Gwalior Fort, Part 3: Saas-Bahu Temples

Saas-Bahu (mother-in-law, daughter-in-law) are two adjacent temples, one larger (saas) and one smaller (bahu), built in the late-11th c by the Kachchhapagatha kings who took over Gwalior from the Pratiharas in the 10th c. These temples were also heavily restored in the late-19th c. If the quality of the sculpture work on Pratihara temples in Gwalior as well as at Nareshwar and Bateshwar is impressive, on these two temples the sculptures that still remain are superlative. In the Central Archeological Museum near Man Mandir Palace, there are a lot of stunning 11th c sculptures taken from Sihoniya village, north-east of Gwalior in Morena district. I’m assuming that these are taken from the vicinity of the Kakanmath Temple there, which was on my list of temples to see in Morena district but I didn’t get a chance to do so on this trip. That temple was also built by the Kachchhapagatha rulers, in the early 11th c. The quality of sculpture work on these three temples indicates a very high level of sophistication, moving towards the sublime.

In the larger “saas” temple, the size of the extant star-shaped mandapa indicates the lofty proportions of the shikhar (spire) that would have once risen over the sanctum. Like in so many cases, this huge shikhar has now collapsed, and in place of the original sanctum is a large brick room. The Kakanmath Temple in Sihoniya has a similar design to this temple, and its partially collapsed spire rises to around 30m. This “saas” temple would probably have reached a similar height, making it taller than the spire of Teli ka Mandir.

The larger “saas” temple:

01 01 saas 01 02 saas 01 03 saas 02 01 saas 02 02 saas 03 01 saas 03 02 saas 03 03 saas 03 04 saas 04 01 saas 04 02 saas 05 01 saas 05 02 saas 05 03 saas 05 04 saas 05 05 saas 05 06 saas 05 07 saas 06 01 saas 06 02 saas

The smaller “bahu” temple:07 01 bahu 07 02 bahu 07 03 bahu 07 04 bahu 07 05 bahu 07 06 bahu 08 01 bahu 08 02 bahu 08 03 bahu

2 thoughts on “Gwalior Fort, Part 3: Saas-Bahu Temples

  1. Pingback: Temples in Morena District, near Gwalior, Part 5: Kakanmath Temple in Sihoniya | Sarson ke Khet

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