Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Representing the 99%!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Ride to the Ancient City of Padmavati

Sunga style sculptures found near the 4th century brick structure
Ancient Padmavati (210 CE) now known as Pawaya was a flourishing city mentioned in several classic Sanskrit texts like Malatimadhavam of Bhavabhuti and Harshacharita of Bana and Sarasvatīkaṇṭhabharaṇa of Raja Bhoja.

Bhavabhuti describes in detail the Dhumeshwar waterfall near Pawaya
temple near the waterfall has incorporated both the Islamic as well as the Bhumija style of architecture
Author Bhavabhuti describes the city with tall mansions and temples with shikharas (spires) and gates, located between Para / Padmavati and Sindhu rivers. About three kms before Pawaya is Dhumeshwar, which has a wonderful waterfall and a 15th century temple of Shiva. Bhavabhuti describes in detail the Dhumeshwar waterfall near Pawaya. The temple near the waterfall has incorporated both the Islamic as well as the Bhumija style of architecture. The garbhagriha is of the Bhumija style, while the jagmohan is typically Islamic, with a massive dome as its roof.

an ancient structure at the top of the water fall
Pawaya the village is by itself lost in time. It sits beside an ancient fort which is at the confluence of the Padmavati and the Sindhu River. This fort was added upon by subsequent conquerors. About 2 kms from the fort is a 4th century brick structure that is unique to behold. It is a terraced building about 3 story in height that has no door leading to the inside of this structure. Strangely the only door that is there is at the bottom of the stair well, which leads to the top of the building. Archeologists have concluded this brick structure to be the remains of a Pre Gupta Age temple. Several Sunga (200 BCE) style sculptures have been found there...some can still be seen lying about carelessly before this step pyramid like structure. These sculptures predate the structure and this results in great confusion in accurately dating this brick assemblage.

ancient crumbling mansions of pawaya
in my hand is a 4th century CE varaha (avatar of vishnu) sculpture
 4th century brick structure that is unique to behold
Every nook and corner of this tiny hamlet of Pawaya has vestiges of the past in the form of broken pieces of carvings. There are several ancient mansions in crumbling conditions. The people here have been living since the time Naga kings migrated from Vidisha (210 CE) and set up their capital at the confluence of the Para Padmavati and the Sindhu. A good 700 years later Parmar kings (Raja Mihir Bhoj’s Dynasty) conquered this place.

 Islamic tombs that dot the fields
ancient fort of pawaya
Outside the village there are several Islamic tombs that dot the fields. These tombs house the graves of forgotten royalty of the Mughals and their nobles. Mughal Emperor Jahangir on his way to meet his friend Bir Singh Bundela at Orcha had passed through Pawaya (the Buldela Rajput Monarch, who had sided with Jahangir (Salim) when he rebelled against his father Akbar. Bir Singh Bundela was on the one who killed Abul Fazal, the author of Ain-e-Akbari).  Payaya holds enormous historical riches underneath it...the Archeological Survey of India has forgotten about this place...I am sure if new excavations are conducted a large amount of sculptures will be unearthed. Whatever has been found are now housed in the Gurjari Mahal Museum in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.

a very strange carving being excavated


  1. Thank you Sabya, most impressive as always! :-)

  2. wow What a photo journey of a most important place, Thanks Sabya waiting for more such amazing posts