Menal Temple, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

A small detour from Chittorgarh to Bundi highway takes you to Menal Temple also known by its old name Mahanaleshvara Temple. It is popularly known as the mini-Khajuraho temple. Menal Temple is a 11th century wonder definitely worth a visit. The tour of the complex can a little more than half an hour, so definitely doable.

Menal Temple History

This temple was built by the king then, Someshvar Chhahamana and his queen Suhavadevi of the Sakhambari dynasty during the 11th century A.D. The huge Shiva temple of stone is built in the ancient Hindu style with a carved pagoda and pillars. In front of the main temple of Mahanala is Nandi, the bull. The enclosure built isn’t sufficient to protect it and the statue is partially damaged. The place was favorite mountain retreat of King Prithviraj Chauhan, during the scorching Rajasthan summers.

Menal Temple
The temples of North India are so different from the ones in South in their architectural styles. The Nagara style of North Indian temples is characterized by a beehive shaped tower called a shikhara made up of layer upon layer of architectural elements. The South Indian temples have a pyramid shaped tower, you can see one here.

The main temple is preserved well, though the smaller ones around the main temple are crumbling down slowly. This one is credited to the King, while the one across the river is credited to the queen. The carved deities on the walls, images of Shiva and Parvati and other angelic forms have been repaired. Yet it seemed like they were fighting out the wear and tear of time’s deteriorating grip.

It was purely by chance that we visited the temple. We were on our road trip of Rajasthan in the month of September 2008; the Lonely Planet guide of Rajasthan had a mention of this Menal Temple. We were lucky to find the temple open, but there were hardly any tourists around. Menal Temple is at a distance of 90kms from Chittorgarh and 40kms from Bhilwara.

Best time to visit Menal Temple would be during Shivaratri festival when the place becomes very lively. It is in the month of February.

Warli Paintings, for Sale from Maharashtra
Happy Holi

62 Responses to “Menal Temple, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *