Chandpur Group of Temples, Lalitpur, Uttar Pradesh
Chandpur Group of Temples are groups of ancient Chandela era temples located in Chandpur Village in Lalitpur Tehsil in Lalitpur District of Uttar Pradesh, India. The Temples are mainly dedicated to Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Jain Thirthankaras. Chandpur is known for its extensive archaeological remains, scattered especially in the east and north west parts. The group of temples are protected as monuments of national importance by the central Archaeological Survey of India.
The Group of Temples
Chandpur has majorly five groups of ancient temples and numerous ancient Chandela ruins in its vicinity.
Sahastralingeshwar Temple Group:
Sahastralingeshwar Temple is the largest temple in this group. This temple is facing towards east and situated on the banks of a tank. It consists of sanctum and mukha mandapa. The sanctum enshrines Sahasra Linga (thousand miniature lingas carved on a single Linga) with four projecting figures on all four directions. The sanctum is spacious enough to have circumbulation by devotees. The lintel of the sanctum doorway has relief of Lord Nataraja at its center.
There is a four pillared mandapa housing Nandi in front of the sanctum. There is flat roofed shrine with a porch dedicated to Lord Brahma to the southern side of the Sahastralingeshwar Temple. The sanctum enshrines a seated image of Lord Brahma with his consort on his lap but the central figure in the lintel is Lord Vishnu with his consort. The third shrine is dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Only the porch of this shrine remains.
Varaha Temple Group:
The Varaha Temple is situated on the banks of the tank. It is surrounded by the tank on three sides. The temple enshrines Varaha, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, in animal form. The structure housed the image was completely lost except the raised plinth. The Varaha is large in size and carved with all the deities of the Hindu pantheon in its body.
An inscription dated to 1148 CE can be seen on the pedestal of the figure. This group contains several temple ruins in its premises. The plinth of three large temples and few smaller temples can be found amidst large debris of architectural fragments and sculptures. A damaged column with an inscription can be seen among the debris.
Belmori Temple Group:
This Temple group consists of two temples (a larger one and smaller one). The larger temple consisted of sanctum and Mandapa. The sanctum is completely lost. The plinth of the sanctum and the mandapa remains. The smaller temple consists of sanctum and an entrance porch. The shikara over the sanctum is in dilapidated state. Remains of sub shrines can also be seen in the temple premises.
Lakshmi Narayan Temple Group:
The Lakshmi Narayan Temple Group is the largest group of ruined temples. This Temple consists of two temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu. One temple consists of sanctum and an entrance porch and other temple consists of mandapa only. The sanctum of the temple is completely lost. The temple complex is covered extensively by the ruins of temple remains.
A colossal image of Hanuman can be seen among the ruins. An architrave among the ruins has a short inscription in it. There are two minor shrines to the south of the main temples. One shrine consists of sanctum and an entrance porch while the other shrine consists of mandapa only. The group is enclosed by a compound wall on all sides.
Jain Temples Group:
The Jain Temples Group is situated to the south east side of the Chandpur village near railway track of Jhansi – Mumbai line. This group consists of three structures in its premises. All these structures are in dilapidated condition. The major shrine of this group consists of sanctum and a mandapa. The sanctum is situated much below the ground level and can be accessed through a narrow entrance.
The sanctum enshrines a colossal image of Jain Tirthankara, Shantinatha. He is in standing posture in Kayotsarga posture. His arms are extended till his knees. His right hand is damaged. He is flanked by few damaged Jaina images on both sides. There are few images in meditation posture and few images in Kayotsarga posture in a row on the left wall of the temple.
An image of goddess can also be seen beside Lord Shantinatha. Sculpture of Jain Ambika and Kuber Yaksha can be seen on the outer wall of the temple. Her mount lion is depicted under seat. The second structure is a small four pillared mandapa in front of the main temple. The third temple consisted of sanctum and an entrance porch.
Only the porch remains intact and the sanctum is lost completely. The door frame is intricately carved. A colossal image of Tirthankara is kept nearby. It might have been the presiding deity of this temple. Sculptures of Jaina figures and architectural fragments are found scattered around the temple premises. The temple complex is enclosed by compound walls on all sides.
The Temple is also called as Shishu Madia. The Temple is built over a raised platform. The Temple consists sanctum and an entrance porch. The interior of the porch and the entrance door of the sanctum are intricately carved with reliefs. The shikara over the sanctum is partially damaged.
Jhammar Temple is situated close to a square well called Jhammar. The temple is named after the well and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It consisted of sanctum and an entrance porch. The sanctum is completely lost. The lintel of the sanctum door has a relief of Lord Nataraja at its center. There is another small shrine situated in the mid of the forest to the west side of the tank. Sculptures, ancient wells, architectural fragments and other ancient relics can be found scattered around this village. There is another unknown Jaina temple group found on the eastern extremity of this village.
The Temple is located at about 9 Kms from Jakhalaun, 10 Kms from Jakhalaun Railway Station, 12 Kms from Deogarh, 12 Kms from Dhaura, 28 Kms from Lalitpur Junction Railway Station, 34 Kms from Lalitpur Airport, 37 Kms from Lalitpur, 226 Kms from Bhopal Airport and 438 Kms from Lucknow. The Temple is situated on Deogarh – Dhaura road.