The largest state of central India is Madhya Pradesh. The Hindu temples of Madhya Pradesh are located in Khajuraho. The architectural style of these temples, the Khajuraho style, is a sub-classification of the Orissa type and the West Indian type, which again is a sub-classification of the overall North Indian type. Many temples were built shaped like mountains, because of a belief in mountain worship. The scale of the temples and the quality of construction is all spectacular. The scale of the temples and the quality of construction is all spectacular. Shikharas of the Khajuraho temple are straight and majestic. The temples can be broadly classified into three groups, the West, East and South Group. There is a fence around the main temple groups. The main temples in the western group in Khajuraho are mostly Hindu temples such as the Matangeshwara temple and the Vishwanatha temple. The eastern group has Jain temples like Parshvanatha Temple and the Adinatha temple. The architectural styles of the statues of Jain temples are not different from the Hindu style and it is the thirthankara statues in various places that tell us this is a Jain temple. The Chatrurbhuja Temple and the Duladaeo Temple belong to the Southern Group of Temples. The mahamandapa of these temples are wide and fascinating.
Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh was originally a Hindu kingdom until Iltutmish occupied it and brought in Islamic rule in 1232. Subsequently Gwalior came under the Rajput, the Mughals and finally the British. As a result various architectural styles have also intermingled. Every religion and age has left behind its own legacy. In Gwalior there is a high hill which forms a natural fort. On the hill are some Hindu temples and Man Singh fort and at the foothills are Jain cave temples and carved thrithankara statues. To the northeast are Islamic buildings, starting with Jami Masjid. To the south is the new palace, new market place, etc. Man Mandir, built by Man Singh is the most beautiful fort palace of Gwalior. There are a group of temples inside the palace complex. Islamic influence is minimal and the delicate stone carving, though quite fantastic in appearance, differs from West Indian palaces. The Friday Mosque near the entrance to the fort was constructed during the Mughal rule and is in the Mughal architectural style. This red sandstone structure has two minarets and is surmounted by a dome of white marble. Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh is a large Buddhist centre with many temples and monasteries. The Buddhist temples have the influence of the Gupta dynasty. The umbrella like canopy and the majestic toranas are the major architectural features of Sanchi architecture.
Major creations of Islamic architecture in Mandu in Madhya Pradesh were done under the reign of the Mughals. In comparison with other Islamic structures in India, the architecture of Mandu is simple and down to earth. The style of these buildings, with their moderate decorations is the functional style of the 15th century. The Jahaz Mahal palace is the most delicately designed palace in Mandu. Jami Masjid the Arab-style mosque is the biggest in Mandu and is very simple. The brackets of the mosques are in the Hindu architectural style. Another distinguishing feature of the mosque is the cubical entrance hall on the eastern side. It has a flight of stairs leading up to the entrance and a magnificent dome crowning it.
Chhattisgarh is a new state which attained its statehood in the year 2000. In Chhattisgarh, the town of Malhar is renowned for its archeological importance. Many ancient temples such as Devri temple, Pataleshwar temple and Danteshwari temple have been found. Here, Bastar Palace, also known as Jagdalpur Palace, is an eminent monument in Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh, built by the rulers of the Bastar kingdom this palace is steeped in legends of heroism and chivalry of these kings, and has a rich wealth of art and architectural work that illustrates their refined aesthetic sensibility. The Danteshwari temple of Chhattisgarh is rich in architectural design. The temple has four parts namely the garbhagriha, the mukhya mandapa, maha mandapa and the sabha mandapa. The Ratanpur fort and the Badal fort are the main forts of Chhattisgarh.
Thus, in Central India there is a wide array of architectural creations that are available. Chhattisgarh is a store house of ancient temples and monuments but Madhya Pradesh offers a wider vista of architectural variety. Central India, hence, can be referred to as the home to Hindu, Islamic, Jain and Buddhist architecture and is a major segment in the panorama of Indian architecture.
(Last Updated on : 13-01-2010)
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