must-visit for its impressive carvings.
It is believed that sometime after the 13th century, the temples were destroyed either by an earthquake or Mughal forces. Still, with many structures and parts of the complex yet to be restored, the ones reassembled and restored only make you imagine how magnificent this place would look after all of them stand shoulder to shoulder, pillar to pillar.