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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.), Jaipur
Kiradu on Map of Barmer District

Kiradu (किराडू) is a site of Shiva tempe in tahsil Ramsar in District Barmer in Rajasthan. It was also known as Kherdhar ( land of Kher).

Its ancient name was Kiratakupa (किराटकूप) or Kiratakuja (किराटकुज).



It is mentioned by James Tod[1]: Kheralu — Capital of Kherdhar, one of the ancient divisions of Marusthali. Two coss south of Vesala crossed a pass over the hills.

The Kiradu group of temples is situated near the village Hathma about 43 km away from the Barmer region in Rajasthan. The inscriptions dating back to 1161 AD reveal that the ancient name of this place was Kiratakupa and was once the capital of the Punwars. The temples were built around c. 1000 AD and later. The temples represent the zenith of the Gurjara-Pratihara sub-style of the Nagara or North Indian Style of Temple Architecture.

The Vishnu temple of this group has the sanctum and the mandapa of which only the cubicle and the pillars of the central octagon have remained. The temple stands over an elaborately built plinth.

The pancharatha or five-faceted walls of the sanctum are built over the plinth. Only a few mini-spires are left of the multi-turreted spire or sikhara. The central pillar is left of the large open mandapa. The base of the beam is octagonal in shape and features a figure of apsara or heavenly maiden. They are similar in style to the figure from Baroli in southwest of Kota.

The temple of Somesvara is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The sanctum of this temple is also five-faceted. The plinth has moldings and jadyakumbha or inverted cymarecta. The figurative bands or the tharas featuring elephants, horses and human beings are notable. The jangha or the middle portion of the wall is the rupadhara or figurative band, which is placed below the niche. The niche is of bigger size on the bhadra or the cardinal facet to place a bigger image. The multi-turreted spire is no more. The half annulets below the vases have dainty foliage patterns. The toranas or decorated arches span over the spaces between the pillars are no more. The decoration on the exterior of the mandapa is equally elegant and varied. The notable are the scenes of combat and palace life, kaudakapalik rites and scenes from the Ramayana and from everyday life.

There are other three smaller Shiva temples. Architecturally they are not so beautiful but some sculptural depictions of ritual eroticism, temple building, Bhishma Pitamah lying on a couch of arrows and scenes from daily life, such as a group of acrobats are worth noticing.

The Kiradu group of temple has remained mostly unknown and underestimated because of its location. A visit to Kiradu is a must for keen students of temple architecture.

James Tod[2] writes that Kherdhar. — ' The land of Kher '1 has often been mentioned in the annals of these States. It was in this distant nook that the Rathors first established themselves, expelling the Gohil tribe, which migrated to the Gulf of Cambay, and are now lords of Gogha and Bhavnagar ; and instead of steering ' the ship of the desert ' in their piracies on the kafilas, plied the Great Indian Ocean, even " to the golden coast of Sofala," in the yet more nefarious trade of slaves. It is difficult to learn what latitude they affixed to the ' land of Kher,' which in the time of the Gohils approximated to the Luni ; nor is it necessary to perplex ourselves with such niceties, as we only use the names for the purpose of description. In all probability it comprehended the whole space afterwards occupied by the Mallani or Chauhans, who founded Juna-Chhotan, etc., which we shall therefore include in Kherdhar. Kheralu, the chief town, was one of the ' nine castles

1 Named in all probability, from the superabundant tree of the desert termed Khair, and dhar, ' land.' It is also called Kheralu, but more properly Kherala, ' the abode of Khair ' ; a shrub of great utility in these regions. Its astringent pods, similar in appearance to those of the laburnum, they convert into food. Its gum is collected as an article of trade ; the camels browse upon its twigs, and the wood makes their huts. Kher is a ruined village, not far from Jasol, at the point where the Luni River turns eastward. Kheralu has disappeared from modern maps, if it be not a mistake for Keradu, where there are interesting temples {ASR, West Circle, March 31, 1907, pp. 40-43 ; Erskine iii. A. 201).

