Mandla, once the stronghold of the mighty Gondwana dynasty is dotted with temples, halls and impregnable forts. Under the leadership of their greatest king Maharaja Sangram Shah, the Garha Mandla kingdom of Gondwana expanded its territory on both sides of the Narmada River.
Rani Durgavati who took over the reins of the kingdom following the death of her father-in-law and husband in a span of a few years made Singorgarh as the capital and administered the prosperous kingdom along with her trusted ministers and son, Vir Narayan. Rani Durgavati built many wells, tanks, dharmashalas and maths. The Gondwana Kingdom grew in stature and wealth during her reign drawing the envy of neighbouring kings.
Most of the temples built on the banks of the Narmada River have been desecrated by the Mughals and the fragments of those grand structures are probably lying in the bottom of the sacred river.
One of the temples built probably by the Gonds that has survived the ruthless attacks of the Mughals and British is the unusual Mahadeva Mandir or Shiv Mandir in the sleepy village of Khardeori (Khari Deori). This two-storeyed temple is located on the bank of the Rewa River.
The temple stands on a low platform and is square in plan. There is a Shiva Linga consecrated in the sanctum sanctorum with an Indo-Islamic chhatri roof over it. The temple is built of random rubble masonry and lime plaster and the external facades are devoid of any decoration.
There is not much information about this temple in any historical record. Locals opine that this temple was probably renovated by the Marathas in the 18th century.
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)