Beauty of Chanderi

28.2 13 Jul 2024

  • Home to the exquisite Chanderi Saris
  • The only Jama Masjid in India without minars is found here
  • According to legend, Mahabharata's Shishupal once ruled this town
  • Major centre of Jain culture
  • Chanderi is known to have had 1200 baolis in the past

Beauty of Chanderi

A small town located in the Ashoknagar district of Madhya Pradesh, Chanderi is known for its exquisite fabric. Apart from a thriving weaving industry, the beauty of Chanderi lies in its regal radiance and iconic monuments. The history of this magnificent town dates back to the 11th century and the historic monuments here narrate stories of its rich cultural past. Visit iconic monuments like the Chanderi Fort, Badal Mahal and the largest baoli (a stepwell), also known as the Battisti Baoli. This beautiful destination is located around 103 km from Jhansi and 214 km from Bhopal. 

 

Chanderi: Threads of Grace

The identity of this quaint town is the beautiful Chanderi fabric, which is woven in almost every house here. As of 2017, there were around 5,000 looms and more than 9,000 weavers in Chanderi, a testament to the town's dedication to this craft. The Chanderi sarees can be identified by their unique lightweight and sheer texture. The fabrics woven here are mostly silk cotton, Chanderi cotton, and pure silk. Gold and silver zari are then used for embroidering beautiful motifs on the saree, including Ashrafi (coin), flowers, peacocks, and more.

 

Handloom Park: Into Chanderi's Handloom world

For a closer look at how these sarees are woven, visit the Handloom Park in Chanderi, believed to be the first handloom park in Asia, launched in 2017. The centre has around 24 master weavers, around 300 traditional weavers and a capacity of 240 looms with shops, trade facilitation, warping and winding facilities. Explore the workshops organised here and grab a bite at the eatery.

 

Pranpur: Weaver's Paradise 

Nestled amidst lush greenery, Pranpur village is a serene haven just 4 kilometres from Chanderi. This charming village draws visitors with its rich heritage and vibrant culture. Renowned as a weaving hub, Pranpur pulses with the rhythmic clacking of looms, where skilled artisans intricately craft the famed Chanderi fabric.

As you wander through Pranpur's vibrant streets, adorned with houses painted in a kaleidoscope of colours, you'll be enveloped in a celebration of artistic expression. Each dwelling showcases intricate designs echoing the patterns found in the fabric, reflecting the villagers' deep connection to their craft.

A heritage walk through the village offers a deeper insight into its weaving tradition, accompanied by warm hospitality and stories of Bollywood celebrities and YouTubers captivated by Pranpur's charm. 

Adding to the village's allure are the three Baolis, meticulously restored to their former glory, serving as a reminder of Pranpur's rich history. No visit is complete without indulging in the region's traditional Bundeli cuisine, a tantalising experience crafted by the locals, offering a true taste of authenticity amidst the idyllic setting.

 

Chanderi Festival: Celebrating an age-old legacy 

Another occasion that celebrates the beauty and craftsmanship of Chanderi's handwoven textiles is the Chanderi festival. Organised by Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, it was held at the Kati Ghati for the first time in 2023. The five-day festival celebrates the rich indigenous culture besides offering an array of recreation and adventure activities like zip-lining, bungee jumping and more. Apart from enjoying cultural workshops, stroll through the craft bazaars and enjoy the musical gigs. Experience the Maha Aarti at the Laxman temple and be a spectator at the vintage car rally. Make sure to book a luxurious stay in a tent in advance for the upcoming grand celebration. 


Film Tourism

Due to its historical marvels, iconic backdrops and an old world charm, Chanderi has been an ideal destination for filming Bollywood movies. Iconic movies like Sui Dhaga starring Anushka Sharma and Varun Dhawan, Stree starring Shraddha Kapoor and Rajkumar Roa and Kalank with were shot in Chanderi. Stree's popular song 'Nazar Na Lag Jaye' was shot in Kati Ghati. The simplicity of Chanderi along with its traditional vibe makes it an ideal location for film shooting.

