|Deogarh, the Fort of the Gods is
situated on the right bank ofthe Betwa river at the western end ofthe
Lalitpur range of hills. Due to its strategic location on the main route
to the Deccan it was a constant bone of contention, and figures in the
history of the Guptas, the Gurjara-Pratiharas, the Gondas, the Muslim
rulers of Delhi, the Marathas and the British. As a result, it is of great
antiquarian, epigraphical and archaeological value today.
The natural setting of the fort is dramatic, so is its scale, which takes
the visitor by surprise. The fort is entered through a corbelled gateway
in the outer wall. A path has been cleared through the undergrowth and
broken statuary lies scattered about. Within the fort is a remarkable
group of 31 Jain Temples. The site was a Jain centre from the 8th to the
17th centuries. Within the temples are panels depicting scenes from Jain
mythology, tirthankara images, Manasthamba or votive pillars, Ayagpattas
or votive tablets, Sarvatobhadra Pratima 's or Jain images visible from
all sides and Sahasrakutas or pillars carved with a thousand
Jinfigures.Most important among the group are temples No. 11 and No. 12,
the Santinath temple.Among other important structures at Deogarh are the
Varah temple, the rock cut cave-Siddha'ki'-
Gufa, Rajghati and the Naharghati. The jewel of Deogarh however is in
afield by a well close to the hanks of the Betwa. This is the Dashavatar
Temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu. It belongs to the Gupta period and is
dated to about the 6th century AD. It is the earliest known Panchayatan
temple of north India. It bears an inscription attributable to Govinda,
Viceroy of Malwa and brother ofthe great Kumargupta I. A row of superbly
sculpted panels adorn the terraced basement which rises above the high
plinth of the temple. A doorway with intricately carved figures of Ganga
and Yamuna leads to the garbhagriha or sanctum sanctorum. The temple is
particularly well known for its Rathika panels in recesses along its three
These fine stone reliefs depict scenes from Vaishnava mythology, and are
identified as the Gajendra Moksh panel, Nar-Narayan Tapasya
andtheAnantasayi Vishnu. Only the lower portion remains of the shikhar,
once the most important part of the temple.
The Gupta age, because of its superb sculptures, is "in the annals of
classical India almost what the Periclean age is in the history of Greece
". The beauty of the images at Deogarh carved out of granite and red or
grey sandstone bear testimony to this.
Area : 5sq.km.
Population : 350 (1991 census)
Altitude : 211 mtrs. above sea level.
Season : September-May
Clothing (Summer) : Light Cottons
(Winter) : Woollens
Language : Hindi) Bundeli
Festivals : Jain Mela and
Local Transport : Bus/Private Jeeps/
STD Code : 02904
Nearest airport is at Gwalior : 235 km.
The nearest railway station isJakhlaun 13 km, on the Jhansi-Babina
Passenger train route. Lalitpur is another railhead, 23 km from Deogarh.
Some important trains stopping at Lalitpur are: 1078/1077 Jhelum Exp;
1038/1037 Punjab Mail; 1058/1057 Amritsar-Dadar Exp; 1016/1015
Gorakhpur-Bombay-Kushinagar Exp; 8478/8477 Kaluga UtkalExp; 4310/4309
Dehradun-Ujjain Exp; 4068/4067 Malwa Exp; 8238/8237 Chhatisgarh Exp;
7022/7021 Nizamuddin'Hyderabad Exp.
It is connected with bus services to all important centres in the region.
Some of the major road
distances are:Jhansi 123 km, Datia 147 km, Lalitpur-23 km, Matatila-93 km.
This town, famous for its gossamer-like sarees, also has fine examples
of Rajput and Sultanate architecture. A magnificient Mughal fort
dominates the skyline. Among the interesting sites are the Koshak Mahal,
the Badal Mahal, Victory arch, the Jama Masjid and ancient Jain temples.
31 km, south ofLalitpur on the hansi-Sagar national highway. It derived
its name from Tal (Lake) and hehat (Village), in the language of Gonds,
the original settlers at the site. In 1618, Bharat Shah the raja of Bar
and Chanderi, built a fine fort with the famous Narsingh temple inside.
93 km. This is an ideal picnic spot developed by the irrigation
department. Water-sports and a garden on the lines of the Vrindavan
gardens are added attractions.