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Notes on the Geography of Northern India: Kalinjar

Northeast of Ajaigarh and in northernmost Satna District, Kalinjar is an ancient shrine and fort, known to Ptolemy as Kanagora. It sits atop an almost impregnable 1000-foot-high hill, with cliffs on all sides. Hindu at first, then Muslim, it was in the hands of Daryan Singh when it fell to Colonel Martindell in 1812. The British retained it as a fortress, and it proved its value to them in 1857.

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Northern India: Kalinjar picture 1

There's a small town at the base of the hill.  From it, a road has recently been built up the far side of the hill, so access is very easy.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 2

A wall encircles the summit.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 3

Another view of the wall. The new road can be seen coming around the bend.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 4

A third view, showing the relationship of Kalinjar to the plateau to its south,  from which it has been detached by erosion.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 5

Some parts of the butte require no topping-up.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 6

In other seemingly unscalable places, walls have nonetheless been added.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 7

Divine protection was sought, too.  Here, below the summit, a rock-cut temple.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 8

Nearby, a giant figure of a dancing Kali.  Heads dangle from her belt. 

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 9

Her  feet are graceful.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 10

Smaller dire figures ward off enemies.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 11

Other figures are more decorative.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 12

Some are benign, as this dreaming Vishnu.

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Up top, the main entrance.

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Behind it, many acres mostly of rubble.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 15

A massive stone lintel.

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An old water-storage tank.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 17

Another tank, dry.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 18

One of the most intact buildings.

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Its courtyard.

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Detail of columns in the courtyard.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 21

Detail showing degenerate construction  methods: plastered brick instead of massive stone.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 22

Another building has been converted into a sculpture warehouse.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 23

Under the arcade, decorative slabs in storage.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 24

A lingam decorated with hundreds of smaller lingams.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 25

Assorted lingams.

Northern India: Kalinjar picture 26

Kalinjar is still a place of pilgrimage, and eating atop the hill is considered auspicious.


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