[p.1274]: of Maru,' when the Pramar was its sovereign lord. It has now dwindled into an insignificant village, containing no more than forty houses, surrounded on all sides by hills " of a black colour," part of the same- chain from Bhuj.

Sculpted heritage

Located very close to the Indo-Pak border, the Barmer district in Rajasthan is not a quintessential tourist destination. It is, however, the site of the magnificent Kiradu temples, whose minutely sculpted pillars and walls offer a glimpse of India’s rich heritage endowed with music, dance and architecture.

Around 43 km from Barmer, Rajasthan, lies the Hathma village—home of the enchanting Kiradu temples. Estimated to have been built around the 11th and 12th century AD, the site consisted of about a dozen temples of which only five, one Vishnu temple and four Shiva temples, are in a semi-conserved condition today.

Reminiscent of the Maru-Pratihara style of architecture, the temples comprise elements such as elaborate sanctums and myriad sculptures that depict everyday life, temple-building scenes, erotica and mythological incidents. The Vishnu temple consists of an octagonal rangamandapa or dancing hall that is bordered by eight pillars. The sculptures in this temple include those of Lord Vishnu riding Garuda, dancing apsaras and gandharvas, and digpalas or the guardians of the four directions. [3]

XII Kiradu Stone Inscription of Alhanadeva S.V. 1209 (1153 AD)

Sanskrit Text
1. ओं || संव[त्] 1209 माघवदि 14 शनौ अद्येह श्री [म]…… ……हाराजधिराजप
2. रमेश्‍वरउमापतिवरलब्‍धप्रशा (सा)द्रप्रौढप्रताप निर्ज्जित [श] कंभरी
3. भूपालश्रीमत्‍कुमरपालदेवकल्‍याणविजय…..
….. पश्रीमहादेव [श्री]-
4. श्रीकरणादौ समस्‍तमुद्रा व्यापारान परि [पं]…..
….. [प्र] भुप्रसादावा
5. प्तश्रीकिराटकूपलाटर्हदशिवा ……
6. देव: शिवरात्रिचतुर्दश्‍यां शुचिर्द …..
[पु] ण्यशोSभि-
7. वृद्धये प्राणिनामभयप्रदानं म

…..[हा] जनतावूलि

8. कसमसप्रकृतीन् संवोध्‍य…..
…… अभय [से] मासे उभ-
9. यो पक्षयो अष्‍टमीएकादशीचर्तुद्द [शी] ….
…..दत्‍तं अतोSनंत
10. रं एतासु तिथिषु नगरत्रयेपि जी [व]….
….. [जा] च व्‍यतिक्रम्‍य जी-
11. वानां वध कारयति करोति वा स व्‍यापा …..
…..आचंद्रार्क याव-
12. त् केनापि न लोपनीयं | अपरं पुरो‍हिता [अमा]….
सर्वैर्परैश्‍च ए-
13. षा अमारिरूढि: प्रमाणीकार्या | [य: को] …..
…..कालेन क्षीयते
14. फलं | एषस्‍याभयदानस्‍य…..
….. क्षय स्व प्रदत्‍ताSभ-
15. यदक्षिणा न तु विप्रसहस्‍रेभ्‍यो…..
….. कोपि पापिष्‍ठतरो जी-
16. ववधं कुरूते तदा स पंचद्रमौदंड [नीय:]….
….[ दर्व्यौ] महाराजिकस्‍यैको
17. द्रम्‍मोस्ति || स्वहस्‍तोयं महारा[जश्रीआल्‍हणदेवस्‍य] || श्री महाराजपुत्रश्रीकेल्‍हण
18. देवमतमेतत ||+ महारापुत्रगजसिंहस्‍य [म] तं || संधिविग्रहिक ठ. खेलादित्‍येन लि-
19. खितमिंद || श्रीनदूलपुरवासिप्राकवाटवंशप्रभतसु (शु) भंकराभिधानश्रावक: तत्‍पुत्रो क्षि-
20. ति‍तलधर्म्मतया विख्‍यातौ पूवि (ति) गशालिगौ [|*] ताभ्‍यामतीवक [प] पराभ्‍यां प्राणिनामभयप्रदानशा-
21. शनं विज्ञप्‍यं कारापितमिति || || उत्किर्ण्णं सूत्र भाइलेन ||
Kiradu Stone Inscription of Alhanadeva S.V. 1209 (1153 AD)[4]

