Mahakaleshwar Temple II, Un, Khargone District, Madhya Pradesh

Some of the finest examples of the mastery of the Paramara dynasty is seen in the vibrant village of Un in Khargone district. Un was an important seat of learning, art and architecture during the reign of the Paramaras especially Raja Udayaditya. An inscription found on the wall of one of the temples indicates that both the Mahakaleshwar Temple I and Mahakaleshwar Temple II were built in the late 11th century.


The temples at a glance look a lot like the temples of Khajuraho in plan as well as architectural detailing. These like the ones seen in Khajuraho are grouped together, a rare feature that is not seen anywhere else.


According to the locals, the temples were maintained by the Holkars, Maharajas of Indore for centuries but subsequent damage has been done by either miscreants or the British. The temples have not survived the ravages of weather and time and are in a dilapidated state.


The temple sits on a plinth with a highly ornate shikhara. The shikhara would have been outstanding when constructed and one can see fragments of stunning architectural elements that are typical of the Paramara style. The mandapa has disappeared and there appear to be three chambers above the garbha griha. There is a beautiful arch over the door of the sanctum sanctorum.


However, the charm and elegance of the intricately carved sculptures in the unusually designed niches has not diminished. The niches have a central figure with repetitive patterns on the lower portion and carvings on the top. It is difficult to identify the figures as they are severely damaged.


There are various foliage, floral, linear and animal motifs seen on the external facades along with auspicious Hindu iconography. There are remnants of carved figures on the lower portion of the walls.


There is a large Shiva Linga that has been consecrated in the sanctum sanctorum. This 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)

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