Chanderi: The Historical Town of Madhya Pradesh

If you are a fan of Indian Traditional wears than you wouldn’t need an introduction to Chanderi suits and saris, apparently one of the most chosen attire especially during the weddings. I knew Chanderi the same way as well but though Chanderi has got its name in the textile industry, seldom do people know about this cute little town in Madhya Pradesh, which itself has got a lot to see and has a massive history attached. I got a glimpse of it recently, so I thought of writing this blog where I am going to share a little more about Chanderi as a town.

In this blog, I shall be sharing the historical importance of Chanderi and how each place that I visited here still preserves a sense of the era gone by. Most importantly, I am going to share why you should visit these places. I can assure you that you wouldn’t be disappointed

History of Chanderi

Chanderi as a town has historical importance and its first reference is found in Mahabharata where it is mentioned as Chedi country which was ruled by Shishupala. During the 11th century, Chanderi was dominated by the trade routes of Central India and was proximate to the arterial route to the ancient ports of Gujarat and Mewar, after which it became an important military outpost. Till the independence of India from the British rule, Chanderi is one town which has seen a significant impact on itself by number of rulers, the signs of which can be seen here. Walking through the town of Chanderi still gives that old era feeling

The Tale of Jauhar/ Johar at Chanderi depicted through Jauhar Monument  

It is not much known but it is at Chanderi which witnessed one of the largest mass Johar (self immolation) during the 16th century, where many Rajput women threw themselves in the open fire tank, now known as (Johar Tal) just after Medini Rai and his soldiers left the Chanderi fort to fight the final battle with the forces of Babur.

The Locals of the town of Chanderi at Johar Monument
The Locals of the town of Chanderi at Johar Monument

This battle was fought on 29th January 1528 CE and a stone plaque depicting the johar scene is placed inside a canopy called overlooking the Johar Tal.

The stone incription at Johar Monument
The stone incription at Johar Monument

While I took a heritage walk to this place along with ex archaeologist Padmashri KK Mohummad ji, he told me that to mark the dreadful event that this town witnessed; he placed a cactus plant around the tal. The Johar monument and tal is situated right at the entrance of the Chanderi Fort

A Samadhi of a great musician who defeated Tansen

Just next to the Jauhar monument, is the cemetery of Baiju Bawra, a great and reputed Dhrupad singer, who was associated to the court of Raja Man Singh of Gwalior.

cemetery of Baiju Bawra
The cemetery of Baiju Bawra

It is said that Baiju Bawra have defeated Miyan Tansen, the court-poet of Akbar, in the presence of the emperor himself. His house is in very much ruined condition inside the town.

Johar mounment and the cemetery of Baiju Bawra in one frame
Johar mounment and the cemetery of Baiju Bawra in one frame

A Huge Single Rock Gate built in one night called Kati Ghati

Kati Ghati is actually a huge single rock gate, which is only entrance point of the visitors to enter Chanderi from Bhundelkand and Malwar. It’s the southern gate of the 5 km long Chanderi Fort.

The huge rock gate for which Kati ghati is known
The huge rock gate for which Kati ghati is known

But, more than this gate what fascinated me most about this place is its origin. How this was planned and built in one night to welcome the sultan of Malwa. I have actually written in length on this, which can be read here

The closer angle of Kati Ghati
The closer angle of Kati Ghati

Chanderi Fort or Qila Kothi

Chanderi Fort or Qila Kothi as it is called is this vast Mughal fort from where you can see the beautiful view the whole town of Chanderi.

A distant view of the Chanderi Fort.
A distant view of the Chanderi Fort. I didn’t have much time to go inside

Khooni Darwaza, which is apparently the main gate of the fort, can be seen here. This gate is mainly known for the acts that have been carried here, where all the traitors were killed. The fortification walls were constructed mainly by the Muslim rulers of Chanderi.

Chanderi Fort as seen from Johar monument
The Fort of Chanderi as seen from Johar monument

The Oldest Mosque of Madhya Pradesh and without any minars

The Jama Masjid of Chanderi is one of the oldest mosque in the state of Madhya Pradesh and possibly the only mosque without any minars.

The Jama Masjid of Chanderi
The Jama Masjid of Chanderi

What makes this place interesting is its intricately carved doors and the old structure, giving a feel of the bygone era.

The First view of Jama Masjid of Chanderi
The First view of Jama Masjid of Chanderi

It is said that Ghiyas-ud-din Balban constructed this mosque to commemorate the victory over Chanderi and ensured that the structure imbibed the influences of both Mughal and Chanderi heritage. Quite a piece in itself

Jama Masjid of Chanderi is without any minars
Jama Masjid of Chanderi is without any minars

The underground bunkers used by the locals to protect themselves from the battles and the harsh summers

Right next to Jama Masjid is Badal Mahal which is a marked national important monument by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Enter the complex and you would see a beautiful garden which is constructed by ASI. KK Muhammad ji who was responsible of restoring this site told me that this place was in complete ruins when it was discovered and therefore he got this garden made to make accessible for the public.

Badal Mahal Gate of Chanderi
Badal Mahal Gate of Chanderi

At one corner spot the famous Badal Mahal gate which quite an eye catch with its intricate carved structure against the background of the hill fort. But, do not, I repeat DO NOT expect to see any mahal or palace just as the name suggests, inside. It was named so to mark certain important events that have happened in Chanderi. And, do look out for the underground bunkers which has been restored and kept as it is, used by the locals to protect themselves during the fights and from the harsh summers of Chanderi

Underground bunkers inside Badal Mahal
Underground bunkers inside Badal Mahal

Honestly, I was too disappointed to get very little time to explore Chanderi. This town deserves atleast 2 days, incase you want to understand and see it fully. This is without any question that I am already planning to visit it again, whenever the time permits.

With Kalle Bhai
I would highly recommend to explore Chanderi with Kalle Bhai. He knows the town like no one else

Meanwhile, do let me know incase you have got any suggestions and recommendations for this town. If not anything else, comment below to tell me if you are planning to visit Chanderi anytime soon

How to Reach the town of Chanderi:

By Air : Reach either Gwalior or Jhansi and take a bus/taxi to Chanderi

By Bus : Take a bus for Chanderi. From Delhi the ticket costs around 1000-1500 INR

By Train : Reach Lalitpur. This is probably the cheapest way to reach Chanderi

P.S: I was invited as a blogger to attend the Times Passion Trails in association with Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board. However, the observations and opinions are all mine and expressed unbiasely

Reproducing Content & photographs from this website is prohibited without Author’s approval and liable for strict action

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