This inscription was found in a Saiva temple standing amidst the ruins of Kiradu near Hathma, about 16 miles north-north-west of Badmer, the principal town of the Malani District, Jodhpur State . A transcript and translation of it have already been published in the Bhavnagar Prakrit and Sanskrit Inscriptions, p, 172 ff. But this, like almost all the inscriptions in this book, is edited in a slovenly manner, and I, therefore, make no excuse for re-editing it here. The inscription consists of 21 lines. The middle portion of the stone as far as line 17 has peeled off. Nothing of importance, how- ever seams to have been destroyed, and the purport of the inscription is clear enough. The characters are Nagari. The language is Sanskrit, and the whole of the record is in prose. As regards orthography, it is sufficient to note (1) that a consonant following r is doubled and (2) that the sign for is employed also for b, except once in labdha in L. 2. In L. 13 occurs the word amarirudhi which, though known to Jaina scriptures, is foreign to Sanskrit literature. It means " the edict of the non-slaughter (of animals)." The record opens with the date, viz. Saturday, the 14th of the dark half of Magha in the vikrama year 1200, when Kuma(ma)rapala was the paramount sovereign and Mahadeva was doing all the business of the seal, relating to the drawing up of documents, etc Lines 4-6 speak of his feudatory, the Maharaja Sri- Alahadeva, who obtained Kiratakupa, Latarhada and Shiva - through his (i.e. Kumarapala's) favour. Then we are told that Alahadeva on the date which was the shivaratri day, thinking the granting of security to animals to be the highest gift, issued injunctions, for the increase of his spiritual merit and fame, to the Mahajanas, Tambulikas, and other subjects forbidding the slaughter of living animals on 8th, 11th and 14th of both fortnights of every month in three towns named above and threatening with capital punishment those who killed or caused others to kill living beings. The Brahmana priests, ministers and others were also ordered to respect this edict of non-slaughter. And amongst these, he who commits the sin of taking life, should, it is stated, fined five drammas, but if the sinner be one attached to the king, ho should bo fined one dramma only. Then comes the sign-manual of the personage who issued the edict, who is here called Maharaja Sri-Alhanadeva, followed by the approval of the great princes, Kelhana and Gajasimha. The edict was written by the thakkura Keladitya, minister peace and war. Then we are informed, in a postscript, that this gift of safety to animals was caused to be proclaimed, with the permission of the king, by Putiga and Saliga sons of Subhamkara, of the Porvad caste and residents of Nadulapura (Nadol). The inscription ends with the information that it was engraved by the sutradhara Bhaila. Putiga and Suliga are no doubt the same individuals that had a similar edict promulgated through Girijadevi queen of Punapakshadeva, a feudatory of Rayapala and ruling over the province of Ratnapura, the south most district of Marwar.

This edict applies to two classes: (1) Merchants (Mahajanas) and (2). Betel0sellers (Tambulakaras). It implies that some Brahmans at that time in Marwar were flesh eaters. The three towns mentioned were secured by Alhanadeva through the favour of Kumarapala. These are:

Kiradu Inscription of 1178 AD

Sanskrit Text
लाइन ३-५.श्रीमद् भीमदेव कल्याण विजयराज्ये तत्प्रभुप्रसादावाप्त
श्री किरोट कूपे रविरिवसप्रताप: हिम[कर]रुचिर
कराभिराम: मेरुशिव सुवर्णश्रियामनोराभो ......
शाकंभरी भूपाल....महाराजपुत्र मदनब्रह्मदेवराज्ये
लाइन ६-७ . सर्वाधिकार सकलव्यापार चिंतत (भ) रस (श) कट
धुराधौरेयकल्प महं श्री तेजपालदेव सुपत्नीव
लाइन १०-१४. मूर्तिरासीत सातुरूकै (ष्कै) र्भग्ना टाँच निरीक्ष्य
तस्मिन्न्य (नं) पि....कारयित्वाअस्मिन् दिने
प्रतिष्ठिता ।।.....दत्तमिदमं विंशोपकद्वयं
तदा दीपार्थं च दत्तं तेल....
Kiradu Inscription of 1178 AD[5]

