A beautiful set of architectural structures are located in the Morena district of Madhya Pradesh that need to be seen by the discerning traveller. Dating back to the Gupta and Gurjar-Pratihara dynasties; they’re defined by the mastery of a historic era. The marvels of Mitawali, Padavali, and Bateshwar temples are situated approximately 50 kilometres from the city of Gwalior.
These old structures tell us stories of the time long gone by, and their timelessness is what makes them such a wonder. Mitawali is where the popular Chausath Yogini Temple lies; perched atop a hill surrounded by the lush greenery. They say, the Parliament House in New Delhi is believed to have been inspired from the circular design and architectural intricacies of the Mitawali temple. A climb of a 100 steps will take you to this splendidly round temple. Studying the temple structure can be a wonderful lesson in rain-water harvesting and engineering. The perforated base at the central structure allows rain water to collect in a huge reservoir below which is not visible from the outside. The roof is also built in a way that rain water get stored smoothly.
It is believed that the Mitawali, Padavali and Bateshwar made a golden triangle of a university which existed about a 1000 years ago. The teaching centre was said to be a hub that imparted education in Mathematics, Astrology and Hinduism to its students.
About 3km from Mitawali is another temple which the locals believe to have actually served as a case study for the illustrious Khajuraho group of monuments near Jhansi. The notable Padavali fortress was built in the 18th century by the Jat Ranas rulers of Dhaulpur. The artwork of the temple is worth admiring though most of it is in ruins now. The interiors of the entrance porch are intricately carved with 3D details and the wonderfully-carved pillars and ceilings depict scenes from the Hindu mythology. Guarded by the structure of a lion and lioness, the fort also has a temple that once served as a divine place to worship Lord Shiva.
Further away are a cluster of almost 200 temples made of sandstone called the Bateshwar temple. They are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Shakti – representing the three major forces within Hinduism. Spread over 25 acres, these shrines were built over the Chambal River valley ravines and across the slanted hills near Padavali. The temples were constructed in the 8th to 10th century AD and the highlight here is the jungle nearby which is full of beautiful birds like peacocks, parakeets and kingfishers. One can often spot the national bird perching on the rooftop of the temples.
The nearest airport is the Gwalior airport, located at a distance of 8km from the heart of the city. It is well connected to all major cities. Private taxis are easily available just outside the airport.