Dhar is a small city located in the Malwas region of Madhya Pradesh. It is situated 559m above sea level and its location is extremely relevant and adds to the picturesque beauty of the place. This captivating city used to be the capital of Malwa until Mandu became a centre of importance. Dhar was founded by the Parmar King Bhuj in the 11th century and his dynasty ruled over Dhar for a long time. The Sultans of Delhi during the Mughal period ruled this city. People of Dhar have had a rich cultural heritage and paintings, sculptures, music, and dance have been an integral part of their lives since ages. Dhar has a lot of tourist attractions like forts, ancient monuments, old temples, and mosques etc.
It is one of the most important monuments in Dhar. Situated on a hill at a distance of 3km from the city centre, it was built by Muhammed Bin Tughlaq who was the Sultan of Delhi. The Dhar Fort is unique in that it has a blend of Hindu, Mughal and Afghan styles of architecture. The fort has been constructed using red sandstone. It has a deep rock cut cistern and also a palace that later belonged to the Maharaja of Dhar. Dhar Fort gained prominence during the famous revolt of 1857 when the fort was occupied by the Indian freedom fighters and was in their possession for four months from July through October. The monument has been preserved well and you can still get great views of the city from the ramparts of the Dhar Fort.
One of the greatest examples of India’s rock-cut architecture. Situated at a distance of nearly 97 km from the town of Dhar, these astounding caves are a group of 9-rock-cut monuments located in the Vindhyas, typically on the southern slopes. They do not classify as caves as they are beautiful and man-made rock-cut monuments. The Bagh caves are actually ‘viharas’ or monasteries having a quadrangular structure. Each vihara has a prayer hall or ‘chaitya’ as the back chamber. They are known for their mural paintings which have been inspired by the Bhagini or Buddhist lifestyles during the Gupta period. The paintings and sculptures here bear an uncanny resemblance to those at the Ajanta caves in Maharashtra.
Kamal Maula Mosque and Bhojshala
Bhoj Shala is an ancient temple of Goddess Sarawati, built by Raja Bhoj, the then ruler of Dhar. Raja Bhoj was a great patron of education and arts. Bhoj Shala was home to thousands of students and scholars and was a centre for learning. Bhoj Shala is an archaeological site too. The site also houses the Kamal Maula mosque with four Sufi tombs. The Muslims use the site for Friday prayers and on Islamic festivals while the Hindus offer prayers on Tuesdays and on the festival of Basant Panchami. The site is now a protected monument and under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India.
Lath Masjid or the pillar mosque is a famous tourist spot in Dhar. Within its compound, you can find the three fragments of a mighty rust free iron pillar that dates back to 1000 AD. People say this structure was constructed by some Paramara ruler to commemorate a war victory.
Built by the Pawars in the 1860s, this palace is an elegant example of early modern architecture in India. It is presently run as a heritage hotel.
There are many more tourist attractions that Dhar has on offer making it a must visit location for any history and travel enthusiast.
Featured Photo by mckaysavage