All of us have seen the Indian Parliament at least in photographs and generally, everyone is impressed with its round orientation and style. How many of us know that the design adopted by Lutyens is not original, it's rather an adopted one. This design is inspired by 64 Yogini Temples, which are mostly circular to represent Chakras in the human body, One such mandir is closer to Jabalpur. 64 Yogini Mandir and Bhedaghat Marble Rocks (boating) is the second location for a day trip from Jabalpur.
64 Yogini Mandir
Bhagat is about 20 km from Jabalpur city. 64 Yogani Mandir is located on a hillock in the Bhedaghat area on the main road leading to Dhuadhar falls, about 500 meters from the boating point. This 11th-century temple is clearly marked and one can not miss it. The temple is (like most 64 yogini temples in North India) is located on a hillock. There are about 150 plus steps to reach the temple. Once on the top of this hill, the ground is plain. The first sight that we get to see is a circular wall with an entrance.
|Sign Board on the Main Road|
|Staircase Leading to the Temple|
Once we step in after removing our shoes. we are inside the 64 Yogini mandir. 64 yoginis and some more deities are housed in enclosures along the circular walls along the periphery. Some yoginis have their names inscribed below their statues. Some yoginis have not been identified. All these statues are in different stages of destruction. some are reasonably intact, some have their hands damaged and some others have their heads missing. Not sure if this is a result of neglect or the handiwork of Muslim invaders. However, whichever state the statutes are. they are beautiful and worth a definite look.
|Outer side and entrance, the circularity is evident|
|One of the Yogini Statue|
Yogini Mandir Video
Apart from 64 yoginis and other deities that are situated in the circular shaped housings (which originally did not have a roof on the top), there is a beautiful Shiva temple called Gauri Shankar Temple Situated a little off-centre. It has beautiful Murtis of Gauri Shankar (Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati riding Nandi, the Bull. There are other deities too in the "Garbha Graha".
|Gauri Shankar Temple|
There are huge bells outside the temple as also a Shivalinga and another shivalinga with four faces (like Pashupatinath mandir). This temple is also as ancient as the 64 Yoginis. This whole complex is a delightful place. It is also a Photographer's Paradise.
|4 faced Shivling|
This temple, dedicated to 64 Yoganis, mythological powers of Tantra traditions, is worth spending an hour or two of your time before you embark on a boat ride in the Narmada River to see the world-famous Marble rocks of Bhedaghat.
Bhedghat Marble Rocks
Three places are famous in the Bhedaghat area, Dhuadhar Falls, 64 Yogini Temple and Marble Rocks. On this trip, we gave a miss to Dhuadhar Falls. We visited 64 Yogini Temple and thereafter we came to the Ghat on Narmada River for boating in the river through Marble Rocks, a deep gorge in the path of the Narmada river.
Marble Rocks are predominantly white marble rich in Magnesium. This marble thus has Soap Stone hardness. This makes this Marble easy to carve leading to many craft shops selling the artefacts made of this Marble.
Once on the ghat, different types of boats are available to take a ride. The boats are 5 to 6 person type and 10 to 12 type for group hire and (I think) 25 person type for individual ticket basis. We took a 5 person boat for Rs 800. The rates are fixed by the MP Govt, clearly displayed and the booking counter also is run by MP Govt, Dept of Tourism. That means there is no chance of cheating or bargain. the boats are rowboats, rowed by the boatmen. This ride lasts about 30 minutes, the outward trip is upstream against the current of water and the boats go up to a basin kind of place where they can turn back.
|View from Ghat|
|Our Boating Starts, first look at Marble Rock|
|Now the fun starts|
|Narrow Marble Gorge|
|Rowing is a tough profession|
There is a place in this Gorge called "Bandar Kuni". It is said that many years ago when this gorge was narrower, Monkeys used to jump from one shore to another shore, hence the name. Boats used to go up to Bandar Kudni a few years ago but they now do not go that far. This place has mostly white marble but few places one can see Blue and Brown marble also.
These days Bhedaghat has good safety rules. Boats are regulated well, so no overcrowding. Wearing of Life Jackets is mandatory for passengers and it is enforced very strictly.
As the boat ride progresses, the boatman gives a commentary about the marble rocks, also about various films that were shot in the gorge, etc in a flowing and funny manner. The ride is enjoyable as we get to see the natural wonder the rocks are (and they exhibit different moods based on light conditions and they look the best on a Full Moon Night) and the commentary adds humour to the boat ride.
There are stalls on the ghat to have tea and snacks after the boat ride. If you are there in the evening, you can attend Aarti of Maa Narmada. This is also one of the places to buy small gifts to take back home.
Bhedaghat is a good place to visit and along with 64 Yogini Mandir and Dhuadhar, it makes a great day trip.