Rudra Mahalya Sidhpur

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1. "Raja Siddhraj built a magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Shiva called as the ‘Rudra Mahalaya’ in 12th century". Today there is a temple & 4 torans with a mosque. "Siddhpur is a sacred town, app 103 kms north of Ahmedabad. It is situated on the left bank of the River Saraswati. The town is a revered destination, flanked by temples, kunds, ashrams and other sacred structures."

2. Side view of temple ruins. "The temple was an architectural wonder with a three-storeyed `shikhara`, 1600 pillars, 12 entrance doors, central `mandapa` and porches on east, north and south and sanctum in west." Around the temple there were 12 shrines of Rudra.

3. Close up above temple entrance. "Around the 10th century, under the Solanki rulers, this town was at the pinnacle of prominence and glory. It derived its name from the great ruler of Gujarat, Siddhraj Jaisinh from the Solanki dynasty."

4. View of 4 torans is all that you see today. "The eastern gate was adorned with beautifully carved `Toran`, with a flight of steps leading to the Saraswati River. The ornamentation of the temple was exuberant as shown by the elaborate and detailed carvings of the pillars and the beautiful Toran, which are the only remains of the temple today."

5. View of Toran 1. "In Vedas, this modern day Sidhpur is mentioned as ‘Shristhal’ or a ‘pious place’. Of the five most holy and ancient lakes in India is the Bindu Sarovar, which lies here in Siddhpur."

6. Close up of top of Toran 1. "According to Hindus, it is said that as the obsequies offerings to the paternal ancestors must be made at Gaya, so corresponding offerings to the maternal ancestors have to be performed at Siddhpur. Thus Siddhpur has the importance of ‘Martu Gaya’ or ‘Matru Shraddh’, a place where people come annually to perform the rituals for their mothers who are in heavenly abode".

7. Side view of the pillar that form part of the toran. Note the beautiful carvings.

8. Front view of toran 2 and 3 with 4 behind them. Seeing them you can visualise how grand the original temple might have been.

9. Carvings on toran 2. Wish there was a board that gave details of carvings. According to "The temple was dismantled an army under Almas Beg (Ulugh Khan) and Nusrat Khan sent by Alauddin Khilji in 1298-99."

10. Toran carving bottom. Most images damaged with time yet give you a sense of the work.

11. Middle level pillar carving. Man is four handed. Two hands seem to be in mudra mode. One hand seems to hold what looks like an axe and another perhaps a snake.

12. Toran 2 top part of pillar. What carvings and how have they stayed together since the 12th century.

13. Toran 3 side view. Double storey again gives you a sense of the grandeur. Lower level has 4 torans on all sides i.e. between pillars.

14. Close up top portion of toran 3. Note the carvings. Captions taken from Gujarat Tourism website.

15. Toran joining pillars. Note the intricate work above the toran.

16. View of toran 4. This one has lot of support. See the design of top part of pillar, how it comes out i.e. left of pic.

17. View of toran 4. Who destroyed Rudra Mahalaya. "There is, however, no doubt that Ahmad Shah I (AD 1411- 43), the Sultan of Gujarat, destroyed the Rudramahalaya and raised a mosque on the site." To read a quality note on the grandeur and history of the temple

18. Close up of toran 4 pillars. Went about 12 ish peak sun.

19. Toran 4 slab close up. Note intricate carvings. Sidhpur is worth seeing for ruins of Rudra Mahalya alone.

20. This Shiv temple on the banks of the river Saraswati was made or renovated by the Gaekwads of Baroda. If I remember right it is Sayajirao Gaekwad. It is Siddeshwar Mahadev Mandir.

21. Saraswati river. Not much water when I went. Felt had been here before although have never been. Siddhpur also famous for Bohri Havelis. Could see only from outside - not very impressive. Am told inside part of homes is worth seeing. Due to a Bohri festival that day and being Sunday afternoon could not see. Better luck next time.