Some magnificent idols and art still lying in ruins of Budi Mandu
Some magnificent idols and art still lying in ruins of Budi Mandu

Indore

Older than 555 CE (common era), an essential part of our history continues to be neglected to date in Budi Mandu, as it is still not covered under Ancient Monuments Preservation Act.
There were more than 550 idols of Hindu temples and state of world art present here. However, with no chances of the beautiful place being covered under the preservation act, about 300 idols were transported and are kept in different museums for preservation.

However, over 250 monuments cannot be transported as they are enormous and heavy to lift. “It is a 6 km trek to reach this precious place preserved only by nature, and carrying these heavy and huge monuments from there is not practically possible,” said Dr Devi Prasad Pandey, archaeological department official.

Madhya Pradesh, the heart of India, holds secrets of the past and art in the most unique possible ways. However, in the rat race, we are not only losing the essentials of happiness but also neglecting our heritage to an extent from where recovery will soon become impossible.

The state of world-class art is pitiful today and might become worse if action is not taken for preservation. Despite being a source of rich history, the state is failing to preserve precious monuments.

One such sorry site is Ashapuri village.

Budi Mandu much older than other preserved sites, but ignored by govt

The earliest known reference to Budi Mandu can be found in a Sanskrit inscription on the pedestal of a Jain image. This inscription, dating to 555 AD, refers to the city as Mandapa-Durga. It has been claimed that the Prakrit, or vernacular version of this name is Mandava, a name that is still in use today. The name was further corrupted to the commonly-used Mandu.

Firishta, a 16th century Persian historian, mentions that a fort was built at Mandu sometime around the end of the 6th century AD. When these two pieces of information are considered together, it may be inferred that a fort was already in existence 555 AD or even earlier.

Older than Mughals, but ignored history

“Budhi Mandu is much older than Rani Roopmati Mahal (1555-1561 CE), but it is still not in preservation. Such older sites with rich Indian heritage being ignored and not taken under preservation is sad and a curve downwards for our country’s heritage. There is a step-well and a lake, but that source of water is not maintained. If we would get preservation and built the road, gather tourism, the site can truly be preserved, ” says Dr Devi Prasad Pandey of Archaeological department.

Ashapuri Village: Pedestal paused due to corona

Ashapuri is an extraordinary site, with 26 temples in ruins, all standing close to each other in silence above a line of steps leading down to a large pond.

While bits and pieces of history are kept in the museum here, a large heritage lies in a sorry state on the ground covered by bushes and wild grass.

“Construction of this site continued over two centuries, under the royal patronage of the Pratiharas and Parmaras in central India between the ninth and eleventh centuries,” Pandey said.

Though approved construction of pedestal here, it has not been implemented since last year due to coronavirus outbreak.

Preserving the Paintings

Madhya Pradesh is less known for its variety of paintings and artworks, as their preservation, education and promotion is limited. Some art forms like Bagh prints have stood the test of time, but many are lost.

Dabu is one such style still waiting to be discovered by all. The craftsmen of Indore and Jawad use dyes from the very lap of nature to create a distinct look. The motifs and dyes are representative of the craftsmen’s deep respect for nature. The delicate floral patterns are simply exquisite.

A painting soon to become lost is Pithora art. The uniqueness of Pithora art lies in the fact that the artists use horses to represent Gods and Goddesses. Pithora paintings with their bright colours and animated figures often reflect the joyful sentiments of the tribe and the artists.

Mandana is one such art form of folk painting created by one of the oldest tribal communities of Madhya Pradesh called ‘Meena’.

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