Sonagir, a short drive from
Datia, is a major pilgrimage for the Jain community. It is known for
the 101 identical temples erected here during the 10th
century. Built on a hilltop, a string of exquisite temples greets
you even as you enter the town by train.
Temple 57 is the main temple and houses an 11ft tall image of
Chandraprabhu in meditation. Just outside the temple stands a 40ft
high pillar made of white stone. Chhattris on three sides of the
pillar contain the idols of all the 24 Jain Tirthankaras.
A narrow pradakshina (path for circumambulation) runs round the base
of the hill. At each corner of the pradakshina is a chhattri or
cenotaph bearing the symbol of Mahaviras feet.
¤ Temple 60
Temple 60, a notable temple, is also known as Pisan Hari ka Mandir.
It is said that a poor woman built it by grinding grain with a
millstone. Pisan, by the way, means grinding. Temple 59, also dubbed
the Gumbajdar (with gumbaj or domes) Mandir, is quite spectacular as
far as temples go. All four corners of this temple have tall minars
(towers) while smaller minars pop up in the entire complex.
Local buses ply regularly between Datia and Sonagir. If you wish you
can even hire a cab from Gwalior and visit both Datia and Sonagir on a
round trip to Chanderi and Shivpuri.