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One whose Throat is Blue I bow to Nilakantha who hasten arms, three eyes, is sky-clad lord of the directions, dark-eyed and adorned by/with poison. 06 FACTS;- 1-Kalinjar ( कालिंजर) is a fortress-city in the Bundelkhand region of central India. Kalinjar is located in Banda District of Uttar Pradesh state, near the temple-city and World Heritage Site of Khajuraho. The fortress is strategically located on an isolated rocky hill at the end the Vindhya Range, at an elevation of 1,203 feet (367 m) and overlooks the plains of Bundelkhand. 2-It served several of Bundelkhand's ruling dynasties, including the Chandela dynasty of Rajputs in the 10th century, and the Solankis of Rewa. The fortress contains several temples dating as far back as the Gupta dynasty of the 3rd-5th centuries. 3-One of the most famous legends, which has been described in the Bhagavata Purana, the Mahabharata, and the Vishnu Purana, is that of samudra manthan, or churning of the ocean.Kalinjar means The destroyer of time in Sanskrit. 'Kal' is time and 'jar' destruction. Legend says that after manthan Hindu God, Lord Shiva, drank the poison and his throat became blue (hence the name Neel (blue) Kantha (throat)) and he came to Kalinjar and overcome the 'Kal' i.e. he achieved victory over death. This is the reason the Shiva temple at Kalinjar is called Neelkanth. 4-Since then, the hill has been considered a holy site, casting its shadow across the patches of grasslands as well as the densely forested valley. The natural splendor of the surroundings makes it an ideal place for penance and meditation and, surprisingly, a strange mystique still pervades all over the hill. 5-Lord Shiva swallowed the poison while his consort Goddess Parvati, it is said, held his neck to prevent it from going into his stomach. The poison turned his throat blue, which is why he’s called Neelkanth, or the one with a blue throat. Though the poison didn’t harm him, Lord Shiva’s throat was burning and he came to earth to rest. 6-According to legend, that place was Kalinjar where the Chandela rulers, who were Shiva bhakts, built in the 10th century a magnificent Neelkanth temple. The Chandela rulers of Bundelkhand also built the Kalinjar fort, which lives up to its name, ‘The destroyer of time’, between the 9th and 13th centuries. It is one of the few forts that stood against the invasions of Mahmud of Ghazni. A MYSTERIOUS BREATHTAKING TEMPLE;- 18 FACTS;- 1-The entrance to the fort and the palaces inside are impressive, but it was Neelkanth temple that took my breath away the best part of my trip.From the top, the 165 steps that lead down to it in a long and winding route look daunting, but don’t let that deter/ discourage you. It’s worth every bit of the effort. 2-Though the scenery accompanying the journey down the steps is enough to refresh tired feet, it was the first sight of the Grecian altar-looking 16-pillared yagna mandap from the top that was enough to give us a sense of purpose. We continued with renewed vigour. The mandap, which is said to have once been covered, now stands under the open sky as a testimony to time. 3-There are carvings and statues on the rocks all along the route. At the museum of Kalinjar fort, the Archaeological Survey of India officer said that out of the 874 specimens of sculpture they had there, most were found during excavations of the temple. We can well believe him after seeing the riches there. 4-A door leads to the village. On the way, an adorable Ganesha statue keeps guard. On the rock, just a little way above the mandap, are spectacular statues of Chamundi Devi. 5-Behind the mandap is a small shrine cut into the rock itself, with a tall Shivling installed in it. The unique feature of the Shivling is that it is always wet near the throat portion, even if there is a drought or famine in this area.The door of the cave is a massive stone shutter-like thing, which used to move as the pujari told , but they no longer know the secret lever. 6-To the right of the temple, a few steps down, is the most amazing statue of Kal Bhairav (incarnation of Lord Shiva) carved in the rocks. This is easy to miss as most people return from the mandap area. It is 32 ft high, 17 ft wide, has 18 arms, and is garlanded by skulls. The statue is majestic and stunning, and gave us the feel of the power of destiny, for which it is worshipped. 7-Just above the temple is a natural water source that never dries up. Water continually drips onto the Shivling, keeping the neck moist. Thirty-five steps lead up to the sarovar cut in the mountains behind the temple. It is said that this contains treasure, and there are some indications written on its walls. 8- We don’t know how true this is, for surely someone must have found it if it was material treasure. In my opinion , it’s treasure of the spiritual kind, for I felt a vast amount of energy,a great sense of peace here. 9-Historians have described Kalinjar as being a fortress unparalled in strength. Seen together with its twin fort at Ajaigarh, Kalinjar formed a formidable line of defence of central India from any attacks from the north. In 1019, Mahmud Ghazni ravaged much of north and west India but had to turn back in the face of stiff opposition from the Kalinjar garrison. 10-The year 1022 saw a repeat with Ghazni having to stay content with a few gifts from the Chandella ruler but no fort. Had Kalinjar fallen, it is unlikely that Khajuraho would have survived. Today, Khajuraho is a thriving tourist hub, while Kalinjar is a grey area tourists seldom venture into. 11-The Chandellas were sapped by their conflict with the Chauhans. After the defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan at the hands of Mohammad Ghori in 1192,in 1192, the weakened Chandellas were the next to face the invaders. 12-In the face of a long siege by Qutab-ud-din Aibak's forces in 1203, the fort's water supply ran dry and the garrison was forced to surrender. It is a tribute to the fort and its garrison that the invading force did not have the strength left to carry on further conquest and yet again, places like Khajuraho were left alone. 13-Over time, the Chandellas regained control of the fort and it stayed with them till the invasion of Sher Shah Sur in 1545. Another siege followed and this one ended dramatically. A missile-like weapon set off by the invading force bounced off the mighty walls and landed in a gunpowder dump near Sher Shah. The resultant explosion saw him suffer fatal burns. 14-Kalinjar eventually fell to the attackers in a battle that extinguished the Chandella dynasty. Had Sher Shah not been killed at Kalinjar the Mughals may never have come back to power in India. The walls of the fort literally changed India history. 15-In 1569, the Mughals occupied Kalinjar which became part of the jagir of Birbal. The next interesting turn in the fort's history took time to come. In 1688, Bundela hero Chhatrasal took control of the fort. Warding off Maratha attacks, the fort stayed with the Bundelas for over a century eventually falling to the British.Like a soldier come home from the wars, the fort of Kalinjar gradually faded after this. 16-While its location and its physical setting on a 900-foot high hill gave it strength in military terms, Kalinjar drew spiritual power from being described as the abode of Shiva, in the Koorma Purana. The Neelkanth temple in the fort is a symbol of that spiritual past. The temple is in a corner of the fort and is accessed via a long flight of steps that lead to it. On either side of the steps and throughout the entire courtyard around the temple is a range of rock cut figures of gods and goddesse .. 17-The actual temple bears the marks of assault but has survived. Each pillar has wonderful rock cut designs and that only indicates the grandeur of the temple in its prime. .18-The temple is built in a cave with two dark lingas inside - one each to indicate Shiva and his consort Parvati. Temple priests are quick to point out that the throat of the linga always stays moist even if no water or milk is poured for weeks on it. What seems to be the case in this temple is that a small shrine existed inside the cave.The most significant of these is an amazing depiction of Shiva in his Mahasadashiva form, a boon to his bhaktas...... .......SHIVOHAM...