Situated in north west part of the country is the state of Rajasthan which holds a very important place for foreign and domestic tourism. The state is well known for its rich culture, history and a very diverse geography which is home to huge variety of flora and fauna. It is no wonder it grabs the attention of every tourist irrespective of their age and taste.
When it comes to cultural heritage, the temple architecture holds one of the key components. The southern part of the state is home to the tribal districts of Banswara and Dungarpur, which are locally known as the Vagad area. Although given a status of a backward tribal area, the region does attract a large number of tourists.
The village of Arthuna is located in the district of Banswara, which is home to remains and ruins of the once beautiful temples, constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries, by the various rulers who ruled this area. Here, one can see that the temple construction is simply not a few blocks of stones carved but is a fine example to showcase how poetry can be carved out on stones.
History Of The Place
It all began in the 8th century AD, when Raja Upendra of Malwa established the Paramara dynasty. Which later on extended its rule over the regions of Vagad, Chandrawati, Bhinmal and the Kiradu areas. Raja Pundarik of the Paramara dynasty established Arthuna as his capital. The original name of Arthuna was Amrawati or Uthhunaka, the ruler and his descendants began the construction of the large number of temples found here.
As per an inscription found here, a Paramara prince named Chamundaraja had built a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva named Mandaleshwar as a tribute to his father in 1079 AD. Another inscription dated 1080 AD narrates that his officer's son named Anantapala also constructed a temple of Shiva.
The Group Of Temples
The temples found here are split into several complexes and throw light upon the religious beliefs of the rulers. The structures here exhibit a mixture of Shaivism, Jainism and Vaishnavism. In the year 1954, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) began its excavations here which threw light on the existence of the various temple complexes.
The most important and largest shrine in the Shiva temples found here is the Mandleshwar Shiva Temple. As per an inscription found here, the shrine was constructed by Raj Chamunda Raj as a memorial dedicated to his father Raja Mandlik. The temple is well protected now and offers daily worship. Close by is another shrine dedicated to Hanuman which was built by Raja Vijayraj in 1107 AD.
One can also find a Jain temple complex here, which is said to be built in the 12th century. Close by to the Jain temples is another shrine dedicate to Chausath Yogini or Lord Shiva. As the temples were constructed at various points of time, they were built together in groups. The Hanuman Garhi complex is one such structure which houses a black stone statue of Hanuman along with a shrine dedicated to Lord Shiva.
The general style of architecture followed here is the Nagara style which was prevalent in the country during that point of time. The temples have a base which was either an elevated square or a rectangular platform on which the main temple was built.
How To Reach?
The village of Arthuna is located at a distance of 55 km from Banswara and 150 km from Udaipur. The nearest airport is at Udaipur. The place is well connected by roads across the state and also to the neighboring state of Gujarat.