 

Best places to visit in Chanderi

Chanderi Fort

The formidable Chanderi Fort, one of the most well-known sites, was built in the 11th century by the Pratihara monarch, Kirti Pal. It has three gates and a wall that spans about five kilometres around it. The two other gates are referred to as Hawa Paur and Katti-Ghatti, while the main gate is named "Khooni Darwaza." A Jauhar Smarak honouring around 600 Rajput women who self- sacrificed their lives after the departure of Medini Rai and his soldiers to fight the last battle with Babur. A stone plaque narrating the story of the event is also placed here.

Koshak Mahal

A magnificent piece of architecture, Koshak Mahal was built in 1445 CE by the Sultan of Malwa, Mahmood Shah Khilji, to commemorate his victory over Sultan Mahmood Sharki at Kalpi. Situated on the Isagarh-Chanderi road, the fort is a square structure with big and impressive arched doorways. It consists of four mansions of similar size, equally spaced from one another. The ceilings are adorned with intricate designs. 

Chanderi Museum 

Erected in 1999, the museum preserves Chanderi's historical and cultural remnants. It is a must-visit for all art and history enthusiasts because of its collection of antiquated sculptures, stone carvings, relics from the Stone Age, and remnants of Jain temples, across five galleries. You can reach this archaeological museum from the Chanderi Bus Station, which is about three kilometres away.

Khandargiri

Khandargiri, a well-liked Jain pilgrimage site, was historically a hub of Jain philosophy, art, and culture. There are six caverns atop the hill, and some of the inscriptions indicate that the temples here date back more than seven centuries. The imposing 45-foot statue of the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabhnath, popularly known as Lord Adinatha, is the most striking feature of Khandagiri. The hilltop is also the ideal spot to take in the panoramic views of the charming cityscape. 

Shehzadi ka Roza

The grey sandstone building, which was constructed in the 15th century by Chanderi Governor Hakim in honour of his daughter Mehrunnisa, is a reminder of the unfulfilled love story between Mehrunisa and a commoner. The walls of the chamber have panels of beautifully carved arches, embellished with intricate jali work and medallions.

Badal Mahal Gate

One of the most prominent monuments in Chanderi, the Badal Mahal gate was constructed by Sultan Mehmood Shah Khilji in 1450. It is set in well-manicured lawns, against the striking backdrop of the Chanderi fort on the hilltop. Built entirely of stone, the gate rises to an impressive height of over 15m. 

Jama Masjid

Believed to be built in the 13th century by Ghiassudin Balban, it is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Chanderi. The main entrance of the Jama Masjid displays the most exquisite carvings. It is adorned with intricate geometrical and floral motifs, and bands. As with most other mosques in north India, Jama masjid comprises an open courtyard with dalans or pillared cloisters on the north and south, and the western end occupied by the prayer hall. However, it is interesting to note that unlike other Jama Masjid's in the country, this one does not have any minars. 

Kati Ghati

At 230 feet above ground level, Kati Ghati is a vast corridor hewn out of a single rock that connects Bundelkhand with Malwa. Though not striking in structure or embellished with carvings, the gate is in itself an architectural feat and a symbol of the power of a human will. The gate is over 10m high and 25m wide.

Raja Rani Mahal

The Raja Rani Mahal consists of two separate structures joined by colonnaded passageways. Comprising different architectural styles, it is believed to have been constructed over many eras and is among the few palaces that still stand in Chanderi. Featuring graceful staircases, expansive courtyards, open pavilions, and finely carved pillars, the palace emerges as a must-see destination in Chanderi.

Craft Handloom Tourism Village Pranpur Chanderi

Located just 4 km from Chanderi, Pranpur is India's First Craft Handloom Tourism Village that draws visitors with its rich heritage and vibrant culture. Renowned as a weaving hub, this village pulses with the rhythmic clacking of looms, where skilled artisans intricately craft the famed Chanderi fabric.

Best time to visit 

The best time to visit Chanderi is between the months of October and February, when the weather is pleasant enough to explore the attractions. 

 

How to reach Chanderi: 

Take a flight to Gwalior Airport, situated around 214 km far from Chanderi. The nearest railway stations are the Lalitpur Railway Station (around 40 km away) and Ashok Nagar Railway Station (around 50 km away). You can also take a bus from nearby cities like Indore, Bhopal and Ujjain.

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Best Places to visit

Chanderi Museum

Badal Mahal Gate

Battisi Baoli

Buddhi Chanderi

Chanderi fort

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