Distance : 76km from Bhilwara
Around Bundi are deep gorges surrounded
by forests, and within these lie the ruins of a 12th century palace.
The name Menal is derived from Maha Nal (great gorge), and that is
what Menal really is.
¤ Manal Attractions
Prithviraj Chauhana, who also ruled Delhi for a while, had set his
heart on Menal, and it became his favourite mountain retreat when the
scorching Rajasthan summer would set in. For this he built a palace on
the banks of the Menal river which runs over granite slabs before
finally plunging into a gorge over 122 meters deep. The entrance to
the mansion is via a two storeyed gateway carved with images of the
gods Ganesha and Bhairava. The square courtyard beyond the entrance
houses a huge Shiva temple of stone, built in the ancient Hindu style
with a carved pagoda and pillars. The walls of the temple are carved
with motifs of Hindu dieties and various other themes, interspersed
with images of elephants. of special mention are the images of Shiva
and Parvati which form the chief subject of the engravings. Shiva and
Parvati are depicted in various postures and surrounded by dancers,
musicians, lesser gods and animals. Halfway up the pagoda is a large
stone lion, perhaps depicting victory. A number of smaller ruined
temples lie around the Shiva temple.
¤ Mahanaleshvara temple
The 11th century Mahanaleshvara temple is a perfect example of the
western Indian style of stone temple architecture. The entrance is
embellished with a seated stone lion, and there are number of guardian
deities carved on portruding panels in the walls. The inner sanctum is
dominated by projecting balconies while the roof is a pyramidical
array of ribbed and finely carved stone.
Perhaps what is more of historical interest in Menal are the hundreds
of inscriptions in most of the stone temples here, dated back to Menals
origin and of tremendous use to corroborate the history of nearby
Bundi and Kota.