Another beautiful example of the artistic, architectural and sculptural perfection of the Chandelas is the Sahastralingeshwar Temple Group in the revered site of Chandpur – Jahajpura. Chandpur – Jahajpura now in ruins was perhaps one of the most important seats of power of the Chandelas between the 9th – 12th century.
The majestic Sahastralingeshwar Temple is the largest temple in this group. This east-facing temple sits on the edge of a tank and has a mukha mandapa and a garbha griha. An imposing sculpture of Lord Nandi sits in the pillared mandapa facing the sanctum.
The sanctum sanctorum has a massive Sahasra or Sahastra Linga with thousand Lingas carved on it. There are four figures on each side that appear to be sages. The most fascinating feature of this Linga is the remarkable detailing in each tier.
The Sahastra Linga has been designed as the legendary Pillar of Light that is beginningless and endless. This rare Puranic depiction of the Supreme Truth draws many devotees from nearby villages.
The entrance doorway has the typical auspicious Hindu iconography, floral and foliage patterns, linear motifs and an array of gods and goddesses. Lord Nataraja is seated on the lintel of the doorway.
A temple dedicated to Lord Brahma is found on the south. The temple has a flat roof with Lord Brahma and his consort on his lap consecrated in the sanctum sanctorum. It is interesting to note that a stunning carving of Lord Vishnu is seen on the Lalata Bimba. It is therefore unclear if this temple was originally dedicated to Lord Vishnu.
The third temple dedicated to Lord Ganesha has been reduced to rubble. One can only see the entrance porch of this temple.
This historical site is a protected monument of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian