|One of the four entrances to theTeli ka temple with defaced sculpture,En.wikipedia|
|Side view of the Teli ka Mandir, Gwalior. en.wikipedia.org|
|Teli ka Mandir, Gwalior.fort, MP. tripoto.com|
|Fort complex Gwalior. Teli ka Mandir rmurrayfoote.com|
|Teli ka templeGwalior windhorsetours.com|
|Gate. Teli ka temple of Gwalior. en.wikipedia.org|
This beautiful temple and others were badly damaged during the mad raids by Muslim army of Qutb-ud-din Aibak and his successor Iltutmish in 1232 CE in the fort following a jauhar. Evidences point out parts of the ruins and fragments were then used to build a mosque nearby. However, centuries later, the mosque was in turn destroyed by Hindu Maratha army men.
Subsequently the damaged temple was restored by the Hindus after the desecration by Iltutmish forces. The interesting feature of this old temple is that it had close links with all three major traditions of Hinduism: Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism as revealed by the inscriptions in the temple. One of inscriptions mentions about the hymn on Goddess Durga Devi. The relief work includes a prominent Garuda, the vahana of Vishnu. Inside the temple is a Shiva linga.
|Sculptures near Teli ka Mandir, Gwalior Fort.en.wikipedia.org|
The name of temple means Oilman's Temple, but the origin of the name is a contentious matter. Local folklore suggested that it was built by people from oil merchant caste and not from either kings, the royal class or the priestly class. There are no records to corraborate it.
The sanctum - srikovil of Teli ka mandir with a rectangle plan is on a jagati platform that is a square of 60 feet (18 m).It has a large kapili projecting portico of about 11 feet (3.4 m) towards the east. The tower (Gopuram) rises above the rectangular sanctum to a height of 80 feet (24 m) capped by a barrel-vault shaped cap of 30 feet (9.1 m), its length being perpendicular to that of the sanctum, that reminds of one of South Indian gopurams. The amalaka, kalasha and others atop are missing and might have been lost during invasions. There are numerous niches on the wall for statues, but are empty now and show signs of damage. The niches are topped by tall pediments. The outer dimensions of the sanctum are 60 x 40 feet.
The ornate doorway into the temple is a huge one- 35 feet (11 m) high. Above the doorway is a relief work of Garuda, the vahana of Vishnu. Inside, there is another doorway above which is a Ganesha relief. In the sanctum one can find the Lingam and nandi. At the temple entrance, the panels have several inscriptions suggesting an age of 10th to 15th century. The latter inscriptions point out that the temple was a Shiva shrine by the 15th century. One of the inscriptions discovered is a metrical hymn about Durga, and it suggests a Shakta tradition influence. The mandapa here has no covered roof, however thare is a prakara that has four entrances, one from each cardinal direction which a devotee can use to enter the temple for a darshanam.
The banded doorway that can be reached through a flight of stairs has beautiful sculptures of river goddesses Ganga and Yamuna, each with a boy and a girl on the lower part. Above them are found amorous couples in various stages of courtship and intimacy (mithuna). The outer and inner doorways as in many Tamil Nadu temples have both male and female carrying weapons and a kind expression of welcome, and possibly symbolizing the theology in Shaiva and Shakta traditions. The doorway leads to the sanctum sanctorum or garbha griha. There is a decorative sculpture of Garuda at the entrance to the temple. The temple's Valabhi shikara is similar to the gopuram of Dravidian temples and it stands on a Nagara base. The temple's outer walls have been extensively carved.
About the temple Teli ka Mandir the following points need to be taken into account:
01. This mandir is unusual, considering its complex design that has a mix of Dravidian temple architecture, Buddhist architecture, Nagara style design and that of Gupta period.
02. The plan of the garbagriha - sanctum is rectangular - an unusual one unlike the square one.
03. The temple was Vishnu temple initially and later became a Shiva temple.
04. Initially, it started out as a Sakthi shrine (the Matrikas (mother goddesses).
05. Some historians argu that the Dravidian style of design is more due to collaboration among the members of pan-Indian guild, rather than the influence of south Indian style. That the post-colonial era studies suggest similar ruined barrel-vault capped historic temples in many places in north and east India, including those in Odisha may lend support to this view.
06. The distinct keel-vault details of this temple suggest that the idea is markedly a different expressions never tried before, rather than a copy.
Teli Ka Mandir is an architectural splendor that will never disappoint you.