One of the finest examples of the early Pratihara style of architecture in Central India is the Mahadeva Temple in Amrol village. This ancient temple is likely to have been built in the 8th century by either Nagabhata I or Vatsaraja.
The temples built by the Pratiharas in Gwalior are considered by historians to be the inspiration behind the magnificent structures built by the successive rulers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. The iconic temples built by the Gurjara-Pratihara dynasty are renowned for their exquisite craftsmanship, intricately carved panels and stunning sculptures.
The Amrol temple has well-defined niches on the external façade adorned with beautiful sculptures of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartikeya and Uma Devi doing tapas (penance and austerities). There are lovely figures of dancers and musicians, Ashtadikpalakas and embellished panels with traditional motifs on the walls.
The main doorway is richly decorated with ornate figures of Apsaras and a sage on either side. The doorway is unusually wide and grander than most temples of this size. The upper part of the shikhara has fallen prey to the ravages of the weather and time but fragments of carvings in two tiers can be seen.
Though this temple is not as impressive in either size or detailing as compared to subsequent temples built by the Pratiharas, there is a certain simplicity and elegance to the minimalistic sculptures. Mahadeva Temple is a protected monument of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)