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.
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.
A wall encircles the summit.
Another view of the wall. The new road can be seen coming around the bend.
A third view, showing the relationship of Kalinjar to the plateau to its south, from which it has been detached by erosion.
Some parts of the butte require no topping-up.
In other seemingly unscalable places, walls have nonetheless been added.
Divine protection was sought, too. Here, below the summit, a rock-cut temple.
Nearby, a giant figure of a dancing Kali. Heads dangle from her belt.
Her feet are graceful.
Smaller dire figures ward off enemies.
Other figures are more decorative.
Some are benign, as this dreaming Vishnu.
Up top, the main entrance.
Behind it, many acres mostly of rubble.
A massive stone lintel.
An old water-storage tank.
Another tank, dry.
One of the most intact buildings.
Detail of columns in the courtyard.
Detail showing degenerate construction methods: plastered brick instead of massive stone.
Another building has been converted into a sculpture warehouse.
Under the arcade, decorative slabs in storage.
A lingam decorated with hundreds of smaller lingams.
Kalinjar is still a place of pilgrimage, and eating atop the hill is considered auspicious.
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