डॉ गोपीनाथ शर्मा[6] पर इस शिलालेख के बारे में लिखते हैं कि किराडू का शिलालेख शिव मंदिर में लगा है जिसमें 16 पंक्तियाँ हैं इसका समय विक्रम संवत 1235 , कार्तिक शुक्ल 13 गुरुवार 26 अक्टूबर 1178 है. यह किराडू के महाराज मदनब्रह्मदेव चौहान (शाकंभरी) के समय का है जो भीमदेव द्वितीय का सामंत था. इस समय तेजपाल शासन का काम करता था. इसमें लेख है कि तेजपाल की स्त्री ने जब तुरुक्कों के द्वारा मंदिर की मूर्ती को तोड़ा हुआ पाया तो उसने उक्त तिथि को नई मूर्ती की स्थापना कराई और मदनब्रह्मदेव द्वारा मंदिर की पूजा के लिए दो विंशोपक एवं दीपक के लिए तेल की व्यवस्था की. इस शिलालेख की कुछ पंक्तियाँ साथ के बाक्स में हैं.


किरातकूट अथवा किराडू पश्चिमी राजस्थान के जोधपुर ज़िले में उत्तर रेलवे के बाड़मेर-मुनावा रेलमार्ग पर खंडीन रेलवे स्टेशन से 3 मील (लगभग 4.8 कि.मी.) की दूरी पर स्थित एक प्राचीन उजाड़ बस्ती हैं, जिसे आज 'किराडू' कहा जाता है। पहले इसका मूल नाम 'किरातकूट' या 'किरातकूप' हुआ करता था। इस बस्ती का प्राचीन इतिहास आज अनुपलब्ध है, किंतु वहाँ से तेरहवीं शती ई. का एक अभिलेख प्राप्त हुआ है, जिससे ज्ञात होता है कि यह प्रदेश सोलंकी नरेश कुमारपाल के सामंत अल्हणदेव चौहान के अधीन था। यहाँ एक वर्ग मील के क्षेत्र में 24 मंदिरों के अवशेष बिखरे हुए हैं, जिनमें केवल पाँच इस अवस्था में शेष हैं कि उनके आधार पर तत्कालीन कला की उत्कृष्टता का अनुमान किया जा सके। इनमें चार तो शिव मंदिर और एक विष्णु मंदिर है। किरातकूट के मंदिरों में 'सोमेश्वर मंदिर' विशेष रूप से उल्लेखनीय है। इसमें आठ स्तंभों पर बना अष्टाभुजाकार मंडप है। गर्भगृह की दीवारों पर ब्रह्मा, विष्णु, सूर्य आदि की मूर्तियाँ उत्कीर्ण है। बाहर की दीवारों पर 'कृष्णलीला', 'रामायण' के अनेक प्रसंग और समुद्र मंथन के दृश्य अंकित हैं। विष्णु मंदिर में विष्णु की त्रिमुख मूर्ति है, जिसका एक ओर का मुख 'वराह' और दूसरी ओर का 'नृसिंह 'का है।[7]

Notable persons

External links


  1. James Todd Annals/Sketch of the Indian Desert, Vol.III,pp.1321
  2. James Todd Annals/Sketch of the Indian Desert, Vol. III,p. 1273-74
  3. Marwar Magazine
  4. Epigraphia Indica Vol. XI (1911-12): A S I, Edited by E. Hultzsoh, Ph.D. pp.43-46
  5. डॉ गोपीनाथ शर्मा: 'राजस्थान के इतिहास के स्त्रोत', 1983, पृ.97-78
  6. डॉ गोपीनाथ शर्मा: 'राजस्थान के इतिहास के स्त्रोत', 1983, पृ. 97 -98
  7. भारतकोश-किरातकूट

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