It is perhaps not known to many that the quaint village of Kagpur in Vidisha district is a treasure trove of Paramara period temples. The Paramaras had firmly established themselves in Madhya Bharat between 9th to early 14th century. One will find exquisite temples built by them in almost all the villages of Madhya Pradesh especially in the Malwa region.
Kagpur boasts of three outstanding examples of their architectural excellence namely Mangala Devi Mandir, Athakambha and Khedapati Mata Mandir. The mastery of the Paramaras is seen in the sculptures and architectural detailing.
Mangala Devi Mandir is said to be built between the 10th and 11th century. This east-facing temple sits on a high platform. The most captivating feature of this temple is the highly decorated door jamb. Each and every inch on either side has beautiful carvings of foliage, lotuses and traditional repetitive patterns and vines. There is a striking Nagakanya in the typical tribhanga mudra on either side of the door jamb with a goddess who appears to be in the sthanak sampad mudra.
Interestingly, there are intricate carvings of three figures in the rare alingan mudra in each of the four tiers at the top. Unfortunately, the other embellishments in the front façade like the miniature niche like architectural elements and other carvings are hardly recognizable.
A mandapa supported by twelve pillars stands near the temple. Historians say that Mangala Devi was consecrated in 1306 CE.
Locals opine that this ancient temple was demolished by Muslim invaders and looted by the British. The temple was rebuilt though it is still in a rather dilapidated state. This temple is open only once in a year during the auspicious occasion of Navaratri.
It would be great if this whole village is declared as a heritage village and these architectural masterpieces of the Paramaras are protected from further damage.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)